Tuesday, August 31, 2010

walking on Hospice Air

This morning, D.G. and I were invited to be guests on All Sides with Ann Fisher. D.G. went to the studio, and I joined the conversation on the phone. If talking about Hospice and end of life issues can be a blast, this one was.

Ann is a very knowledgeable and gracious host, and her interview with Drs. Morrison and Jackson that preceeded us was a treasure trove of information that had to have been helpful to all those listening. D.G. and I were just ourselves, overflowing with gratitude for all of our experiences with Hospice Care.  And to Ann for affording us the opportunity to tell her listeners what Hospice does to give a family peace of mind, a sense of calm, and the knowledge that help from nurses is but a phone call away, 24/7.

I'm about to take a nap-- after all, those of us in the public eye :-) need to get our rest. But first, I want to post this on my Facebook page--if only to beat D.G. to the draw!

And I learned a medical term for what drove me to the end-of-life conversation: it's called "intractable nausea."


  1. Thank you for sharing this conversation. Ann, Deege and you are treasures.

  2. Ann I just saw the interview with you on BBC news. I sent the clip to my mother who has gone back to school at the age of 50 for her Masters. Thank you for sharing, I loved meeting you through this clip and hearing your story.

    Heba from Egypt

  3. Good morning, I just saw the interview with you on the BBC as well - wish I could get my mother (who's a tad older than you!) into computers/blogging/internet!


  4. Just saw the lovely video report about you Phyllis on the BBC web site. You go girl!
    Melbourne, Australia

  5. Hi Phyllis. Greetings from Malta. I really enjoyed the interview with you on BBC news. You are an inspiration to many. Keep blogging.

  6. Dear Phyllis, My name is Senthu Sivasambu and I am from England, UK. I just watched your interview on BBC and I just wanted to say 'hats off'..great to see you blog..the way you handle your time and life..to be honest with you I have not read single blog of yours yet but watching your interview was just enough me to write this. I do intend to read your blog when I get time as I am going to be little busy with my planned post graduate studies in Canada. take care.


  7. Hello from Dublin, Ireland! I have just been reading some of your blog entries. I adore your writing. It was a pleasure to meet you (through the BBC video) in your bed in Ohio from my bed in Dublin where I am enjoying a lazy day. Keep up your wonderful words :)

  8. Dear Phyllis,
    Also just saw you on the BBC website. Thank you for sharing your story. I'm going to show my grandmother who is a little younger than you (87) and see if I can convince her to start blogging. You are an inspiration!
    Catherine Castle
    Melbourne Australia

  9. Hello from Athens, Greece. Your liveliness reminded me of my grandmother, and the good old times. I have never responded to anything I saw on BBC but this video is worth a million words..and blessings. I tried to add you as a friend on fb, but saw that this was impossible due to your privacy settings.. God bless and hope messages coming from all over the world give you joy..

    Kind regards,
    Love and light,


  10. Greetings from Norway!

    Like everyone else here, I too saw the BBC report and was thoroughly impressed by it. I've been reading your blog since, and am enjoying it immensely. Thank you, and please keep writing!

  11. Hi Phyllis! My daughter, Beky (above) told me of your blog. How wonderful!! You are an inspiration and the BBC report was really well done. We'll keep in touch from Down Under in Melbourne Australia. Please keep writing :-)

  12. Greetings from Malta!

    Just saw your interview with the BBC as many others here. You are an inspiration to many around the world!

    Take care! :-)

  13. Hello
    My name is Pascale and i am french. I saw your interview on the BBC while i was learning and i am very impressed by it. My mother is not as old as you are and unfortunately she never wanted to use a computer.
    keep blogging

  14. Dear Phyllis
    Hello from Edinburgh, Scotland. Keep up the good work. You are a great inspiration for us all. I wish you all the best and happy blogging.


  15. Hello,
    I just watched the BBC piece and completely choked up, fighting back the tear with all my might. Now imagine seeing a 6'1" muscular 215lb African American man breaking down in the middle of an office! Not necessarily the most usual of scenes..

    You are an inspiration! Steadiness of your gaze, the calmness of your voice, the beauty in your face! Brilliantly amazing!

    I immediately sent the interview to my girlfriend. I am sure she and I will now join your many many followers.

    Thank you for gracing us, with you...

    Be well!

  16. Hello
    Mark from South Australia here. Just saw your piece on BBC America. I really enjoyed it. I hope that I can still blog in whatever form the internet is in when I am 90 years old all the way in 2082. Your really an inspiration. Keep on blogging and take care your awesome!

  17. Best wishes from Bordeaux. Keep writing!

  18. Greetings from Sodankylä, Lapland, Finland! I too have just viewed the BBC article about you. What a wonderful inspiration you are! Long may you continue blogging in the blogosphere! With love and respect, Michelle x

  19. Dear Mrs. Greene,

    I saw your interview on the BBC and wanted to echo everybody else's comments about how wonderful it is that you are keeping a blog. I can't wait to become one of your regular followers.

    With best wishes,


  20. Hello Phillis!
    I'm a retired teacher, and found your interview and blog through the BBC, too. You're such an inspiration to me. I keep bees, love my dogs (Cairn Terriers), and garden...but reading and writing are the pulse of every day. Thanks so much for your blog, I look forward (and backward!) to read all your posts.
    Bee Well,
    Pat in Sonoma County, California

  21. Ms Greene,
    I watched your video on the BBC, what an inspiration you are, your attitude to life is a simple yet effective one, I will take heed of it and apply it to my own life, When life is worrying or difficult I will think of you and your upbeat take on the world around you, Life is truly beautiful and I would be doing myself a favour to take heed. I write to you from Peru and look forward to your posts, You are a blooming rose in what can sometimes be a gloomy world

  22. Dear Grandma Phyllis,

    I told you in my last post that you reminded me of my Gram, who's gone on, and how I too am living in my bedroom, the one painted like an Orchid. And that I spend my days with my Medical Assistance Service dog, Bailando.

    I wanted to tell you that my Gram had hospice care.

    So did a friend my age, who was unable to deal with her impending death and "turned her face to the wall" and refused to see anyone who knew her and none of knew where she was, and I only knew she died when her cell phone service was disconnected, at last. It was a terrible blow, but at least I knew she ws being cared for by compassionate people.

    My friend's Mom's room-mate, who had cancer, also received wonderful hospice care when she refused treatment for the cancer.

    I think hospice is the most wonderful thing in the world, for both the care-receiver and the family members.

    Thank you again for letting me and so many others into your little corner of the world, it's like a wonderfully constructed nest, where I can flutter down and just be a bird.

    Sending you love and hugs and puppy kisses,
    Niki Jensen and Bailando Dog

  23. Dear Grandma Phyllis,

    I think that the very notion of "intactable nausea" as a part of the end of life process is adding insult to injury, as it were.

    I have been dealing with a daily and sometimes twice a day migraine for going on something like a good three weeks and I can tell you that I think I can telll you what "intractable nausea" may well feel like.

    I have a very good idea of what "tractable nausea" feels likes as well, which is when you are in the ER at 3am in your pjs wearing sunglasses curled in a fetal ball, puking up neon green bile, whilst a doctor is asking you if you have an eating disorder, because you have a thyroid condition that keeps you naturally rather thin, only you don't know that and you and your also naturally thin Mother give the doctor a look that would kill a Veloceraptor instantly and tell him to get you a huge dose of Phenergan and Demerol as fast as possible, pretty please, or you are going to die on the gurney in a very messy fashion and your Mother will sue the hospital for malpractice.

    So, I think I have an idea of what the "intractable nausea" must be like, if the above scenero is what I have believed "tractable nausea" was like. I think it's not a pretty picture.

    It really keeps your figure looking good, though. And I know that older people don't eat as much as younger people, in any case, which is good if you have "intractable nausea".

    I am glad to hear you seemed to take it all in with relative aplomb. You are a far better person then I. I would be shrieking like some kind of Emu or some such Australian bird with a great deal of bad manners.

    That or taking the time honored Jane Austen method, and fainting dead away in a fit of the vapors, needing to being brought back around with a bottle of lavender water.

    I like to think that one should save that for more important occasions like when I said to the cardiologist that I wanted to go ahead and have a needed heart procedure and could he do it that Friday.

    He replied, 'No', but Monday is available.', and I promptly said, 'That would be perfect.', and fainted face first on the floor. He was surprised.

    In any case, I have nothing but good stuff to say about Hospice Care, my Gram was able to have it and it was a godsend for my family, in helping to provide us assistance in her care and respite from our duties as care providers.

    Hospice took care of my friend Rebecca when she was diagonosed with a terminal illness and she"turned her head to the wall" in Hospice" speak. She refused to see or comunicate with any of her friends or family and we didn't know where she was or how to reach her. Her cell phone worked and I would leave messages on it, but finally one day it's service was disconnected and I had to assume my Dearest Rebecca had gone on to another place at last.

    My best friend Laura's Mom's room-mate Ginger opted for Hospice Care when she was diagonosed with cancer and she refused treatment for it. Her stay in a care facility lifted the burden from Laura and her Mom, Betty, which was critical, and allowed them to say goodbye in peace and with goodwill, knowing that Ginger was happy with her choice.

    Thank you for sharing your experiences with all of us and being such a wonderful example of what life at 90 can be like if you have a positive outlook and have the forethought to think of creating a portrait of yourself for your loved ones to have for after you have moved on.

    I wish I had something like this from my Gram, to visit her from time to time, when my life gets hard and I am feeling lonely.

    As always thank you for being a wonderful surrogate Grandmother, you rock my world.

    Love and hugs and puppy kisses,

    Niki Jensen and Bailando Dog
    Atascadero, CA, 1/2 way between L.A. & S.F.

  24. Dear Phyllis,

    We watched your BBC video clip. you have inspired us to slow down and enjoy the blessing in our lives. Thank you for sharing your journey and passion for life. We will remember your grace and loving nature and we will give back to the world what you have given to us.

    Sahar and Pedram
    New York City

  25. Dear Phyllis: I love hospice, too. My husband was in it for a year and I cared for him at home. Hospice is so humane and supportive for the entire family. When my time comes and there is time, that is what I would choose for myself.
    BTW, my friend, Judith Terzi, was your granddaughter's French teacher at the Poly in Pasadena. She sent me the BBC video, and you truly inspired me. I agree whole-heartedly with you. Even if our bodies start to fail us, if we can still use our brains, we're in luck. Bravo to you and your blog. I can see how it makes you sparkle and inspire others. Your new fan, Norine Dresser