I Did It My Way – A hospice story of aging well to the end.

Categories: Care.

As Michael began singing the Frank Sinatra signature song, My Way, I glanced over at Jim. A smile lit his face as he nodded to the music. Jim had always lived life his own way and his diagnosis with advanced pancreatic cancer did not change this. His experience with Hospice Calgary allowed him to continue doing so.

Prior to his diagnosis, Jim was an active, independent retiree. He pursued his interests, spent time with his grandchildren and traveled. He regularly attended Hospice Calgary’s Living with Cancer Program, a support group for adults living with advanced cancer and their family caregivers. “I liked the fact that if I wanted to talk, someone was there to listen. If I had nothing to say, that was okay, too,” he said.

However, as the cancer progressed, it became difficult for him to continue living on his own. His daughter, Heather Gladstone, a nurse at Rosedale Hospice, invited her father to move in with the family. He refused, saying that he required peace and quiet and would not impose this upon of a busy household with teenagers. She suggested that her father consider a hospice as an option.

Jim was grateful that his daughter did. At a recent visit, he told me that everyone at Rosedale Hospice, from the medical staff to the volunteers, had made his experience a positive one. “They make me feel like the most important person in their world. They really care,” he said.

Heather said that people are surprised when she mentions that patient dignity is a priority at Rosedale Hospice. The medical team listens to each patient’s needs and allows the individual to make his or her own choices. “My dad felt empowered. His ability to be in charge of his treatment was very important to him,” said his daughter.

We are deeply grateful to Jim Gibson and Heather Gladstone for sharing their hospice story. Jim told me that if he could help someone else to understand what hospices do for people at the end-of-life, then it was worth it.

Hospice Calgary embraces individuals and families who are coping with life-threatening illness, sudden or expected death. At the Counseling & Education Centre and Rosedale Hospice, our specialists provide individual counseling and group support, workshops and 24-hour end-of-life care. We know transitions take time – we are here as long as needed. For more information about Hospice Calgary programs and services please click here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *