10 a.m. appointment: Woman my own age, recently cut short a trip abroad because of intense abdominal pain. Doctors at another medical facility recommended hospice. She says to me, “I know I’m not going to live a long time, but I think I have at least a little while left.” Just wants to relax her shoulders, which have crept up to her ears as she tries to power through continued pain.
1p.m. appointment: New client, 10 years younger than me, and “cuter than speckled puppies.” Loves to be active and is frustrated by the illness that keeps her hobbled. Cries a little during the appointment, talking about her lost muscle tone. I tell her –because it is the truth — that she has better muscle tone than many “healthy” people I see. She acknowledges but seems not to believe what I say. There is something in her eyes as she leaves that I can’t quite identify. As I drive home, I realize. It was terror.
Later, updated news from home: Grandmother (recovering from heart attack in the hospital) has damage to over 50% of her heart. For a 90-year-old woman, this is not unexpected. I call her and we talk. She tells me my sibling is the favored child, but she feels okay saying that to me because I “knew it already.”
Finally, time to put the day to bed: enough food to eat, a warm place to sleep, and a partner to tell all this to.