Hospice Brings Care, Comfort, and Compassion to Wife’s Final Days

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They were 14-years-old when they first met. She played a joke on him at an Italian restaurant and took his food order. After 45 minutes, he asked her when the food would be ready. She replied, “I don’t even work here. I just wanted to meet you.” It was love at first sight.

“We were so good together,” says Mike Crayton, speaking of his wife Marti. But, perhaps fearing the young couple was getting too serious too soon, their parents broke them up. Mike and Marti separated and married other people, but both marriages ended in divorce. They always stayed in touch through the years and reunited just before their 20-year high school reunion. “When we went to the reunion together, that was it,” says Mike. “We decided to stay together forever.” They married three years later. “She was not only my first love, she was my only love,” says Mike.

“Hospice is the most wonderful thing,” says Mike Crayton, shown here with wife Marti who passed in August 2011. “I only wished I had used it sooner.”

Mike and Marti had been married for 17 years when Marti was diagnosed with terminal cancer. “Marti was sick for seven weeks,” says Mike. “The last three weeks, she was on hospice.”

The decision to place Marti on hospice was not an easy one for Mike. He felt like he was letting her down. “Initially, I felt like a lot of people,” says Mike. “I thought that going on hospice is giving up. That could not be further from the truth. Hospice is a wonderful thing. Also, sometimes people get better and get off hospice. And some are on hospice for years.”

Mike had been trying to care for Marti at home on his own. Finally, he couldn’t do it anymore. When you’re caring for a loved one who is terminally ill, decisions have to be made every day, and finally he had to make a decision for hospice. He made the call on a Friday, and within an hour, the hospice nurse had arrived with oxygen, equipment, and medications. Over the next few weeks they bathed and dressed Marti, and kept her comfortable. They offered chaplains and social workers. “I was impressed with how they not only cared for the patient, but for the entire family,” says Mike.

“I felt safe and secure in the care they provided. The hospice staff was very skilled and took care of Marti in a very professional way. You feel that no one can care for your loved one like you can, but they did a superior job.”

When hospice told Mike that Marti’s time had come, it dawned on him that this would be her last sunset. When Marti passed, hospice was there. After the funeral, hospice offered bereavement counseling and support groups.

“When I saw how caring and compassionate they were to Marti and the entire family, it gave me a whole new outlook on hospice,” says Mike. “My only regret was I wished I had used them sooner. Hospice was the greatest thing.”

Odyssey Hospice will hold an open house for its new transitional hospice inpatient unit on the campus of Methodist Charlton Medical Center, September27, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., on the fifth floor of the F Tower. The unit will help patients and families dealing with a life-limiting illness and bring a host of nursing and other hospice services to the residents and families of Dallas and surrounding counties.

One Response to Hospice Brings Care, Comfort, and Compassion to Wife’s Final Days

  1. Like Mike Crayton, I too decided to call Hospice last year and it was the right thing to do for my Child Bride of over 47 years. The people working with Hospice are GREAT PEOPLE, the RN’s, LVN’s CNA’s and Soc. Worker’s make a great team and YES they care for all the family. Thank God for all the Hospice Workers they are truely Angels!!

    Michael "Maurice" Courville
    Wednesday, September 19, 2012 at 3:03 pm