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A Letter to Doctors

Hospice Austin chaplain Melissa Dowling with Charlotte Scott

Hospice Austin chaplain Melissa Dowling with Charlotte Scott

Dear Doctor,

Thank you for the excellent care you have given me. I also appreciate your honesty in letting me know when I had reached a point in my disease where you could no longer make things better. You could have waited until I had only a few weeks – or even days – left before giving me this news, but you didn’t.

Thank you for this gift of time. I have been a patient of Hospice Austin for three months, and I wanted you to know how happy I am that I made the decision to bring hospice onto our team. Not all of my doctors were supportive of my decision to go on hospice care – in fact, one of them said it was too soon since I had longer than 30 days left to live – but hospice is for people with six months or less. I feel like my medical team that I’ve worked with and trusted for a number of years is holding one hand and my hospice team is holding the other. My primary care physician of 25 years is still overseeing my care. My nurse comes out to the house every week, a nurse’s aide comes three times a week to help me bathe (which saves me a lot of energy), and I regularly see the hospice chaplain and social worker.

This gift of time has been a blessing. How many things do we have in our lives that are unresolved? It’s allowed me to reconnect with an adopted son. It’s given me time to work on other relationships. If something doesn’t feel quite right physically, mentally or emotionally, there’s someone at Hospice Austin I can call. I got really sick a few weeks ago. I’ve never been afraid to die, but I was scared. The chaplain gave me some good suggestions which I’ve worked on and feel good about.

It made me realize that maybe we don’t have to feel frightened. If we can reach out and say, “Help me,” the path is much easier. And that’s what we’re all about right now, isn’t it? My medical team and my hospice team, making the path as easy and comfortable as possible.

Thank you again,

Charlotte Scott
Austin, Texas

Ms. Scott sent a copy of this letter to her team of five doctors. She graciously shared it with Hospice Austin in the hope that it will encourage others to seek hospice care sooner rather than later.

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