Embrace the Plateau

Photo by Gail Bimber

My husband is doing a little better! Hospice has put him on some very strong medications which have resulted in reduced pain, an improved appetite (rather odd craving for popsicles), and improved energy.

When you are care-giving for a terminally-ill person, an improved condition (referred to by Hospice as a “plateau”), can be unsettling. Sounds weird, but when you are expecting someone’s end to be close, improvement is not expected, so when it comes, it makes you feel very uncomfortable about a whole bunch of decisions you’ve so carefully made. One of the very unsettling issues with Hospice: when your loved one is signed up for Hospice care, your doctor visits stop. That is to say, your loved one is now under “palliative care” — which means to keep the patient comfortable until they pass away. Now, to explain the whole situation, one can “graduate” from Hospice if, in fact, a turnaround occurs and re-enter Hospice care at a later date.

I spoke to my pastor about it and he suggested, “Embrace the Plateau. Good advice. (Ha! I just typed “God advice” – works either way!)

I think this is a perfect example of the “I Dunno” phenomenon I wrote about in an earlier post. We simply don’t know what’s in store for any of us. We can waste a whole bunch of energy on trying to outsmart our maker, and figure it out, but that’s a losing proposition.

So, best to embrace the plateau and give thanks for this gift.


About susansplace

Widowed in 2012, I am a mother and grandmother. Born in San Francisco, I now live in the town I grew up in: Mill Valley, California. I love nature photography. Just an amateur but that's OK! My goal: world peace. Got any ideas?
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6 Responses to Embrace the Plateau

  1. katiepede says:

    Thank you for sharing this, it must have been hard to write. When they sent for the palliative care team to come and talk to us about my Dad, I didn’t want them to. I already knew what was happening, but just that word…. such a hard word to take. I am now training as a radiotherapist, so I spend a lot of time delivering palliative treatments. I always try to remember the connotations and be as sensitive as I can. I am sending my very best wishes to you xxx

  2. Jan says:

    Thanks for sharing. The advice you have received is good. The plateau is a reminder that life is not in our hands, but someone much greater. I look forward to each of your postings as you write so eloquently and honestly.

  3. susansplace says:

    Jan, thank you for your kind words!

  4. Laura says:

    I think when we embrace the plateau, we are practicing staying present in the moment we have. I think this present moment awareness is the gift, when we stay in it, fully and completely, not trying to analyze it, or change it, or figure it out. Embrace the plateau…….every moment is a gift, just how it is.

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