It was the middle of the afternoon when we arrived at our house, and our hospice nurse, Nicole, was waiting for us. After the EMTs had deposited Poppy into his bed, I began pulling off his hospital gown.
“Mrs. Schlottman,” said Nicole, “you may want to leave that on him so it will be easier to keep him clean and dry.”
“No hospital gowns,” I said. Clint sleeps in boxers and a cashmere sweater, and that is what he will wear.”
She looked skeptical but did not argue.
“He has a catheter and a rectal tube,” I said. That will keep him clean and dry. He’s not going to die with a gown on.”
So, I chose his softest sweater and a pair of Tabasco boxers with an alligator on them, and we dressed him for bed. He was asleep in 30 seconds.
I had a meeting with Nicole to go over hospice procedure. Having been a hospice volunteer, I was familiar with the routine. She ordered medicine for anxiety and pain for Clint, to be delivered by a local pharmacy.
“Mrs. Schlottman....has Dr. Schlottman asked for any alcohol?
“No,but if he does, I will give it to him.”
And I said the truest words that ever left my lips,
“I will not deny him anything he wants. I will not say ‘no’ to a dying man. If he says he want to soak in the tub - he soaks every day - we will get him in the tub. He might die there, or it may take the fire department to get him out of the tub, but believe me when I say I will deny him nothing.”