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Pequot Lakes woman reflects on hospice

Her husband's last days were made easier by presence of experts.

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Pequot Lakes resident Bob Springer's last days were made easier through the efforts of hospice workers. Contributed (November 2021)

Eileen Springer, of Pequot Lakes, was appreciative of the empathetic and warm-hearted hospice team from Cuyuna Regional Medical Center in Crosby that took care of her husband of 59 years and provided her with care and support during the most difficult time of her life.

“The care he was given was exceptional,” Springer said in a news release. “He was treated with dignity and compassion and his pain was well-controlled. They helped me understand what Bob was going through and prepared me for his impending death.”

She explained how wonderful it was for her husband to remain home where he was most comfortable and for her to have someone there who could explain what was happening to him.

She knew nothing about the dying process and each new symptom or slight change in his condition resulted in her being concerned. The team provided her with emotional support and answered all her questions regarding medications and equipment.

“Having an experienced hospice team explain the physiological changes happening to my husband and saying that these things were normal and expected helped me cope so much better than I would have otherwise,” Springer said.

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She added that the nurses, home health aides, chaplain and Dr. Kara Maucieri were all a joy to work with over the 18-month experience.

“It was Bob’s choice to be in hospice; at the end of Bob’s life, they were here as we needed them,” she said.

And, they were there for Eileen when she needed to step away from caregiving for a bit.

Bob especially looked forward to visits from massage therapist Gabby Hudrlik, who also gave Eileen massages when she was uptight. Eileen was grateful for the home health aide who expertly gave Bob a bath in his chair or bed.

Until about three weeks before he died, Eileen was able to help him bathe in a walker using their home’s walk-in shower and use a shower chair. After that, however, she couldn’t move him and said it really helped her when the aide came to her assistance.

Also, of great support was Social Worker Kim Olesen, who would pick up Bob’s prescriptions and medical supplies and bring them to the couple's home on her way home from work.

“I was unable to leave Bob, and Kim regularly checked in with me to find out if we needed anything,” Eileen said.

When COVID-19 restrictions are over, Eileen plans to give back by becoming a hospice volunteer. She hopes to play cards and cribbage with patients, knowing how much of a relief it can be to give family members a break.

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“My hospice experience with my husband was excellent and I recommend hospice to all families who need it for a family member,” Eileen said. “I could not have asked for better care than they gave, not just to my husband, but to me as well.”

CRMC’s Home Health and Hospice services are provided to area residents regardless of their ability to pay thanks to the generosity of the community. The program is subsidized by CRMC and supported with proceeds from a golf tournament and the annual Tree of Love campaign.

Tree of Love memorial and honor gifts for the 37th annual Tree of Love are now being accepted. The official tree lighting and dedication of the hospice tree was held Saturday, Dec. 4, at Crosby’s Memorial Park.

Hospice accepts donations all year and the Tree of Love accepts donations through the end of December. Make donations at www.cuyunamed.org/tree of love or send a check payable to CRMC for $10 for each person to be honored or remembered to: CRMC Tree of Love, 320 E. Main St., Crosby, MN 56441.

Provide the name of the person the gift is in memory or in honor of, and to whom a card of notification can be sent.

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Bob Springer's last days were made easier through the efforts of hospice workers. Contributed / Cuyuna Medical Center

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