Frances D. is a retired hospice nurse in Texas.
My husband Bill was diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer in April 2014 and spent the next eight months in agony as the cancer spread. The medications he received from hospice near the end could barely dull the pain. I spent those days being his nurse and companion, watching him suffer. Many nights I cried myself to sleep because I could not help him enough.
No one should have to live the trauma we both lived through. I am slowly recovering from this long painful experience, and I still question whether I did enough. I have talked to other widows who lost their spouses and they all think they could have done more or been more supportive.
For many years I worked as a hospice nurse. I am glad to see the medical profession slowly recognizing there needs to be more education about end-of-life options in hospitals and elsewhere. Too many times those conversations take place at the very end when people are too emotional and unable make rational decisions. Being educated before you are ill or incapacitated from illness means you can make more intelligent choices when you are facing a crisis or impending death.
I encourage more states to adopt the laws that Oregon, Washington, and Vermont have already. Everyone with a terminal illness needs to be able to have a choice as to how and when they are going to die.