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Hospice patient celebrates 39th wedding anniversary

Hospice patient celebrates 39th wedding anniversary

Gillette, Wyoming resident Art Taylor, a patient admitted to Campbell County Health Hospice in late February 2018, was still settling into the Close to Home Hospice Hospitality House when some concerns started to surface. Art, who is suffering from stage 4 chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (more commonly known as COPD), knew that he had an anniversary coming up, but he wasn’t sure how we was going to make sure his wife knew that he loved her.

Thanks to CCH's Hospice care team, his worry was eased.

Hospice nurses, aids and social workers immediately coordinated a private, catered meal of their favorite dishes from Prime Rib Restaurant and Wine Cellar to help Art celebrate 39 years of marriage to the love of his life, Sandy. While hospice care isn’t typically in a person’s plan of health care, it has allowed Art to appreciate his wife Sandy, and for Sandy to love on Art even more. Something that this pair say that they are very grateful to have.

Sandy came to Gillette from Kentucky, while Art was raised in Texas. The two met at a local bar—she the bar maid and he the typical rough cowboy, oilfield help who frequented the establishment. Unlike their marriage, their courtship was brief with his proposal being more of statement than a question. As Sandy recalls: “We went to dinner one December evening and he handed me a napkin that had March 2, 1979 written on it.” Puzzled she asked Art what it meant, to which he responded, “That is when I will marry you.”

Their story is of true love and a marriage built on commitment. They have pushed through arguments, disagreements and several tragedies, including the passing of their only son, and continue to maintain that a marriage is for a lifetime.

While describing the things that have helped them through the years of marriage, words such as trust, respect, listening, partnership and boundaries were spoken. Even with this, the duo say that they do disagree about one thing: Sandy upholds her belief that time, commitment and faith in God and to one another, along with everything in between has softened her tough oil patch, truck driving, cowboy husband and made him human. Art will not have any of that human nonsense.

Hospice is yet, another unplanned path in their marriage. However, with his hard shell and soft center, and her strong will power they are embracing it with courage and confidence.

Anyone visiting with the couple can see their love, particularly when Art begins to speak and Sandy finishes the sentence, to which he gives her a nod of approval. Before moving to Close to Home, Art hadn’t been well for some time, and they were having a tough time getting and keeping his pain under control. There came a point they needed help. Hospice could have been provided for Art at home but choosing care at Close to Home has proven to be the safest for the both of them.

While Art still isn’t sure he’s staying there, the two have appreciated the care they both get on a daily basis. Sandy greatly appreciates that they are keeping Art’s pain more tolerable, that he is safe from falls and injury, and that she is always included in the staff’s care and concern.

You can see Art approves of the care through the twinkle in his eye while listening to Sandy share her gratitude.

Even though he won’t let on (and maybe even gave the whoopty doo gesture), you can tell that Art is enjoying what he can, and values that his wife is at his side and part of is hospice journey. Now they are looking forward to another catered dinner that Hospice is planning. Along with the frequent sleepovers that Sandy has requested, and excited that they have been outside more since the weather turned than they were the entire last year at home.

If you or a loved one is facing a serious or life-limiting illness, the best time to learn about your options is before you’re faced with a medical crisis. Hospice offers comfort and support earlier in the course of an illness, and brings you and your family high-quality, compassionate care when a cure is not possible. Hospice care can help you live each moment of life to the fullest. Learn more about CCH Home Health and Hospice at www.cchwyo.org/hhh or call 307.688.6230.