Jean is one tough cookie. She was a do-it-all rancher—serving as wrangler, cook for the ranch hands, and occasional veterinarian—in a remote part of eastern Washington. She rode her beloved Arabian horses in 100-mile trail riding competitions. She was a paramedic, driving a four-wheel-drive ambulance complete with a winch for getting out of deep snowdrifts. For a time, she worked in law enforcement with her husband, who passed away 25 years ago.
18-wheeler? No problem. Jean can drive one of those, too.
But that tough spirit and sense of fierce independence weren’t enough when Jean’s health started to fail, prompting her doctors to put her on hospice care. “It was scary,” said Jean, “but they explained it was a precaution.” A combination of factors—including debilitating arthritis, asthma, and a heart murmur—had limited her mobility. She wasn’t eating well. Her health was getting worse. Continue reading