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Building on basics

Hoping for the best, preparing for the worst

At the same time, he received intensive supportive care at home. Through frequent house calls and phone checks, a nurse, Connie Kishbaugh, and social worker, Sheila Enders, monitored and helped manage his pain and other physical symptoms, and kept watch for signs of depression and anxiety. They gently insisted he develop an advance medical directive, write a trust and get his financial and emotional affairs in order. Kishbaugh and Enders also extended support to Templeman’s family, guiding them through decisions about treatment options, steering them to appropriate resources and ensuring they didn’t neglect their own health.

It was Kishbaugh who convinced Pauline Temple- man, Robert’s wife of 54 years, to seek a second doctor’s opinion about her persistent hoarseness and fatigue. By cruel coincidence, Pauline, too, was diagnosed with a terminal illness — advanced esophageal cancer. When the couple became too ill to remain in their own home in El Dorado Hills, they moved in with daughter Kathryn and son-in-law Lee Rees in Gold River.

Palliative care, which continued through Temple- man’s participation in the clinical trial, was a godsend for the Reeses. “It was a rare privilege to care for my parents,” she says. “But there was a lot of uncertainty. You hope and pray you’re properly caring for them and honoring them, but there was a lot of doubt. Without Connie and Sheila’s support, I would have felt wildly adrift.”

Bob and Polly Templeman died within six weeks of each other, he on Oct. 28, 2000, she on Dec. 21. He was 81. She was 78.

“Their spiritual journey home was very moving, and a very precious gift to have witnessed,” Rees says. “During their time with us, neither one had a hair on their head, nor an eyelash. But they sat with each other on the sofa, holding hands, smiling and laughing. They had side-by-side hospital beds. They had a very profound marriage, and they became even closer during this. They were prepared to die, and they did so with great dignity.


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