Long miles, lonely roads: In rural Texas, dying at home means little is easy

“You drive down roads, you might hit a wild hog, it’s so dark. Some people will flicker their lights out in the country so we can find them.”

HASKELL COUNTY, Texas — To get to the house where Shawn Jordan wants to die, you drive a hypnotic road along miles of furrowed cotton fields, gnarly mesquite trees, low-to-the-ground cactus, and cattle perpetually in search of food.

This iconic land of open spaces and oil pumps, where the Panhandle meets west Texas, is where the 43-year-old came home after a car accident he said should have killed him. He’s since had his paralyzed legs amputated, and survived seven MRSA infections.

He’s been in hospice care since that last infection, because he knows the eighth could be his last. And he wants to spend his remaining time here, with family, surrounded by the rocking horse and toys of his toddler grandson, as well as emblems of the working west — antique spurs and ranch hooks on the wall, tin stars, and a saddle in a corner by the door. It’s his country. It’s home.

“I wanted to see everybody one last time, if I was going to pass away,” Jordan said about the moment he decided to go into hospice. “It was going to be in a familiar environment, in my environment. This was going to be a lot more comfortable.”

Read more: Reimagining hospice care —

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