The Carter family’s Rice Hospice journey

Published in Hospice Author: Carris Health

Dr. Ken Carter and Dr. Darrell Carter are brothers and Family Practice Physicians at Affiliated Community Medical Centers in Granite Falls. They recently shared their mother’s Rice Hospice journey for our annual “Share a Memory” event invitation. What a beautiful tribute to an amazing woman! Enjoy…

She loved to stay busy, even in her 90s”

Lucille Carter loved to shop… especially when she found a bargain. She also loved movies, plays, traveling, playing cards, and going out to lunch with her friends. What she didn’t like was just sitting around. “If you rest, you rust,” she used to tell her boys.

Well, those boys listened well. Instead of “just sitting around,” they grew up and went to medical school… both of them. Today, Dr. Ken and Dr. Darrell Carter are Family Practice physicians with Affiliated Community Medical Centers in Granite Falls.

Lucille, was born April 17, 1917 on her family’s farm near Ada, Minnesota. She was married to her husband, Floyd, on December 27, 1941, and together they raised their two boys on the family’s 700 acre farm just ten miles northwest of Ada.

As a girl, Lucille attended a small country school, and after graduating from Ada High School, she went on to receive her teaching certificate from Moorhead State University. She taught rural country school for five years, and later returned to teaching for several years in area towns.

Education was very important to Lucille and she was extremely proud to have two sons who both went into medicine. She also shared her love of education with her grandchildren, who loved when she would read to them or send them letters. “She was always so encouraging and made learning fun,” Dr. Ken recalled.

Farming was hard work, and when Lucille wasn’t cooking, canning, freezing, or butchering, she often had to help with chores or drive the tractor. Around the age of 70, Floyd suffered a sudden stroke and his health began to deteriorate. The couple sold the farm and moved to Fargo in 1975. Two years later, Floyd passed away, leaving Lucille a widow at the age of 60.

Lucille moved into a condo in Fargo and continued to stay busy. She had a lot of friends and went on many travel tours, including Europe and Hawaii. She became very active in her church and loved preparing for the condo’s annual yard sale each summer.

Meanwhile, her sons, Dr. Ken and Dr. Darrell, had settled in to their rural community of Granite Falls and were building a thriving medical practice. They encouraged their mother to sell her condo in Fargo and join them in Granite Falls, but she wasn’t ready yet.

In her late 80s, Lucille experienced complications from diverticulitis and required surgery. When things didn’t improve, she was admitted to hospice care, but again, Lucille wasn’t ready yet. “After only a week, she ‘flunked out’ of hospice and started to get better,” Dr. Ken said with a smile. It wasn’t long after, she finally decided to make the move to Granite.

Once again, Lucille was quick to make friends. She was known for being fun and caring, and people just naturally seemed to flock to her.

At the age of 93, Lucille’s health began to fail once again and she was admitted to Rice Hospice on August 2nd, 2011. Her sons were instrumental in getting Lucille admitted to hospice care early so they could all benefit from the full range of services Rice Hospice could offer. Family members remarked that Lucille seemed to “blossom” while on hospice care. She had an amazing volunteer, Deb Dahlager, who brought fresh flowers from her garden each time she visited. She also took advantage of pet therapy, massage therapy, music services, and grief counseling services that helped Lucille adjust to the changes in her life and health.

Incorporating Lucille’s spiritual beliefs into her care plan was also very important to the Rice Hospice care team. Music Coordinator, Donna Jo Kopitzke, learned some of the hymns Lucille enjoyed, while Hospice Nurse, Michele Prekker, sang along. “Lucille was such a neat lady,” Michele said. “She was always was so grateful and definitely had an attitude of gratitude. Our entire team enjoyed her so much.”

Dr. Ken’s wife, Lori, said this about working with Rice Hospice: “As a team, they are so generous with their time and so involved with the patient. They listen so carefully, and that makes all the difference.”

Dr. Darrell and Dr. Ken Carter

Dr. Darrell and Dr. Ken Carter are Family Practice Physicians with ACMC in Granite Falls

Darrell, Floyd, Lucille and Ken on Darrell’s graduation day

Darrell, Floyd, Lucille and Ken on Darrell’s graduation day

Ken, Floyd, Lucille, and Darrell

Ken, Floyd, Lucille, and Darrell