Posts Tagged With: medicine

More Words I’d Rather Not Need to Know

Hospice

Hospice (Photo credit: ellenmac11)

Hospice.

My sweet friend called to let me know she had begun hospice care. She sounded relieved, happy, almost excited.

I was baffled and confused.

To me that word meant end of life. Period. And a near immediate one at that. Period.  How could she be so positive about this?  I thought of hospice as a kind of throwing one’s hands up in the air, oh well, now we’re done fighting kind of attitude. That’s not typical of my friend. After all, less than a month ago she was a patient aggressively fighting a fiercely unrelenting disease.

I’ve had it all wrong for a long time now. I’m glad I looked into it more.

So what is it? Here’s a definition I found from a place called Hope Hospice.

“Hospice is not a place. It is a special kind of healthcare focused on keeping the patient comfortable once the patient and physician have decided that the underlying disease can no longer be treated or cured. Hospice helps the patient, their families, and other caregivers and hospice care can occur in a variety of settings. It neither hastens nor postpones death and is focused on the belief that quality of life is as important as length of life. Hospice staff members help manage pain and symptoms and provide emotional and spiritual support so patients can make the most of each day.”

Here’s another new word: Palliation. It means easing the severity of a pain or a disease without removing the cause.

That word helps me understand Wickipedia’s explanation of hospice.

Hospice care is a type and philosophy of care that focuses on the palliation of a terminally ill or seriously ill patient’s pain and symptoms, and attending to their emotional and spiritual needs. The concept of hospice has been evolving since the 11th century. Then, and for centuries thereafter, hospices were places of hospitality for the sick, wounded, or dying, as well as those for travelers and pilgrims. The modern concept of hospice includes palliative care for the incurably ill given in such institutions as hospitals or nursing homes, but also care provided to those who would rather spend their last months and days of life in their own homes.”

No more visits to a clinic or hospital sounds wonderful to someone who has spent the past five years staying in or visiting both on a daily, biweekly or weekly basis. To be cared for in one’s own home by nurses and healthcare providers relieves anxiety and frustration and improves communication. Increasing pain gets addressed quickly, logistics and questions receive almost immediate action, concern for all involved increases.

To work with professionals trained specifically for treating those with less than six months life expectancy changes the focus to comfort and communication and caring.

hospice spiralI get it now. I understand why she feels relieved and happy about being in hospice care.

She isn’t dying so much as she is living. Now that she’s isn’t battling the effects of the chemotherapy and other treatments along with the myeloma, she has an opportunity to spend better quality time with her family, make a few more wonderful memories, cherish every minute.

She’d love to take her kids to a hockey game, go to a symphony with her husband, see a few plays, spend time with extended family, eat well, laugh as much as possible, and live as long as she can. Anything anyone can do to help make any of that happen is welcome to extend a helping hand.

My hand will be held out to her as long as she needs it. And then some. I’m glad so many other hands have now joined in her care.

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Categories: Death, Love | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

To Those Who Put the Care in “Health Care”

It’s Gratituesday! Today I am grateful to those people who learn the hard words, study for years, understand anatomy and biology and math and science and medicine to become doctors and nurses and technicians and clinicians and caregivers in hospitals and medical facilities.

LTD_Clincal_0019 Stethescope

There’s no way to thank someone enough for the hours and years they have dedicated to excelling in their field.  Having the life of a person as your responsibility must weigh heavily every day. Knowing what steps to take, what tests to run, how to help, where to go, what’s next must feel stunning.  Having the guts and knowledge to cut open a skull, break open a chest, or work on the miracle that is the human body simply amazes me.

How thankful I am this week for all the doctors, medics, nurses, therapists, anyone responsible in any way for saving my Mother’s life. Gratitude pumps through my veins this week. I breathe in thanks and exhale hallelujahs.

She continues to progress with stunning rapidity. (Yay, Mom! You go girl!)

I want to hug every doctor or nurse I see, every med student, EMT, phlebotomist, x-ray tech, even receptionists, to vicariously share the inexpressible gratitude I feel to those who worked directly on and in behalf of my Mother.

If you are in the medical field, this thanks is to you, for your selflessness, the hours of paperwork, your kindness and diligence, and your skill.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Categories: Family, Gratitude, Gratituesday | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A Little Relief Valve for Us All

 

Day two for Mom at the hospital.

 

Thanks to my siblings for keeping me up to date through phone calls, texts, photos and emails, it’s almost like being there. This afternoon she has been extubated, is moving her legs and arms and can speak one or two words at a time. All good signs after having suffered a subdural hematoma and the surgery to relieve the bleeding and pressure. We are cautiously very optimistic!

 

Phew!!!

 

So, for a little tension relief, I’ve looked up some jokes from Reader’s Digest to share with the family. We could all use a little laughter right now. Enjoy!

 

Hiccups

A fellow walked into a drugstore and headed to the back to speak to the pharmacist. “Do you have anything for hiccups?” he asked.
Without warning, the pharmacist reached over and gave the man a sharp smack on the shoulder. “Did that help?” he inquired.
”I don’t know,” the startled man replied. “I’ll have to ask my wife. She’s waiting in the car.”

Wrong Patient

 

Hospital regulations require a wheelchair for patients being discharged. However, while working as a student nurse, I found one elderly gentleman already dressed and sitting on the bed with a suitcase at his feet—who insisted he didn’t need my help to leave the hospital. After a chat about rules being rules, he reluctantly let me wheel him to the elevator.

 

On the way down I asked if his wife was meeting him. “I don’t know,” he said. “She’s still upstairs in the bathroom changing out of her hospital gown.”

 

Math Question

“If you had two dollars in one pocket and three dollars in the other pock-et,” the teacher asked a little boy in her class, “what would you have?”

“I’d have someone else’s pants,” the boy answered.

Second Grader Wisdom

 

During a science lesson, my sister-in-law picked up a magnet and 
said to her second-grade class, “My name begins with the letter M, and 
I pick things up. What am I?” A little boy answered, “You’re a mommy.” —Robert Boyer, Marion, Indiana

 

English Professor

A harried man runs into his physician’s office. “Doctor! Doctor! My wife’s in labor! But she keeps screaming, ‘Shouldn’t, couldn’t, wouldn’t, can’t!’”

“Oh, that’s okay,” says the doctor. “She’s just having contractions.”

Jewelry

 

As I was admitted to the hospital prior to a procedure, the clerk asked for my wrist, saying, “I’m going to give you a bracelet.”

 

“Has it got rubies and diamonds?” I asked coyly.

 

“No,” he said. “But it costs just as much.”

 

Closing words:

 

Having Mom showing signs of improvement: priceless!

 

 

 

Categories: Family, Hope | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Emotionally Hydrated in a Dry Heat

Call me strange.

Not quite the epic beginning as Moby Dick’s “Call me Ishmael.” But it will do.

No I’m not starting a novel, don’t worry. I just find myself reviewing my life lately. Which is something I usually avoid religiously, especially if I’m a bit overtired.

What I stumbled on in my revelry and self-scoriation was this bit of wisdom and light:

“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” – Proverbs 17:22

Those fifteen words, strung together in the specific order they’re in, have made a world of difference for me.

medicine?

(Photo credit: Brenda Anderson)

I took life so seriously, for so many years. I didn’t see much room for laughter or joking, for silliness or play. And then a series of people taught me without even trying, that there needs to be, and can be, joy amid the sorrow and laughter even when the world is pressing in.

Some days I think the only thing that gets me through is the ability to smile in spite of it all.

And some days seem filled to the brim with joy and laughter.

Stumbling on the idea of intentional happiness as a daily balm, a kind of lotion for my soul, has made all the difference.

I choose to see the positive. At least I try to.

Call me strange.

Categories: Humor, Joy, Mental Health | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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