Posts Tagged With: Patient

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

If Only I Could Bottle This and Sell It

Dictionary (software)

PATIENT

\ˈpā-shənt\

NOUN: an person awaiting or under medical care and treatment

ADJECTIVE 1: bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint

2: manifesting forbearance under provocation or strain

3: not hasty or impetuous

4: steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity

Being a patient (noun) often requires having patience (a virtue and an adjective.)

Noun or adjective, no one really wants to go through what it takes to be one or have some.

Receiving treatment for a serious medical condition, especially in a hospital, can’t be defined as fun, enjoyable, or easy. Sometimes there’s relief involved, medications administered that temporarily ease some pain or discomfort. But mostly healing takes time and requires enduring unease and pain. The patient waits.

Then there are those other people in the hospital waiting areas, the non-patients, the family members, the friends, the support team. They hope and wait and pray and wait and ask questions. They wait and wait and wait. Sure, they visit and express love and optimism. They wait and cry. They wait and remember. They wait and think positive. They wait for the day the patient can come home and life can return to normal.

Dolphins at Loro Parque.

My favorite patient is my Mom. She is the ultimate patient person, putting up with all of us kids over the years. You’d have thought once we reached adulthood she could have let out a big sigh and said, “Finally, I’m done with that.” But no, she’s continued to love and support, suffer and endure, give and share, laugh and cry. She’s continued to mother all of us long past the expiration date of our childhood. Surely she has learned, and earned, patience.

Now that she is a patient in a situation that will require lots of patience and endurance and frustration, all of our “training” of her patience will pay off. She’ll be jumping hoops and running circles around all those therapists’ treatments and regimes.

Interesting that the origin of both the noun and verb form of patient is the same.

Old French and Latin and even Greek shed some light, where the root of patient means “to suffer.” Indo-European roots imply that the word patient began in the concept “to endure.”

To suffer, to endure.

Hmmm.

When we want to be more patient, I’m pretty certain we aren’t wanting to suffer or endure. Yet, our ability to endure things that require patience gains strength as we suffer or endure. Or at least it can, if we let it. Patience requires practice, at least that’s been my experience. But who wants to practice patience? Not me.

The mortar and pestle, one of the internationa...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I learned the hard way many years ago, NEVER, EVER pray for patience!

What happens? Oh, you get to practice, a bunch. More than you ever dreamed possible. Just don’t go there. Take my word for it. Please.

I wish I could just walk down the grocery aisle and pull a bottle of patience off the shelf and pay for it. Actually, it’d probably be something we’d have to ask the pharmacist for, like Sudafed.

“Have you used this stuff before?” he’d ask.

“Yeah, I’ve had lots of experience with it,” I’d reply with a wink.

“Two teaspoons administered twice daily, don’t take more or you’ll drop right off to sleep in the middle of something worrisome,” he’d remind me anyway.

I’d be a new woman by middle of the afternoon the next day.

Sigh.

I can dream can’t I?

Categories: Wondering | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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