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Tag: death and dying

The First

 
I have wanted to work in geriatrics, specifically with people with dementia, since I was in high school. Over the past year, I have been able to volunteer with a program called Opening Minds Through Art (OMA). I have worked at the same site as both a volunteer and a leader and therefore have gotten to know many elders on a personal level.

A woman I volunteered with and hold most dear had

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Comfort Care

 
When a year ago he arrived at the clinic, he was a hard-working man with neck pain, there with his expectant wife and their adoring toddler. No one had anticipated a tumor.
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The Janitor

 
Outside the OR, at a dictation desk in the cold, quiet hallway, I sat alone. I stared at the black-and-white floor tiles, my eyes tricking me into seeing diamonds, then squares, then diamonds. As if my chest were squeezed in a vise-grip, I could barely take a breath. My body was frozen in place, held stiffly upright by the hard chairback, the only thing keeping me from collapsing inward.
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Tears of Friendship

 
As an aspiring physician, I recognize that I’ll likely be encountering death a great deal in my professional life, since it’s impossible to save everyone. So it’s probable that somewhere down the line, I’ll cross paths with a patient who is a part of my life for only a short time. Is it appropriate to mourn such a loss? Was I important enough to them that they would want me to grieve?
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Final Breaths

 
I remember my first code.
 
I was a senior in college, shadowing in the ER on a cold, Sunday night. Decembers in Providence can be brutal.
 
It was 11:30 p.m., and a voice came on the PA, urgency in her voice: “Code Blue, Code Blue.” The physician asked me if I had ever seen one before, and when I shook my head, he directed me to Critical Care Room C.
 
Behind

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My First Code

The radio call comes in: “thirty-something male, cardiac arrest, compressions in progress, five minutes out.”

My adrenaline starts pumping. This new patient will be my first time running a code. I can’t help but be excited. 

I claim my place at the head of the bed and start setting up my airway equipment. My brain is methodically running through the ACLS algorithms I have memorized.

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Who Will Hear a Stored Voice?

I’m crying a lot these days. Goes with the territory, and the triggers are everywhere.

My thirty-one year-old son had a newer laptop than mine and an iPhone 6. My iPhone 5 was a hand-me-down from him. (Prior to that, my iPhone 3 was given to me by a former resident, now friend, who upgraded to a 5 and was tired of mocking me for my flip phone.)

I have been paying my son’s

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Please Don’t Ask

 
“Please don’t ask” was my silent plea to my patient as I entered the exam room. I knew if she did, I would start crying, and not for the first time that day.
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No Laughing Matter

 
“You need a fifth surgery,” the maxillofacial surgeon tells me. “Heterotopic bone is again growing over your prosthetic device.”

For eight years I have endured intense pain in my left jaw. While having four surgeries, I have also undergone Botox treatment, acupuncture and physical therapy; taken a variety of medications prescribed by pain doctors, neurologists and my primary care physician; and used specially made creams, ice and heat on the affected area. Nothing has worked.

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I missed his birthday again gamblee

I Missed His Birthday, Again

Jef Gamblee

About the artist: 

Jef Gamblee is a hospice chaplain from Westerville, Ohio. He first appeared in Pulse in December 2014. Jef is a second-career ordained Unitarian Universalist minister, having spent twenty-five years in commercial and corporate television as

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The Lady Behind the Curtain

Scott Janssen

“Why don’t you talk loud enough for the whole damn hospital to hear you?”

I’ve just greeted my eighty-four-year-old grandmother, and now this irascible voice has erupted from behind the curtain that separates us from whoever is sharing Grandma’s room.

The nursing assistant who showed me in glares across the curtain at the other inhabitant.

“You shut up,” she tells the person firmly, “or I’ll smack you with a

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The Center of Everything

The call came at midnight. “He died,” the voice on the other end said. No emotion.

“How are you, Alice?” I asked.

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