Tag: palliative care

Holiday Concert

Holiday Concert

The door opens, we pause again.
Voices singing in the lobby drown out
her parents and the specialists alike.
I think they added bells this year,
the cheerful carols carefully chosen
to celebrate the season, not a faith.
A guitar picks up a riff, the same
one my daughter played so long ago
in her one embarrassed solo
on the school stage. A song both

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Native Ways

Jan Jahner ~

They came up from the center of the earth, The People
where sky speaks to corn,
speaks to cottonwoods, to runoff in the wash.
Living beneath black-slashed canyon walls
home to sheep and weavers.
He is one of them, my patient
one of the ancients; leathery face carved and quiet
she is his daughter, fingers on the covers,
ready should he wake.

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She Likes Chocolate

Nadine Semer ~

“She doesn’t like vanilla,” Mr. Wyatt says, staring at the nutritional drinks sitting on his wife’s bedside hospital table.


I’m here as the palliative-medicine consultant. As my resident Susan and I stand still, taken aback, Susan’s expression says it all: She’s dying, and her husband is worried about which flavors she likes?

Mrs. Wyatt, fifty-six, came to our urban hospital’s emergency room with abdominal pain. She was admitted and

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Going Through the Grits

Scott Newport

It was another day at a renovation project on the fourth floor of an office building. Glancing at my iPhone, I noticed that my buddy Dave had called a couple of times. Now, coming down a stepladder for what seemed like the hundredth time, I saw his name pop up again. This time I set down my hammer and found a quiet place.

“Hey Scott, ol’ buddy, I got a request,”

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Hope in a Hopeless Place

 
In 2008 my father was committed to a long-term care facility, and our family visited him daily. We testified to the nursing home staff of the funny, smart, kind and generous man he once was.
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Race in the Advance Directives Conversation

 
Much of my work as a Palliative Care physician involves conversations with patients and their families for whom the medical outlook is bleak: to help them receive the treatment they want, not more and not less. Such discussions are best held in tandem with the primary medical team and with the nurse. Many times, both attending doctors and housestaff have said, “But it’s so much harder to get a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate Order)

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A Doctor’s Dilemma

Jessica Zitter

It was my first day at my new job, practicing a new specialty. Having spent fourteen years as an ICU physician–including a four-year pulmonary/critical-care fellowship in this very hospital–I had just completed a palliative-care fellowship. Now I was the hospital’s palliative-care consult attending.

When I set eyes on the patient in room 1407, my first thought was: THIS LADY NEEDS TO BE INTUBATED–STAT!

The only trouble was that my job was to ease

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A Different Kind of Miracle

Anita Fry

Once upon a time, I was a newspaper journalist: I chased down sources and sweated over deadlines. Then, in mid-career, I switched to doing marketing and communications for a regional healthcare system. This consisted of a large hospital and many outpatient clinics, including a community cancer center.

Because I handled communications work for the cancer center, I also had a seat on the Cancer Committee–an oversight group of oncologists, pathologists, nurses and other

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Mementos and Memories

Paul Rousseau

Delores sits tilted to the right in a worn wheelchair, a curtain separating her from a sleeping roommate. 

She is wearing a blue blouse stained with something orange, perhaps Jell-O, and white pants and white socks. A worn gold wedding band adorns the fourth finger of her left hand. Her hair is a shiny gray, perfectly coiffed,

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Failure to Thrive

My matched set of nonagenarians 

is almost two hundred years old
and nearing escape velocity.
They are failing to thrive with a vengeance.

They have outlived everyone
except the powers of attorney
for whom they are a source of consternation.

Their constipation is prune-proof.
They scratch where it itches till it bleeds 
and call on me to staunch the bleeding. 

They can’t recall our earnest conversations.
Adult Protective Services 
elicits 

their indignation reflex. They ready,

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