Archive for Caregivers

I Don’t Know

I-Dont-KnowOn the weekly list of hospice patients and their myriad illnesses, one disease seemed to stare back at me . . . Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

What was it? I’d never heard or read about this illness.

Later, I scoured the Internet and found this description from the Cleveland Clinic’s website:

The cause of IPF is unknown. In some patients the disease is genetic (you inherited the disease from your parents). Environmental factors (particularly exposure to certain types of dusts) may also play a role. What is known is that IPF changes the lung’s ability to function normally. Typically, mild scarring of the lung tissue occurs first, but over months to years, the normal lung tissue is replaced by more heavily scarred lung tissue, which makes it difficult to breathe and deliver needed oxygen to the body. Read More →

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Hospice On A Bad Hair Day

Even the "rich" can have a bad hair day!

Even the “rich” can have a bad hair day!

I was not there.

What I write next is based on the flimsiest of accounts, of me being in the right place at the right time to “overhear” two doctors tell a story about a patient.

And hey, since I’m talking about two doctors and a patient, you might think this is the build-up to a swell (or dull) joke . . . right?

But it’s not a joke, and the “right place” where I heard this was also the place I’m obligated to be several times a week when my hospice holds its team meetings. I wasn’t eavesdropping on a private conversation between whispering physicians, but was one of many listeners in a room of nurses, chaplains, and social workers. Read More →

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The Evil Twins of Caregiving

The "evil twins" from the 1980's movie, "The Shining."

The “evil twins” from the 1980’s movie, “The Shining.” (Which wasn’t a bad movie.)

Like evil twins in a bad horror movie, fear and ignorance stalk caregivers.

This happened . . . A hospice nurse described one of her patients—let’s say this was a wife of over four decades with several adult children—who lay dying in a rented hospital bed in the living room. Most of the family had gathered at the home. They talked with the wife/mother or did chores like cleaning the bathroom or preparing meals. But one family member—let’s say it was the oldest daughter—never entered the living room after she arrived. She never offered to help. She surveyed the activity around the metal-framed rental bed from the entryway, and then disappeared down a hallway, away from her mother.

Was she afraid of death? Read More →

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