A person enters hospice based on a primary diagnosis. Multiplying cancer cells will lead to the death. Or, the aging heart grows weaker. Maybe lungs are compromised. Dementia demolishes normalcy. All of these illnesses may become fatal.
However, as we get older, as we get sicker, as we become more vulnerable, there’s typically more than one illness eroding the sturdy walls of our vitality. When a hospice team first reviews a patient’s history, her or his comorbidities are discussed along with the primary disease. In other words, we are alert to the other life-limiting conditions that assault fragile flesh and brittle bones. As a non-medical participant in the care of a patient, the number (and numbing names) on a list of comorbidities that can afflict someone often flabbergasts me.
Let’s say Patient A, a lovely 60-something teacher, is dying from breast cancer. But she also has . . . diabetes, hypertension, AAA, CVA and DJD and more.
Let’s say Patient B, a once feisty 80-something, struggles with congestive heart failure. But he also has . . . Alzheimer’s, CBBG, Hypothyroidism, Acute MI and COPD and more.
So many things can harm or kill us. (Can harm or kill . . . me.) Read More →by