Archive for Symptoms

Wanted: A Hospice Time Cop

I’ve had to literally wade through a crowd that felt more like New York’s Times Square . . .

I’ve had to literally wade through a crowd that felt more like New York’s Times Square . . .

My thoughts today are not only for patients and their caregivers, but also (at least a little) for those who aren’t “hospice appropriate.”

But first, I’ll focus on the dying. Several months ago one of our physicians at a hospice team meeting warned about . . . overstimulating patients.

Sometimes a patient seems oddly agitated and unsettled. Maybe their usual calm demeanor has been replaced by caustic comments or awkward silences. If they usually spend much of their time resting, why are they so wide-awake? Or have other unsettling actions or attitudes been observed?

Is a particular medicine the problem?

Has the dying process accelerated?

Has the pain from their terminal illness abruptly increased?

Those questions (and more) are possible and should be evaluated.

But it could be overstimulation.

Huh? Read More →

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I’m not a medical expert.image015

I’m not a medication expert.

I know next to nothing about drugs.

I have never met a pill I wanted to take.

Is that blatant enough about my ignorance so my next thoughts are taken with a grain of salt? Nay, not a mere grain. Instead imagine an overflowing wheelbarrow of Morton’s when-it-rains-it-pours overpriced sodium!

Since I’ve confirmed my lack of qualifications, let me share a few biased opinions about . . . Read More →

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Diss, Dys, and Hospice

btm0idnrkehdvvrcu5ok“Don’t ‘diss’ me, man.”

I first heard the slang diss in the 1980s, probably in a film or on TV. I’d always assumed it began in the raucous hip-hop music movement. An abbreviation of disrespect, the shorter diss made for easier rhyming and—at first—insider language for the hip-hop world. But lexicographer Jonathon Green found a reference for diss in a 1906 Australian newspaper. Could the slang term have actually emerged from the land “down under?”

Because of my hospice work, I think of different phrases. Instead of “diss,” I learn new-to-me appearances of the prefix “dys” on a regular basis.

“Don’t ‘dys’ me,” I might wish for our patients, but dys never disappears for too long as we confer about our patients’ health issues. In a meeting this week, a nurse explained—clinically and efficiently—the long list of comorbidities for a new hospice admission. The patient had, the nurse said, dystonia.

Dystonia . . . dys-what? Read More →

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