Author Archive for Larry Patten – Page 2

Haldol: The Wonder Drug?

Wonder drug?

I am not a medical expert.

I am not a medication expert.

I know nearly 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. It would be better to 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 . . .

Haldol

Ever heard of it? Read More →

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Life Is a Death Sentence

One Door

I suppose some could describe hospice as choosing Door #1 or Door #1 or Door #1?

Hospice is a death sentence.

After all, any doctor that recommends hospice care will say—maybe bluntly, maybe hemming-and-hawing—there is likely six months or less __________.

  • A – To live
  • B – Until death

Isn’t choosing A’s “to live” a glass half-full answer? But don’t both really mean B? With few exceptions, no one leaves hospice care alive. Some joke about “graduating from hospice,” but how many of those jokesters return, sooner or later, to hear the same words: you have six months or less . . .?

I suppose some could describe hospice as choosing Door #1 or Door #1 or Door #1? In other words, a choice with no choice. Or perhaps, clinging to the oft-used justification for the mysteries of God’s ways, if a door closes, then a window will open? Except with hospice care, aren’t all the windows nailed shut?

Isn’t hospice care the worst thing possible when a physician suggests it?

Or do you think this . . . Read More →

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The Phone Call

Man on beach

Now, less than a year after the initial cancer diagnosis, he was alone.

In my work with bereavement at hospice, I call grievers after a loved one’s death. With many of them, I leave messages.

While I repeat certain phrases and information, I have no script. Every message is unique, for that person. Though it infrequently happens, I hope my recorded message might prompt the “bereaved” to consider exploring and using our resources.

When someone answers, the conversations can be brief. Some calls drive me batty because the person could be driving, at work, or hurrying out the door for an appointment. He or she explains, “I can’t talk now.” Since I’m far, far from being a perfect human being, I often silently grumble: Then why’d you even answer? I have a love/hate relationship with cell phones and their ability to be with us anywhere we are.

One of my favorite can’t-talk-now calls was a fellow on the verge of “winning big” at a local Native American casino. I introduced myself while a soundtrack of electronic beeps and crowd noise ebbed and flowed. What was more important, playing the slots or speaking with the guy from hospice? Easy answer, eh?

Whether or not they are gambling or just too busy, we will try to contact them again. Read More →

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