Josh was carrying his 78-year-old mother, Amelia, from her wheelchair to a stretcher when the emergency physician walked in. Seven years ago, Amelia had a stroke that paralyzed her right side. Her husband had been her primary caregiver until he died of a heart attack four days ago. Amelia was trying to do for herself despite Josh’s best intention … [Read more...] about Zero Tolerance for Family Separation
Kara was a lovely 62-year-old woman whose skin color was flagrantly yellow. A pancreatic tumor was blocking bile secreted by her liver. Her gastrointestinal specialist was in the process of evaluating the spread of the cancer while considering treatment options. Kara was growing impatient while becoming more weak and nauseated. Her best friend, … [Read more...] about A Caregiver’s Code Yellow
When Letting Go Becomes a Luxury Silva was sitting in a wheelchair next to her husband, John, who had been admitted to the emergency department due to chest pain and dementia. Silva herself was recovering from hip surgery which had necessitated their downsizing and moving to assisted living just five days prior. While John resided in the memory … [Read more...] about When Letting Go Becomes a Luxury
Whereas Prince did not have an estate plan before his untimely death, I am weirdly planning to be here today (in Phoenix) and gone tomorrow (to St. Louis). When my father takes his last breath this week or next, I anticipate that a part of my life will stop as he passes – rapidly moving from a state of living to mourning. Not only is death … [Read more...] about Death Happens While We’re Busy Making Other Plans
The wrap-up of Christmas with my family occurs the weekend before the actual holiday. We have established Saturday before Christmas as our time to celebrate the season, exchange gifts, break bread and share a glass of cheer. I return from St Louis and anticipate working the actual holiday in the Emergency Department. Some people feel sorry for me … [Read more...] about Seasons of Love and Moments of Reflection
When is Grandparents Day? Why celebrate grandparents? Is it simply another holiday for the greeting card and floral industries? Established by the U.S. Senate during President Carter’s administration, National Grandparents Day is designated the Sunday following Labor Day. While acknowledging those contributions made by seniors throughout history, … [Read more...] about Hooray for Grandparents Day!
In a roundabout way to explore good conscience in the practice of medicine, I was intrigued by the article by Dr. Phil titled, Stop Spoiling Your Kids.[i] As a physician caregiver, I often question how I might be spoiling my patients. “Over-indulgence is one of the most insidious forms of child abuse,” as quoted by Dr. Phil. I have long felt that … [Read more...] about CAREGIVERS RAISE GOOD CONSCIENCE
With considerable angst, I cared for an elderly gentleman who had Multiple Myeloma, recurrent pneumonia and was not responding to treatment. He was also receiving dialysis and experiencing insufferable bone pain. He arrived by EMS gasping for breath and his blood pressure was low. It was clear he was not long for this world. In fact, he repeatedly … [Read more...] about TO BE OR NOT TO BE RIGHTEOUS