Palace of Care – What’s in a word?

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

It was the second admission for our patient and it was going to be his last one.

He had been beautifully cared for by his family over many months, but the last week had been terrible. He was agitated, restless, and did not know what to do with himself. His wife wanted him to come back into hospice for end of life care.

On admission he was only semi-conscious, agitated and not able to talk clearly. His body was so unwell that his mind was no longer able to be lucid. Although he tried so hard to be there, it looked as if he was in-between two worlds. His family reported that he was seeing ancestors that had died previously.

I didn’t mince words and tried to be as clear to them as possible. No surprises!

He is so unwell, so exhausted. He is dying.

I purposefully used the word dying at least five times during the 15 minutes of my visit.

When someone is dying everything inside can become all messed up, like he’s in a storm. He doesn’t know which way is up or down, and it might be really scary for him.

End of life delirium/terminal restlessness.

When someone is dying, they become less clear in their thinking, and sleepier. That is Nature or a higher power’s [palms open being raised towards the ceiling] way of protecting the dying person from having to have the full 3D/HD experience of dying.

He could see that his own distress was causing distress to his family, which caused him further distress.

I’m going to change his medications to try to calm him down, so that he can relax. We’re going to calm it all down, and we are going to get him through this. We’re going to get you all through this.

I was caught off guard when he suddenly opened his eyes and reached out to shake my hand in both of his.

Nek minnit [I was being hugged and I hugged him back.]

1 thought on “Palace of Care – What’s in a word?

  1. Just this very minute on Facebook a colleague said that a doctor who used the D word (dying or died) was understandably unpopular with patients. I disagreed… “passed on…. passed away…. ” euphemisms that can be hard to understand for some people. We should be honest with people and not hide our meaning….

    Liked by 1 person

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