Palace of Care – Something in Common

Photo by Joshua Fernandez on Unsplash

I was introducing myself to a new patient.

He asked, “Can you speak Mandarin.”

I replied, “Yes, I can.”

“Where are you from?”

“I was born here.”

“What people do you belong to?”

“Hakka.”

“Really? Me too.”

“My family are originally from Guandong Province, Meixian County.”

“Mine too.”

“Wow, we could be cousins. How are you feeling?”

“Not good, I’m short of breath, can’t relax. Pain in my throat, and I’m having trouble swallowing. I keep on choking, even on water.”

“You must be exhausted.”

“Yes, I just want to sleep. I know what is going on, I don’t have much time left. This cancer has been really bad.”

“Yes, it has made you really unwell, I can see your arms are swollen.”

“Yes, that just happened yesterday, everything got worse in the past week, it’s too fast.”

“I’ve prepared my funeral plans, I’m ready to go, I know what is ahead of me.“

“We’re going to get you through this, and we’ll look after your family as well.”

“Do you or your son have any questions?”

“No, not at the moment.”

“You just let me know if you want to talk about anything, or if your family have anything they want to know.”

“Okay, thanks doctor.”

“I’ll adjust your medications now.”

“Thank you, I’ll see you later.”

Our families had originated from the same county and province of China and had then moved to different parts of the world as part of the Chinese Diaspora. Many years later we both met each other in the hospice inpatient unit. Having something in common really helped me to establish rapport.

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