Everyone is different and has different ways of handling suffering. Suffering is a subjective feeling, and the same stimulus applied to different people can lead to different reactions or responses.
When I was in primary school all the children were not keen to see the school dental nurse. I remember going when I was a five-year-old. Back in those days, the dental nurse wasn’t allowed to inject any local anaesthetic, thus any cavities that required treatment would be done so without numbing medications being used. I experienced having my teeth drilled and I was able to put up with the pain by distracting myself. I could almost laugh the pain away in my mind. It was still there but I could frame-shift away from it. Despite many painful encounters with the dental nurse, I was never afraid of going there. A lot of people in my generation developed dental phobias which have persisted into their adult lives.
I can handle physical pain and found myself resorting to my five-year-old self’s tactics when I had my one and only Taiwanese Foot Massage. People willingly pay money for this service. You step into the communal torture chamber on foot. Your feet are first soaked in hot water with pleasant-smelling oils added. Then the masseur dries off your feet before proceeding with their treatment. Around the room, there were groans and screams as people’s foot bones and joints were poked, prodded, compressed and generally abused. The pain was intense and I had to shift my consciousness to my other place.
The physical pain I can handle. Nausea not so much.
Everyone is different and can handle/or not handle different things.
Suffering is defined by the sufferer and the clinician’s role is to observe and adjust the treatment, to try to decrease the suffering.
It is not the clinician’s role to judge a person. Most of us haven’t been to law school or worked as a lawyer. We need to stick with what we have been trained for and do our job as well as we can.
Honestly, the very last thing you want to do when you are grieving is wade through the piles of administrative work that’s needed after someone you love has died.
I remember after my mum died, doing to the Post Office to request that her mail be diverted to me. Are you the Power of Attorney? Queried a the young Post Office worker. Well, yes I am, but as the person has died, the Powers of Attorney have ended So you need to ask me if I am the Executor of the Estate. Her: …..
Her: Are you the Executor of the Estate?
Me: Why yes, yes I am.
Or CItylink. Would not tell me why my mum’s owing balance was cos of privacy. But I wanted to pay it off and close it. Can we have a certified copy of the death certificate. OMG. If I paid you $50 would that cover it? $100? No, can’t say., privacy. Gah!
I have fortunately not had the need to use this new service https://deathnotification.gov.au/ but it is a fantastic idea and I look forward to hearing how it goes. The Australian Death Notification Service (sorry to our cousins over the ditch) takes on much of the administrative burden after someone dies for you, and it’s free. What a fantastic idea! It’s supported by all the States and various organisations.
Let us know if you use it or hear of anyone who’s used it.
This discussion with Stacey Panozzo, Joanne Britto, Christine Hofmeyer and Avi Paluch reflect on opportunities for consumer and community involvement (CCI) in palliative care and share a new program of work that seeks to explore, develop and implement a program to enhance CCI in palliative care in Australia.
The purpose of the Palliative Care Research Network (PCRN) is to foster the evolution of collaborative scholarly inquiry in #palliativecare in Australia. The PCRN is leading a program of research that focuses on consumer engagement, which seeks to enhance consumer and community involvement in palliative care. Learn more about the PCRN here: https://pcrnv.com.au/