Guest Post – Naomi’s Notes – Acceptance

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

It had been one week since her husband passed away when she went to the cemetery to visit him. She wanted to go earlier but she had been too unwell.  She was tired from the effort of walking and was grateful she could rest on the seat of her walker.  She made her way slowly to her husband’s grave.  In the distance, she could hear the sound of someone sobbing.

She sat looking at the headstone and replayed in her mind memories of when they were together.  It was not her first experience of death, having lost her two year old daughter many years ago.

She recalled many weeks spent at the cemetery mourning her loss.   But then one night she had a dream of angels in a line descending from the sky, each one bearing a candle in their hand.   Then she saw her daughter but her candle was not alight. She rushed towards her daughter when she heard a voice telling her that it was her tears that kept her daughter’s candle from burning.

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Palace of Care / I think therefore I am? #gotjnrbak The final update.

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What would happen after the joyous reunion of Poppa and Junior? This was a question asked at our multidisciplinary meeting two and a half months ago. From the accumulated experience of our staff members we thought it could go either of two ways:

  1. Poppa might get a “boost” from being reunited with Junior and other family members, and might improve.
  2. Poppa had used what was left of his energy holding on to see Junior and would continue to deteriorate.

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A death in the family

It was with great sadness that we learnt that Palliverse contributor Elizabeth Caplice had died.

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Click here to read Ginger Gorman’s report.

Thank you Elizabeth for your contributions to Palliverse, and for your advocacy for Palliative Care.

Thank you for trying to make the world a better place.

We’d like to extend our deepest condolences to Alex and your loved ones.

Rest in peace Elizabeth.

James Jap on behalf of the Palliverse community.

Palace of Care – Parallel Lives

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Cape Reinga the northern-most tip of New Zealand, where the spirits of Maori depart on their final journeys. Photo by Gadfium.

The first time I met the young ladies I had been cross-covering at the hospital, and was taken to see each of them as they both had severe pain and discomfort. They came from completely different backgrounds, had lived completely different lives but somehow ended up on the same journey.

About a week or so later they had both been admitted into our inpatient unit for pain control. Adjustments were made and they became more comfortable, but a few days later pain had returned again, as well as other problems. We had to aim at constantly moving targets, and so it would be over the next three months of their individual roller-coaster rides.

The similarities were startling; the same diagnosis, the same poor response to treatment, and in the end the same prognosis. What was completely different was their individual experiences of the same outcome. Continue reading

#PallANZ tweet chat

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Grief and loss is something we will all face at different times throughout our lives. Whether it is the death of our pets, our friends, our children, siblings or parents; the experience and expression of grief in response to these losses can be a very personal and individual thing. Grief can also arise in anticipation of loss. For those living with life-limiting illness, living with the loss of social role and professional identity can be especially challenging.

Thoughts about old, new and future losses can be particularly common during the festive season. For some of us, it may represent an anniversary of the death of a loved one, and bring with it painful memories of loss. Some might be facing their first Christmas ‘alone’, while others may be grappling with the possibility of celebrating their ‘last Christmas’.

While living with grief and loss is a personal experience, we don’t have to endure it on our own. As a community, there are many ways that we can support each other. Join us to talk openly about living with grief and loss.

TOPIC                    Living with grief and loss

DATE / TIME       10th December, 2015 @ 1900 AEDT

MODERATOR     @Elissa_Campbell

T1 Have you experienced grief and loss? How would you describe it? And what did you need from those around you?

T2 How do children live with grief and loss? How are they different from adults?

T3 What kinds of support are there for people living with grief and loss in your community?

T4 As a community and as individuals, how can we better support those living with grief and loss during the festive season?

Elsewhere in the Palliverse – #D2KD Edition

photo by David Mao itsdavoWelcome to this week’s collection all things palliative from around the web. There have been some excellent palliative care-related articles published recently in the mainstream media, in addition to coverage of Dying to Know Day.

It’s Dying To Know Day (#D2KD) in Australia tomorrow, an “annual day of action dedicated to bringing to life conversations and community actions around death, dying and bereavement.” D2KD Ambassador Molly Carlile, AKA the Deathtalker, appeared on The Weekly this week, passionately arguing that the community needs to take ownership of death back from the health system, with discussion of advance care planning, preferred place of death, bereavement and more. I love her plans for her own funeral – watch the video above to find out more (it’s an extended version of the interview that appeared on TV). Continue reading

Elsewhere in the Palliverse – Weekend Reads

photo by David Mao itsdavo

Welcome to the 23rd edition of Elsewhere in the Palliverse. I hope you find value in this week’s links about palliative care and research – complete with animal story.

You’re welcome, animal-lovers.

As always, please share your thoughts in the comments.


Brand new blog DocGrief is “a dedicated space for health professionals to reflect and explore our relationship with death and grief, particularly when personally affected by a death in the family.” It was started by a rural GP based in South Australia. Her first post is heartfelt and I am following with interest. Continue reading

Elsewhere in the Palliverse – Weekend Reads

photo by David Mao itsdavoI have a few palliative care links to share this week. If you’re not satisfied, we also share links on our Facebook page and Twitter account (you don’t need your own Twitter account to see what we’re posting), and you can check out our Elsewhere in the Palliverse archives.

At the End of Life Studies blog, Dr Naomi Richards examines the question, “Is the voluntary refusal of food and fluid an alternative to assisted dying“?

Talking About Dying Won’t Kill You, says Palliative Care Australia, writes comedian Jean Kittson (Sydney Morning Herald)

And a palliative care nurse told me that day after day she visited a person dying at home and day after day she walked into a house full of scented candles and rainforest music, until one day she said “Is anyone else sick of these scented candles?” and the family said “Yes”.  “And is anyone else sick of this rainforest music?” And the family said “Yes”. So the nurse said “Well, let’s open some windows, and what music does your mum like? OK, let’s put on some Stones.”

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Elsewhere in the Palliverse – Weekend Reads

photo by David Mao itsdavo

I hope you enjoy this week’s reads, which include topics like wills, funerals, dementia, research ethics and the experience of a hospice nurse who becomes carer for her mother. I hope there’s no typos – I’m rushing off to a communication skills workshop but wanted to post this before I leave.

As always, please leave your thoughts in the comments box below.

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Elsewhere in the Palliverse – weekend reads

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I’d recommend the current issues of New Philospher (#7: Health) and Quarterly Essay (#57: Dear Life) for some palliative care-related reading. If you can’t make it to the book shop here are some online reads:

Truly beautiful words – Before I Go: A Stanford neurosurgeon’s parting wisdom about life and time. (The Washington Post)

EAPC has a new blog series from the patient and carer perspective! (Palliative Stories, EAPC Blog)

The Trouble With Advance Directives. (NY Times)

A doctor discovers an important question patients should be asked. (Washington Post)

When doing everything is way too much. (NY Times) Continue reading