I think therefore I am? – Mindful Room Reading

Photo by Tyrell James on Unsplash

I’ve been practising Mindfulness meditation for the past seven years and I feel that it helps me to tune into my patients’ situations better. I still do my usual alcohol hand rub routine prior to entering each room, to bring myself into focus, to be present in the room.

I need to take in the whole atmosphere of the room, who else is in there, how are they interacting with each other. What is the emotional temperature of the space. It might be an inpatient room, an outpatient clinic, a hospital room, or at a patient’s home that I find myself.

A quick survey of the environment prior to beginning the assessment proper is useful. You look for extra equipment in the room. A commode chair can indicate difficulty with mobilising. Monkey bars or bed levers may confirm restricted independence. Is there equipment in the room, like oxygen tubing, oxygen concentrators, nebuliser or suction systems. Are there any hand held devices such as inhalers of sprays that the patient could give to themselves? Any walking aids? A sensor mat would indicate confusion and possible delirium. Not safe to transfer independently. Urinary catheter bags and tubes, and other drainage devices.

With observation alone you can find a lot of information, even before speaking to them. All of the above is assessed within the first 30 seconds of meeting someone. You also check out their visitors at the same time.

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I think therefore I am? – In-between

Photo by Rohan Reddy on Unsplash

Palliative Care lies in between the usual medical culture of active treatment and the culture of death and dying. Was that what attracted me to Palliative Care, having lived as an in-betweener for most of my life? Growing up between two cultures; Chinese at home and mostly Eurocentric outside of home. This continued for me in University being part of the local Chinese Group but also being part of the newer Asian immigrant group. A bridge is needed between the two groups as the two different cultures can be different in many ways, and may think that they have little in common.

Standard healthcare is directed at saving life, curing disease, fixing things which are broken. Death is looked upon as the great enemy, something to be fought against, railed against until the dying of the light. People have to go to battle against their diseases, go to war, but when it comes to your own bodies the collateral damage may be too much too handle.

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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

*Updated* 18/05/16 – Palace of Care/I think therefore I am? -#getjnrbak – Extra, extra read all about it! #pallanz

Hi everyone,

Apologies for the late update, I’ve been clinically busy while working the weekend.

We – Palliverse and the family of “Poppa” and “Junior” are still trying to find a way to make their reunion happen.

With the family’s permission here is a photo from yesterday morning’s ward round:

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“Aloha” from Saturday morning from two guys who are fashion-forward? Poppa is trying to hold on for Junior.

The link to Poppa and Junior’s Story was shared through the social media by myself, the Palliverse community and the family.

I was pleasantly surprised that the link to the post appeared as a headline on Friday 13th May’s edition of the #hpmglobal paper.li – Thank you very much Jim Cleary!

I was informed by the family that one of NZ’s national papers had contact them and they were interviewed last night.

This resulted in the following story appearing this morning:

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Snapshot of from the New Zealand Herald website – Click here to read the full story.

I’m checking out a few more traditional media leads in order to spread the word further.

I’m also trying to contact sailing clubs as suggested by others’ helpful comments.

Fingers are still crossed.


Update 18/05/16 1700 NZT:

Poppa is still holding on, but is getting mighty fatigued.

Junior is on the mend which is good to hear.

Since the NZ Herald on Sunday story we have received a number of helpful emails.

Apparently another NZ newspaper has shown interest in running our story.

I’ve emailed a number of NZ radio shows, an Australian newspaper, and whatever else that myself and other people can think of. I’ve started writing a letter to Santa Claus, the tooth fairy and others in the Pantheon.

Received by Palliverse today was an email from one of the major shipping companies with a desire to “try to make it happen.” I have passed on the details to the family to make direct contact.

This is the most promising lead so far.

Fingers crossed to the power of 10! Say your prayers folks.