Palace of Care – There’s no place like home

Photo by Andrew Umansky on Unsplash

It had taken some convincing for her to be admitted into the hospice inpatient unit, after two rough weeks in hospital. COVID lockdown restrictions had meant that she had not been allowed visitors for most of the time. She hadn’t been locked up but she had felt like a prisoner in her hospital room. For safety reasons not windows could be opened. Things kept changing, and the doctor with the sad face kept on bringing bad news. It seemed like nothing ever went right. The treatments were not working. Her calcium had risen to dangerous levels which required repeated treatments.

When she arrived at hospice her COVID swab result had not come back yet, so for the first day she still had to be under restrictions. She had a room to herself, and she could open the window and door to the balcony. The fresh air was a nice change after being cooped up inside the hospital. The food was delivered in takeaway containers and they only provided plastic cutlery. A small thing but just something else to add to the list. The people were all nice and really tried to make her feel at ease, but deep inside she felt uneasy.

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First Person: The therapeutic value of touch

photo by Jonas Vincent via unsplash.comThe first time one of my medical professionals touched me for comfort rather than during a physical exam, it was during my liver biopsy.  I was extremely frightened of the procedure, due to how painful I’d been warned the procedure was, and I was, and still am, slightly uncomfortable with needles (though daily Clexane shots sure sorts that out fast).  The medical team at the imaging clinic I attended had gotten in a second nurse, just to hold my hand during the procedure.  It was her 60th birthday, and she had been called in, literally, just to hold my hand.  I was incredibly moved by this, and incredibly comforted to have someone gently talk me through what was going on – to warn me to look away when the giant liver biopsy needle was brought out, helping me count holding my breath as the needle drew up the cancerous cells, and gently walking me to the recovery room after the procedure finished. It was one of the kindest things I have experienced with my medical professionals – and I have experienced more kindness than I can even recognise. Continue reading