Palace of Care – Family Reunion

Photo by Laura Fuhrman on Unsplash

His sister and nieces pushed him in via wheelchair. His skin was a yellowish grey colour. According to his family it had been a huge change from when he had arrived in town last week. Then he had been well and was able to dance with his nieces. Now he couldn’t walk without assistance as he was too weak and fatigued.

He’d been diagnosed with end-stage cancer only months ago, and arrangements had been made for him to go into residential care. As he deteriorated, his elder sister and her daughters wanted to look after him. They picked him up from his residential care facility and moved him into his elder sister’s house in Auckland.

Over the course of his first week with his family he became more unwell. Nerve related pain from his cancer worsened and led to his hospice admission. His medications were adjusted to make him more comfortable. The family arranged for a reunion. His elder sister came down to see him.

All he wanted to do was sleep. He had no appetite.

He enjoyed the family reunion, it had been years since he and his siblings had been in the same room together.

On his final day he became comatose. His older brothers came to see him in the morning, after travelling two hours by car. They talked about when they had all been young. I explained that he was critically unwell and could die at anytime.

His sisters came back to see him, and within minutes he had taken his final breath.

Rest in peace family man.

Palace of Care – The End of the Race

Photo by Cedrik Wesche on Unsplash

She had always been a strong lady, throughout her whole life. She may have done things slowly but always in a methodical fashion, and if it was done by her, it was done well. As it was in life, so it was in death.

Anyone else would likely have died a week ago, but she was holding on as she had too much to live for. She worried about her husband, physically he still looked like he had for the past twenty years but his ability to think and remember had started fading years ago. She had looked after him well, and had to increase her efforts since the dementia started to steal him away from her. He was still polite and kindly, but at times he would forget who she was, and would forget who he was too.

She had been told that the grandchildren were on their way back from overseas, she wasn’t able to acknowledge this. She was mostly unconscious, but would occasionally stir when being turned or when fed small spoonfuls of water. This was done with a special teaspoon which had a hollow mesh structure and the handle served as a straw.

The middle grandchild would arrive that evening, and she would do her best to hold on despite apnoeas of up to 15 seconds. The grandchild arrived and required Rapid Antigen Testing before we would let them in, a negative test would mean it was okay. The swab was taken and processed, the timer was set, 15 minutes before the test could be verified. Time drags on when you are waiting for something.

Tick, tock, tick tock.

A negative RAT test allowed the grandchild to reunite with their grandmother.

Phew….

Our patient died six hours after her reunion with her grandchild.

The eldest grandchild was still making their way back from half the world away and arrived 14 hours after our patient’s death.

RIP Strong Little Queen

Palace of Care/I think therefore I am? – #getjnrbak – Time is of the essence

 

Since the last update a lot has happened.

The local branch of shipping company Maersk reached out to Palliverse after reading the NZ Herald article from Sunday. Their can do attitude was much appreciated by us all. Thank you very much.

Thanks also to everyone who has made suggestions, offered advice and wished us well for this mission. It is heartening that people are taking time out of their busy lives to try to help their fellow man. Be proud of yourselves.

Poppa has become extremely fatigued over the past three days which is a big concern to the hospice team and the family. There’s a possibility that time may be shortening, as Poppa’s condition continues to deteriorate.

There has been some good news – Junior has been improving everyday and has been in touch with his specialist again. His risk of further eye injury is now estimated to be low, and because of the uncertain situation that Poppa is in the decision has been made for Junior and other family members to board the earliest flight to Auckland tomorrow.

Poppa has been informed of the travel plans and is looking forward to seeing Junior tomorrow. Poppa is trying his best to hold on.

Fingers and everything else remain crossed. Prayers are being said by many people on both sides of the Tasman.

Good luck Poppa and Junior – I sincerely hope that you can have your reunion.

*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:

Shirts

“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:

Screen Shot 2016-05-15 at 22.20.18

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.