In Palliative Care settings you often see many things much worse than death. Death can be a natural release from suffering. Over many years of working in this specialty, I have witnessed many forms of suffering. Most of these situations involve severe pain. Everyone reacts differently to their symptoms. Some people can handle pain, but can’t handle nausea. Others can’t tolerate any loss of their cognitive abilities. Each individual must have a bespoke management plan designed for them.
I knew my patient could handle pain, he had put up with a lot of it over many months. He didn’t complain, he wasn’t angry at God or Jesus. In fact, his faith was stronger than it had ever been. Maybe it was his religion that allowed him to cope with his many pains. We managed to control his back and leg pains well. He was able to sit in his power wheelchair again. Something he had missed doing over the past month due to severe pain. His power chair meant freedom, he could take himself outside to smoke. He was able to go to the local convenience store to buy some sweets and other supplies.
One weekend I had trouble tracking him down. Every time I went to visit him he was out of his room. I finally caught up with him after his return from our hospice shop down the road. He had purchased a hoodie, a small wall hanging, and a little succulent plant to look after. He’d also bought enough instant noodles for midnight snacking over the weekend. He was doing well, and we managed to discharge him back to his residential care facility after the weekend.Continue reading