Tag Archives: End of Life

Medicalization of death and dying: Room for growth in end-of-life care

Rose Parisi Albany, New York, United States   Artwork by Kristen Merola. In recent years, the way in which Americans cope with death and dying has evolved considerably and become institutionalized and over-medicalized. Whereas over time people have died in their homes, untethered to wires and machinery, modern medicine has turned people into patients and […]

Saying goodbye

Anthony Papagiannis Thessaloniki, Greece   “A walk into life’s sunset.” Photo by author. Her head is bald, her face pale. Only a couple of weeks have passed since her latest cycle of chemotherapy, which imposed its ravages but offered no benefit. The disease is marching relentlessly ahead, the survival horizon drawing closer each day. She […]

Please don’t die in the hospital

Alexandra DeFelice Falls Church, Virginia, United States   “Dead Flowers” by John Brighenti on Flickr. CC BY 2.0.   I don’t like the way people die in the hospital. I don’t like the color schemes, the paleness that seeps into every empty wall, every window shade, every floor tile; every cafeteria counter, every elevator sign, […]

Allowing my death—a delusory end-of-life decision

Wolfgang Lederer Innsbruck, Austria   Photo by Chen Mizrach on Unsplash.  Together with the gift of life, I have received its finiteness, its perishability. As death is inescapable, when might I allow my life to end? Certainly, my life expectancy has to be longer than average, and I demand good physical and mental health right […]

Dream on

Paul Rousseau Charleston, South Carolina, United States   Footsteps in the forest. Photo by Nicholas D. on Flickr. CC BY-NC 2.0. Chart This is a 32-year-old female with widely metastatic breast cancer admitted to the hospital for control of shortness of breath and pain. ____ Melissa sits slumped, mouth open, snoring. I pull a chair […]

Piano lessons

James Stemmle West Virginia, United States   Watercolor by author. The piano teacher was angry, irritable, incontinent, and in pain. Dying of cancer, she eventually went home with hospice care. The hospice lady asked, “What would a good day look like?” They rigged things in her home to live at least one good day: a […]

As my mother lay dying

Peter Meyers Washington, D.C., United States   Rosalie Smiles in Her Fancy New Hat. Photo by Judy Baxter. 2006. Via Flickr. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 My mother was sitting up in bed when I walked into her hospital room. When I asked her how she was doing, she grinned and responded, “Super!” Her doctor, standing nearby, […]

Life lessons from death

Pedro T. Lima Recife, Brazil   Death and Life, 1918. Gustav Klimt. Leopold Museum, Vienna, Austria. Via Wikimedia “How would you like to die?” the professor asked without breaking eye contact. I averted my gaze to ponder the question, but no answers came to mind. “I’ve never thought about it. I guess that I would […]

The Lazarus phenomenon: when the dead return to life

Tom Sewe Nairobi, Kenya   Photo by Günter Valda on Unsplash It is a few minutes after 2 AM. A middle-aged woman lays motionless on a table in a hospital emergency department with tubes protruding from multiple orifices. The relentless cardiac monitor screams its flat-line signal as the code-blue team pants, scrubs clinging to their […]

The unsung heroes

Julia Angkeow Bel Air, Maryland, United States   Photo by Gert Stockmans on Unsplash The unsung heroes of hospice are the family members and friends who are there to console their loved ones when all others have gone to bed. They are the ones who never rest, constantly brooding over how to best mitigate their […]