Tag Archives: hospice

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 […]

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 […]

Covid cascade killed my father

Helen Meldrum Waltham, Maine, United States   Photo by Craig Whitehead on Unsplash My father died last year from what I call “Covid cascade,” a series of unforeseen consequences that ensue when Covid-19 breaks out in a healthcare facility. My father did not have the virus at the time he died—in fact, he tested negative […]

One chaplain’s journey: teaching, hospice, and humanities

Terry McIntyre Forest Park, Illinois, United States   Photo by Ave Calvar on Unsplash Auburn University was an easy choice for a graduate student with two preschool youngsters. Teaching medieval literature was the draw. Later, a divorce necessitated working as a project manager in sub-contracting. When the Lutheran campus pastor in Ann Arbor wanted me […]

The good shepherd

Pallavi Tatapudy South Kortright, New York, USA   “Mr. Yankees stayed silent, but his eyes all the while were yelling, ‘O, my Good Shepherd, please don’t do this to me. How could I have gotten three strikes so soon? Give me the strength to continue playing in the game of life. I beg you to […]

Ushers of life

Genevieve Kupsky Washington, D.C., USA   Our obligation to our patients continues into the sunset of their lives. The sun sets on the cherry blossoms of Washington, D.C. in springtime. Photographer: Rami Halaseh “You are on holy ground. Time is sacred, and the veil is thin.” The chaplain left the newly-oriented volunteers with these words […]

The book that galvanized a health care transformation

Sherrie Dulworth New York, United States   Dulworth, Sherrie. On Death and Dying Changed the Health Care Conversation. March 22, 2019. Mount Kisco, New York. One of the major health care sea changes of the past half-century did not originate from the usual sources of scientific research, technological development, or even clinical trial-and-error. Instead, a […]

They would rather go alone

Kera Morris Denver, Colorado, USA   La Solitude du Christ by French artist Alphonse Osbert, 1897. Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain Dad had been in and out of hospice for years. It had not occurred to me that you could go into hospice and come out on your own two feet, but it was apparently the case. When I got […]

Why not let her go gently into that good night?

Victoria Lim Iowa City, Iowa, United States    Old woman dozing (1656) Nicolaes Maes (1634-1693) One early morning I was paged to see an eighty-five-year-old patient in the dialysis unit with low blood pressure. I learned that she had diabetes, hypertension, and diffuse atherosclerosis. In the past decade she had undergone four major surgeries for […]

Poppy power

John Graham-Pole Gainesville, Florida, United States   Dr. Graham-Pole with cancer patient, Bridget. At the time of the photo, Bridget had life-threatening cancer requiring opioids, and is now a successful artist. Author photo. The poppy’s juice . . .brings the sleep to dear Mama — Sara Coleridge, Pretty Lessons in Verse for Good Children   In […]