Most of the time I feel as though I am “running in quicksand” attempting to bring patients to a place of grace and dignity in dying. On occasion, there is someone who jerks me out of my quicksand and plants me squarely on stable shore and then proceeds to show me what grace and dignity in the face of death really look and feel like.
Please meet Mr. Jefferson. Continue reading
To Tell the Truth –
The Healer’s Wound: Grief Postponed
Rea L. Ginsberg, LCSW-C, ACSW, BCD
There are truths we can only tell through story.
— Jonathan Sacks, The Great Partnership
Everyone has a story. It is important and precious and unique. For the teller, it is the most important story in all the world. It is the story of personal creation. It tells the world who he is and how he got to be that way. It is a self-descriptor with a back story. No other person owns that identical story. No other person has ever lived that story or will ever have it again. It makes the teller completely unique for all time. Continue reading
I pulled the stifling surgical mask off my face as I left my last patient’s room. I had just finished suturing a complicated facial laceration and was bone-tired from the evening. Glancing at the clock, I saw that mercifully, my shift was over.
Collapsing into my chair to finish up my charting, I was slightly annoyed when my nurse held a clip-board in front of my face, “Here is your next patient.”
Emotional wellness is important to cultivate in all phases of living, but may be most naturally available at the end of life—the very time when the wellness of the body may be waning.
How is this so?
When people have a sure knowledge that they are nearing the end of their lives, a new type of energy is unleashed. Old inhibitions and blockages may be released. An emotional and spiritual window of opportunity opens which allows love to be shared more freely, old grudges to fall away in insignificance, and relationship healing to occur which seemed unobtainable at other times of life. Continue reading
He looked dead. The paramedics brought him down the hall toward one of my critical care beds, and for a moment I thought the patient was dead. He was nearly the same color as the pale sheet covering his thin frame. His cheeks were sunken in and his eyes were gazing upward, in what I sometimes call the “death stare.” Then, surprisingly, he moved his arm upward to push his oxygen mask off of his face, resting it atop his head like one would wear a pair of glasses not in use. Continue reading