Monday, September 21, 2009

First Person Accounts of Pain and Suffering

We don't do a lot of first person narrative commenting here at Pallimed so I wanted to direct you to two fantastic pieces from the previous week.

GeriPal contributor Anne Johnson is a social worker who works with geriatric and palliative care teams (and in fact identifies herself as a GeriPal SW - a first?) who unfortunately had a very difficult time navigating the system to get a palliative care consult for her 93 year old father-in-law.

A couple of quotes to get you interested so you can finish the whole story at GeriPal:

"In other words, I wanted a "goals of care discussion." And that's why I was leaning over the gurney in the ER and shouting (because he's deaf), Joe, do you want to focus on being comfortable? No, he said, I want to wear pants. I took that as a metaphor. I was going to make this hospitalization different."

"I gave him a couple bites of a forbidden scone and jumped guiltily when the nurse came in, feeling like I'd snuck in a crack pipe."

Don't forget to read the comments on the piece as well and leave one yourself for Anne.

Image representing New York Times as depicted ...Image via CrunchBase
Also, Dana Jennings has an excellent piece in the New York Times health section today focusing on the pain that one cannot describe.
"If you can tell an E.M.T., a nurse or a doctor where it hurts and how much, that is generally a good sign. But what interests me even more is the pain that can’t be articulated. Fortunately, I’ve experienced this only twice."

The author goes on to discuss the meaning of severe humbling pain that prevents you from communicating and concludes there is no meaning. "It just is." Another good read from the New York Palliative Medicine Times Textbook. (If anyone wants to compile some of the articles based on some of the links here at Pallimed and some further searching, please let us know. It would be great to categorize some of these articles in a more organized fashion.)

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