I knocked on the door of the hospital room. A tentative voice called from the bathroom, “Just a minute.”
Thanks for sharing. It all rings so true.
I literally wrote this essay after reading a similar post by Dr. Adam Cifu - and you doctors need to know that many of us chronic needs folks get and appreciate you. https://open.substack.com/pub/jimryser/p/memories-of-favorite-docs-who-helped?r=15g3mk&utm_medium=ios&utm_campaign=post
This is such an important post. We all need to be seen and understood. I see doctors and caregivers making countless and enormous assumptions.
Wow I love the thought behind this. Beautifully written and such an inspiration for me as I enter the world of caring for patients affected by cancer!
I became friendly with a very elderly woman in my village who had cancer. Bit by bit she sold me her wartime story: during WW2, when the Nazis invaded Poland, she and her parents were sent to a forced labour camp, where both the parents died. When the Russians liberated the camp she then spent almost two years in a Russian concentration camp. She eventually ended up in France, but never told her story. Lesson: Never assume elderly people are worthless. Many have lived amazing lives.
It's a good question. However, I would feel rather awkward answering it. I might briefly answer the question to get it off the table.
This is a very compassionate and inspiring post, thank you. I really regret not making it to many patients’ funerals, a combination of the relentless workload and normal family responsibilities leaves so little time for those important moments. I will try to do more in the present at least as this essay charges us
Oh my gosh, that video is from 2014! It feels so relevant, so needed still today. Loved it, great essay too. With health care as it is now, it’s understandable that everyone is rushed, not enough hands, and too much work, and yet two minutes in a chair makes all the difference.
I shared it with the people on Cancer Connection and have been getting a great response. Thank you!
In her last month, my late friend from my blood cancer support group used to say, “Sam, they’re treating me like I’m already gone but I’m still here.”
She was vital up until she passed, and she spoke a lot about the “mirror” you mentioned. How in healthcare, we sometimes negatively impact the process of death and dying, and patients begin seeing themselves differently in our mirrors.
She got me thinking about what would happen if we started treating people like they’re fully alive up until the very end? Would it change things? Would they get more time/better time? What can we learn from people if we treat them that way? How much vitality is left on the table for patients with terminal cancer? As healthcare providers, how can we help people access their full vitality, regardless of stage or remission status? Why does it feel like we start pulling away from people as they approach death? Do we unintentionally contribute to patients' isolation and invisibility in cancer because of the way that we treat them?
Thank you for this conversation.
And PS - I truly enjoy your essays.