Who will speak for you when you can’t?

by Carolyn Thomas    ♥     @HeartSisters

Would you like a morning or afternoon appointment? Which colour do you prefer? Paper or plastic? Do you want fries with that?

On an average day (and do those even exist anymore?), we speak up freely when we’re asked countless minor questions about what we want. But what happens if we’re being asked the most important question ever – yet we’re no longer able to respond?    .       .    Continue reading “Who will speak for you when you can’t?”

Being of sound mind: it’s time to update your will

 by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

I feel like I should put a warning alongside this post, because it’s about something we don’t want to talk or even think about. We live in a death-denying society. I know this, because I spent many years working in hospice palliative care. For example, even a woman being admitted to our 17-bed in-patient unit one day seemed shocked by the brochures in her room. She told us that the words ‘end-of-life care’ on the brochure cover should be immediately removed, because those words meant the dreaded D-word that she’d been denying.   .      .  Continue reading “Being of sound mind: it’s time to update your will”

The sudden death of an ex-husband

 by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

His body was found in his favourite chair, facing the TV that was still on (most likely, watching hockey). He’d been a lifelong Toronto Maple Leafs fan despite the team’s disappointing inability to win the Stanley Cup each year since 1967; even his obituary included his long-suffering lament:

“When I die, I want the Leafs to be my pallbearers, so they can let me down one last time.”           .       .

Continue reading “The sudden death of an ex-husband”

Is the practice of medicine making doctors sick?

by Carolyn Thomas   @HeartSisters   

Sue Robins of Vancouver has an irresistible writing talent that’s somehow both quietly approachable and yet sneakily explosive. We see this talent in her book A Bird’s Eye View: Stories of  a Life Lived in Health Care. We also see it in her compelling blog essay, “We Are All In This Together” as she explores the “basic lack of humanity that ails health care – a lack of humanity for patients, families, staff, clinicians, physicians and administrators.”  As Sue says:

“We are all in this mess together.    .     . Continue reading “Is the practice of medicine making doctors sick?”

“The doctors want my symptoms but not my stories”

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

Marilyn Gardner, in her 2014 book called “Between Worlds: Essays on Culture and Belonging“) wrote about a compelling conversation she once had:

Yet our physicians aren’t trained to embrace our stories, but instead to ask right away, “What brings you here today?” to kick-start a brief Q&A that can most efficiently solve the diagnostic mystery sitting across from them.      .     .    Continue reading ““The doctors want my symptoms but not my stories””