Friday, August 29, 2008

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Articles of Interest

A couple of recent articles, in the hospice and palliative care arena, have piqued my interest this week...

Dr. Christian Sinclair of posted an article on 8/23/08 titled, "Hospice in Prison vs. Hospice for Released Prisoners". This piece raises some important questions regarding the care of terminally ill and/or aging prisoners that have been released into the community before their sentences have been served.
Pallimed: A Hospice & Palliative Medicine Blog: Hospice in Prison vs. Hospice for Released Prisoners

Hospice Guy of, posted an article on 8/27/08 titled, "The Tale of the Vanishing Hospice Chaplain". Hospice Guy reflects on recent changes in the Medicare hospice benefit and its potential effect on the services that hospices provide.
Hospice Blog: The Tale of the Vanishing Hospice Chaplain

There are very few blogs on the subject of hospice and palliative medicine that keep me coming back, but these two are exceptions. Pallimed is a veritable buffet of topics on all things relating to palliative medicine and hospice. Their approach is often academic, mixed with a healthy dose of humor. Hospice Blog, written from the perspective of an insider, is straight-forward, well written and very informative. The blog's series called "How to Choose a Hospice" is a must read.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

My Apologies... but it's Lolcats Time!

It's been at least a couple of years since I last checked out Lolcats and Loldogs. Once again, I got completely lost in the site's wholesome, fuzzy goodness and spent a crazy amount of time there.

Here's a few pictures from the site along with links to both Lolcats and Loldogs. Click on the links below so that you, too, may sit transfixed and lose more time than an alien abductee.


Saturday, August 23, 2008

How Will YOU Be Remembered?

We don't give much thought to what our obituary will say about us. Habitual obit readers, such as myself, see a lot of the usual "she lit up the room when she walked in.." or "he'd give the shirt off his back...". Then, of course, the obligatory Old Testament-like listing of all family members.

Well, here's something a little different. You have a couple choices if you don't want an obituary like this written about you. Either change your evil ways... FAST! Or write your own obit and entrust your lawyer to have it published before the kids get any ideas.

I discovered this link while "lurking" in the Boomers Forum on craigslist (thanks, Helen_Back!). Click on the link below for a very unusual memorial written by one of the daughters of the deceased. has confirmed that this obituary is real. obit

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Drunken Fists of Fury -- Part 2

[This is part 2 of a two-part story. To pull up Part 1, just click on the label "Drunken Fists of Fury"]

I have a sudden and ominous thought: What if Junior attacks the body removal team? In Junior's drunken logic, that would be a fortuitous "two-fer". He could make sure that all the attention remains on him AND prove how much he loved his mother. The funeral home is due to arrive at any minute. I quickly turn to Diane:

"Look, I'm really sorry, but if no one here can get your brother under control, we need to call the police. If you're not willing to do it... I will."

"It's a done deal", says Diane and she reaches for the phone.

Almost immediately, the police officer arrives and we are all witness to Junior's magical transformation. Drunkenly swaying from foot to foot, he smiles broadly as he chats up the cop and promises to be a good boy. While I am well aware that the mere presence of a cop can deescalate dangerous situations, this was almost too easy. As I see this miracle unfold before me, I'm pretty sure that the MPD is now issuing magic pixie dust to their officers.

Officer Johnson enters the double-wide and scans the living room. He spots me and asks, "You alright, Ma'am?".

 I silently nod "yes", but I know my eyes are screaming, "Get me the !@#%  outta here!". 

Ignoring my screaming eyes, Officer Johnson walks throughout the entire house making sure that everyone is okay. Satisfied, the policeman exits and drives away, leaving a deflated Junior in the front yard. Once again, a sense of relief fills the room and I pray that, this time, it will be lasting. Then, ever so softly, a woman's voice: 

"He really is a nice man."

Looking to my left, I see that the woman is speaking to me. I also suddenly realize that this is Junior's wife and hopefully, his designated driver. Unable to think of an appropriate response, I smile weakly and nod. I look away and wonder what life with a handful like Junior must be like. It can't be very good.

The remainder of my visit is blissfully uneventful. The funeral home has come and gone and so has Junior with his sainted wife. I say my goodbyes to the family and return to the quiet and safety of my car. My nerves want to calm themselves, but my mind wants to rehash the events that occurred during this visit. 

My mind is right. I must not forget what happened here. Was Junior really dangerous or just being dramatic? It doesn't matter. Every home visit I make is a walk into the unknown. Officer Johnson has all the trappings of authority and weapons to boot. I have none of this... and I sure don't have any pixie dust.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Ghost Tour

Yep... I admit it. I love the ghosties. I even own a few pieces of equipment commonly used by ghost hunters and have participated in ghost hunting expeditions. No holiday destination is complete without visiting the local "haunted" sites or at least a good, rollicking ghost tour.

Although I never discuss my interest in this subject with my coworkers, it's probably natural for people in my profession to have an interest in ghosts. I only know that death and what may lay beyond, is on my mind... a LOT. Surely others involved in hospice and other related fields would also share this interest in the paranormal. Then again, maybe I'm just a nut case.

Anyway, today I'm introducing a segment called "Ghost Tour". It'll be a recurring segment, largely depending on the quality of video that I find. So enjoy your first "Ghost Tour" with the following video...  Oh, I also  promise that nothing is going to "jump out at you" and freak you out. I'm not that kind of nut case.

You Just Can't Fake This!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Friday, August 1, 2008

Drunken Fists of Fury -- Part 1

1845 hrs-- I'm having a hard time, here. Can't seem to find the place. Apparently, no one in this trailer park believes in house numbers. I pick up my cell and call the daughter of the deceased:

"Diane? Yeah, I know I'm really close to you, but I can't figure out which house you're at."

"Oh, our place is the one with all the cars and stuff in the front", she says.

Diane needs to narrow that down a bit. Her description isn't helping me at all.

"Could you please just come out and wave at me?" I ask. "I'm in the dark blue car."

I see a woman pop out of her front door and she's waving. Problem solved.

There's a lot of people in the double-wide. Kids of all ages are skittering around the place. I chat, briefly, with the husband of the deceased and can tell that he's handling the situation well. Mr. B. returns to the bedroom where his wife lies... he needs to be near her right now. I sit next to Diane and busy myself with phone calls and paperwork.

Suddenly, the living room becomes still and silent. Instinctively, taking the cue to not move, I dart only my eyes up from my work and see the figure in the doorway. He's big, he's beefy and he's very, very inebriated.

"WHERE IS SHE?", he bellows. Before anyone dares to answer, he staggers down the narrow hallway that leads into the back bedroom.

Accusations and questions begin flying around the living room: 

"Who called Junior?", someone snaps. " I didn't think we were supposed to let him know right away!"

"I didn't do it!"

"Me neither!"

"Well, she IS his MOTHER!", says one brave soul. Oops... All eyes fix on the culprit and the subject is dropped.

Ba-BAM! Ba-BAM! My body jerks in reaction to the noise. My heart is absolutely pounding. Still sitting, I lean forward and peer down into the hallway. Junior has just attempted to punch a hole in the wall. I can't see any damage... the wall has triumphed. Head bent, shoulders drooping, Junior wobbles on over to his sister, Diane:

"Junior", says Diane firmly, "We ALL loved Mom!"

"But I loved her MORE!", wails Junior and he spreads his arms widely, showing her just how much.

Diane's drunken brother manages to fumble his way out of the front door. Those of us left behind, in the living room, emit a collective sigh. The sense of relief doesn't last long. I hear banging and crashing. Looking out the window, I see objects flying through the air. Junior has taken his tantrum outside where he has access to an enormous selection of kickable and throwable items.

To be continued ...