Monday, September 27, 2010
This is a difficult blog to write, but I am writing it to honor the patient and his family.
Last week, I supported a young woman and her teenage daughter during a very difficult time - a couple of days before and the day of removing life support from the husband/dad. The patient had sustained a closed head injury with a large bleeding in his brain after a motorcycle accident.
When I spoke with the wife for the first time, she shared a couple of significant pieces of information with me. One of which is the reason for this blog. Advanced directives and power of attorney.
If you fall and hit your head on the ice and cannot speak for yourself - or something else happens where you are in a terminal condition - do you have someone who can make the decisions you would make (Power of attorney for health care decisions) and does he/she know what you want? (Living will)?
When we realized the severity of this patients illness we had a conversation with the spouse, she know exactly what he wanted or not wanted (if you will), and his position on donating organ and tissue.
I will tell you, this family taught all of the nurses, physicians, social workers so much and how to prepare for this unthinkable situation. The wife and daughter were incredible, and I think I know them well enough that they would want me to share this blog with all of you, so if something happens to someone in your family - you are as prepared as they were 'when disaster struck'.
I had the privilege of spending several hours with the wife and the daughter. I will spare you for the details, but these two people taught me so much, and their love for each other as a family, their courage in this situation will not soon be forgotten.
If they were standing in front of you - they would tell you - take the elephant out of the room, get the forms, and discuss what needed to be discussed when it comes to living will and decisions towards the end of live. Completing these documents represents love ...
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Many of you know John Bingham's quote - the miracle isn't that I finished - the miracle is that I had the courage to start.
Yesterday, as I was running the marathon, I saw so many people who exemplify that quote. For all I know, some of them could be Sparkers. However, it was very clear to me that these people were out making a difference for themselves and their health. And you know what - I was smiling. Smiling on their behalf because I cannot even imagine how good they must have felt - trained and completed what ever event they did.
I am also privileged. Privileged by being with people who are making a difference to them - to their lives. I have to be honest - some times when I run along some of these folks, I wish I could talk to them and hear their story why they are doing this, and congratulate them for having the courage to start.
Each one of you I know from the Spark site - represent these people I don't know on the run course, on the bike course, on the tri course and I am proud of all your accomplishments.
I am not the skinniest guy, nor am I the buffest dude - but I am healthy and I continue to work on my healthy life style. Through exercise and eating habits - I have diminished my risk of getting diseases related to overweight. As I mentioned in a previous reflection - losing weight is not the only measure of being healthy. Look at yourself in the mirror - compare yourself to when you started your journey - and you will find yourself a whole lot more healthy than you think you are!!!
Now make it a terrific day!
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Last year I met one of my colleagues somewhere where I did not expect her. Although she is an oncology nurse in my hospital, she was in street clothes in the outpatient cancer center. I asked her what she was doing there and she told me that her son Chris was there for treatment.
I got to meet Chris. He was 26 at the time. Newly diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma - getting his first chemo. In addition to his mom and his wife, he had several of his friends there. We got to talk and it happened to be a week before the Cleveland marathon we got to talk about that. When he found out that this loudmouth was running the Ceveland marathon, he made a comment that one day he wanted to run a marathon. He had been a runner in college, and running a marathon was something he always wanted to do.
Chris and I got to know each other better, and when we had the kick off event for the 2009 Cleveland marathon - who was there but Chris. He has signed up for the Cleveland marathon with Team in Training to raise money for the leukemia and lymphoma society.
He trained and trained and trained .... and on race day - he was at the starting line. Ready to rock and run the Cleveland marathon. (I was running the half - as a non fundraising team in training alumni Two weeks prior I completed the half ironman distance and raised more than 9k for the society).
I finished my half - and once I had escorted my DW across the finish line (she walked the HM)... I went out on the course to meet Chris. I met him about a mile before the finish, and got to run in with him and his brother and one of the TNT coaches. Chris was having a rough time, but he crossed the finish line in style... one year and one week after his first cancer treatment.
I am writing this to you because Chris is a role model for all of us. Can you imagine - you have to change your entire life - including wedding date - because you are diagnosed with cancer.
I did not tell you - within hours of getting married - He was receiving his first chemo.
Oh, did I also tell you - he was back on the basketball court even before his treatment was done.
Chris was also the guy who called a couple of months ago and started talking about running the Columbus marathon (I am running the full - he is running the half)
Chris says - having cancer have taught me a lot. My friend, Chris' story can teach you and I a lot. It is about focusing, preserverence, having goals and reaching your goals. If you want to have a healthy life style ... it is about focusing, preservence, and goal setting, keeping in mind healthy lifestyle is not only about losing weight.
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