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Transition

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by Viswamitra, Dec 2, 2018.

  1. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Saturday, August 24, 2019

    10 patients all of them in one wing while the other was completely empty - 2 deaths - 5 arrivals in the last 24 hours - 1 died soon after arrival to the Hospice - 1 imminent patient . 3 patients in their 90s, 3 in their 80s and 3 in their 60s and 1 patient in early 40s suffering from Pancreatic cancer. There was no request to sit with any patient during this session. However, the volunteer who worked in the previous shift told me that she met 40+ year old patient and when she inquired about him, he responded, "I am happy and all set to go. I realize the value of every day in my life now better than the days before the diagnosis". I controlled my emotions and thought perhaps when I am healthier I should appreciate every second in my life and love everyone around me when I have the chance. I wondered how this gentleman overcame the fear of death and what process he went through to be that prepared.

    I am being 65 years old, I am able to appreciate the gift of life when I see patients below my age. This volunteering experience makes me feel humbled every day and teaches me more than the rest of my life.
     
  2. jayasala42

    jayasala42 Finest Post Winner

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    I was eagerly expecting your mail.It is so nice of you Viswa, to have shared your Hospice experience and the experience to distribute meals and the difficulties you had in locating the addresses.
    It is a great service indeed to help people in safe transition.
    jayasala42
     
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  3. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Saturday, August 31, 2019

    Census Data: 12 patients - 9 deaths in the last 24 hours - 1 MRSA patient in the ward - 2 new admissions during our shift - A new co-volunteer who was 83 years old volunteered with me and I couldn't stop admiring her enthusiasm to volunteer and be active through out the shift. She spent some time with me explaining how the US was in 1950s and I learned so much from her. The patients were stable and even nurses were not as busy as they used to be. We went and asked the nurses whether any patient needs attention and we were told no patient was imminent. A lady priest came in to provide spiritual counseling to a few patients and spent nearly an hour and 30 minutes meeting many patients.

    I was wondering whether to ask her permission to sit with her to listen what is being performed in those spiritual sessions but realized that it is confidential and hence decided against it. Two cute children came to visit a grandmother patient and left their tablets and before our shift ended, their mom called and retrieved those tablets.

    My co-volunteer asked me whether I attended a particular volunteer's felicitation event. I asked her what was so special about her. She explained that this volunteer is 106 years old and has no stick to walk nor she needed a glass to wear for better vision. She is a Reiki volunteer and enjoys volunteering. Recently, she also obtained a driver's license so that she could come on her own to the Hospice. She is respected as the best volunteer to calm any patient down through her wonderful Reiki skills. Someday, I would like to go through that training to learn how it is done.

    Regarding meals distribution volunteering, since I have requested for a different route, they didn't give me any assignment this week. Hopefully, I will be back at work next Friday.

    Viswa
     
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  4. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    September 7th, 2019

    Census Data: 18 patients admitted - 6 new admission - 3 new admission during our shift - 8 deaths in the last 24 hours.

    The volunteer who was on vacation is back again. No imminent patient during this shift. But we had an interesting conversation with a spiritual counselor about what she does and how she gives comfort to the patients in the Hospice. There was one patient whose age is 42. We gave cookies and coffee to the paramedics who brought the patients into the Hospice. Sometimes, they work hours and hours without eating anything.

    Lillie, the puppy who is a pet volunteer accompanying another volunteer (in the earlier shift) wasn't feeling well and she was lying down in her stroller when we joined duty. I tried my best to draw her attention but she went back to sleep. Obviously, she wasn't feeling well.
     
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  5. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    September 14, 2019

    Census Data: 16 patients - 3 deaths in the last 24 hours - 3 admissions in the last 24 hours - No admission during my duty time. The summary sheet had one of the patients marked as HIPAA with no details when the detailed sheet had all the information. This is the first time I noticed that the name is withheld for a patient. Out of 16 patients, 14 of them are into 60s, 70s and 80s except 2. One patient was 42 years old and another 103.

    After two consecutive weeks, it is satisfying to see the number of deaths in the Hospice was less this week. Perhaps, the patients are in early stage of terminal illness. This is also the first time I came to know that one of the patients is suffering from tongue cancer.
     
  6. jayasala42

    jayasala42 Finest Post Winner

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    One senior lady officer of the bank had tongue cancer.She had problem in talking for sometime.She underwent some surgery.She lost all the sense of taste and hence no appetite. After some Chemo therapy sessions she regained her speech but the taste buds have not started functioning. She says that she has to spend nearly rupees three lakhs per year.After nine long years I met her yesterday. She looks alright now. We do not know what strange illness we have to come into contact .
    jayasala42
     
  7. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Saturday, September 21, 2019

    Census: 18 patients - 6 deaths in the last 24 hours (+2 during our shift) - 6 admissions (+1 during our duty) - 2 imminent patients. Despite our request to the shift nurses that the Avenue volunteers offered to sit with these patients, we were denied by the nursing staff as both had infectious disease and their priority is not to expose anyone including the volunteers. We do have protective gears provided by the Hospice including Gowns, Gloves, Face Masks, etc., still the nurses get to make the call about who can sit with the imminent patients. The two of us decided to pray for these patients for reduced pain and faster relief from their pain. Even the visitors (friends and relatives) were advised not to make a physical contact with the patient.

    The rest of the patients were well supported by friends and relatives. The Hospice conducted a meeting of volunteers last Thursday that I could not attend. However, they sent me the most updated booklet for me to review about the services that we need to provide to the patients and families and how to provide them. In this meeting, the Volunteer Coordinators decided to conduct a special training for the volunteers to feed the patients if they volunteer to undergo that training. Most volunteers didn't agree to volunteer for the training. I am in two minds as one side feeding a terminally ill patient is hard and on the other side, they would be starving if they are unable to eat on their own unless they are supported by a family member. There is time to make that decision.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2019
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  8. jayasala42

    jayasala42 Finest Post Winner

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    Dear Viswa,

    Now that you are witnessing patients close to death or those who are dying on daily basis, what is the impact on you emotionally? Do you feel that your philosophical thoughts about death have become strong ?Do you feel disturbed when the close relatives pine for the separation?Often I have read and seen nil expression in the faces of those people,both managers and workers in cremation ghats and mortuaries and physicians connected to terminally ill patients and vaideekaas who conduct the final rites amidst the sorrowing relatives and that too much familiarisation enables them behave normally.In a way, it is good that in family that faces crisis, there are people who come out to help unaffected by the event.What is your take?
    Do you think that this experience may enable one to face similar situations in life-that is unavidable in everyone's life?
    jayasala42
     
  9. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Smt. Jayasala:

    Thank you for raising such wonderful questions on this thread. As you said many times in the past, learning death is part of living as part of our training is one thing and experiencing death every week in close quarters is quiet another. I have heard from Vijiakka that her husband as part of Arya Samaj volunteers to lift the body and take it to the cremation ground for the past several years. I have always told her that he is a Karma Yogi to perform that service when the close kith and kin are mourning.

    I am able to understand the process of death both through training as well as practically experiencing it. But what I don't understand is what the patient experience, who do they see, where is the glowing energy comes to them at the time of death despite not eating for many days, who are they communicating with, if breathing is life force, what do they experience when that life force stop functioning and so on. There is a proverb in Tamil, "Sethadhan Sudukadu theriyum" meaning (Only after death one can experience the crematorium). Similarly, dying people's experience is very unique and unfortunately, no one is able to share that experience with those who live. It is my understanding that strength for the body comes from Samarpanam (Surrender/Sacrifice), for the mind comes from Thairiyam (Courage), for the intellect comes from Gnana (Knowledge/Discrimination), for the heart comes from Prema (Love) and for Atma comes from Niyayam (Righteousness).

    Philosophically I understand life is a gift because it gives us the opportunity for our salvation. We are here to learn not to be born again and become one with the Universal Absolute. However, it is also my understanding Atma after death doesn't make any progress until it is gifted with another body. Even though during life, we struggle to understand we are not the body, mind and intellect ("BMI"), without them, Atma itself doesn't make further progress. From that view point, BMI is critical for the progress of Atma.

    Even though my mother was 88 when she passed away 2 years back, I traveled 10,000 miles to see her lifeless body without any emotions and the moment I saw her lifeless body, I (65 year old man) cried for good 10 minutes uncontrollably before I started chanting for her peace and bliss. Yes, I feel sad when I watch people die alone when I volunteer but I also realize that they came alone and leave alone as well. Frankly, I don't know the correct answer to your question as emotions vary from time to time depending on my mindset at a given time. I know I am experiencing something that is important for my own evening of life.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2019
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  10. joylokhi

    joylokhi Platinum IL'ite

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    Dear Viswa sir,
    these and more are questions that come to mind very often - especially after reaching the 'senior citizen' age . I am often very emotionally disturbed when i attend any of the death ceremonies of relatives and acquaintances and it takes days to get back to normalcy without dwelling on - what after life? I therefore admire your strength of mind in volunteering for such a very noble cause.
     
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