Let Them Eat Cake
Yes, it's kind of a strange title this week. What I'm referring to is working with people who are nearing the end of their days on this earth. That's something every COTA working in Long Term Care (LTC) will have to face sooner or later.
I remember one patient who liked his brandy every night before bed. After his hospitalization and entering the nursing home he hadn't had any in several weeks. Of course the doctors ruled out giving him any with all the medicines he was taking. After a few weeks, when they realized he was not going to be with us much longer, one doc came to visit and gave the family permission to bring him his brandy. I hear he enjoyed it the first night, and the second night. The next night he refused it. He passed away by morning.
There are other patients I remember who asked for something they considered special. The diabetic who wanted a chocolate bar, the cancer patient who wanted one more smoke, or the bachelor who wanted to have one more fling. All were close to death when they requested their treat. The families and doctors were all great to grant what seemed like a final wish; unfortunately they couldn't grant the bachelor his request.
I'm pondering this subject not only remembering some of the people I worked with, but also because of a recent experience. My father-in-law just passed away, but in his last week we were able to visit, spring him from the hospital and take him to a family reunion. That was something he excitedly talked about as soon as he got word of the plans, but began to lose hope of making it as his health continued to fail. Yes, it was some work, but the bottom line is he got to see lots of family just a few days before he passed.
My thoughts here range from the sadness of losing someone close to you, to the joy of being able to give someone one of their final wishes. I hope when it's my turn to ask for that final wish someone is kind enough to grant it.
Until next time, hope all your thoughts are good!
Tim Banish, COTA Retired