Monthly Archives: March 2014


Sue Montgomery, RN, BSN, granted me permission to link to her article, “WhenMed-Surg Nurses Care for Dying Patients” in Working Nurse magazine.

Here are some medical acronyms and terms that were new to me:

  • Med-Surg = Medical-Surgical.  This refers to a sub-specialty of nursing that cares for patients with medical and surgical needs.
  • ICU  = Intensive Care Unit
  • ATC = Around The Clock
  • PRN = As needed
  • IV = Intravenously

The Longest Running Guilt–Remorse–or REGRET?

In 1966, I was working in Washington, D.C. when I got the news that my dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer, age fifty-seven. I called his doctor in Ohio. He emphatically said: “He’s got about five years IF he follows directions.”

Not once during those five long years did we ever ask:

  • Had the doctor counseled him?
  • What was he worried about?
  • How could we help him?
  • How did he feel about dying?
  • Was there anything he wanted to say to us before he died?
  • What kind of funeral did he want?
  • How would we cope when he was gone?

Continue reading

The Sandwich Generation — Caregivers again?

Death is somewhat like the weather: we can talk about it forever, but eventually, it happens. Start now to share with your family through guided discussions and documents that describe how you feel about your life, from beginning to end. If your health heads south, the family is led by your decisions, if you can no longer communicate.

Katy Butler wrote about her family’s experience in 2010, “What Broke My Father’s Heart” New York Times Magazine, when her dad received an unwanted pacemaker. I showed this story to my ninety year old uncle. His incredulous response: “I’ve read it twice! Do you really think this is true?” [His pacemaker was installed five years ago.] The record-breaking reader response to her article signaled a wakeup call for the rest of us. With additional research into the medical industrial complex, in 2013 she published, Knocking on Heaven’s Door which became a New York Times bestseller.  Won’t you tell me your reaction? Continue reading