A Mixed Bag

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As I often do, I found myself thinking about things I could blog about tonight…

Should I talk about the lady with dementia who responds to basically no one and nothing but responded to a chocolate doughnut I brought her?

Or would it be better to blog about the man, whose wife is clearly passing, who looked at me and said that needed to have a get together for all of us who helped care for his wife?

The patient who has every cat I have ever known beaten because it seems that just when I think she is passing, she manages to pull a rabbit out of a hat?

I think I’ll just talk about time…

In my line of work, time is priceless.  How much time?  How long? When? Patients and families always find themselves asking me questions about time… In a lot of ways, patients have lost grip on everything else and only their slight hold on time remains.

No one knows for certain how many grains of sand remain in anyone’s hourglass.  Not even the most experienced hospice professional can be sure of when a patient will pass.  There are clues.  There are signs.  There are hallmarks that I can base my estimate on, but, at the end of the day, it remains an uncertain estimate.  Just as every body lives differently, every body dies differently.  There is also that undeniable role that the human spirit plays…

No one knows for sure how one’s personality influences their passing.  From experience, I can say that one’s personality is fused into different stills of their passing.  Were you a feisty person?  Typically, they are the ones that fight on… even when fighting is a lost cause.. they still fight on.  Were you a fixer?  They are the ones that wait.. or try to.. until everything is resolved..  Were you one that hated to make your family sad?  They are the ones that pass when a family has left the room.

I wish I could so provide the clarity and foresight that patients and families seek.  But, I often find myself wondering what does it really matter?  If you knew you were dying tomorrow and were already sick, what would it matter?  If you were not sick, I am sure it would matter greatly as there would be things to take care of.  But, if you are already ill, why not just relish what time you have left? Devour each second as if another would never exist.

Our lives are a series of seconds… a collage of choices… a mountain of memories.  Seconds become decades in the blink of an eye.  Allow yourself to be present in the here and now.  Time will always be there… just marching along. Counting the minutes or hours is akin to wasting them.  Enjoy this second… this moment.. this present.

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