Tell me what has been happening.

This is how I often start,

begin the conversation,

listen to the story

from the perspective

of the husband or wife,

son or daughter.

 

They tell me about my patient,

the deterioration,

the frequent acknowledgment

that things are getting worse,

that they see the future.

 

And,

the system,

the trying to do its best,

caught-up in processes,

protocols and pathways

where

the person

is a heart rate

blood pressure

and

sats*.

 

The nursing home staff,

looking-on in uncertainty,

the homecare

team

anxiously

dialling for help;

 

Arnold has collapsed,

He’s on the bathroom floor,

Banged his head.

 

Most people see it coming,

you see it in yourself,

the slowing-down,

the cough that doesn’t settle,

fading appetite.

 

Another notch on the belt,

dentures

Knocking around

In loosening jaws.

 

We can’t stop time

nor

The progression of disease

or

decrepitude.

 

You can fight it,

but

You’ll always lose.

 

Time’s arrow

will always

Win.

 

And

What is better,

to go with the flow,

to allow the natural,

the perfect

movement of time,

sun and moon,

accompany nature,

grow and fade with it or,

Fight against the inevitable.

 

Low salt,

salt drip,

Low oxygen,

2 litres per minute,

Pain,

opiate,

Constipation,

laxative.

 

It is like Yin and Yang

are looking down at us

and

Laughing.

leonard cohen

Ackerman_farmer.jpg

 

yin_and_yang_by_ladydove7-d4p7s1c.jpg

*Sats – oxygen saturations – the way we determine the percentage of oxygen dissolved in the blood, usually via a finger (E.T. style) probe; 100 is good, 50 is bad. Folk on the top of Everest usually hover in the mid-70’s.

et finger.jpg

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