Changing Fears of Death

I was very nervous the first time I walked into the assisted living facility. I was worried about many things: finding my assigned patient, connecting with her, and making my visits as beneficial as possible. More than anything, however, I was afraid of death. I was afraid of growing attached to someone who would likely … Continue reading “Changing Fears of Death”

Acceptance: The True Fight Against Death

I arrived at my first visit with four of my classmates. Our shared nervousness provided a source of comfort as we walked toward the residence of our patients. This unspoken support was short lived, however, as our paths diverged to separate floors. I was excited; I had the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s … Continue reading “Acceptance: The True Fight Against Death”

Reflection and Realizations about Death and Importance of Palliative Care at the End of Life

The Hospice Volunteer Program has been a great way for me to learn about palliative end-of-life care that I was not aware of beforehand. I always thought of physicians as individuals who would prolong a patient’s life through any plausible means; however, I have realized that palliative care at the end-of-life can be better and … Continue reading “Reflection and Realizations about Death and Importance of Palliative Care at the End of Life”

Joy to End

Though my entire experience as a hospice volunteer has been a profound learning experience, my first patient was by far the most meaningful. I spent September, October, and most of November visiting June (I’ve chosen this pseudonym as it seems to best describe her character). Previously, I had witnessed hospice living during the late stages … Continue reading “Joy to End”

Sparkling in the End

I had never thought about death and how people should spend the time in the end deeply before participating in this program. It is always very difficult to relate myself to death and even relate death to anything else. But now, I feel I can count the steps of death and depict the anxious approaching … Continue reading “Sparkling in the End”

Reflecting on a Year of Service

Throughout this academic year I have visited a single patient, who I will refer to as Henriette. At first, our visits were somewhat awkward, and I did not feel like I was connecting to Henriette in the way I wished to. She was verbal, responsive, and could carry a conversation for the most part. However, … Continue reading “Reflecting on a Year of Service”

Reflecting on “Being Mortal” and Embracing Discomfort

A couple years ago, I picked up Atul Gawande’s book, Being Mortal, on a whim. I was looking for something to read on the train on the way home for Thanksgiving. I started reading the first few pages to see if I liked it, and ended up reading in the library for over an hour … Continue reading “Reflecting on “Being Mortal” and Embracing Discomfort”

A Frienship in the Past

I’ve always seen death as an event. A sudden heart attack. A phone call out of nowhere. An isolated instance in which any forewarning, preparation or prior consideration of death is rendered meaningless. I saw it as a destructive force, pushing everyone and everything out of its way. Then I met Sophia. I remember clearly … Continue reading “A Frienship in the Past”

A Century Old

Just last month, my patient turned 100 years old! I remember when I first met her, one of the first things she declared was, “I’m 99 years old!” Thinking about it brings a smile to my face. Now I think of her even when I’m not with her, I see her resemblance to the other … Continue reading “A Century Old”