Coming to Terms with Myself

When I first applied and began my volunteer experience with the volunteer hospice program through Swarthmore, I admit that I thought of it as a resume booster. It was just something that I had to do if I wanted to get into medical school eventually. I never thought that it would be something I genuinely … Continue reading “Coming to Terms with Myself”

Patients: Not Just Ill Ones

When I visited Mr. A for the first time, we found out that we were born on the same day. We both agreed that people who share a birthday should become best friends, and twenty minutes into the conversation, we did. I am awful at starting conversations but Mr. A always has something to say. … Continue reading “Patients: Not Just Ill Ones”

Accepting Death While Remaining Human

The experience that Ascend Hospice has offered me is irreplaceable. Throughout my year here, I have been formally assigned to three different patients but have seen a lot more. Every single one got me thinking about life in one way, shape or form. The experience has forced me to be vulnerable, to dig deep within … Continue reading “Accepting Death While Remaining Human”

On compassion in the face of death

“Medical professionals concentrate on repair of health, not sustenance of the soul.” Upon encountering this line in Being Mortal by Atul Gawande, I became filled with regret. My grandmother had succumbed to leukemia only months prior, and her battle was harrowing. She, a healthy, able-bodied, gardening enthusiast with no signs of aging other than mild … Continue reading “On compassion in the face of death”

You’re not alone

This year, I heard death’s knock on my door more than I ever had before. I experienced the fragility of life both personally and professionally. It became real to me in a way it wasn’t in the past. My first patient through Ascend was sad in a way I was not used to. I have … Continue reading “You’re not alone”

Understanding Death and Dying

As Janet and Carl were in the back of the car on their way to meet a patient, Kate, that we had been told could be quite hostile and angry when visitors arrived, there was certainly an air of uneasiness. I do not think either Janet or Carl were necessarily scared, just anxious about the … Continue reading “Understanding Death and Dying”

Death and Dying: A Topic I can now cope with

Before I started volunteering with Ascend Hospice this year, death was an unfamiliar and scary topic for me to consider. I have not had a close family member or friend pass away in my lifetime, so I did not have the experience of dealing with my own emotions concerning death. I always thought of it … Continue reading “Death and Dying: A Topic I can now cope with”

The Finish Line

Growing up, death was something that never really crossed my mind. Due to my youth, it felt like an abstract concept and not something I would ever see. However, as someone who plans on entering the medical profession, I knew that I would come face to face with it sooner or later. Thanks to the … Continue reading “The Finish Line”

Ebbs, Flows, and Game Shows

Over the past year, I have been visiting a man facing seemingly insurmountable physical and emotional traumas (for the sake of this paper, he will be referred to as George). George is paralyzed from the neck down due to multiple sclerosis and was admitted to hospice at far too young of an age. I was … Continue reading “Ebbs, Flows, and Game Shows”

Changing Perspectives

Working as an Ascend Health Hospice Volunteer has been one of the most meaningful experiences of my life. It has not only given me first-hand knowledge in patient care and interaction, but encouraged me to answer thought provoking questions that have changed the way I view healthcare and hospice. I have had three patients in … Continue reading “Changing Perspectives”