The Story of your Life

Working with my patient, let’s call her “Sally,” over the past semester has been an absolute treat. Sally has lived in Philadelphia her entire life. She enjoys playing board games and going outside on the porch. Sally always smiles at the nurses and attendant that come to and from, and likes to sit by the … Continue reading “The Story of your Life”

A Complete Life

Many of my patients have limited communication abilities and/or have experienced a decline in their cognitive abilities which impacts their communications. One of my patients has severe dementia and is unable to discern who I am or why I am there to visit with her, but she is always cheerful and excited to see me. … Continue reading “A Complete Life”

Why Everyone Should Be a Hospice Worker

As a means to respect their privacy, the patient mentioned in the following will be referred to as “Mr. Bob.” “Mr. Bob” and mine relationship was the most meaningful out of the many patient relationships I had the opportunity to develop as a part of the Athena Hospice experience. When we first met, I remember … Continue reading “Why Everyone Should Be a Hospice Worker”

The Value of Patience

When I first got an email about becoming a hospice volunteer, I remember reading it and setting it aside as possibly being an activity I’d enjoy spending my time with. When I decided to go ahead and apply, I had really no idea what I’d be getting myself into and what the experience would teach … Continue reading “The Value of Patience”

A New Perspective on Death

While I have not been assigned to a patient yet, I can say that my experience interacting with other people that have had patients and people that work in hospices as their career was truly life changing. It opens your eyes as a student on the pre-medical track and even more generally, as a person. … Continue reading “A New Perspective on Death”

Supporting those in Hospice Care

Since this January, I have visited Janet, a recently-blinded cancer patient, at her hospice care facility, where I assist her with orientation/mobility and provide companionship. Over time, I have found that she has grown more comfortable in our relationship, as she shares life successes and regrets, as well as feelings and fears about dying.  Listening … Continue reading “Supporting those in Hospice Care”

Having deeper thoughts about death

Even though I did not get to visit any patients for Hospice, I was able to learn a lot from doing the reflections. I think this experience has allowed me to engage in very deep thoughts about aging and dying. I learned that aging and dying are the only “unfixables” thus they are problems the … Continue reading “Having deeper thoughts about death”

Invaluable Intangibles

Invaluable Intangibles My involvement with the Athena Institute Pre-Med Hospice program has challenged my vision of being a physician in a fast-paced emergency room and reshaped my rigid definition of medicine. Now, I consider my calling to healthcare as more of a call to healing than a call to cure. Reading Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal … Continue reading “Invaluable Intangibles”

Connecting and Exploring as as Hospice Volunteer

I was assigned to one patient throughout my experience volunteering with a hospice program. Unfortunately, my time was cut short based on a slightly late start and an early ending due to the coronavirus. However, the time I was able to spend with my patient was truly eye opening. First, one of the most interesting … Continue reading “Connecting and Exploring as as Hospice Volunteer”

Hope in Death

Bony fingers, labored breathing, and the sound of the steady drip of morphine. Holding my aunt’s hand as more time passed between each breath, I thought, “Why am I pursuing a profession surrounding death?” With each loss I suffered, I thought back to my two friends who each lost their mothers to breast cancer at … Continue reading “Hope in Death”