Tuesday, January 25, 2011

break free

There is pamphlet hanging on our church bulletin board. A sister church is going on a mission trip to Africa. They are looking for volunteers.
It suddenly occured to me that this is within the realm of possibility- not this year I imagine, but within a couple years.
My youngest will graduate from high school
There will be some time before the grandparenting years begin
A window of opportunity?
A chance to change the way I walk in this world.
I've played it pretty safe up until now
Can I break free and make some changes?
Seems like there is a whole lot of world to see before I leave it....
Maybe it's a midlife crisis, maybe it's all the things we have been through in the past couple years... but the world is starting to feel new and unexplored.... I feel like breaking free and kicking up my heels...

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Thursday, January 6, 2011

hospice vs technolgy.

I wonder how we remember the why in medicine while changing the how?

I wonder if there is anything that will keep us connected to our calling, to remember the reason we chose this profession at all

"I'm just a robot" my primary doc complained, the last time I was in his office.... and I would have to agree. We are all becoming a slave to the computers or hand held devices that are running the world these days. Difficult to make eye contact when there is a screen between you and the person you are talking to. Difficult to stop and really hear what that person is saying

Medicine is an art, as well as a science.... how do we keep the art without becoming a slave to the technology?

Computers invaded the world of hospice some years ago. Neat little laptops that we can carry into each person's home to find and record all necessary information. Pretty neat trick, if you can do it. I think that all of us -everywhere- were resistant to the idea. People who are drawn to the world of hospice are generally more tuned in to people's emotions, able to hear the heart cry. It is nearly impossible to teach a person who is drowning in grief or rage about the proper medication and treatments without first reaching out a hand into the pit of despair. Most of us have found ways around it..... sitting in homes listening with a pen and paper to jot on, then charting in driveways or on street corners- or at home on our own time in the evenings.

I don't think that anyone wants me sitting in their living room or at their kitchen table (usually covered with piles of bills and boxes of medicine, with food stuffs jammed to the side-evidence of life interrupted) diligently creating and recording plans of care and listing goals and interventions.

Yet, I want to be sure that the goals I am recording are Their goals... Is it more important to them to be pain free or to get to another soccer game?

I've spent the last month learning about our new computer system. Our latest upgrade. Sitting round a table with others, making sure that there is a way to document that will satisfy every regulatory body, will be complete and thorough, will address individualized needs, and will make sure every bodily process and medication has complete and thorough documentation.
The screens are bright and flashy. Different colors mean different things. So many little boxes to fill in and drop downs to check off. More things to pull my eyes from that patient and their family and onto a screen.

Hospice..... the word that originally meant rest and respite. Hospice..... where, if anywhere, one should/could practice the art of presence. Hospice..... where the sum of a person's life is often being recalled Hospice.... where a family is making decisions that will determine how they will go on, how they will honor, how they will mourn, how they will triumph, how they will remember..

Hospice.... and technology.....
I just don't know....

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