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My dear friend 
Started by JennJilks
17 Oct 2013, 3:01 PM

My husband has a couple of health issues, including an appointment for a prostatectomy, and it overwhelms me some days. There are many things that put this into perspective.
I have a client with palliative leukemia.
I have a dear friend, 400km away, who is dying. My Michele. I wrote about her in my book about palliative care, and she was thrilled. She's sold a half-dozen books!
She is failing, on oxygen, and in pain 24/7. Her neuropathic pain is not being managed by the hydropmorphone. Sometimes the nurse is late with meds. She cheered me up many times, when my father was dying of a brain tumour across the hall. We had many fine laughs.

Her support is minimal, by the medical profession. The physician attached to the LTC is awful. The charge nurse must phone the doctor and demand different drugs. Many PSWs do not understand her condition, or palliiative care. 
She has arthritis and spinal stenosis and for many years has been paraplegic. The mechanical lift, getting her in and out of bed, is a painful process. She has a bath once a week. There is no funding for more.
Her hair is too long messy and needs to be cut. She cannot find someone to cut it for her.
I have contacted the local hospice, where I volunteered, to ask them for help.
 It breaks my heart, as I cannot advocate for her, being simply a friend. Agencies are quick to quote privacy laws.
I am pregrieving. 
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Reply by moderator | modératrice
18 Oct 2013, 12:30 AM

Hi Jenn,

It is so frustrating and infinitely sad to not be able to help, to be so far away and to be able to mobilize that services that should be in place to help. There are so many layers in your message, but what stood out for me was her wish to get her hair cut. So often it is the seemingly small things that loom large. Do you know about Haircuts on Wheels?

It is a mobile hair salon servicing the greater Toronto area, but what about contacting the owner Kimberly Irwin? She might know someone in the region that your friend lives in. It might be worth a shot.

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Reply by JennJilks
19 Oct 2013, 12:14 PM

I didn't know about them, Colleen. Thanks for the info. The big cities seem to have all the great services!
It is the small things we can usually resolve. It is empowering.
I didn't hear back from Hospice Muskoka. I don't know why.
I thought of my former hairdresser in Bracebridge. I contacted her on Facebook and perhaps she might do it, or know someone.  
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Reply by eKIM
23 Oct 2013, 11:27 PM

Hi Jenn

 I am sorry to hear about your husband’s health issue.  It sounds as though it is treatable and he will eventually be restored to full health. 

 It is such a testament to your fantastic character that you are so concerned about your friend’s health, regardless of your personal family concerns.

 Obviously,  you are a very unselfish, compassionate person.  I would like to ask you Jenn, if your reaching out to others, in their time of need, is one of your “coping mechanisms” that helps you during your husband’s health challenge. 

 I don’t know if I would have the strength of character to employ this methodology, however I have often thought that if I was in a similar situation, that reaching out to others would take my mind off of my own concerns. 

 Sending your thoughts of loving-kindness.  - eKim

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Reply by JennJilks
24 Oct 2013, 12:22 AM

Thank you, eKim. Yes, this is the work I do all the time. It does help to have gone through the system with my parents.
It does help to share what I have learned and to keep busy. 
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