Monthly Archives: January 2014

Chapter 6, Guest Blog

The following story was written by my daughter, Stephanie. It describes one of her first encounters with palliative care in her then-job of Home and Community Care Nurse. Many of the things she learned during her time with this family are the same things caregivers learn in caring for their own loved ones as they travel the Alzheimer’s path. It’s a beautiful story, poignant and sad, and also filled with strength and joy. It’s a true story, but the names have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.

Dying and Death

It was spring and the flowers were blooming along the walkway. The flagstone path was a gentle curve, with bright green moss between the stones. The heritage home exterior with its columned, wrap-around porch looked grand and was carefully tended with fresh blue and white paint. Together the grounds and house were picturesque and beautiful.

Inside the house, an elderly woman who was a wife and mother was in the process of dying. I am a nurse who travels to homes to support individuals and their families through the process of dying and death.

I rang the bell and was told to, “Come in.” In the hall, I took off my shoes, then walked into the large parlour where my client, Sheila, was on a lounge-turned-bed. She was a small, frail bird, dressed in a light cotton gown. Her long, grey hair was strewn across the pillows, her head propped at an awkward angle. She did not look comfortable. She was grey in colour and her face was slightly tense even though her eyes were closed. Her grown son was sitting across from her on an old Queen Anne’s couch, bent over a laptop computer set on a table in front of the couch. Someone was in the back of the house, doing dishes I assumed. I could hear water running and the clink of dishes in a sink. Continue reading

Living With Alzheimer’s, Five

Living With Alzheimer’s

Human mortality comes home to different people in different ways. On December 27th, around 3:30 a.m., a friend got up to go to the bathroom. It was dark. She didn’t turn on the lights. The bathroom is located at the head of the stairs.

Whether it was a yell as she was falling, or the sound of the fall itself that woke her husband, no one will ever know. He doesn’t recall hearing any sound at all. He just knows he woke up, and found her lying on the lower stairs. Continue reading