Understanding and using hope with patients and families. Mr. R Becker Macmillan Senior Lecturer in Palliative Care Staffordshire University & Severn Hospice Shropshire. Online lecture - Feb 3 rd 2009. Learning Outcomes: .
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Mr. R Becker
Macmillan Senior Lecturer in Palliative Care
Staffordshire University & Severn Hospice Shropshire
Online lecture - Feb 3rd 2009
“choose hope over fear” train to London tomorrow.”
President Barack Obama 2009
“Abandon hope all who enter here.” train to London tomorrow.”
An image of hell taken from Dante’s Inferno.
Hope from a well persons perspective train to London tomorrow.”
Becker R (2009) The teaching of hope and suffering in palliative care education. In Foyle L & Hostad J. Eds (2009) Dimensions in Cancer and Palliative Care Education, Radcliffe Press. (for publication in spring 2009)
1. An inner sense of temporality and the future. i.e. having goals or fearing for the future
2. An inner positive readiness and expectancy. i.e. believing life has value and worth.
3. An interconnectedness with self and others. i.e. feeling all alone or having a faith that comforts.
There she was, hidden nearly by the crisp white sheet pulled up to her nose. Two withered hands gripped tightly to the edge of the sheet. Two soft bright eyes appeared from the abyss looking at me. “Got a minute nurse?”. Hold my hand please?” she said. I asked her “Are you frightened?” “No” she replied, then silence. After about a minute she looked at me and said “I had forgotten what life felt like.”
Alex was a young man who was dying and he knew the score. His family was with him. I went in to see if anyone wanted a drink. Alex came out with the usual corny joke and some cheeky comment. I answered back “Any more of that mate and you’re dead meat”. I just wanted the ground to open up and swallow me, but Alex laughed like a drain and after a few seconds so did his family.
Dawn is breaking. My guardian angels will soon arrive with my tablets washed down with gods wine. Same vibes, different voices, another day. “So this is why the cream curdles and the flowers never smell sweet in this room”. I sleep, then wake up and the pain is there gain. Head, heart, stomach everywhere. My family look on, bemused, worried and unsure what to do. More tablets and gods wine. A kiss, a prayer – maybe tonight?
Three years, that’s how long it took. Tiredness, concentration gone, the headaches – Oh the headaches, intense, powerful, for days on end. My balance went next and the swollen legs got worse. Unsteady on my feet, eyes weaker, hearing poor. Just a day to day existence - you call that living? Doctors and consultants visit – they really want to help but….
The doctor visited and now I am in the car being driven somewhere. My husband looks stern, tired and talks to me as if I am a naughty child. Why does he do that? We go to this strange place with an odd smell and unfamiliar faces smiling, giving me tablets and asking me to lie down on a bed. Those eyes across the bay are following me. Where is my husband, what am I doing here and it smells awful. There’s nobody I know.
John had a degenerate illness and still had all his mental faculties, though could not communicate well. His love of music shone through this and he loved to play his 70’s and 80’s music, much to frustration of his family. He knew this, but he said to me one day “This is my way of saying I am still here….reach out and touch me, hug me, and kiss me if you dare. I’m still here.
“If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all. And so today I still have a dream”.
Martin Luther King