PBS News Hour features a short talk by Tracy Grant, Washington Post editor, about how caring for her terminally ill husband offered an understanding of quality of life and made her own life worth living. (See link at end of blog for video).
As a caregiver, palliative care worker and hospice volunteer, I agree with what Grant communicates. We all become our better selves while caring for others. The ill teach us so much. Their gifts to us last a lifetime. The experiences can be remarkable.
Tracy Grant, Deputy Managing Editor, Washington Post
Juntos Contra el Dolor, A.C., the only 24-7 palliative care/hospice in Jalisco, Mexico, held a kermes to raise funds for its humanitarian medical effort which aides patients with chronic pain, and, at end of life. The Juntos team also provides psychological and spiritual support to families of patients.
The kermes was held on a Sunday from 8 a.m.to 2 p.m. outside the Templo of San Bernardo on Plan San Luis in northwestern Guadalajara, a church with 3,000 parishioners.
A Mexican kermes is an outdoor party for a special cause. To support the cause, people buy food and drink. The Juntos kermes served tacos with birria, quesadillas, homemade jamaica (a hibiscus drink) and horchata (a rice drink). Juntos brochures were on each table.
The nurses, who are the only paid staff (except for volunteer retired nurse Rocio), were taking care of patients at the hospital around the block..
The Spanish word kermes is derived from the Turkish word kermes which originally meant a handicraft bazaar to raise money for charity. It is also derived from the Dutch word kermesse, (kerk = church, mis = mass), a festival after mass.
FASEC (Fundacion al Servicio del Enfermo de Cancer/Foundation Serving Those Ill with Cancer), together with Care Partners International of Washington state, and the University of San Francisco, Quito hosted a palliative care training in Spanish for five days, April 20-24, the first in a series of four trainings for physicians, nurses, psychologists, volunteers, and others. The well-attended event drew healthcare workers from Cuba, Cuenca, Europe, Mexico, and the U.S.
The main speaker was Dr. Susana Lua Nava, a highly regarded Mexican educator and nun who teaches throughout Mexico and at UAG (Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara). She runs a hospice, Juntos Contro El Dolor (United Against Pain), with three nurse nuns and a staff of volunteers. Dr. Lua and her team are dedicated to the alleviation of pain in all – no matter a patient’s background, religious belief, or economic position.
Dr. Lua, author of El Enfermo, Terreno Sagrada/The Ill, Sacred Terrain, offered several slides of her work in Mexico and Spain, gave stunning examples of patient care, and spoke about dying at home or in a hospital (advantages and disadvantages of both), myths and realities on the use of morphine, the art of sharing sad news, and preparing the spirit, among other subjects. The most riveting discussion was on ethical dilemmas, a subject she teaches often – why and who one tells or does not tell of their terminal condition based on socio-economic backgrounds, culture, expectations, and other factors.
The next FASEC trainings are scheduled for the second week of June, the third week of July, and a week in October.
For contact information and more story details please click on the link below.
I am super excited to attend this on-line conference (a webinar), open to the public, on Dying in America – what we can do for better communication with patients and their families, what education and development opportunities can be created and implemented, and most of all how we can create a future where palliative and hospice care is serene, comfortable, painless (should the patient wish this), supportive, and honoring free will. See link below for details.