An example of how pallative care plays a major role in life .
“Merry Christmas .“ He said .
”Merry Christmas “ I answered .
I knew it might be the last Christmas Bill would see .
Between this life and the next he was and palliative care provided comfort as much that was to him .
“Come on and I’ll buy you a pint .“
He looked up from his and laughed . Each giggle made him wince in pain .
“Where odes it hurt ?” I asked .
He started to point to different pats of his body .
I followed his gestures with a caring touch .
When the carol singers arrived at the nursing home I asked if they could make a special visit to his bedside . There he could hear and see them as a group of people in song .
The atmosphere was warm .
It was close to Christmas .
The carol singers brought him a present wrapped up as they were ordered to do by the staff at the home . Outside a taxi cab pulling up and this large man in a red suit got out and made a special appearance in Bills room .
He was no stranger to Bill . As a young lad Bill often wrote letters to Santa .
This year was no different apart from the fact that letter had been written by his son who was part of the company that evening in the room .
Some other members of Bills family had made the journey to see Bill .
It was Christmas Eve and all the lights on the Christmas tree in the nursing home were brightly lit up .
Bill indicated that he wanted get to his feet . I walked over to him and took him by the hand and said ,
“Let me help you .“
He looked at me and said ,
“Hey , aren’t you supposed to be in Washington tonight ?”
“It’s ok . I can go there later . “ I replied .
“I love this time of year ”
He said .
The doctor arrived along with medication to ease Bill’s pain .
“Haven’t you got a home to go to ? “ Bill said .
“I can go there later . Show me where the pain is ?” The Doctor answered .
“I have pain everywhere . “
The doctor gave Bill an injection and almost immediately Bill responded .
“ You can stay as long as you like. You’ve just given me the best Christmas gift I could have asked for . Relief to my pain .“.
The doctor smiled and left the room .
Bill asked for another pillow for his head .
“Well then give me a moment will you. ”
‘For what ?”
I answered .
“A moment alone with my little visitors .“
He said .
“You mean young Michael ?”
”That’s right ?”
Each night for the last six months Bill said he saw these small children in his room . . We never once questioned that .
He said they told him they were from heaven .
He always asked for moments alone when they came .
I remember one evening walking in unexpectedly one night when I was visiting and finding Bill talking away to some imaginary person all about his love for music . Especially the classics .
I was hungry but hated going home to sleep . I felt guilty not being there with him . My stomach often rolled and turning over .
The mental anguish I was putting myself through was a big problem for me .
Bill had been my step father for about twenty years now and I was nervous and him dying .
I had spoken about this problem to the mental health team at the nursing home and they had given me some cassettes to listen to at home .
I know it was my problem but I was learning to cope much better now with the hypnotherapy programs and the support network at the community health clinic . With other arms to help me carry the weight my burden was much easier to carry . I never realised there were so many people out there who can help when a loved one is approaching death .
All you have to do is knock on their door . There is like this army or workers there to look after all of us when we need them .
I returned home and the next day I had a phone call to inform me that Bill
had passed away in his sleep . I went in to the nursing home on Christmas day and as I sat with him there I read some of the Christmas cards that were there by his bedside . I was happy that he died peacefully and without pain .
The journey ahead for me was easier knowing that .