In India, when the first heavy droplets of rain meet dry earth it releases a particular kind of smell: a dampness arising from sizzling soil that in Bengal we call shnoda gondho. It is raining on the second day we go to visit my grandfather in the hospital. He has been readmitted to the hospital, after spending a week recovering at home from a hospitalization for rib fractures and bleeding into his ...

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One winter afternoon during my first year as a hospice volunteer, I drove slowly through the kind of neighborhood where the only people you see during the day are landscapers, contractors and housecleaning services and where one house is grander than the next. I was looking for the ranch house where Bobby had been living since his diagnosis. Most people I visit, as a hospice volunteer, are my senior by 20 ...

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Perhaps we thought we could get away with ignoring the relationship between doctors and patients. The Kaiser Health News article, "Efforts to Instill Empathy Among Doctors is Paying Dividends," explains why we can’t. Patient satisfaction scores and reimbursements aside, this relationship was once considered the cornerstone of quality care. Doctors are healers but in recent years many have been reduced to diagnosticians, electronic medical records (EMR) data entry clerks, and health ...

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medpagetodayFrom MedPage Today:

  1. OA Patients Don't Face Higher Heart Disease Risk. Neither radiographic nor clinical osteoarthritis (OA) was related to a greater risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) in older patients.
  2. Senators to Providers, Industry: Lobby Harder on End-of-Life Care. A strong coalition is needed to transform care for the dying, said U.S. ...

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Eonia I Mnimi (Eternal Memory)  - Greek Orthodox Funeral Blessing “Have you ever seen anyone die before?” my cousin asked me, from across the bed. “Sure I have, plenty of times,” I answered. We were flanking her father, my uncle (really, my mother’s cousin, but extended Greek families are complicated; suffice it to say that our families are very close). He had just taken his last breath. *** My uncle had been declining for several years with 
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Ever heard of a doula? Doula is an ancient Greek word that translates as “woman who serves.” Specifically, it’s come to mean someone who serves as a birth attendant, a person trained in childbirth who acts in support of a birthing mother. A doula provides knowledge, comfort, and an extra pair of hands -- whether it’s to provide nourishment or massage, or help a mother find a comfortable position. As you may ...

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Thomas Hobbes described life as pitifully “nasty, brutish, and short.” Thanks to the free market and the state, life is no longer a Hobbesian nightmare. But death has become nasty, brutish, and long. Surgeon and writer, Atul Gawande, explores the medicalization of aging and death in Being Mortal. Gawande points to a glaring deficiency in medical education. Taught to save lives and fight death, doctors don’t bow out gracefully and say enough ...

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As I travel around speaking about preparing for peace at the end of life, I have found that there are three pervasive myths about hospice that might cause you to inadvertently rob yourself or your family of a peace-filled end-of-life experience. So, I am taking on the job of myth-buster to clear the air. Here goes: Myth #1: Hospice is a place. While hospice can be a place, it is primarily a service. ...

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In 2010, I became a hospice volunteer. My mother had died of a brain tumor five years earlier at age eighty-seven. I saw being a hospice volunteer as a way to express my gratitude for my mother's compassionate hospice care and to help other caregivers to weather a loved one's passing. And, as a former reporter and writer, I thought I could help people to write their life stories, if they ...

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medpagetodayFrom MedPage Today:

  1. Studies Cement Value of HIV Prophylaxis. re-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) with a single pill prevented HIV infection among more than 85% of two groups of men who have sex with men.
  2. NSAIDs: A Risky Addition to Post-MI Antithrombotics. Adding a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) to antithrombotic therapy after a heart ...

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