“I will be a miracle.”
In Kenya, Africa, in July 2009, Shearlean Duke had what later proved to be seizures caused by a glioblastoma brain tumor. This was her second year in Kenya as Western Washington University’s faculty escorting Western students to Africa to work with Kenyan high school girls orphaned by AIDS.
Seizures began when she […]
No One’s Prepared for Terminal Caregiving
I was my wife Shearlean Duke’s sole caregiver for the entire 18 months of her battle with glioblastoma brain cancer, and as difficult as that was it has been the highest achievement of my life. I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything; however it’s not something I would recommend to […]
I’d stumbled through 18 months of caregiving without resolving my questions about my rights, duties, authority and entitlements as caregiver to a terminally ill patient. I relied mainly on a sense of outrage, indignation, commitment and protectiveness to sustain me.
Throughout the process itself, I had no time or energy to invoke legislated, approved or negotiated […]
My first visit to my primary healthcare provider’s medical lab for a blood test was a farce, worthy of the Monty Python gang: chaos, confusion, mismanagement and hypocrisy. Of these faults, hypocrisy was the most offensive.
The largest clinic and second largest medical facility in Whatcom County is Family Care Network (FCN), my primary healthcare provider. […]
When I called my pharmacy to refill my blood pressure medication prescription a live person answered. I was so startled I blurted out, “Why are you answering the phone?”
I had autodialed the familiar voicemail phone number for prescription refills at the pharmacy I had patronized for the past eight years.
My beloved pharmacy (because it had […]
The American Cancer Society’s descriptions of caregiving tasks were, I recently found, little more than what one might do for someone with the flu. This discrepancy made me reexamine my own caregiving tasks when caring for my wife, who eventually died from terminal brain cancer.
For example, at cancer.org the Society provided two lists of […]
You don’t own your digital healthcare data and so you (the patient) cannot dictate who can receive it. Instead of negotiating with you about your digital healthcare data, the recipient you choose must negotiate for your data with the hospital that owns your data and its co-owner, the Information Technology (IT) company that provides the […]
Prescribing Suicidal Thoughts
Even before my wife was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2009, my primary care doctor prescribed Prozac for me and then periodically ask me whether I had suicidal thoughts. I thought that was strange and wondered whether I was displaying some behavior that made me suspect. After 2009 I was asked more often […]
For six years I took Pravastatin for high cholesterol, but my cholesterol level remained the same. When I began feeling terrible all over all the time with flu-like symptoms, I remembered the side effects of statins: muscular pain, tiredness and weakness. I was reminded that the drug was recommended for patients with multiple risk factors […]
For two months I had been searching for an audience for a presentation about my book, Waking Up Dying, without any luck.
I had written my book with three audiences in mind: healthcare providers (doctors and nurses), caregivers (friends, family and loved ones of patients) and patients (stricken men and women, mainly with terminal diagnoses).
Free review […]