Gordon “Gord” Downie, lead singer for the Canadian pop/rock band, The Tragically Hip, died October 17, 2017 of glioblastoma multiforme brain cancer at age 53. Diagnosed in May 2016, Downie was mourned throughout Canada as the loss of a national music treasure. Downie’s death spurred wide publicity about the nature of glioblastoma brain cancer and […]
As I look back on my 2015 cervical spine surgery I’m still distressed with what a heart stopping experience it was. Really!
Thinking of images of my late wife Shearlean’s brain surgery and the concept of them operating on my spine through my throat from the front of my neck were unnerving enough. But in preparing […]
Finding the Whatcom County Medical Society
From the 19th century to the 21st century things have changed drastically. Though executive director April Montiel professes that the medical society relies on email for communication, it doesn’t seem to have mastered the Internet yet.
Currently, depending on where and how you search online (I’m exclusively Google) the following is […]
“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 […]