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Platitudes blog #2. Nurses hear this within the hospice enviornment.

It’s no secret that I’m in awe of every one of my patients who have Lou Gehrig’s disease, aka ALS. Personally, I’m pain and lack-of-control averse,. Witnessing my ALS patients is as though I’m watching someone do something that seems impossible; like jumping out of a perfectly good airplane, or voluntarily walking into a venomous […]

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Platitudes: words we say when we’re not thinking.

In this series of blogs, I’m going to break down the scripted sayings we’ve blurted out without thinking. They sound pretty effective and considerate when they’re said in the movies, during a sermon, or in metaphysical conferences. Secretly we want to believe these words, these seemingly perfect phrases of encouragement. While working for the last […]

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The “ouchy” process about writing a book about the hospice dying process

My first version of From Sun to Sun had a different title, and was written in a chronological, reportorial manner. I assumed the reader would come to awareness about the end of life experience through factual stories. But “awareness” was not exactly what people sought. They wanted gentle, honest, non-religious, not dogmatic stories of people […]

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Platitudes: what you say when you can’t think of anything nicer

In this series of blogs, I’m going to break down the scripted sayings we’ve blurted out without thinking. They sound pretty effective and considerate when they’re said in the movies, during a sermon, or in metaphysical conferences. Secretly we want to believe these words, these seemingly perfect phrases of encouragement. While working for the last […]

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How my book dragged me into writing it
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How my book dragged me into writing it

I handed the transcriptionist a Ziploc bag with eight micro-cassettes. She gave me the raised index finger—wait a sec—sign. “We’ll have to get the machine out of the back closet, but I think we can find someone to get these done for you.” I’d been dictating my memorable hospice memories into a hand-held Dictaphone for […]

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That damn fear thing
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That damn fear thing

As I witness my adult children navigate the societal waters, I am more rabid about not allowing someone else to define them. One of my slender daughters sees herself as “a fat beast,” the other as “not fitting the suburban mold,” and my son is doing the “tough guy salesman” stereotype that he feels he […]

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It's Possible to Have Pain Without Suffering
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It’s Possible to Have Pain Without Suffering

I felt badly for my hospice patient. Mr. Stone was in obvious physical pain. When I told him that I felt badly that he was suffering from being in so much pain, his response surprised me. Sitting up, he quietly told me, “Nina. I said I was in pain, I am not suffering.” He challenged […]

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The Beauty of Dementia
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The Beauty of Dementia

I waited. And waited. I believed that if I were patient, my mother would tell me the full story of her childhood, the cause of my sister’s death, and clarify three major details of my childhood in Flushing, New York. I would honor her privacy, not push her into something that may bring her pain. […]

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Life of a hospice nurse
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I am a Hospice Nurse

Do you have a family that expresses itself in a loud, animated and somewhat argumentative style? Does your family keep their emotions in check and a single tear will be a sign of over-the-top expression? Do you come from a different country and want your end-of-life traditions followed strictly? Did your father—who is now actively […]

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The end-of-life and death experiences are spiritual journeys, not religious ones.
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The end-of-life and death experiences are spiritual journeys, not religious ones.

Nope, the end-of-life and death experiences  are NOT what you think it is. To paint the experience in a religious light, aka “you will never die!,” you diminish the sanctity and magic of the event and may cause the dying to suffer greatly; not believing they’ve measured up to the strict standards of the religion. […]

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