Category : Blog

smoke-and-screens-of-suburbs
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The Smoke and Mirrors of the Suburbs

It was a family that lived on a three-acre property in a suburb outside Philadelphia. When you drive along the shoulder-less roads, you pass the public schools displaying permanent banners that brag how they are a “Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.” The student parking lots are filled with Range Rovers, Lexus’ and BMW’s; the teachers […]

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Addicted to the Next Best Thing
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Addicted to the Next Best Thing

When our three children did well, their father would tell them “There’s always room for improvement.” The doctor I work for has worn a rubber band around his left wrist for at least thirty years. He snaps it all day reminding himself not to get comfortable and to keep striving for a higher standard. Seven […]

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The-Cut-Flower-Lessons_Blog-by-Nina-McKissock
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The Cut Flower Lesson

I usually sit next with my patients when I have the luxury to write handwritten narrative notes or add an item to the constantly burgeoning lists of supplies for things we need to care for our hospice patients.  Today I chose to sit next to a lovely woman who was admitted two days ago. I […]

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Don't choose your life; live it - Nina Mckissock blog
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Don’t choose your life; live it.

Do you really think that you can choose the life you want? You can choose your belief system and control how you see your life, but you can’t control it. Three beliefs you may tell yourself are: “I blame…” or “I’m entitled to….” or ” I deserve…” Well, guess what? They’re myths. It’s just like […]

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Shit's gotten real Nina Mckissock blog
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Shit’s gotten real.

Recently, a dedicated, loving sister-in-law who visited her dying brother-in-law for hours every day asked, “How do you do this work? I’d be crying all the time.” Let’s see; I think I’ve been asked this about five million times. My kneejerk response is “Oh yeah, I’m just an unfeeling, cold-hearted bitch who enjoys torturing herself […]

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Perhaps he fell on his own sword, blog by author Nina McKissock
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Perhaps he fell on his own sword

My team and I take care of at least ten patients a day who are actively dying and are approved by the algorithm of their insurance provider to be within six months of their death. They come from all walks of life. Some look like junkyard dogs whose bodies have been through absolute hell: old […]

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When doing less is doing more. My dying sisters advice.

Six months before my sister died, she agreed to record her thoughts as her health dwindled and ended. I wish I could play them for you, but what she says is opposite the massively expensive investments we’re making in End of Life and chronically ill (Palliative) care. Do we health practitioners really have the courage […]

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singapore-hockey-umpire-nina-mckissock
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Oh c’mon; I’m not a bummer.

I anxiously flipped my pen between my fingers, talking myself out of the feeling to pee. I was on hold for a half hour waiting to be a contestant on a popular radio show, Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me. Tom Hanks was the guest host tonight and as I listened in, the famous comedians on […]

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Are we ever really known?

The photo is of my gloriously intelligent, gorgeous, gentle and quick-witted sister. She died in 2015. I’ve been thinking a lot about whether I truly knew her. As a hospice nurse, I serve families and friends as they are saying goodbye to someone they care about. I cherish the time when one of my hospice […]

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Helping compared to Serving, blog by Nina Mckissock
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Helping compared to Serving

As many of you know, I honor the Being a Compassionate Caregiver teachings of Frank Ostaseski. He’s simply a volunteer, a layman, a practicing Buddhist. But there is nothing “simple” about his ferocity and curiosity about the dying experience. I’d like to share bits of his lectures. His perspectives are profoundly right. I know this […]

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