I absolutely loved this conversation with Dr. Ira Byock. He reminds me a lot of a doctor I used to work with at the hospital, he was kind and gentle and did not believe in people dying badly. I worked as a nursing assistant for 10 years on the hospice/oncology ward at the hospital, I started there when I was at the young age of 19. I remember first being terrified of all the death and dying that I saw, but I soon grew to love it. There is something special about Cancer patients, all of them, they always seem to have a positive attitude that rubs off on even the grumpiest of people. My friends used to ask me, "Mag, how do you do it? How can you stand to work with dying people?" I would say, "consider this, the labor and delivery nurses pride themselves on bringing lives into the world, I just happen to enjoy aiding lives out of the world in the most peaceful way I can." My goal in life is to finish up with my nursing degree, I am an LPN now and only allowed to work in clinics, and once I finish I hope to become an important part of the hospice program again. It is my life long dream. It is true what Dr. Byock says that dying is a developmental stage in everyone's life and dying well should be a goal on everyone's list. I have seen many families fight and many come together in these awful times. I have cried with my patients and I have cried with the families trying my best to listen and support them with whatever their needs are. Hospice is the most rewarding program that I feel the medical field has come up with, and I can only hope that it continues on this wonderful path of growing and getting people to go on hospice sooner than the day before they die, because the counseling that is involved with the program, at least the one I worked with, was extremely helpful to patients.
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