Tuesday, April 28, 2009

end of life care

kingston general hospital
Originally uploaded by Julep67
I always carry a camera with me wherever I go. Sometimes I have my big Nikon but I always have a small point and shoot olympus with me.

Whenever Joe would be in the hospital (and during the last few years of his life he was in and out of hospital a few times a year), inevitably, we'd spend hours waiting. Waiting to find out what was wrong, waiting to find out "what's next" and, in the end, waiting with him for the end of his life to come.

I often took photos in the hospital. I felt that I needed to be stealth about it though as I felt that the nurses might not appreciate me snapping shots. In retrospect, they probably wouldn't have cared but I always did it quickly. I took several photos of Joe over the last two days he was in the hospital. I didn't want to publish them online because it felt too personal to share but I did publish photos of things and stuff from his room. This photo, I took during his first night in palliative care.

Yesterday, I had a note from the folks at WBUR about my photo: "We've used your image for an online companion to our radio documentary series, Inside Out. It is called "Quality of Death, End of Life Care in America". We're basically covering the challenges in America to proper end of life planning and a "respectful death." We loved your image and we feel it helped us convey the seriousness of the topic visually. "

I was flattered that they used it. I wish that they had contacted us before though, I think we could have contributed to the discussion, given what we went through with Joe's last time in the hospital. For something that we'll have to deal with eventually, it's certainly not something folks talk about very often.

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