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i see dead people
One morning this week as I was headed to the time clock, I scurried toward the elevator so as not to be late and get a demerit. As I rounded the corner the funeral home guys wheeled their velvet draped gurney out toward the hearse waiting at the east entrance on the ground floor over by the morgue. Unless they're unclaimed or there is suspicion of foul play, nobody chills very long at our place because their families are anxious to get them outta there to make arrangements. Many of them never saw it coming, or if they did there was some major denial going on with some of them and precious time was being wasted on hand wringing, treatment plans and projections of life span.

It reminded me of why I fell in love with the concept of end-of-life care improvement years ago. Each patient that we serve is at some turning point on the journey of life. They trust in us as healthcare providers to help them through the scary times and do the right thing for them and their families. Unfortunately, healthcare today is all about making money for stockholders. I have a serious problem with that way of doing business when it comes to the dignity of human life as a commodity.

One of my favorite books on the subject was written by Dr.Ira Byock about his experiences as a physician caring for his terminally ill father. He later began a project in the small rural city of Missoula, Montana to study how everyday people deal with the rituals that accompany death and dying and the social dynamics of families and communities in response to that death, aside from reading obituaries in the newspaper and showing up respectfully at the viewing.

Life is a circle, you know? I've stuck a lot of big fat pregnant women in labor with needles and watched their babies wiggle in their little bonnets and gloves in their respective nursery cribs while I drew blood from their heels. Babygirl was one of them. So were Sara, Jane Carolyn and countless other kids of friends and friends of friends' kids. Sometimes they have to bring them back in for a bilirubin check, all dressed up for their first outing in the infant carrier. Usually there's a nervous granny hovering close by causing mucho anxiety but lots of support for the new mom. Sometimes there's no moral support whatsoever and that's just plain sad in anybody's book.

I have a weekend off and Lord knows I need the sleep. Us old pecan pickers don't do well without some catch-up-with-the-dogs-under-the-blankets time. I'm just sayin...it's how I keep the faith.

Dust In The Wind - Kansas
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