Graham Greene once said, “writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose, or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic and fear which is inherent in a human situation.”
For the first time in U.S. history, a person is more likely to die from an accidental overdose than a motor vehicle crash. That is the chilling analysis of the National Safety Council as deaths from drug overdoses climbed above 70,000 in 2017 – more than all the Americans who died in the Vietnam War.
Physical pain at end of life is easy to recognize and the treatment plan is clear. However, when a patient is suffering from emotional or spiritual pain at end of life, treatment isn’t as easy as writing a prescription.
Physicians have been given a gift. Through their intellect, education, and hard work, they have the power to heal people. For physician Atul Gawande, it was humbling to learn that none of this prepared him or his colleagues for the patients they couldn’t heal.
Disasters can happen to anyone at any time. Hurricanes, tornados, flooding, and blizzards can become deadly. Fire can require emergency evacuations. We all need to prepare for these types of disasters, but those with a serious chronic illness need to take extra precautions.
After the heat of summer, the cooler temperatures of fall can be a welcome relief. If a loved one with dementia has stayed inside with the air conditioning, they can now enjoy outdoor activities and get in some walks in the fresh air.