Thursday, February 18, 2010

Fanastic News!!!!

We are bouncing off the walls around here!

It is news we have been hoping for, waiting for, and praying for.

Our daughter LauraRN will soon be having new letters and a title with her name!

All of us need to rejoice!

This will effect hundreds, nay, THOUSANDS of people's lives!

It could even effect YOU personally!

While we are cheering for other young people right now who are putting their lives into learning how to best slide down mountains and dance on ice...

While we pay millions to see other people play act in movies, and to read all about their lives in magazines...

While we set aside time and money to pursue and participate in traveling, ceremonies, and pleasures...

This young woman, my daughter, is choosing to put years of her life into learning all that she can about things that will matter to all of us who expect to grow old.

While the world celebrates the baby, the child and the beautiful young adults with adorable pictures and stories, the elderly life phase is being quietly re-examined and re-considered by geriatric experts.

There are questions that they are asking that we all should be asking ourselves:

How shall it be to be old?

How shall it be to be old and frail?

How shall it be to be old and needing care?

What will be done for (or about!) you and for me when we become old.

If we as women live to be 90...should we still have our yearly mammograms?

And what if cancer is found....would it be best for us to undergo chemo, radiation, or surgery?

What if we are experiencing age related dementia...will we be OK with the procedures that are needed for a mammogram?

If we are 90, and have a stroke, and are unable to speak or eat, and our heart stops, will administrating CPR still make sense to us?

(Not CPR as portrayed on television...CPR as it is in real life; with the smell of burning electrocuted flesh, the sound of ribs being broken, and needles being punched into a naked and exposed body surrounded by a host of people? And if the heart begins to beat again, each breath will be taken with the hideous pain from the expansion of ribs that will take take months to heal).

Would we rather be pain free and unaware of family that flies in for a final farewell, or awake, and in agony?

When we are old, will our goals be honored? Will we be allowed to die at home if we wish, instead of undergoing another round of treatment in a hospital?

What is "old" anyway? Is it a number, or a state of being? Can you be old at 50? Can you not be old at 85?

Will decisions by us concerning quality of life and quanity of life be honored?

Will our decisions be trumped by the decisions made by others who do not know us?

Who will we be able to trust to help guide us and our families in making decisions concerning final days?

What of those who have no family who cares about them? What of those who gradually lost kin to due to time or distance or family dysfunctions?

I listen to the health care debate, and shudder at the mention of "death panels".

I also shudder at the mention of treatments given to terminally sick elderly who wish to die gracefully, yet endure last ditch efforts to sooth the conscience of family members who want "everything done" when they themselves couldn't be bothered to even call or write or visit in the prior years.

These situations play out all around us. We want to look away...we want to hope that all will be just fine...and we don't really want to think about all this...until the moment that we have to.

As I said at the beginning of this post: Rejoice.

There are people, not many, but a few, who are willing to take up the task of gaining knowledge about these matters, and who will gain wisdom to share, who are willing to pray and hug and listen, and more importantly, are willing to spend time and money to get some letters and a title added to their name that will grant them the right and priviledge to speak out.

Laura will be one of those people.

She has been accepted into a Master's Degree program at Pt. Loma Nazarean University. She will be studying for her Master of Science in Nursing, concentrating on Geriatrics and Pallative Care.

She has worked in America's finest hospitals in ICU units, Oncology wards, and Bone Marrow transplant units. She has participated in delivering the most cutting edge life saving measures.

Now she works in Hospice, seeking to provide what is most important when the life saving measures will not save, when "treatment" can not deliver the "outcome" of cure or relief.

She has always been there for me when I needed a nurse. I am in awe that she will know what I will need as I and those I love age.

There will be at least two years of schooling ahead for her, done while working full time as a Hospice intake nurse, paying her own way, hopefully with scholarships easing the financial burden. (If only she was able to ski or dance well on ice...then she would be getting paid by some corporate sponsor as she learns, instead of paying for her studies herself. Ah well...society's values often defy reason).

Right now she is the person getting paid to be with patients and family as they confront an inevitable truth: Death is certain, yet life remains; goals can be set and comfort can be achieved.

She is paid to be in the room with those adjusting to their new reality.

Those in the room with her are lucky to have her there. For them the moment will pass, but for her there is always another such moment to come. She is ready each time, for each family, for each person.

And because she cares, she is willing to spend some of her life to prepare to know how nurses can care better for all of us in the future.

That's my idea of fantastic news.

That's my idea of cause for rejoicing.

Further reading:

Mammogram/elderly demetia blog post-love this one!

Mammograms and frail elderly/dementia.

More on Mammograms and elderly

Last years of life needs. of the oldest of the old.

Quote about Geriatric Advance Practice Needs:

The need for geriatric advanced practice nurses (APN) is growing as our nation's older adult population continues to expand with baby boomers nearing retirement age. Geriatric APNs are expert nurses prepared at the master's degree level who provide, direct, and influence the care of older adults and their families in a variety of settings. These nurses are uniquely prepared to improve outcomes of care, promote quality of life, and provide comprehensive care for older adults.

Though the need for geriatric nurses has been identified, the number of students pursuing this field of expertise has not expanded sufficiently, nor been distributed appropriately to various geographic regions and health care settings. The reasons behind the lack of student interest include a limited number of master's programs in this area, few scholarship opportunities, and the lack of visible leadership to attract new students to this career path. If we are not successful in recruiting new students into geriatric nursing, we will limit the access to and quality of care available to our aging population.


Lovella ♥ said...

Jill that is indeed fantastic news! I can imagine the pride on the buttons of the parents and the grandparents must be all nearly busting right now.
You have such a giving daughter and her gift with medicine and her natural inclination to put others first will make her perfect for this. . .Congratulations all around!

Anonymous said...

We are just so blessed and proud to have a talented and compassionate granddaughter like Laura. Best of all to have her living near by for advice as we are ageing. Her grandparents D.

Julie said...

Jill.. when you see Laura, give her a hug and tell her I love her for who she is and for what she is giving her life too.. She will be giving gifts that defy definition of worth !
Many, many people will be blessed by and through her !
I'm soo happy that God has put her where He has !!

Sara said...

Congratulations to Laura...this is wonderful news.

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

Congrats to your daughter! You have cause for celebration...for sure. And to think you will have such qualified care as you age...what an added bonus!

May Laura be blessed as she uses her gifts to serve God and others.

myletterstoemily said...

congratulations on such great

our daughter is an RN, also!

i loved your comment about your
husband and son listening to "hatchet"

running wildly said...

Congrats to Laura! Love love love palliative nursing. Once I'm done my stint in ER I will go into oncology or palliative. Those places have always had a special place in my heart. I can totally see why Laura is drawn to it.
I love that you, as her mother, are pleased that she is progressing in her profession not just because she's moving up in the world, but because she chose an area that allows her gentle, kind spirit to blossom. THAT is the real success here. I am so smiling right now.

And thank you for the CPR reality shout out. Seriously. If more people realized what CPR was, I think less would have it done. It's all about educated choice.

Marg said...

Way to go! That is so exciting...That's why we need to keep on sharing the news of our wonderful young people making a difference...I have another piece of news in the waiting for my daughter also....It is so exciting...
Way to go...I love it!
It's like you said, those are two peas in a pod...and they can give so much...and they have the passion.

Vicki said...

Hugs and congratulations to Laura and to her beaming parents!

Heaven forbid, but if/when the day comes that I find myself in need of her specialty, I hope that she's available at least for consultation.

Marg said...

I've been thinking about you all day...I could just feel in your heart how you are championing your daughter....
I just got a letter from my other daugher who's the teacher, with an overwhelming story of how she was to retire from teaching because of working in an inner city school.
Her recovery and where she is heading is so amazing....
I have lost your email...because my computer has been updated over the weeks and I did not have it in my contacts.
Anyways, I could feel your heart so dear...give me your email and I'll tell you my other story.

Just a little something from Judy said...

Congratulations to your gifted daughter! You all must be so proud of her and thankful that she has chosen to make such an important contribution to society. I was quite impressed as I read down through this post. Having some dear elderly friends in my life now, I appreciate all that she has gone through and is continuing to go through, that will be helpful in guiding them through the last years of their earthly life. You must be so proud of her!

Kathy said...

This is good news! We need smart and caring people in these fields. I don't think old people are that popular as a group - sad to say in our culture. That makes Laura's new all the more to be celebrated!