Monday, 17 May 2010


One of the smells of winter is hot milo. The malty chocolatey smell, rich but not oversweet. Made on boiling water and topped up with milk to preserve tongues. Cinnamon toast cut thick and spread with butter. The granules of sugar crunching in my teeth with each bite.

I love the way that when you raise the mug to your lips, the steam condenses on your nose, tickling with warmth before cooling. Making me rub my nose in between sips and trying not to giggle.

The slight graininess of the milo between teeth is unique as well, different to the smoothness of hot chocolate. I fell in love with hot chocolate when I was in Switzerland, in particular a brand called Caotina that used to be served to me in small sachet with a cup of hot milk and a spoon. I would buy it and a baba au rhum (chocolat). I still feel let down whenever I order hot chocolate in Australia - it's never the same.

Work was hard today. One of my favourite patients died over the weekend. It was not a bad death, but I need to move on. I need to remember that some patients will go home not just to die. I am no longer surprised by any bad news. I expect every CT scan to show cerebral mets. It's not always healthy.

I packed off one lady today to an inpatient palliative care service today. She's been in and out since I started and she's not got many days left. She was sweaty when I popped in to say goodbye. I didn't have to see her, but I've been her consistent care provider and I wanted to. She was drowsy and sick. Pain controlled ok, but the pay off being hypodelirium.

The sweat was beading over her forehead, running down in little rivuets along her hairline. I asked her about it, and it was if she had just noticed. But grateful that I'd mentioned it, she said she was hot. So I fetched her fan and put it on low to cool her. Found a washer and wetted it and sponged the sweat from her forehead. Wiped the rivulets along her hairline and dabbed under her eyes.

She's not that much older than me. She has a son who is still at school. And she's dying. It saddens me a little that I've lost my naivete there. No longer believe in miracle cures or assume that we have drugs to treat everything. But I'm glad that I could still do something today that she appreciated. Even if it was just holding her hand and wiping her face. It's not technically in my job description, but I like it.

And it makes me appreciate the small things too. Like curling up on my beautiful couch, a blanket around my knees and sneezing as the hot chocolate vapour tickles my nose.


Mothership said...

Ahh Jenn. It is indeed those little things that are so incredibly big. What more could you have done but help her to feel human, for even just a while? You treated the person today; not just the symptoms or the disease (and THAT will be what continues to set you apart from the rest).

LoganO_Kellam1 said...
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偉軍 said...
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嘉宏 said...
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Melissa said...

God, I wish my mother's stay in Palliative care (just days) had seen her gifted with someone like you, Jenn.


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