The Ups and Downs of Being a Palliative Care Patient Coordinator

 

Are we a society overflowing with compassion, love and understanding?

The negativity broadcasted by the nightly news might convince you that we’re not. If you had of asked me 12 months ago, I probably would have agreed. Here’s what has changed.

I’ve been a palliative care patient coordinator for almost 12 months, and it’s not all about the medicine. It’s actually a lot about love. You might think that dealing with death each day would be quite dismal. It’s not. Is it sad? Yes. Difficult? At times, but here’s the twist.

I am lucky enough to speak with a plethora of amazing people each and every day. The stories they share are sad, I often have to smother my tears. However, the stories are also so drenched in love and compassion that it’s actually more heartening than disheartening working in end of life care. The conversations continuously shine a light on the beautiful nature of pets, but also on the beautiful and compassionate nature of their owners.

I hear the pain and grief in people’s voices when they struggle to explain that they feel it’s time to say goodbye to their pet.

I hear the beautiful plans people make for their pet’s final days to ensure they are spoiled and shown as much love as possible.

There are stories of adult children flying in from interstate at late notice to be there to say goodbye.

There are stories of owners who take leave from work to become their pet’s fulltime carer when their four-legged friend is struggling.

I hear stories of people rescuing pets that have nowhere else to go. Of people going above and beyond to ensure their pet is given the best.

Not every story is incredibly grandiose, not everyone shows the love they have for their pet in the same way. But I can promise you that in every single phone call the care and compassion people have for their pets shines through. Gandhi said that ‘The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.’ Admittedly there is still huge room for improvement. But from the perspective of a palliative care patient coordinator, we’re not doing too badly.