by Vickie Watson, Community Relations Specialist

A couple of weeks ago, I went on a camping trip with my family. We knew it would be chilly, sleeping in a tent, so I prepared for the trip by packing air mattresses, a portable heater, and lots of extra blankets. I thought I was adequately prepared. That is until a wrench or two got thrown into the works of my well-laid plans.

The portable heater, which I was certain would provide adequate heat in the small six-person tent, could not bear up against the outside temperatures. This issue alone would have been perfectly fine, if it were not for the fact that the air mattress had a leak, and I ended up laying on the cold ground. It would have awakened the entire campground if I had tried to turn on the air pump in the wee hours of the morning, so in my mind that was not an option. Needless to say, it was incredibly uncomfortable. No matter how many blankets and comforters I layered on, I could not get warm. After several hours of shivering and freezing, I finally remembered I had also packed a heated blanket. What if, I thought, I put the heated blanket under me? It would at the very least cut some of the chill from the cold ground. Ahhhh…that was a brilliant move. Yes, I was still sleeping on the hard ground, but at least I was no longer cold.

Sometimes, when we have a difficult situation and we cannot seem to find an answer that will alleviate the problem, we are at a loss. You know the old saying, “You cannot see the forest for the trees.” We are simply overwhelmed and do not know which way to turn. After my experience with the tent, the heater, and the leaking air mattress, it really got me to thinking about a lot of things where this situation could relate to others. You know how our minds work. One thought produces another thought, which produces another thought and this process continues. Well, my thoughts led me to the difficult decisions our patients and their loved ones have to make.

When our patients/caregivers/families face difficult situations or tough decisions, we have an entire care team standing ready to assist. Sometimes we just need to remember the resources that are at hand – much like my heated blanket. I had something nearby all along that could bring me some relief – some comfort – I just had to realize it was an option and choose to use it.

If you are facing a difficult situation with end of life care – we are here to help.