INSIGHTS ON DEATH & DYING: Playing a supporting role

May 2005 
Volume 35  Number 5
Pages 24 - 24
  PDF Version Available!


  • Figure. No caption a...

  • Over the past few months, I've become friendly with an older couple, Tom and Marie, who live up the street. Although he isn't having debilitating symptoms yet, Tom knows that he has cancer that's metastasized to his liver. He and Marie understand that the prognosis is poor .

    Because I'm a nurse, they've turned to me for support. How can I help Tom while he's still feeling well? —M.A., ARK.

    Stay friendly. As you know, liver cancer can cause nasty symptoms such as jaundice, ascites, and bleeding. Because Tom is still feeling well, I'd encourage him and his wife to take advantage of this interlude by enjoying activities that require energy now, before Tom's strength starts to wane.

    Visit frequently, sharing the same activities and conversation you have in the past. As you walk the fine line between treating Tom “normally” as a friend and hovering as a nurse, you ...

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