Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole


DEAR HARRIETTE: A friend asked me to do a huge favor for him, and, as usual, I did it right away. Did he send me a thank-you note or even pick up the phone to call? Exactly. I am so miffed. He could at least have acknowledged that I did what he asked. How do I address this without blowing up? -- Hurt, Westchester, N.Y.

DEAR HURT: Wait until you calm down. It is not wise to scold anyone when you are upset.

Once you have cooled off, reach out to your friend and tell him that you did what he asked and that you are not happy he failed to complete the circle. He likely will apologize at that point, for whatever that will be worth after the fact.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I read the response about hospice from "Compassionate Nurse," and, as a hospice volunteer for more than 15 years, I would like to add some thoughts.

First, I want to say that the nurses, in my opinion, are the angels of palliative care and hospice services. They deal with the patients day in and day out and can give the families the most accurate information about their loved ones.

To me, the essence of hospice care is the support and compassion the system gives to the patients and families. I believe that most people think death is an event. This is true when one dies of a heart attack, brain aneurysm, etc. Otherwise, death is a process over time, and this is where hospice can guide the family and loved ones.

Hospice is there to give as much support as requested, including emotional support, answers to questions and medical equipment for comfort. Remember that hospice care can be in the home or at a hospice facility.

The person in need has many choices today. There are for-profit and nonprofit palliative and hospice care organizations. I belong to a nonprofit one, which by state law must have at least 5 percent volunteer participation to keep its status. I am not saying one is better than the other, but I am suggesting that people contact more than one in order to obtain the best care for the person in need.

Another important aspect of hospice is the bereavement support most offer after the loved one has passed on. The survivors learn and experience that there is no wrong way to grieve and that to be human is to grieve. The pain of the loss never goes away; one just learns to manage it better. -- Hospice Volunteer, Chicago

DEAR HOSPICE VOLUNTEER: Thank you for adding your insight to this conversation. I believe many readers and I have learned a lot about the role of hospice and palliative care, thanks to the many people who have written to me to clarify what actually happens during this tender time in a family's life.