Exceptional Care: A Case Study, Part 6, Jane’s Decision

By | May 11, 2011

Jane is the kind of patient that we all dream about treating and the fact that Jane did as well as she did probably has more to do with her than with me. She is a woman for whom cancer is an inconvenience, an impediment to be circumvented. Jane already knew that her cancer was incurable. She has had a long, productive and satisfying life, but there were still things that she wanted to do. Jane was still deeply involved in serving her local community and while she didn’t focus on how long she would live, she was hopeful that the time she had left would be pleasant and productive. She had all kinds of questions, but this time not so much about fears or concerns she had about the therapy, but about how quickly I thought that she could resume her normal committee, board and leadership duties. My comment that she could start this afternoon as long as she didn’t pull out the catheter or get it wet was met with a wry smile. Jane was getting used to the fact that it was very difficult for me to remain serious for more than 30 seconds at a time.

Jane said that she had decided to go ahead with the permanent implantation and wanted to know how soon it could be done and what the recovery would be like. I told her that I had expected this decision and had tentatively booked her for 7 AM the next Tuesday at Glendale Adventist Medical Center Ambulatory Surgery Unit. I told her that the procedure to implant the pump would be done under local anesthesia with light sedation and would take about 45 minutes. Her total stay at the ASC should be less than 4 hours. I told her that she would probably feel a bit sore and under the weather for a couple of days, but that she could probably handle a full calendar by the following Monday. This was greeted with the same wry smile and the question, “Really?” I nodded and told her that I was being serious again, but couldn’t promise how long it would last.

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