I am a palliative care social worker who is rooted in the power of language

CommunicationInterprofessionalPalliative CarePalliative Care Community Specialist

This is part 2 in the series “I am a palliative care social worker….”

While taking input from specialists in this frantic time prior to making the final decision to forgo the surgery, we met with a new-to-us neurologist. This man agreed that surgery would result in extreme limitations (or death) but that mom may make progress in the future if she survived. He could not say what progress (remember, and don’t you ever forget….

“I don’t have a crystal ball.”

He told me, he told my sister, he told my mom’s only sibling, he told my husband, he told us all we could opt for the surgery

“if you’re not ready to throw in the towel yet.”

I have to admit: these words froze me in my tracks. I thought, “it’s true, what harm could it really do to try the surgery?”

We returned to practical matters, to facts, which once again brought the decision against surgery into clear focus. Afterwards I cursed him in my thoughts, in the wee hours at her bedside in the eerie and lonely ICU. What a burden to place on people who love. What a wretched way to imply that we had control, that this was actually a real choice. My mom gave me life and kindled that life in a million ways; to make me feel that I was taking hers was brutal.

I am a palliative care social worker who is rooted in the power of language, and yet I almost got stuck.

Part 3, next week….


If you missed Part 1, you can find it here http://www.cupallcare.org/part-1-palliative-care-social-worker-believes-intrinsically-things-worse-death/



Laurel Eskra Tropeano …After receiving her MSW from New York University,Laurel completed a fellowship in the Department of Pain Medicine and Palliative Care at Beth Israel Medical Center. After moving to Denver and joining the palliative care community, Laurel serendipitously met like-minded social workers with whom she founded The Holding Group – a social work led consultative palliative care agency that currently provides advance care planning to Kaiser Permanente-Colorado members in long term acute care hospitals.  

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