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  • FIRST POST
    • Treehugger321
    • By Treehugger321 15th Mar 17, 7:17 PM
    • 12Posts
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    Treehugger321
    Help me get some perspective
    • #1
    • 15th Mar 17, 7:17 PM
    Help me get some perspective 15th Mar 17 at 7:17 PM
    An old friend is dying, and is coping very well with it. Time frame is a few years according to her doctors. Last weekend she went out with some other friends (people I dislike intensely because they are shallow, nasty and full of their own self importance) One of them who is a nurse but not practicing, took her to one side and told her that the time frame was just the hospital being kind and that she must know that it would actually be "months" and that she should give thought to getting a hospice place as she didn't want to be a burden on her husband and kids. She was stunned but shrugged it off.

    When she got home her mood went downhill and now she is taking about autumn funerals, and asking is she a burden on her family. I have never been so angry, my friend says it wasn't said maliciously.....I just can't tell you how much I hope Karma gets this horrible, nasty woman. My friend is now sitting at home, alone all day dwelling on this when previously she had been handling it all really well.

    . I keep going over it and wondering what she wanted to achieve by saying it, what her motive was and I can't come up with anything positive. Even if, god forbid, it is true, what purpose does it serve telling her before her doctors do so. In my experience they are not slow in doing so when it is necessary. I feel like ringing her up and tearing a strip off her and making her see what her actions have caused, but it is really not my place. My friend hasn't told her grown up kids either and I know if they knew they would go crazy, but again it is not my place to tell them either. But I so, so want to.

    I know no one can help, I just wanted to vent
Page 1
    • Poppy3008
    • By Poppy3008 15th Mar 17, 7:46 PM
    • 82 Posts
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    Poppy3008
    • #2
    • 15th Mar 17, 7:46 PM
    • #2
    • 15th Mar 17, 7:46 PM
    My goodness - what a terrible thing to do. I am a nurse and I would NEVER say such a thing to someone in that situation, and actually unless you know the exact details of their disease then you really don't know. I don't believe the medical staff told your friend years and meant months. They do not mince their words in these circumstances. When my brother in law a was dying the dr told him he had months. I have never heard of medical staff lying about time frames. In reality no one really knows how long someone has. It's not an exact science but based on educated information.
    I agree this woman has behaved appallingly. I'm very glad to hear she is not a practising nurse. However 'well meaning' she meant to be. And why should she go to a hospice - if your friend wants to be at home, she should. It's no ones business but hers and her families! Yes, she may well want to plan her funeral (my brother in law did before he was told the final news) but again, her business! Now I'm angry!! Vent away!!
    • Grumpygit
    • By Grumpygit 15th Mar 17, 8:56 PM
    • 300 Posts
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    Grumpygit
    • #3
    • 15th Mar 17, 8:56 PM
    • #3
    • 15th Mar 17, 8:56 PM
    I don't post a lot, more of a lurker but blimey............words fail me.

    With "friends" like that who needs enemies - really.....I mean what the hell was that woman thinking!

    If your friend was upbeat and coping what a way to kick her down and make sure her remaining time is spent in misery and guilt at possibly being a burden to her family.

    I would be angry as well and I am on your behalf!

    I'm sorry for what your friend is going through and you sound like a very supportive person and she is lucky to have you around her.

    Jeez....some people......
    • lika_86
    • By lika_86 15th Mar 17, 9:29 PM
    • 1,023 Posts
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    lika_86
    • #4
    • 15th Mar 17, 9:29 PM
    • #4
    • 15th Mar 17, 9:29 PM
    I'm not defending this woman but you asked for perspective. You weren't there and are only hearing about this second hand, so whilst it doesn't sound good, it may have been conveyed differently to the way it was conveyed to you.

    Life expectancy is normally a median, so this woman may be right, it may be less time and it may be more. I would imagine that most people would rather be prepared for less and have more than be prepared for more and have less.

    If this woman's a nurse then maybe she has experience of caring for someone who was terminally ill. It's not how it's depicted in films or on TV, people often end up in a lot of pain and sometimes aren't who they used to be. Some people would rather not have their adult children or partner caring for them at home, helping them go to the loo, shower, feed them etc. Maybe this woman was trying to get your friend to think about the realities and plan for it while she can and while she has a choice about expressing those wishes.

    Like I say, I'm not defending this woman or what she said, but offering one possible interpretation.
    • London50
    • By London50 15th Mar 17, 10:52 PM
    • 1,297 Posts
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    London50
    • #5
    • 15th Mar 17, 10:52 PM
    • #5
    • 15th Mar 17, 10:52 PM
    IMO if people are coming towards the end of their life for whatever reason {age or illness}surely ANYONE with an ounce of kindness in them would not say that type of thing to another person.
    We all will pass away sometime but surely it is wrong to even hint that it is going to come far sooner that has been suggested by a personal doctor.Even if a suggestion is made to {at least} some type of "bucket list" at least that if far better than saying things about being a burden to their family.
    The "friend" IMO was totally out of order and {as it shows} this is now playing on the persons mind. I can now understand why this country will not pass the law to allow assisted dying if there are people around that take this type of stand.
    • Treehugger321
    • By Treehugger321 15th Mar 17, 11:09 PM
    • 12 Posts
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    Treehugger321
    • #6
    • 15th Mar 17, 11:09 PM
    • #6
    • 15th Mar 17, 11:09 PM
    Thank you all. No, I wasn't there, but my friend relayed the events to me quite baldly, and even defended the woman. I think it was only after she got home that the words began to sink in and she started to think that being in the NHS maybe she knew what she was talking about. What incensed me was that my friend didn't think it was said maliciously, but, try as I might, I simply couldn't find a motive that didn't fit that scenario.
    • unholyangel
    • By unholyangel 15th Mar 17, 11:32 PM
    • 10,492 Posts
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    unholyangel
    • #7
    • 15th Mar 17, 11:32 PM
    • #7
    • 15th Mar 17, 11:32 PM
    Thank you all. No, I wasn't there, but my friend relayed the events to me quite baldly, and even defended the woman. I think it was only after she got home that the words began to sink in and she started to think that being in the NHS maybe she knew what she was talking about. What incensed me was that my friend didn't think it was said maliciously, but, try as I might, I simply couldn't find a motive that didn't fit that scenario.
    Originally posted by Treehugger321
    Some people are just insensitive rather than malicious - the effects may be there but the intention isnt.

    However I'd perhaps suggest (in a subtle manner) that doctors are far more qualified & experienced to advise on her condition than nurses are (not trying to downplay nurses, they do a great job but its like a 3rd year law student thinking they know better than the countrys top QCs).

    However she should make preparations while she is able. The people I've known to be given a limited amount to time to live all seemed to deteriorate really quickly towards the end (the interim wasn't all roses, but in the end went downhill really fast).
    Money doesn't solve poverty.....it creates it.
    • Pop Up Pirate
    • By Pop Up Pirate 16th Mar 17, 7:53 AM
    • 508 Posts
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    Pop Up Pirate
    • #8
    • 16th Mar 17, 7:53 AM
    • #8
    • 16th Mar 17, 7:53 AM
    Thank you all. No, I wasn't there, but my friend relayed the events to me quite baldly, and even defended the woman. I think it was only after she got home that the words began to sink in and she started to think that being in the NHS maybe she knew what she was talking about. What incensed me was that my friend didn't think it was said maliciously, but, try as I might, I simply couldn't find a motive that didn't fit that scenario.
    Originally posted by Treehugger321
    Why not just take your friends word for it and accept that it wasn't a malicious deed?
    • FBaby
    • By FBaby 16th Mar 17, 8:47 AM
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    FBaby
    • #9
    • 16th Mar 17, 8:47 AM
    • #9
    • 16th Mar 17, 8:47 AM
    No, I wasn't there, but my friend relayed the events to me quite baldly, and even defended the woman.
    You don't know how accurately she relayed what she heard. The fact she defended her is quite an clue that indeed, it wasn't said without thought, and maybe she did misinterpreted what was said.

    Also, although it is likely that the conversation had an impact on her, you can't associate it directly to her mood taking a nose dive. People facing death go through an array of emotions and these can come and go very quickly.

    Frankly, I think you are wasting your energy with anger. Be there and support your friend your way and let the other one be there in the way she thinks is good. Your friend is still fully capable to decide who she wants to hang around with and if she feels angry, then I'm sure she can make the decision to avoid her from now on.

    Being angry on someone else behalf can come across as undermining them so be careful how you express it to your friend.
    Last edited by FBaby; 16-03-2017 at 1:46 PM.
    • gsymoo
    • By gsymoo 16th Mar 17, 8:51 AM
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    gsymoo
    My close friend was diagnosed terminal ill and I know no medical professional 'sugar coated' how long she had left.

    I assume she is being seen regularly by a medical team so the only thing I suggest is she discusses the woman's comments with them as they maybe able to put her mind at rest.

    While it would be tempting to contact the ex-nurse and ask if she had any idea the harm her 'helpful' comments did, I'm sure that would only result in her re-contacting your ill friend and causing more trouble and stress.
    • paddy's mum
    • By paddy's mum 16th Mar 17, 8:52 AM
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    paddy's mum
    [QUOTE=unholyangel;72258454]Some people are just insensitive rather than malicious - the effects may be there but the intention isnt./QUOTE]

    For me, this is the heart of the matter - unbelievably tactless, rather than sheer out-and-out nastiness.

    Classic 'the wrong thing but done for the right reasons' in my view.
    • justme111
    • By justme111 16th Mar 17, 8:56 AM
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    justme111
    Dying is not something our western brain can cope with well. So my guess is there could be head in the sand chilled approach or a complete emotional meltdown when the reality dawns on one while making necessary preparations depending on a day you catch them. You sound very emotional and somehow blaming some friend for your friend feeling bad. She does not feel bad because of what whoever said, she feels bad because she is facing death! May be addressing practicalities is what made a shift in her mood.
    Death is a big thing for a mind to cope, no need to add anger into it.
    • peachyprice
    • By peachyprice 16th Mar 17, 10:22 AM
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    peachyprice
    Whilst extremely unprofessional of this woman to pass comment when she has no access to her medical records and has nothing to do with her care, it doesn't sound as if it were said with malice.

    Perhaps you could help your friend by encouraging her to contact her own medical team who know her and her case very well for reassurance that they are being honest with her. I would hate to think of this poor lady waking up every morning for the next few months thinking today could be her last when in fact she has a lot longer based on the careless words of this person who was not qualified to pass comment on her individual circnmstances.
    Accept your past without regret, handle your present with confidence and face your future without fear
    • TBagpuss
    • By TBagpuss 16th Mar 17, 11:18 AM
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    TBagpuss
    It was wildly inappropriate and unprofessional, and I think it is highly unlikely that your friend's doctor or othre medical professionals are lying to her.

    Since she is clearly upset and affected by it, I would sugggest to her that she speak to her own doctor, explain explicitly hat was said and ask whether they can clarify what they think and why, to put her mind at rest.

    I would also remind her that her 'friend' does not have access to her medical records or details and, particuarlly as she is not practicing, is unlikely to have up to date information about the condition or current treatments.
    • pjcox2005
    • By pjcox2005 16th Mar 17, 11:45 AM
    • 409 Posts
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    pjcox2005
    Going against the grain but it seems perfectly reasonable to me if said in the right way and well intentioned.


    If indeed it is a median given, then perhaps as a nurse she sees people regularly caught unaware when their condition deteriorates. She's simply advising, that it would be sensible to consider the ultimate care they'll need and their preferences now, when they are able so that it's not an issue for them or family at a time where the focus will be on other things.


    It may also be that prompt to not have a false sense of time if they were holding back on doing something they really wanted or saying something to a loved one.


    Yes, its resulted in a lower mood, but if she is right and they've potentially got less time, then I would expect a person who sorted things earlier may be quite grateful of the impact when the time does come.
    • justme111
    • By justme111 16th Mar 17, 12:45 PM
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    justme111
    The nurse in question was not dealing with the friend in a professional capacity hence calling her "unprofessional " is incorrect.
    • Red-Squirrel
    • By Red-Squirrel 16th Mar 17, 1:00 PM
    • 597 Posts
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    Red-Squirrel
    However I'd perhaps suggest (in a subtle manner) that doctors are far more qualified & experienced to advise on her condition than nurses are (not trying to downplay nurses, they do a great job but its like a 3rd year law student thinking they know better than the countrys top QCs).
    Originally posted by unholyangel
    Sorry, this is not quite on the topic but I just feel I have to correct this misconception.

    Nurses work in similar environments, but they are not just junior versions of doctors, its an entirely different profession with different skill sets.

    A senior nurse with many years of experience in palliative care or oncology would be an expert and would have a much greater understanding of issues relating to that area than a doctor who has spent most of his career in say orthopaedics or dermatology.

    I'm not saying that the nurse in this case acted correctly, its impossible to say from a third hand account and it does sound like she was insensitive at best and harmful at worst, but your post displays a common misunderstanding.
    • unholyangel
    • By unholyangel 16th Mar 17, 3:51 PM
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    unholyangel
    Sorry, this is not quite on the topic but I just feel I have to correct this misconception.

    Nurses work in similar environments, but they are not just junior versions of doctors, its an entirely different profession with different skill sets.

    A senior nurse with many years of experience in palliative care or oncology would be an expert and would have a much greater understanding of issues relating to that area than a doctor who has spent most of his career in say orthopaedics or dermatology.

    I'm not saying that the nurse in this case acted correctly, its impossible to say from a third hand account and it does sound like she was insensitive at best and harmful at worst, but your post displays a common misunderstanding.
    Originally posted by Red-Squirrel
    Apologies, that was not the intention of my post (which is why I said I wasn't trying to downplay nurses or the job they do).

    Generally I would agree with you - indeed there are things nurses can do better than doctors. But in these specific circumstances the most reliable advice is that which comes from her doctor who is actually providing her care and not a nurse who has no professional connection to it (ignoring the fact the doctor will be experienced in that field where this nurse may not be).


    However, I suspect that rather than the nurse disagreeing with what the doctor has said, he/she has perhaps been trying to highlight that being given 6 months (for example) to live, doesn't mean those 6 months will have a good quality of life where she will be able to go on cruises/fulfil her bucket list.

    If he/she was actually disagreeing with the doctor with either no relevant experience/medical records of the patients condition then imo that is certainly unprofessional of them and I'd be uneasy receiving any health care or advice from such an individual.
    Money doesn't solve poverty.....it creates it.
    • tooldle
    • By tooldle 16th Mar 17, 5:03 PM
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    tooldle
    My experience is that the NHS will only be very frank with a patient about life expectancy, if the patient asks them to be. Most patients are not able to deal with the frank approach.
    • tensandunits
    • By tensandunits 17th Mar 17, 3:34 PM
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    tensandunits
    One of them who is a nurse but not practicing, took her to one side and told her that the time frame was just the hospital being kind and that she must know that it would actually be "months" and that she should give thought to getting a hospice place as she didn't want to be a burden on her husband and kids.
    Originally posted by Treehugger321
    It's certainly not unheard of for nurses to have a nasty streak. Thank goodness she's no longer practising. I think it's an awful thing to say to a friend, whether true or not.
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