I feel so blessed to live during a time when advances in medical care and technology have helped many to live with or live through life-altering conditions, exceeding disease trajectories by not just weeks, but months and even years. But there comes a point in a serious illness when even the most cutting-edge, technical, and specialized medical interventions do not get us where we want to be.
Early on in my hospice career, I was taught a beautiful lesson: healing does not mean cure. I had a 36 year old patient who was terminally ill with sinus cancer. He had endured several painful and unsuccessful facial reconstruction surgeries which had left his face scarred and bloated. He was married with a teenaged son.
The most important thing to know about my wife, Shirley Weisbrod, is that she has been a remarkable person all of her life.
By age 12 she would head out all alone each Saturday, taking two street cars from her Lawndale neighborhood in Chicago to the Field Museum in order to get lost in their exhibits.
Three years later, she had become a talented seamstress and dress designer, eventually gaining an acceptance letter from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. (Ultimately, however, she attended the University of Illinois, earning a degree in education, and later earned a fine arts degree from the University of Wisconsin.)
Our organization is among several health leaders who are committed to a mission: Breaking the taboo about discussing end-of-life issues.
While our staff makes efforts every day to help people in our community share their advance directives with loved ones, we also recently teamed up with Replogle Center for Counseling and Well-Being this fall to host "Death Over Dinner." This program, which was born out of a separate conference hosted with Repogle last year, is designed to inspire people to talk about often-shunned subjects ― death and the dying proces
The first patient to be admitted to the Marshak Family Hospice Pavilion was a 64 year old married female who was admitted to IPU at Lieberman with metastatic melanoma. She was admitted for management of abdominal pain and for end of life care. She was the first patient transferred from the IPU at Lieberman to the Hospice Pavilion. Her name was Utaiwon Maleegrai and she was my mother.
If I had to sum up the story of my friend, Louis Zamperini, his story is one of survival, suffering, salvation and forgiveness.
I came into his life by happenstance at the end of World War II in 1945, when I was a 21-year-old B-29 pilot tasked with a crew to reach the POW camp where Louis was being held, so we could drop critical food and supplies before the ground troops were able to reach them.
Yizkor, which means remembrance in Hebrew, is Judaism's memorial prayer. It is customary for Jews in mourning to recite this prayer throughout the year.
As part of our Jewish Care Services team, we help host an annual Yizkor Service that is open to any of our Jewish families who have lost a loved one over the past year. Our Yizkor Service provides a safe environment for families to honor their loved ones and the sadness and grief that accompany their loss. The service is led by our Jewish Care Services team, our rabbis, as well as a member of the Bereavement Team.