Lifelong Learning Programme

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Personal Experience

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The last glance

Language: English
Country: Italy
Typology: health care professionals
The experience that I want to tell about is the one of my grandmother and her illness. My grandmother was ninety-three years old and had decided to die at home, which resulted in a radical change in the life of those who had to care for her (including me). The disease that "devastated" my grandmother was a squamous cell carcinoma of the mucous membranes. Its progress was rather fast, and the first sign of it was the deformation of her face. Then, as you can imagine, there was a decline of her general conditions, forcing her to stay in bed and depriving her of the ability to speak (in fact, her only way of communicating was by gestures), creating difficulties in swallowing as well (in fact, she was fed parenterally). I managed to take care of my grandmother until the end in her bedroom "in a very cosy environment for me and for her", thereby strengthening the good relationship that already existed. Similarly to a hospital room, it was basically provided with all the things that might be necessary to take care of her hygiene (in bed), to make the dressings (it was necessary to medicate the tumor mass that had deformed her face several times a day). I had to frequently change her underclothes and monitor her vital signs. As you can imagine given the conditions previously listed, my grandmother suffered a lot, the pain tormented her so much as to make the administration of morphine necessary. I would like to end by saying that I will never forget this experience, because, by remembering it, my mind immediately goes to the last glance my grandmother addressed to me before dying, as she would have liked to thank me for all I had done for her.

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