Millie’s Story

Millie is a petite woman who looks younger than her 57 years, but she has a failing heart. Even the smallest amount of physical exertion causes shortness of breath and other symptoms such as arm pain, so her cardiologists brought in the palliative care team.

The team was asked to help manage Millie’s pain and other symptoms and to help her grapple with the knowledge that her heart was losing its ability to pump strongly enough. They were also asked to help her with decision-making.

Millie could go home on her intravenous medication, but neither her son nor her daughter was going to be able to accommodate her needs. This is a common scenario in today’s families, so the palliative care team had to move to plan B – a nursing home. But no nursing home could be found that would accept a patient on this type of medication. What came next? Next, was plan C – living in the hospital.

Millie is now living in the hospital and receiving her medications. With Plan C in operation, the palliative care team has continued to help Millie feel as comfortable as possible and experience the best possible quality of life. This included providing the services of a massage therapist and transforming her hospital room with a beach motif so Millie could feel the freedom that the sea and sand always gave her. With the help of palliative care even her appetite improved! One day Millie said, “I would love some grilled salmon and rice. And if you can find some sugar-free ice cream, that would just be delightful.”