chapter  1
19 Pages

The communication of palliative care

From Millicent Kramer, a fictional character in Philip Roth’s Everyman, who has had three surgeries for back pain, each one making her pain worse:

I can’t take the pain anymore. It overrides everything. I think sometimes that I can’t go on another hour. I tell myself to ignore it. I tell myself it doesn’t matter. I tell myself, “Don’t engage it. It’s a specter. It’s an annoyance, it’s nothing more than that. Don’t accord it power. Don’t cooperate with it. Don’t take the bait. Don’t respond. Muscle through. Barrel through. Either you’re in charge or it’s in charge-the choice is yours!” I repeat this to myself a million times a day … , and then suddenly it’s so awful I have to lie down on the floor in the middle of the supermarket and all the words are meaningless. Oh, I’m sorry, truly. I abhor tears (p. 89).