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End of life: ‘What will your story be?’

Harold Jordan, Susanna Lund and James Cook are also members of the local care team for patients facing the end of their lives.
Lund is a grief counselor and art therapist who works with Rowan Hospice and Palliative Care. She’s able to use artwork to help patients work through their feelings and emotions.
“Hospice is not a lack of treatment, but a different kind of hope, a different kind of treatment. I think it’s the best-kept secret in Rowan County. I wish it wasn’t.”
Jordan is a chaplain with Rowan Hospice and Palliative Care.
“Have you ever heard the words, ‘I’m sorry but there is nothing else we can do?’” Jordan asked. “You do not have to keep silent. If you ever have to hear those words, hospice care is another means of treatment.
“We offer hope. There is so much we can do. My main concern as hospice chaplain is the emotional health of the patient to enable the patient to live a good life and to die with dignity and without pain.”
Cook, chaplain for Novant Health Rowan Medical Center, also deals with death on a regular basis. He shared end-of-life stories.
“What will your story be like?” he asked.
Cook said that his whole family is open to talking about “anything and everything.”
That included helping his mother complete an advanced directive in 2010. Two years later, she had a stroke.
“In this case,” Cook said, “I was not the chaplain. I was the son.”
His mother recovered, but then had a second, more debilitating stroke.
“It was an emotional thing for all of us,” Cook said, “but she was very clear about her wishes.”
Cook asked his mother if she wanted to continue treatment.
She struck out with her good hand. “No,” was the clear answer.
“At that point, I knew my mother was going to die,” Cook said.
He added, “These conversations for end-of-life care are so important. Share your wishes with your family and friends.”

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