Palliating time away

To palliate

1. make (a disease or its symptoms) less severe without removing the cause.”treatment works by palliating symptoms”

Similar:alleviate, ease, relieve, soothe, take the edge off, assuage, allay, dull, soften, lessen, moderate, temper, mitigate, diminish, decrease, blunt, deaden, abate

2. 2.
disguise the seriousness of (an offence).

The Palliation phase.

A time comes when you start the count down.

Maybe you run out of steam a little more quickly.

Perhaps you get a bit wobbly on ladders.

Or you just put things off till tomorrow.

Could be disease, could be ageing.

Could be dementia, could be diabetes.

Could be just, well, not really caring any longer.

Someone else can sort that out when I leave by one or other of the exits.

Sometimes a son or daughter will offer to do things.

At first you decline; you can’t admit decline so you try.

A bit later they just do things.

And you know then that the timer is getting close to zero.

Who are you when you can no longer fix that window?

Who are you when you don’t look after your money?

When you sleep more than you wake?

And the garden overgrows, you wear the same socks for two days, and washing up sits on the side?

Who the hell are you?

When your mind is filled with songs and pictures and re-enactments from your twenties?

When you finally stop despairing at what you see around you, and at what you read, and give in to endless absence?

Your world closes in. Others don’t intrude into yours like they used to.

You begin to wither on your vine, wrinkling and aching a little more each day, leaves dropping now and then.


Medicine tends to regard palliative care as the last year of your life.

When you are expected to die.

When does that become obvious, I wonder?

Cancer is pretty obvious, probably. And heart failure. And Parkinsons.

Although every disease starts somewhere before you find it, and every outbreak moves differently.

Do WE know when our last year is beginning?

And if we do recognise the subtle signs, what should we do?

Brain disease is here to stay. It won’t go away. And THEY can’t cure it.

So they palliate.

If we have little pain, what do they palliate?

If we lose the energy to get up and go, what do they palliate?

If we move gently into another world of re-enactments and memories what do they see?

Odd tapping. Rhythms they do not follow. Little snippets of random, one way conversations.

We talk to people we know from years ago, we sing songs from 50 years ago, we try to re-act and change the scenes that haunt us.

We are on our own.

They can only palliate what they see and measure.

But if they know our life story, they may be able to meet us now and then, where we are living.

If they find the time and patience and interest.

2 thoughts on “Palliating time away

  1. So brutally honest and very thought provoking, thank you for opening my eyes and hopefully those of others. I hope there are people in your life who find the time and patience and interest to share and ease your journey. With very best wishes, Barbara


  2. HI George, lovely blog.

    Palliative care comes from the latin for ‘Cloak’ – Pallium So palliative care essentially is wrapping someone up in a cloak which is a nice image and comforting – it’s just HOW that comfort/cloak is wrapped around – life story obviously a great way as you say – and probably easier to do in the cancer field as you mention.

    See you soon in zoomland no doubt


    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s