Dying Death And After

Hospice at home

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.311.7021.1687 (Published 23 December 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:1687
  1. Jane Woyka, general practitionera
  1. aHarrow Health Care Centre, Harrow, Middlesex HA1 4LF

    On Friday 31 December 1993 my husband abandoned his car in heavy traffic and jogged the last three miles to his surgical outpatients session. He collided with a lamp post, fracturing two ribs and sustaining a moderately severe head injury, and was found by a hospital porter, wandering confused near the canal beside the hospital. It was the end of months of lurking anxiety about his health—extreme fatigue had been attributed either to his excessive workload or to our new addition to the family. Three short lived episodes of unilateral visual loss in the summer had not recurred, and although his ophthalmologist was concerned about the finding of optic vein hypertension, magnetic resonance imaging of the brain in September was entirely normal. More alarming were the strange attacks I had witnessed: a metallic taste in the mouth, sweating, terror, and collapse without loss of consciousness. Yet all measurements were normal: pulse the usual 45, blood pressure 130/80, BM sticks normal, reflexes brisk and equal. A general physician consulted in December could find no cause and diagnosed overwork, excessive exercise, and poor eating habits.

    Temporary elation propelled me into Christmas preparations as I gratefully chose presents for my precious husband. But deep suspicion remained and lifestyle changes were not easy to make, so the call from the accident and emergency consultant telling me of Adrian's accident came as no great surprise. I was almost relieved. While I finished my surgery, Adrian's condition deteriorated and computed tomography was performed. Meeting …

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