Hirschhausen to visit in the hospice: The second life begins when you get it, you only have one

When the candle is burning in the niche on the landing in St. Hildegard, is even a bit quieter about the stages: There’s someone died. People come here – to die or to accompany people who are dying here. For three days I was allowed to be a guest in this house, in one of the oldest hospices in Germany. From an old Bochum industrial Villa a place the people here would be made. And justice. Because we all must die.

Me has changed this encounter with death. In medical school, I was fueled for six years, with facts about anatomy, biochemistry, and medicine customer. Ultimately, fact can knowledge not save anyone from death. With this brutal insight, but we have to face as future Doctors, never seriously. Was die: accident, side effect. And for some, even an insult to the medical art. A, died, he had not kept all the wise advice and therapy plans. Death so, this was something that had to prevent by all means.

He was the enemy. The whole imagery of the cancer, for example, has fight to the subject. The doctor and the Patient win or lose. I think that’s wrong. A person who is dying is not per se a loser. And we (are going to win this “fight” like for the past 30 years, always claimed to be) in the next five years: cancer is also a symptom of old age. When we are older, does that mean that More people die with cancer, but it is not automatically cancer.

In St. Hildegard, I realize, as my antrainiertes Know – but what a nothing! – help: I would like to know before I learn in here know of someone really, only the diagnosis. What “has” probably because of this man? Whatever went wrong in his biology?

Time to Time I experience that these questions be of interest for anyone here big. Sister Denise smiles at me, with a mixture of pity and understanding. For years, she has worked in intensive care, until she made the radical step to maintain people without hoses. And intensively to engage with them. She is a good teacher and sent to me without a medical history into the room. “Relax, this is not so important. Meet the people just like that.”

After all, I’ve got all my senses, you should be enough for what counts here is obviously, what a person “has”, but what he is. What he needs, wants, what is really important now. It goes in the hospice, to encounter, to Would to authenticity. People who know how precious the time is, otherwise, no more desire.

Strangely, in almost every hospital run, on the wall screwed on, round-the-clock television. Screwed, so as no one steals. On the wall, so that nobody can trip over the cable. And compared to the patient’s head so that the head was busy.

Human medicine is in need of humanity

In the hospice, I’ve only seen one TV in a communal room. The three days he was not in any case. I have to think of one of my favorite books: “amusing ourselves to death”. The American media scholar Neil Postman describes how to us the remote control suggests that any reality that does not suit us, wegzuzappen. Paradoxically, I am, but Yes also for TV here; and so glad that I have a familiar rotary team that has mastered the art of making themselves invisible and to not oppress the people whom we allowed to come so close, but to give you the feeling that you are perceived. Some bloom on, if you talk and someone is listening. Because long before the physical death of the social for many people in Germany. The loneliness, the no-longer-used-to Be. I experience how people understand your last illness as a liberation. No more no more desire to favor, on the facade. This creates room for humour, for Laughter, for ease.

If someone wants to smoke, puts down no one, and says: but This is bad for your health. Who dies, it is allowed to smoke. Here is more educated, but spoiled. And this kind of attention, perhaps, is what human life have been waiting for.

If you want to support the hospice of St. Hildegard, we will forward your donation gladly.

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The Keyword “Hospice”;


Hospices are in need of donations, even if their Situation by having solid agreements with the funds has improved significantly. It was a long way, since in England, Dame Cicely Mary Strode Saunders, a nurse, a social worker and a Doctor, in 1967, founded the first hospice. Saunders, the sentence comes: “It’s not about giving life more days, but the days more life.” The pioneer understood that a pure pain attacks therapy too short, if you are being treated, not the psychological, social and spiritual needs of the and pain with. Saunders died in 2005 at the age of 87 in her own hospice. She has seen how her idea went around the world and in many places, thanks to a committed civil society grew. In Parallel, also the idea to make Humor in the medicine, thanks to pioneers like Patch Adams, and the first hospital clown Michael Christensen was born. Both of these social movements, the hospice – and the Humor-activists, I see as a counter-force against the Economization of the “health market”: human medicine is in need of humanity.

At the University of Bonn, I visited the psychologist Lisa Linge-Dahl, and the doctor, and Lukas Radbruch. As a researcher you will investigate how Humor affects the last phase of life. Because in interviews after the biggest Wish is placed – soon after the “no pain”, “anyone to be a burden” – among the Top Ten on a regular basis: “I don’t want to lose my sense of Humor”. But how is this possible?

The “drug” in the experiments of Bonner are two people, Mieke Stoffelen and Rainer cross, a trained actor, many years of clinic clowns and real improvisation artist. They focus in the meetings on an aspect that comes with all the sympathy, sometimes to short. You ask about what someone used to laughing like Heinz Erhardt about Loriot and Otto to Ringelnatz.

And ask you to unfulfilled Desires: If someone has always dreamed of travelling to Venice, the bed a gondola. The Ukulele is an almost-Italian song was sung, as it falls in the fantasy is easy to feel the Grand Canal. Through surveys before and after should be proof of how mood, subjective quality of life and physical phenomena, such as pain better feel. To corroborate the effectiveness of the humor is scientifically no simple matter.

What works there? Sometimes it is simply the presence of people, the present and the “presence” of someone. In English, both the presence as well as a gift means “present”. Not having to die alone is a gift that is made in St. Hildegard’s. Each And Every Day. Every Night. With the help of many Volunteers, each of which has its own history. Walter, for example, the Pianist strikes the upper floor has a piano, that would also be in a Western Saloon, has accompanied in the hospice, his wife. Since then, he comes once a week, with the rather out-of-tune Instrument in a good mood. To brings if Walter, with gentle hands, his chords are recovered evenly across the keys, distributing, “From good powers wonderfully” hearing, believed him.

There is also a grief group that meets for coffee and to exchange. I’m sitting here, most come for many months and years, the shock is gone, the sadness remains. In the discussions in the big round, I feel a bit like the Skatspielen, with the opposite rules: I take a whiff of competition – the worst leaf: wins Who has suffered the most. Not the game, but the attention. When I bring it up, will be laughing. This is a good sign. And when I had trouble letting go after the third Cup of coffee, I notice The two men in the round, have virtually said nothing.

Sister Ragnhild accompanied her own husband in this hospice in the death. And continues to work here. I wonder what analogy the “outside” would have. A chef that goes to a free day in his own Restaurant to eat?

When I told them that I am voluntarily gone into a hospice, I often hear: “I couldn’t do That.” It remains a taboo, the death visits. Ambivalent our relationship is to him, fear-filled, irrational. As if it is a bad Omen would be that one gets infected in his presence with some invisible Nasty, something on it will always be.

What has occupied me in retrospect, but most of all: Ironically, the people who have to deal every day with the Dying, seem to have the least fear of it. Woody Allen said: “I have no fear of death. I just don’t want to be there when it happens.” Always a good laugh. But now I think differently about it. Every human being has two lives: The second starts when you get it, you only have one.

Send note: “Hirschhausen in hospice” is next Monday, 16. 9. 19, 20.15 clock, ARD

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