Patient Visit: Caring for his Mom with Liver Cancer

stav September 6th, 2013, 8:00 AM
Stav Birnbaum
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caregiver2We woke him up when we arrived, well after 10 am, but it’s no surprise he needs to sleep in. Victor is 25-years-old, works at night and finds it hard to sleep because he is constantly checking on his mom who is dying of liver cancer.

Victor told me how quickly her decline had been and how she was so full of energy and life just a short time ago. Then, the last time she went to the hospital for an emergency and before she was released, VNSNY’s hospice team approached Victor and his family. They explained the services and the support they would receive, and the services were gratefully accepted.

One huge benefit, Victor noted, was that services came to their apartment instead of having to get his mom ready to go out, down four flights of stairs, and somehow make it to the doctor’s office. Instead, Dahlia comes to check on his mom regularly.

Victor also uses the 24-hour hotline. He calls before he gives her any pain medication. There are a lot of meds and he wants to make sure he gets it right.


He and Dahlia go over his notes from the past 24 hours. He wrote down every medication she took, when and how much. He explained to Dahlia why he felt he should give her each medication. Dahlia used the moment to go over what all the meds do and when he should use each one. Victor took more notes and Dahlia gave him a boost. He is doing a great job.

Standing in the kitchen, Victor told me that, as the youngest son, he had learned to cook, and was always trying to cook up tempting things for his mom to eat. Sometimes she was hungry. Often she wasn’t.


I have to admit that I was surprised by the cheerfulness of Victor’s attitude and his outlook. He showed us the Mother’s Day card all her children and grandkids had made for her and how happy it had made his mom. He talked about how hard it was, but with a smile. Still, he admitted that he wanted to get everything just right – the food, the medication, everything. It’s a lot of pressure for a 25-year-old.

Read more about my day visiting hospice patients at Patient Visit: Receiving Hospice for Almost a Year


  • [...] Read more about my visits with hospice patients at Patient Visit: Caring for his Mom with Liver Cancer. [...]

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