oncRN – Passage – guest post

Guest Post day has come around once more. I always like it when I find something different. I went to the “Uncommon Cancers” category in Cancer Blogs II. After looking at one or two blogs, I noticed this blog by an oncology nurse. I had put it on the list early last year and had not had a chance to get back since. This entry is a free verse story about one memorable patient and his family. Our nurse blogger writes at oncRN.


i won’t ever forget the family from the Congo
who moved their patriarch’s head of the bed away from the wall so they could surround him.
who put on an impromptu display of voice and rhythm that pretty much shattered the myth of white supremacy in the first two notes.

they sang and drummed on various surfaces and kissed his head.
they laughed and cried and hugged each other and arranged his blankets.
they prayed and sang some more and pressed a worn olive wood cross into his palm.
i soaked it all in, all the while watching his chest rise and fall until it didn’t anymore.
they laced arms over shoulders forming a tight huddle around the bed crying and praying and thanking God for his safe passage.

the intern arrived and greeted the family, moving to the bedside to listen for heart sounds. one of the brothers looked at me and smiled – the absurdity of hospital procedure never being more evident.

‘time of death 3:45’, he said with a solemn nod.
i think he learned that from t.v.
and anyway, i beg to differ. i just witnessed the beginning of something – i’m not sure what – i just know it wasn’t an ending.

it was a celebration of life and family and love and of death, unlike any i have seen since.

i want those people there when i die.

from: oncRN


About Dennis Pyritz

Dennis W. Pyritz, RN, BA, BSN, has been a cancer nurse since 1987 and a cancer and bone marrow transplant survivor since 2004. In December 2001 he was diagnosed with t-cell prolymphocytic leukemia (T-PLL), a rare aggressive form of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Dennis was treated with the then new monoclonal antibody, alemtuzumab (Campath) as this disease has a median survival of 7.5 months. He achieved a 26 month remission but relapsed in February 2004. He was retreated with Campath and went into a second remission. In August 2004 he underwent an allogeneic peripheral blood stem cell transplant with his brother, Mark, as donor. Dennis has remained in remission since - a near miracle. Throughout his career as cancer nurse and patient, Dennis has had the opportunity to speal to both lay and professional groups. Dennis has spoken on cancer topics and survival issues across the country as well as in the United Kingdom, Norway, Austria, Portugal, Honduras, Panama, Guatemala, Trinidad, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Cyrpus, Israel, and India.

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