Blog

MERI Center Blog

ID 179683143 © Agsandrew | Dreamstime.com

Invisible Losses:
Secondary Trauma, Survivor Guilt and Moving Through the COVID-19 Crisis

Michael W. Rabow, MD & David Bullard, PhD
San Francisco, CA

Updated: April 29, 2020 3:45 pm

The world is suffering deep losses in the COVID-19 pandemic.   Already, millions are infected,  hundreds of thousands killed, a global economic disaster and all the suffering that accompanies it.  And even if you yourself are not infected with this virus, even if you haven’t lost your business or your job, even if no one in your family is sick or has died, we all are affected.

For almost everyone, there is anxiety, fear, and, at least some of the time, a sense of helplessness and hopelessness.  In charts and tables, in town halls and zoom meetings, in videos and photographs, our news and social media document real losses in painful and visible detail.  And, for almost everyone, there also are invisible losses. 

This is the “Both/And” virus.  It is true both that many have already died, and that the majority will not.  It is true both that some have lost everything, and that some will only know the greatest suffering second-hand.  Many of us are being hurt by what is happening in our world, and also by what has not happened.  Indeed, there is pain and loss even in what we escape.

We are professional caregivers, usually drawn to this calling...

Read more »
April 27, 2020

Our colleagues at GeriPal gathered together some of the UCSF geriatrics and palliative care providers to make a video, sending thanks, support, gratitude, & love to the healthcare workers at Mount Sinai.  Guests included Division of Palliative Medicine Chief, Dr. Steve Pantilat, Dr. Rebecca Sudore, and the UCSF Symptom Management Service & UCSF Care from Home's Dr. Natalie Young.  In addition to the words of support & gratitude, the GeriPal team also sang "Don't Stop Believing."  Touching & humorous, this was a great way to start my day.

April 23, 2020
Resilience Tips

Judy's Resilience Tip fo the week:  The Power of Good Memories

 

April 22, 2020
SMS Meeting Poems

Today, I read "Today, When I Could Do Nothing" by Jane Hirshfield at the UCSF Symptom Management Service Meeting:

 

April 15, 2020
Resilience Tips

Judy Long's Resilience Tip from April 15, 2020: Metta Phrases


Metta for Caregivers
(from Joan Halifax, Being with Dying teachers’ manual)

The emphasis in these practices is on balance—the balance between opening one’s heart endlessly, and accepting the limits of what one can do. The balance between compassion and equanimity. Compassion is the trembling or the quivering of the heart in response to suffering. Equanimity is a spacious stillness that can accept things as they are. The balance of compassion and equanimity allow us to care, and yet not get overwhelmed and unable to cope because of that caring.

The phrases we use reflect this balance. Choose some phrases that are personally meaningful to you. You can alter them in any way, or use one that you have created out of your unique personal significance.

To begin the practice, take as comfortable a position as possible, sitting or lying down. Take a few deep soft breaths to let your body settle. Bring your attention to your breath, and begin to silently say your chosen phrases in rhythm with the breath…you can also experiment with just having your...

Read more »
April 15, 2020
SMS Meeting Poems

Today, Dr. Paul Lindenfeld read the English translation of Hanohano Hanalei, The Glory of Hanalei, at the UCSF Symptom Management Service Meeting.  

Hanohano Hanalei/The Glory of Hanalei

Hanohano Hanalei i ka ua nui,          The glory of Hanalei is its heavy rain,

E pakika kahi limu o Manu'akepa.    Slippery seaweed of Manu'akepa.

I laila ho'i au i 'ike iho ai                    There I felt

I ka hana hu'i konikoni i ka 'ili.          Tingling cool sensation of the skin.

Aloha kahi one o pua rose                Greetings, O sand and rose flowers

I ka ho'opē 'ia e ka hunakai.             Drenched by sea spray.

'Akahi ho'i au a 'ike i ka nani.           Never have I seen such splendor.

Hanohano Hanalei i ka ua nui.          The glory of Hanalei is its heavy rain.

Kilakila kahi wai nā Molokama          Majestic streams of Molokama

I ke kau 'ia mai ho'i e ka 'ohu.          Mist-covered.

He 'ohu ho'i 'oe nō ka 'āina              You...

Read more »
April 13, 2020
Events

THURSDAY, April 16, 2020 is “National Healthcare Decisions Day.” The MERI Center has been planning a number of activities for UCSF that now of course, must be postponed. However, the importance of completing Advance Directives for Healthcare has never been more critical. Here and now, in the “time of COVID-19” as we will all remember it well, the necessity of conversations about what we all would want or not want, in terms of medical interventions, is indeed at its peak.  As is the importance of having our wishes in writing for the healthcare system.

Below you will find some basic information and history about Healthcare Decisions day from two of the prominent organizations who have fostered the publicity of this day since its inception.

IF you have not completed your own Advance Directive for Healthcare and would like assistance, please consider the online (or in-person, once that can happen again) “What Matters Most” workshops offered by the MERI Center.

From the Conversation Project:

https://theconversationproject.org/nhdd/

“National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) exists to inspire, educate and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning. NHDD is an initiative to encourage patients to express their wishes regarding healthcare and for providers and facilities to respect those wishes,...

Read more »
April 9, 2020

Covia is a non-profit that builds senior living communities as well as offers services to seniors.  They have two programs continuing during the pandemic:

Well Connected and Well Connected Español 

Well Connected and Well Connected Español continue to offer phone- and online-based groups, programs, and activities for free to seniors throughout the United States. We are also available to work with senior communities, senior centers, and other programs to support distance programming for your constituents. To register or for more information, please contact us at 877-797-7299 or [email protected].

Social Call

Social Call, our one-on-one visiting program, is still offering phone-based visits. New participants and volunteers are welcome to join. In addition, we are seeking volunteers to send cards and letters to seniors. If you are searching for a way to help people stay connected during this time of isolation, we invite you to participate! Please contact us at 877-797-7299, [email protected], or visit our volunteer...

Read more »
April 8, 2020
Resilience Tips

Judy Long, Chaplain, Weekly Resilience Tip

April 1, 2020
Resilience Tips

We will strive to bring you video resilience tips from Judy Long, Chaplain, recorded from the weekly UCSF symptom Management interdisciplinary team meetings. Here's this week's tip: Self-Compassion

Thank you Judy for sharing your wisdom with us!

Pages