“It’s the little things,” Adrian MacLellan says of the staff in the palliative care unit. “They offer you something even when you might not be looking for it.” Whether it’s a warm blanket, kind words of encouragement or medication, he’s says someone is always available.
Adrian is living with liver cancer. At age 36, his diagnosis came out of the blue. “Needless to say, it was a big shock,” he says. He’s been told surgery is not an option. His face brightens up when he talks about the palliative care unit and the people involved. “What’s on the table today?” he jokes about the many goodies the volunteers regularly bake on the unit. The kitchen, in particular, is a source of comfort for him. “It almost feels in a way like being at home.” He says he would go there, make a cup of tea and relax with others.
There was always people interacting there, chatting about the weather or other stuff going on, not necessarily about you or your situation.
Adrian is an avid hockey and wrestling fan. Sport memorabilia and pictures fill his room, including him attending an NHL match between Ottawa Senators and his beloved Montreal Canadians. He lives at home with his parents in New Waterford. A cheery chatter who worked in broadcast, says he never knew about palliative care until he became sick. For him, he says their services are invaluable as they make sure his pain is kept at a comfortable level, and not just his physical pain.
Adrian remembers one day when he’d just had an X-ray completed. He was tired, in pain and feeling really low. “Yeah, I was pretty down on myself, thinking I should be doing better, but the nurse gave me a really good pep talk,” smiles Adrian. “She’s about my age and she told me I was too hard on myself, that she couldn’t imagine going through what I was and that I was tough. And the doctor told me I was tough. I wasn’t believing it, but everyone else was, so…” he trails off with a laugh. “Trying to see glass half full instead of empty sorta thing,” Adrian says.
That outlook applies to the palliative care team and the care he receives. “Well, I wouldn’t put it on Sydney’s ‘must-see’ list,” jokes Adrian of the palliative care unit. “But the people that go there, they’re in good hands.”