Let us take ourselves to a few years back and think about what we all wanted to do when we grew up. We all had our lives panned out in a certain way we saw would best give us the future we wanted; the kind of car we would be driving, where we would live, the number of kids we would want to have, how many vacations we would be taking in a year…everything was quite figured out to perfection. Well, a handful of us, if any are living those dreams and this is because of the problems that come along with not-being-a-child who has every right to live in fantasy which we can sum it up as; life challenges.

These challenges give us a whole different perspective of how we look at life and what it actually means to say ‘living rather than surviving’. One of these challenges and which I want to highlight today is our health. A few years ago (our great-grandparents’ generation) it would sound silly and probably a taboo if an individual decided to set aside money for medical expenses because they believed that would mean you are ‘inviting’ all sorts of illnesses in your direction (sounds crazy alright). Today however, medical expenses are almost a number priority in our budgets however small the budget is. Why? Because whether we like it or not, at some point-unfortunately we cannot tell when, we are bound to fall sick or our next of kin suffers from some sort of illness and it would require treatment. What is my point here? Life is unpredictable and thus we need to live each day making a difference rather than being a statistic of how tragic life without purpose can be.

Gladys Mucee is a fully qualified Palliative Care nurse with a Higher Diploma in Palliative Care, Oxford University U.K and Bachelors Degree in Palliative Care Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda. Prior to being posted by the Ministry of Health to Meru Hospice in 2008, she had worked in the same hospice as a volunteer since 2003. She says that her job-which she loves passionately-entails a lot of work but is worth every bit of it, “As a palliative care nurse, I play a key role in facilitating ‘good death’ for my clients by providing multifaceted care to promote quality of life, symptom management, family support, and grieving,” She adds that working as a hospice nurse is rewarding but challenging, “I like helping people to feel better physically, emotionally and spiritually. Depression and anxiety are often part of the package when a patient is diagnosed with terminal illness such as cancer. Helping a human being to live out their last days in peace, one day at a time is always my goal”

The challenges that she often encounters is the issue of infrastructure which she says limit her work especially during the rainy season. “The roads around here are muddy and we sometimes we get stuck when doing home visits,” says Gladys.  She adds that sometimes she also experiences isolation and fatigue because practicing palliative care can also drain an individual not only physically but also emotionally. However, she does not regret choosing to align herself to this kind of work, “Nurses cope in different ways to what are often tremendous job stresses. Some nurses discuss their concerns with others or physical exercise. My main coping strategy is my daily devotional time and prayer with my Lord Jesus Christ. Growing and learning is part of my journey as a Hospice Nurse. It is a blessing to work as a hospice nurse.”

Like her, we can all have a prosperous fulfilling life and at the same time help someone else have equally a great comfortable life. The sooner we embrace this unselfish attitude, the better the the world we are living in.