A story is told of four individuals (farmer, teacher, preacher and a hooker) riding in a midnight bus bound for Mexico. They unfortunately get involved in an accident and died as a result. As a sign of legacy they left behind, wooden crosses were put up in their honor; only three of them though. The essence of this story is that what you do here on earth is what really matters and it is in that little thing that brings a difference, not only in your life but in the lives of others.

Lilian Mutua, a palliative care nurse is one person who knows just how much this story would make sense. She joined palliative care a little more than a year ago and immediately got too sad a story for her new experience.’’ I met Mrs Brown (name withheld) in November 2014. She was an 85-year old widow living with her young grandchildren and a drunkard son in a one acre piece of land. She had developed a growth on her right leg and they thought it was as a result of a bite from a Black Ant (Nthingii) and had sought herbal medicine but it did not help. She was later diagnosed with cancer and that is when I had my first encounter with a patient as a palliative care professional” narrates Lilian.

She further explains that the problems the patient encountered after radiotherapy would reveal just how tough palliative care is and that it needs to come from within oneself. “Things got worse when the resources to continue her treatment ran out and the conflict on whether to sell the small piece of land for that cause could not help matters either,” adds Lilian. Machakos Palliative Care Unit came in to help the old lady and things took another turn-for the better this time. Challenges would arise once in a while which made the patient withdraw, feel isolated and go through pain but with time the team from the palliative care were able to contain her condition. Lilian has since gained much experience in palliative care and seeks to help out someone who is in dire need. She is doing her part in bringing a difference, are you?

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