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Robert Sees His First Baseball Game Thanks to the Palliation of His Pain

Robert had never heard of hospice or palliative care before he got sick with prostate cancer. But Robert, 77, learned firsthand how palliative care can positively impact quality of life.

A life-long baseball fan, Robert had never actually been to a game and wanted so much to see his beloved Washington Nationals play. Unfortunately, that was unthinkable because of his pain. In addition to cancer, Robert's debilitating arthritis made it difficult for him to get around.

At his first palliative care consultation, Robert was in excruciating pain. "It was the worst day of my life," he said. He thought he would never return home. The palliative care doctor and team so effectively treated his pain that Robert said, "I literally felt the pain leave my body. Almost instantaneously, I felt like a new person."

"I literally felt the pain leave my body. Almost instantaneously, I felt like a new person."

Robert had also lost his appetite. "I went 2 or 3 months without eating," Robert said. "At one point I looked in the mirror and it scared me." After his medications were adjusted, he again craved his favorite foods such as fried chicken, peaches, and cake. Relieved of the pain, Robert finally got to the Nationals' new ballpark to watch his team win. He also was able to make trips to Chinatown and the National Zoo and was able to visit his niece in Virginia. Being active, in turn, lifted his spirits.

When the cancer inevitably advanced, Robert chose the same program that provided palliative care for hospice care at his home. "We didn't hesitate for a minute," said Silvia, Robert's wife. "We chose it because of the continuity of care and because we liked the doctor, along with the team, who continued to take care of my husband."

A social worker on the palliative care team brought Robert a cake on his birthday and a basket of gifts at Christmas. "It was the little things that helped us get through difficult times," said Silvia.

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