Palliative Care

“The D… parrot!” Monty Python meets @LifeBeforeDeath; Film 26


I have been wrestling with this over the last five days since Mike Hill and Sue Collins from Moonshine posted “The D word.”  In a few minutes, they capture the sensitivity of the issue as it applies across cultures. And I greatly appreciate the need for that sensitivity.

Increasingly, the evidence is mounting that an invitation to patients themselves to disclose their willingness to discuss sensitive issues, such as death, is the direction to take.  And this applies across cultures. Richard Fiedling and Wendy Lam from Hong Kong University presented their extensive peer reviewed research on communication with Chinese people living with a Cancer Diagnosis at the 21st Asian Pacific Cancer Conference last week in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

No assumptions, ask……..

So much for the sensitive approach (and hence my weekend struggles).  Growing up in a TV-less house (a deliberate decision by my parents), every Tuesday night as a 14 year old I trooped over to the neighbors to watch Monty Python’s Flying Circus.  As I have watched them again with my own son when he was an early teenager, I struggled to find humor in at least some of the sketches (OK alot of them).  But a number of scenes stand out and can still be recited verbatim by those of us in the know. For example:

Old Lady 1: I just spent three hours burying the cat

Old Lady 2: What took you so long?

Old Lady 1: Darned thing wouldn’t keep still!

LOL!! LOL!! LOL!! (to reflect the generation change).

So with no further ado, and in the genre of Silly Walks and the Spanish Inquisition, to address the D word, “The D… Parrot Sketch!”

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