"Having Dr. Pam Around - It's Like Wind Under Your Wings"
"There are not enough words, phrases or thoughts in the English language to express in what high regard my family and I hold Dr. Pam. We will be forever grateful for the wisdom, the comfort and the care she provided at my mother's end of life. Moreover, we came to marry the respect we had for her with genuine affection; her humor, her patience and her very humanity kept us focused and calm in the maelstrom."At 92, still going to the gym 3 times a week, still a crackerjack at The New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle, it seemed Mom would live forever. She was a model of where a feisty curiosity about the world, regular exercise, a life of telling the truth—no matter what—and a gin martini cocktail could land you in old age."Two years before she'd had surgery for colon cancer, and despite her physical and mental strength, it was a tough go. When the news came that the cancer had spread—irrevocably—to her liver and lungs we had to accept the inevitable. Not knowing where to turn, I called our trusted physician Dr. Richard Levandowski who recommended Dr. Pam Barton in the most glowing terms imaginable."In hindsight, it seems things went quickly from there, but having never lost a best friend and closest loved one I'm sure time crawled with uncertainty. What I can say with certainty is that Dr. Pam called back immediately soon after was sitting at the end of Mom's bed explaining to us what lay ahead. Surreal as that time was, Dr. Pam answered our questions in the most truthful, kind and reassuring terms you could possibly imagine. She won my mother and me—both still in shock I think—over instantly."Mom came to live with me at our farm in Pennington NJ in hospice. Through countless visits and conversations Dr. Pam was unwavering in her intent to make my mother the most comfortable she could be and to allow her the dignity of dying on her own terms. I think we all breathed a sigh of relief whenever she showed up—sometimes with her lovable dog Winston in tow, always a welcome addition to our menagerie of horses, dogs and cats. Dr. Pam never failed to comment on how well Mom looked, or to laugh at her charming attempts to find humor and grace despite the need for ever more care-giving. It was not an easy time for my fiercely independent mother. but it was made ever more so by Dr. Pam's always finding just the right thing to say."When the time came to discuss administering additional drugs for pain, Dr. Pam sat with my mother, brother and me in the living room and like old friends, discussed the implications. I would never have imagined that a conversation so surreal could feel so normal—even comfortable—but that's how it is having Dr. Pam around is like—wind under your wings."Perhaps the greatest gift Dr. Pam gave us was introducing a mother-daughter care-giving team to us at the end of Mom's days. Wonderful as hospice was in many ways, Mom had a fall within minutes of the first hospice nurse visit. When I called Dr. Pam in a panic, she magically provided the two women who cared 27/7 for Mom until she took her last breath."I remember once that I opened the door to Dr. Pam to find her deeply upset about someone who—in grief about a family member—had spoken to her harshly. Even brilliant, strong, purposeful and infinitely caring people like Dr. Pam have horrible days and this was surely one of them. I remember being stunned that—despite the pain that she was obviously feeling—Dr. Pam could rally so completely to greet my mother cheerfully, her usual sunny self and full of concern for her patient."Star that she was, our mother died on a celestial 'hat trick'—a night marked by a full moon, a full lunar eclipse and the Winter Solstice. Dr. Pam Barton it seems, came from those same heavens to care for our family and others. It's not a stretch to say that she—like the legendary Clara Barton before her—is a tireless angel of mercy doing all in her mortal power to help those in need. We will be forever grateful to her."