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Tips for Dying #11: Two Words to Know: Diagnosis & Prognosis

So these are the two magic words you’ll need to ask every nurse and doctor that treats your elderly parent.  In my case, my dad’s doctor is an old doctor who must believe that no news is good news.  I could see that he was failing and has been failing for about two years now.  Whispery voice, swollen legs, unsteady gait…when I asked Sue and Fred what the doctor says, they replied,”he’s fine, just getting older.”

I figured it was their private & brave way to keep the worst to themselves.

Turns out, no, that’s all he said.  That and “eat less salt.”  They now say they had no idea that he was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure.  The doctor was “sparing them” by calling it “old age.”

Hmmm…now Sue says she wishes he had clued her in a bit.  She says it would have been nice to have the name so she could read about what was happening.  

That’s where those two words come in.  Diagnosis (What are you writing in the chart?  Surely not “old age”) and Prognosis (What are the probable outcomes?  Life expectancy?)

They most likely won’t want to say so you’ll have to be pushy.  You must be your own advocate and do it early.



Maria Young Ace Certified Personal Fitness Trainer, Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (500) Independent Contractor providing the following services: Office Management, Bookkeeping, Web Design, Marketing and Instruction in Yoga and Martial Arts for children and adults. Black Belt, 4 year program, LockBoxing. Maria studied under Erik Lee and won Grand Champion at the Kuk Sool Tri-State Tournament in 2006. Experience Certified Yoga Instructor: 700 hour level. At Piedmont Yoga, Maria’s main instructors were Richard Rosen, Rodney Yee, and Clare Finn. To them she is eternally grateful. Richard Rosen, founder Piedmont Yoga Studio & editor of Yoga Journal says: “Among the 30...students Maria was always among the more assiduous and adept.  If you’re thinking of adding Yoga instruction to your program, then I highly recommend Maria for the job.” College: CSULB: B.A. English Literature, UC Berkeley: M.A. Comparative Literature