The Story of Abundant Life
(by Dr Clint Cupido)
We have over the past few years developed our program and evolved through many stages. I adopted Abundant Life and thus my analogy with my children.
Conception: I met Dr Lindi Van Niekerk as an intern and I was her intern curator. I introduced the Victoria Hospital Intern Legacy Projects. Lindi's project was to create a palliative care program within the hospital and change the way terminally ill patients are treated in our hospitals.
Pregnancy: She did the initial work of researching Palliative Care and designing a program. Presented the work to hospital management and was given a RED flag. First signs that this was going to be a difficult pregnancy. I was called to support and redesign in order to do a pilot study and in 2009 our baby Abundant Life Palliative Care was born.
Delivery: What an exciting moment to have our first program and be so successful that our pilot program, was wonderful in the eyes of the HPCA Hospice Palliative Care Association of SA, St Lukes Hospice, Living Hope Hospice and Victoria Hospital Management. Baby was beautiful.
Grandparents: Gold Standard Framework founder Keri Thomas and husband MArk
were the inspiration. Keri visited Victoria Hospital Wynberg and presented her program GSF and the "revolving door patient".
Crying was plentiful and suh a colicky baby. She did not want to breastfeed and had numerous hospital admissions for multiple crises. ALPC mother Lindi had to leave to do her community service and DAD was left with the baby. I got Elizabeth Pitout to adopt and this was one hell of a year. Imagine a single dad with this ill baby trying to survive working a full time job, having no time for himself. The nanny not happy at all as Dad never had enough time to sort out the basics. A miracle that this child survived through ICU and all. But what a survivor!
Our little girl made her first steps late in her second year. Sr Pitout and Dad Dr Cupido slowly learnt to cope with the lack of sleep and stress of such a child. Seeing her take a few steps forward was so worth every minute of caring for her. The feedback from patients and their families made it impossible to stop Abundant Life from going on.
Unfortunately Sr Pitout and Dr Cupido really struggle and took turns to nurse themselves through "burn out" and "depression". Our families were asking us "Why are you doing this to yourselves?"
I suppose it is like the adventurous mountaineer who wants to climb Mount Everest even though he knows its dangerous. Somehow despite the danger it just has to be done!
So Abundant Life managed her second year despite all the ups and downs.