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Introduction: Ever since my father’s death from epatocarcinoma I have been interested in the psychological aspects of cancer patients. The ideal adjective which best describes my personal experience of that death is DEVASTATING. Nevertheless, I feel profound gratitude towards my father, who allowed me to be part, for the first time, of this parting from life.
A few months prior to this event, my son was born, and I had had the “good opportunity” to be part of the beginning of life. The ideal adjective which best describes my personal experience of that birth is THRILLING. In each one of these situations, I felt very deeply my bonds to my family and at the same time I felt pressed to maintain a professional involvement.
In one case (the death of my father) I found myself at home, at my family’s home, with my “original” family. Upon returning from hospital, where there was “nothing else to do” I had transformed my parent’s room into a hybrid hospital with phleboclysis, syringe, stethoscope, sphygmomanometer, a chemical toilet and much more.
In the other case (the birth of my son) I found myself in a hospital room but in a comfortable one, furnished as a hotel room, with a double bed, a big bathroom with a birthbath, stereo, book shelf, fridge and a phone. Everything was prepared so that the birth would be as little “hospitalized” as possible but with the assurance of an adequate and constant intervention in case of an emergency.
The domestic welcome (in a homelike atmosphere) given to both parents was very relaxing, but the convenience of being able to open the door and find oneself in an assuring hospital setting made the event more peaceful.
In the first case, that there was “nothing else to be done” put a definite end to medicine as an organized system of knowledge, practice and procedure designed to combat, oppose and defeat the illness and the same “nothing else to be done” left me the sole possibility of delaying as much as possible this event. I was left to assist, monitor, direct the ongoing deterioration of the illness.

Contribution to the 3rd International Degrowth Conference for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity in Venice in 2012.