What do you buy a dying man for his birthday?

I can’t quite believe I am writing this, my Dad has been terminally ill for over a year now, quite some feat in itself, I never would have thought I’d write this blog post. Last year I explained my dilemma to anyone who was reading, my Dad had a birthday coming up but didn’t want for anything. All Dad has ever wanted for his birthday is ‘three well behaved children’, so last year he got a tray of double chocolate brownies and I held a Macmillan Coffee Morning to raise some money for Macmillan.

This year, all bored of being well behaved and not around for The World’s Biggest Coffee Morning I have made a more conventional choice for a birthday pressie. My Dad served in the Navy and loves travel and has many tales about his time around the world so I’ve bought him a beautiful book, Atlas of Remote Islands: Fifty Islands I have not visited and never will by Judith Schalansky. I’m delighted with it, it is an atlas of remote and lonely places; the product description on Amazon says it better than I can:

Judith Schalansky lures us across all the oceans of the world to fifty remote islands – from St Kilda to Easter Island and from Tristan da Cunha to Disappointment Island – and proves that some of the most memorable journeys can be taken by armchair travellers.

The other thing I’m hoping to do is use Dad’s birthday as a chance to get some support for a mobile app I’ve put forward in the Department of Health #mapsandapps campaign. The app suggested is Picture Prompts, in my head it’s a directory of simple drawings and diagrams that can be shared with patients, carers and staff when explaining anatomy, procedures and treatment. You can read more about my thinking behind this app – essentially I think it would have helped a lot when Dad received his diagnosis of cholangiocarcinoma (bile duct cancer) and I’m sure there would be many other uses for it.

The way the campaign works, an idea needs votes to push it up the table – I’ll be honest with you, this is a little faffy and requires people to create an account (should only take one email) *but* that five minutes of your life, could make all the difference to someone else’s quality of life, if this app was ever developed.

So please, do go give it the thumbs up. Thanks.

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8 thoughts on “What do you buy a dying man for his birthday?

  1. Went to DH ideas site, found your app, tried to I agree it but told me I need to subscribe – so did that, waited for email and did that bit. Back to site and now it keeps telling me to log in but can I find out where to? Fail me or fail the site but frustrating.

    1. @jaxrafferty only just read your comment. If you’re still not having any luck voting please contact me using the and I will check your profile in the admin side of the side. tim.lloyd at dh.gsi.gov.uk

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