My family has been living with a sick father for the last few years. Thanks to 55 years of smoking, he came to Atlanta with severe COPD (they can’t say emphysema for some reason) and Alzheimers (and technically they can’t really diagnose that without an autopsy so they just say dementia.)
We moved him into an assisted living place in January of 2009 and then to an even better one in 2010. It’s not cheap. But, this is what we had to do. And now, he’s at the end. He can’t stand anymore. He can’t really converse. He’s down to 98 pounds. Seems he either has some sort of cancer or he just can’t absorb nutrients. Alzheimer’s ruins your brain, which in turn causes ruin in your body.
He was in the hospital for 2 weeks in January and for almost 2 weeks in February. In January, an enlarged prostate caused urine to back up and cause his kidney’s to fail. And infection was part of the problem after that as well. Got that all fixed. But, the catheter caused another infection after he was released and we were back again. He was not able to do much with all of the antibiotics in his system. But, we got him back last Thursday. Now, a call today.
In the past six months, I have been asked OVER and OVER about his “dnr” status and told that he is “full code’. Are healthcare people STUPID? I don’t ask them about APIs and architecture. I don’t ask them which is best, SOAP or REST. I don’t ask them how they feel about Flash versus HTML5. Nor do I prod them on LAMP versus J2EE versus .NET. I don’t speak their internal language, at least natively, nor do they speak mine (nor it appears are they capable.) Just irritating.
But, there’s something more concerning here. Why do they worry so much about my father’s “do no resuscitate” status? You see, even though my dad has Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida insurance, Medicare must be the primary payer (oh yes, the IDIOTS just can’t help but ask if he is Part A and Part B, more healthcare babble). This is what I wonder about. These are not proven accusations, just my thoughts. Could it be the bankrupt socialized medicine plan called Medicare needs patients to just DIE? To get on with it so others can then just DIE and get on with it? Hospice says their only concern is the patient’s comfort. But, they seem MORE than ready to use a dnr status as the reason for not treating an infection. So they can let the person just die, OF A DAMNED INFECTION.
Talk to people around you. Ones that aren’t near death. They’ll say “just let me die, don’t let me suffer like that, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH”. It’s the cool way to think today. Has everyone forgotten that life is a gift? That it’s fleeting? That it’s wonderful even when it sucks? Are we so “youth” oriented that we have forgotten that getting old and sick and brittle is part of life? Do families just wish the old would go away so they could cherish their youth and then “just die” to not have to suffer the indignity of old age?
I do want to meet God and spend eternity with Jesus Christ. But, not until I’ve cherished every last drop of this gift called life. I’ll see all my capabilities go but hang in there. And I sure hope my children and grandchildren (maybe even great grandchildren) will help me take my very last breath.