“Didn’t I see you on the Coho Ferry on Saturday Evening?” this woman asks me as I am wheeling up the hill. I thought it one of the most bizarre openings because it was the chirpy, “see you” like, “Didn’t we meet up and pass conversation on the weather” – so, did we run into each other?
I said, “If there was someone lying down with blue lips hooked up to a bottle of oxygen and an EMT working on me, then yes, that was probably me.”
“I thought I recognized you!” said what seemed to be this slightly dense woman in her 50’s. Well since I was sort of carried out ala funeral march I think EVERYONE on the ship might of recognized me. She blathered on, “So what morning crossing do you take….I like to take the early ones..”
I am sort of stunned because, did she imagine I sort of just did a jaunt each weekend with a medical team? Anyway, I can’t remember how, it came up but she had seen me before, I had flipped out of a chair and she had “stayed with me” while offering no help whatsoever and blathering on then, and it took two blocks of “I REALLY AM okay! …….you can GO NOW!” to get rid of her. I mentioned that was the night I met my night worker.
Well this got her going about a case in Winnipeg, and what did I think about that and isn’t it a travesty the way the family continues to force the medical system.
I told her I was not familiar with the case.
She said that here was this person on machines and the family simply ‘wouldn’t let go! And it is just DISGUSTING (word she used) and using up so much money and the doctors are actually quitting because they won’t work on this person anymore because it is such a waste!'
Well, as a person who is off and on machines and likely is going to be on machines in the future the fact that someone being on a machine needing to be unplugged in order to save money fascinated (terrified) me. So I asked for more details, like who is on the machine.
“Oh it’s some 90 year old man, that the whole point, it’s such a waste.”
Now, since virtually ALL of my relatives live until 103-108, including my current Great uncle and Great aunt, my grandmother (the one not killed off), and my great, great aunt finally passed, saying someone was 90 to me is saying, “Gosh they only have 15 years left to live!” I used to joke about this with my grandfather when he was 75ish, about how now that he only had 30 years to live, he needed to take things seriously. It annoys me when people talk about people who are older than a certain age as if killing them or having them die is GOOD because….well, they’re OLD! (there seems no other logic to this). And I have to wonder if people whose families die out in their 60-65 would feel if I started saying, “Oh my God, there is a person in the hospital who is kept alive on machines, and they are FIFTY years old! What a WASTE of money, because my goodness, it isn’t like they aren’t already FIFTY!” Because that is 15 years before their family statistically dies. That sounds a little cruel and callused doesn’t it? But then I have noticed that people are able to SAY cruel and callus things about what should be done to the disabled when you are talking to them from a wheelchair.
So I asked, “Is he brain dead?”
And the woman was, “Oh, what? Oh yes, brain dead I think, that’s the whole part that is so wasteful and his family won’t let him go!”
Gee lady, could you have brought up the BRAIN dead part early instead of as treating it as an irrelevant add-on? I actually got a bit heated because here in Canada, while in the States they may be talking about what can and can’t be done with DNR’s, but in BC since doctors don’t get sued, can’t get held liable (not in my province), DNR is a little more PROACTIVELY administered.
I said, “Yes, a lot of people need to be VERY careful with their DNR, because in this province and town, pretty much the number one way elderly people die is from their DNR, which once they can’t feed themselves, is used to starve them to death.”
The woman piped up, “You don’t have to tell me honey, I was in the medical field, and they don’t starve, they just deny the IV to cause death by dehydration!”
Okay, now AS a person who is frequently paralyzed and is facing a future where a machine may breath for me as well as a machine may feed me, and I am trying to draft a DNR, talking to this woman who is still on and on about the cost and how it is so much quicker to kill by dehydration (like six days) than starvation……..
Welcome to British Columbia Health (remember the motto: The BEST place to live on earth…….until we kill you).
When my Grandmother was in a facility, her doctor care was done entirely over the phone. She would complain of needing pills, the doctor would prescribe them after the family made a phone call. She was not visited, nor were most if any of the several hundred seniors in that home. There are many doctors who make a living phoning in tests or prescriptions. In fact my grandmother was diagnosed with lymphoma, and given a prognosis of how long she would live…..all over the phone, without the doctor examining her at all (or seeing her). She got her regular blood transfusions for a few years and it was during one of these time, much like I posted on here that I am not sure if the future is worth living (she said that sometimes too). Only when she said it, they pushed a DNR in front of her and she was told to sign here. That was faxed to the doctor who stopped her transfusions (did not again come to assess her state of mind) he told the family when she would die again, all over the phone.
Only, a bit like me and the cat which came back, she didn’t die. She had a grand old time having her third (or was it fifth) party where she invited all her friends because she was dying. And weeks passed, and she was still chatting away…not DEAD. Only the “family” had already booked her funeral, and the memorial service, and her cremation. Except…she just wouldn’t DIE. (Are you getting an idea of why I don’t want parts of my family tending to my care even IF they wanted to).
So one particular relation, when the others were on vacation, called in to the doctor that she was in terrible pain and got her put on a morphine drip. Again, all over the phone. And like all people put on a morphine drip she slipped into a coma and STILL wouldn’t die (but don’t worry, she was killed, literally less than an hour before she needed to be dead or everyone would lose the deposits and the funeral and cremation and memorial would not be able to occur on time – how incredibly thoughtless of her!). And she was also pronounced dead, I believe, over the phone (my relations won’t really talk to me on this part).
So that is BC medicine. And you can see why I am kind of concerned that Linda is the person who will get to keep the vultures at bay because if I choose that road: just because I am on a machine, or on many machines and I can’t talk, or am partially paralyzed doesn’t mean I WANT to be dehydrated to death, or put in a morphine coma (though that sounds more interesting). And if Triumph isn’t blowing smoke up my…um, there, then they say they can’t get me a computer I operate with my eye and I might still be blogging from cyborg land (machined up and ready to go). Assuming I escape this harpy of death who finds, “Didn’t I see you at the coffee shop! You had a latte!” and “Didn’t I see you getting continuous medical assistance on the boat I was on!” both cheerful and chipper ways to start conversations on the waste of people who are using the medical health system, to someone in a wheelchair….who she saw on oxygen.
On the plus side, um, I went to feed the squirrels. Instead I got to see an 11 year old boy approach the squirrel, run at it, run around the tree chasing it and then collect pine cones and try to knock it unconscious so it would fall out of the tree. He was one of MANY children playing capture the flag through the park.
Not a lot of squirrels approached me today. They seemed kind of jittery. Odd that.
1 hour ago