dimanche, février 25, 2007

Purgatory, pt II

I spoke to Dad for a few moments this afternoon. He was totally exhausted, almost unable to imagine that he was, indeed, going home tomorrow. Imagine being a frail gentleman in your mid-80's swept up into the chaos of an emergency room with a non stop stream of crises. Add to the chaos the fact that they could not find his medical records (he has three sets of medical records). Pile on top of it an overworked staff that didn't have any time to really attend to his physical needs because they had people with major heart problems. Then pile on top of it a space shortage-the man in the bed next to Dad had spent two days waiting to move out of the ER and upstairs. Dad didn't get a room until 2 a.m. the next morning-heavens knows what they did with the guy who had been in his bed!

Let's not even mention the bright lights, lack of chairs, number of elderly disoriented folks wandering around...I don't need to spew out any more details to give imaginative readers the idea that something is seriously wrong with our health care system.

I'm not really surprised-after all, I recall some scary occasions with my mom at another hospital-they tried to give her insulin when she wasn't a diabetic, and, in her last nights, gave her a sedative when she had problems breathing. I don't have a clue as to how to fix the huge organizational crisis in health care. The only lessons to draw, fresh from this horrible experience,
is that, particularly if you are ill, you need someone to speak up on your behalf. My father was fortunate in having both me and a tremendous home health aide, Tschera, too minister to his basic needs. It may even be that, if you are with a spouse or relative at the hospital, you will be called (by God or your own inner voice) to step up to the plate for someone else-a person without a voice who needs your help.

1 commentaire:

Catherine + a dit…

God, Elizabeth, stop making me cry!
Reading this I relived similar situations with my own mother, and I am so glad I was there to ask the questions, help them as they helped her in the ER and ICU and later in the nursing facility where she died in my arms. I cannot imagine what it would have been like for her if I hadn't been there all these years. I don't regret a one of them but moving on is the hard part.

I will pray for you and your father during this difficult time; only those of us who have lived through it, understand where you are.