Tuesday, June 22, 2010
I went to Atlanta to help my mother and sister care for and make some decisions about my Papa. As I have alluded to here, he is ill. Specifically, he has a cancer which is something like leukemia and a heart condition. Five years or so ago, he was essentially given a death sentence, until a wonderful physician included him in a clinical trial which gave him a good quality of life and the bonus of these last, extra, and precious years. The picture above is of my fabulous sister and my Papa following his surgery.
In recent weeks, however, his blood count has been going down and down, necessitating frequent transfusions. Two weeks ago, he had a heart attack. His spirit remains strong, however, and he says that “God isn’t finished with him yet.”
When I l arrived, he had surgery to alleviate some symptoms. Without going into great detail, the discharge planner at Cobb Hospital in the Atlanta area provided my family with less than two hours to find a rehab hospital for him. My mother and I toured two of these hospitals on Cobb’s list which were so horrifying that I had nightmares about it later. Instead of the sign for the rehab facility out front , there should have been a sign which said (as the Gates of Hell have in Dante’s Inferno) “Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here.”
Thank God we were able to find a wonderful facility for Papa which is immaculate, quiet, committed to patient care, and treats him with dignity. For Father’s Day, my sister and I put a wrought iron “Shepherd’s Crook” outside his window with a bird feeder on one side and a hanging plant on the other.
I’m back home and musing about how our society treats the aged. I come from an educated family with other insurance besides Medicare. We have options and can research information on the Internet. We have the transportation to visit different locations and don’t need to worry about proximity to a busline. We understand that we can say no to a facility. We have professional contacts who can assist us in an emergency.
What on earth do people who rely on social security for their entire income do? What about those who cannot advocate for themselves and have no family? What about those with families who do not have access to the Internet and transportation. What happens to them? Are they the ones who are doomed to abandon all hope when they enter?
Isn’t it a shame that this country allocates money and resources to those who sue for a plastic surgery which left their belly button one fraction of an inch too far to the left? Isn’t it ridiculous that the media researches and publicizes the latest rehab admission of Lindsey Lohan and which politician has been rumored to be unfaithful? The media follows Balloon Boy, people who illegally climb the Empire State Building, whether Tori Spelling is too thin, and if Brad Pitt is secretly meeting behind Angelina’s back with Jennifer?
I wish to God that someone could figure out how it is that Medicare spends an obscene amount of money only to allow and pay for this kind of care for people who can’t fight back.
Posted by JPG at 7:33 PM