I have to write this post.
In 1989 my Father died in a city hospital [a very good one] far from his home. He did not want to go there, preferring the care from our own small town Hospital. He was 85 and had lived a marvelous full life. The Dr's wanted him to go to the big Hospital for tests. He had had a dime sized spot on one lung since 1980...it had not changed in size but they wanted to do tests.
He did not want to go. We talked long about it and I told him it was his life and his choice, he said to me 'If I go up there I will not come home'....he had these hunches that had been 100% right at that point. We faced the Dr's and told them he preferred to stay in the local hospital. They were angry with me but Dad was as sharp as could be and knew what he wanted.
I was calving out our cow herd at the time and went home to look after them. That afternoon I went back to town to spend time with Dad. He was not there, the Dr's had pressured my brother into pressuring Dad. They had sent him to The city. I was so angry. Now he was alone, in a huge hospital he did not want to be in, surrounded by people who didn't know him.
He died there after complications from ulcer surgery, the Dr's had totally missed the ulcer in their pursuit of a benign mass the size of a dime.
I learned one thing from this....we are so obsessed with saving lives we have completely forgotten quality of death and the reality that we all die.
What brings on this post....Ralph's mother died on Wednesday the 14th. She would have been 86 on Christmas Eve. She had married the love of her life, raised 7 wonderful children, had her own business and truly had a grand life. She had moved in to a nursing home. We were amazed at the drugs she was on. The side effects and interactions of these drugs were insidious. Ralph would call her and she would be sick from this or that, he would ask her what they were doing for her and it was always another pill.
On Sunday the11th Ralph got a call she was not well, pneumonia and sepsis. We really had a feeling then that this was her time. The Dr's flew her to a big city hospital where Ralph met the rest of his family. There was no hope. The sepsis was everywhere. She died there in the ICU, under heavy pain medication, with her family.
Now I will sound hard, but the costs of this will be high. She was nearly 86, had lived a good life, where was the honest reality? The Dr's at the nursing home [which is in the local hospital] must have know, are they poor Dr's? Making her comfortable in a facility she had called home for 3 years would not have been uncaring. We have to deal with death. It comes to us all. Dying is natural, not a medical brawl to keep an old and sick heart beating, to squeeze the last penny out of a Medicare patient.
We truly need to start looking at quality of death, the way we leave this world is as important as how we come into it.
The drugs that Ralph's mother was on......have side effects.....Sepsis, respiratory problems, vomiting, diarrhea, all of which she had more and more frequently as she stayed at the nursing home.
Interactions between these drugs increase the severity of the reactions. It is disturbing to see the answer to everything medical is so predominantly drug based.
Think on it. Ralph and I have talked of what we want. If it is possible we plan to be at home when we die. I know we do not want to live a medicated and semi sedated life in a nursing or rest home.
God Bless you all and keep you safe