Last night I got a call from my sister, to the effect that her father (my stepfather) had been admitted to the local hospital. Apparently he’d fallen at home and wasn’t able to get up. Since he’s been admitted, they’ve run a battery of tests, all of which have come back normal. I should note that Dad is 93 years old, on no medications, and has seen a doctor maybe five times in his life — and one of those times was for his Army physical.
Dh and I stopped up to visit him this afternoon. He was looking confused, as in, What the heck am I doing here anyway? when a young nurse showed up to start “another” IV on him (not sure what was wrong with the first IV). She must have stuck him about four times, never did get the thing going, and meanwhile, he was in a lot of pain — kept wincing and saying, “Ow,” and she kept apologizing — and prodding him with her damned needle.
I guess what made it all the harder to watch is that I went through the same thing at that hospital, and in fact just had something similar happen to me this morning, when I went in for tests, and learned that I have “fragile veins.” And this young thing said the same thing about Dad. So here’s my point: If you know someone has fragile veins, or you’re having a hard time finding one, why keep tormenting the person?! Why not just find a flaming phebotomist, who knows how to find veins, and let her get the flippin’ thing in for you?!
One of my brothers was there, too, and commented that at least Dad didn’t look like Mom in her final illness — she’d been prodded and poked so many times, she looked like a drug addict. There has to be an easier way, but no one seems to care enough to find it. Criminey, if this were Gitmo, the press would be all over it, but because it’s just an old geezer, who gives a rat’s ass.
Oh, and the clincher: Some social worker shows up and starts whispering that Dad belongs in a nursing home because he can’t be Unsupervised. (Someone is with him 95% of the time. He gets more supervision in his own house than he’d get in any nursing facility.) Why do they think he’s senile? It seems that when the doctor asked him who was President, he answered, “Why should I care?” “Who won the World Series?” “I haven’t followed baseball in 30 years.” “What year is it?” “Every day is pretty much the same.”
Yeah, maybe he was evading. But maybe not — this is vintage Dad. He’s always had that Brooklyn sense of humor, and frankly — I’m on his side. No matter who’s President, they’re all looking to be jerks. I haven’t followed baseball for 39 years, so who cares about the World Series. (Besides, I absolutely loathe the Red Sox.) And at 93 — well, every day really is pretty much the same.
I do not want to live to be 90. And I most emphatically do not want the Medical Establishment running my life.