Tag Archive | health

On A Soapbox About the Medical Industry

Hospital-entrance-signYesterday was a gorgeous June day. Perfect weather and Ken felt strong enough to go out in the afternoon. so we got in the car and took a little trip. We spent the afternoon visiting my Dad and our friend, Patrick, at the hospital.

My Dad is still with us. Dying is such an interesting process. Two weeks ago, I thought he was taking flight on angel wings, but yesterday he was watching a baseball game on the television. He has rallied so much, the hospital is requiring him to leave. Yeah. You read that right. Dad has to go somewhere else. Like he can catch a bus to go somewhere to do his dying business.

The poor man is too weak to sit in a chair. His breathing is so heavy he gasps for air when he does the slightest movement, and the damn hospital is making him leave. Unbelievable! It seems the hospice care unit doesn’t make enough money, so they do this to dying patients when they deem their stay has been too long. Because my Dad hasn’t died on their schedule, he is being sent away when he needs the care most. It’s true. Money makes the world go ’round and the rest be damned.

Deep down, my Father is hoping to go home. I think once my sister arranges a 24-hour hospice nurse for him, he will feel safe and ready to die in the corner of the world he built with his own hands. He’ll be surrounded by pictures of his loved ones, and he’ll have  familiar things surrounding him. I hope for his sake, my sister can arrange for him to go home. I know he will be happier there than a nursing home.

Another person we love is also in the hospital, so after my Dad feel asleep for an afternoon nap, we got into the elevator and went to the second floor to see Patrick. This year has been so difficult for him. He’s suffering the mean stage of Type l diabetes and has had several surgeries, has had to go on dialysis, and has had complications with medications. Because things haven’t gone exactly as the doctors have anticipated, he’s suffered for it.

Medicine doesn’t seem to be an exact science, does it? There’s a human spirit which has some say in our fate, and unfortunately, it seems the medical “INDUSTRY” doesn’t recognize that factor. Just because a person doesn’t fit into a preordained medical box, they are pushed aside as if it were their fault. Too bad we can’t go back to the days when older people were respected and their doctors knew there was more to good health than medication and test results. There was human empathy and medicine was a  profession.

Finding Your Writing Purpose

positiveBefore I crawl out of the warm blankets and put my big toe on the cold hard wood floor every morning, I let the silence of the morning wash over me. I let my brain wake up slowly with the rest of me and enjoy the sheer luxury of a soft bed, soft fleece blankets and my little pug snoring softly by my side. I use this time to plan my day. Lately, it doesn’t take much to do that, now that I’m staying home most everyday, but I also use this time to ponder what I will write about.

Lately, I’m afraid I may have discouraged some of my “following” because I’ve talked a lot about the personal struggles Ken and I have encountered. Believe me, before writing any of those posts, I gave it great thought whether I should broach the subject at all. After all, talking about money problems, a car repossession, food stamps, energy assistance, etc. — is terribly embarrassing.

But, let’s face it, we all have periods when poop rains down on us, and we have to make a choice. Do we lie down and quit? Or, do we get up and find a creative way to crawl out of the pit?

This is the story of  a couple who loves each other enough to face “for better for worse, for richer for poorer,  in sickness and in health until death”. They have encountered a mean, progressive disease and long-term unemployment, which has resulted in a downward spiral. If we like a good story, we all want to know how the story will end, right?

It’s like a good novel. It’s a theme we all love. We all like to see a hero fall from grace and then rise again, right? We like to ride along with the character – will he give up or will he rise from the ashes? Heck, Harry Potter did it literally! He faced his fear and enemy, died, and rose again. And we loved it!

The other reason for baring my soul of these frustrations and  failures is to let others in this situation know they are not alone. When illness strikes, people get stupid. They don’t know what to say, so they stay away. We’re lucky. We are blessed with a stable of steady, good friends who are strong enough to walk this journey with us. We also have a family who knows how to love unconditionally. Without them, our situation would be so much more difficult.

So, for all of you who are lucky enough to be healthy, wealthy and wise, when sickness strikes one of your friends or family, don’t run. As hard as it is, stand beside them and let them know they are not alone. Being isolated is the worst thing a person experiences in life. Offer to help and keep your promises. They probably have as much trouble asking for help as I do–it’s humiliating to face you can’t do any more than what you’re doing and you’ve fell short.

So, my dear readers. I think I’ve found a focus for this blog after all. I’ve posted almost 200 posts about writing and teaching. I’m good at both, but hardly a master. I’ve gotten up on my soap box and screamed my opinions — and if you like that, have no fear that won’t go away. I’ve also talked about my stories and novels — and that piece won’t go away either because it is my life’s blood. But I think my higher calling is to write something that might touch another’s heart. To give someone else the courage to look medical threats in the eye and dare to come out swinging. If I can do that, my writing life is a success. And along with my novels of heroes who rise from the ashes, I’ll have enough material to keep me at the keyboard for a lifetime.

A Fast Week

time flying byI can’t believe it Saturday already. This week went SOOO fast. I find this curious because I’m a person who has no schedule, except for my writing hours in the morning.

I’ve always found Time to be an interesting concept. I wonder if the neanderthals or the early homo sapiens ever felt the same way about time as we do. Probably not. Instead of chasing deadlines, they were consciously just trying to stay alive and not be eaten by some saber-tooth tiger or something.

I understand there are scientific reasons why time behaves the way it does, and it’s an interesting topic for novels–specially science fiction stuff, but I see time as some finite quality that I have to make the best of my life.

Maybe time went fast this week because I found the energy to do things I’ve been putting off for quite awhile. I can’t tell you what precipitated the change from a slothful lump to a ball of fire, but I did things like get the tax papers together, call numerous agencies for one reason or another, make appointments with doctors and arrange payments with creditors. But to balance these taxing realities,  I took time to create a painting. Write my blog everyday. Add a few chapters for the next novel. Make a few necklaces and earring sets. And I went to see a caregiver counselor.

The latter was the hardest of all my tasks because I had to face the fact I can’t do everything. I had to admit, I need help. This was haaaaaaard.  You see, I like to think of myself as a strong, self-sufficient, independent person, and when I can’t “deal,” I feel weak and pathetic.

I know. I know. I’m terribly hard on myself. But when a person grows up a leader and a person who is perceived “STRONG” by others, showing  human weakness is humiliating.

Ken has struggled terribly for two weeks, MS is a frightening disease because the patient, as well as his or her loved ones, don’t ever know what the day will bring. The worst part is, you don’t know how much time you have left together. (Remember that FINITE element.)  So, maybe the week went fast, because Ken’s frailty scared me into action.

By admitting I can’t do it “ALL,” I realize there are helpful resources out there who are ready to help me stay sane. I can call them any time when I need to say that four-letter word HELP.

In the meantime, I’ll meet with a friend for an hour or two to connect with the outside world, and have a laugh over a cup of coffee. That’s the best way to spend TIME I’ve ever found.