Sunday, September 29, 2013

Staying put

Mr. M. is 97 years old and Mrs. M. is 96.

They still live independently  in a townhouse with assistance for only 3 hours a day from a home health agency.

They never had children and have been married for 77 years.

Before I could ask they commented that many health care professionals have recommended that they move to an Assisted Living Facility.

I decided to not join the ranks of the many.

On my drive back to the office I had just two thoughts:

1. 77 years!

2. Amazing!

Possible reincarnation

Mr. H. has widely metastatic cancer and is under Hospice care.

He and his wife are Paganists; in fact his wife is a Pagan minister.

There are are some excellent web sites on Paganism that review the origins, beliefs and thoughts on death.

One site is:

http://www.patheos.com/Library/Pagan/Beliefs/Afterlife-and-Salvation.html

I'm still a little confused after reading the information available.

I'll just continue to offer empathy.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Ultimate End-of Life Plan

Nice job by the author:

What would you do?

This was part of an Emergency Room discharge summary note:

"I discussed with him the risks of surgery that includes but are not limited to anesthesia complications that may lead to death, cardiopulmonary arrest that again may lead to death, sepsis, loss of domain, etc.. He obviously does not want to take that risk. The patient needs surgery at this point but has decided to go home against medical advice. "

Gee, what a surprise!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Not so little anymore

Mr. D. was married to "Big Red (red hair runs in the family)" for over 50 years.

They had 7 children together.

She unexpectedly died before he did.

She spent years caring for him after a devastating stroke.

Their youngest daughter, nick-named "Little Red," is now his caregiver.

She also takes care of her older disabled brother (after an injury), her two high need step-children (both with fetal alcohol syndrome), and her disabled 27 year son (after a severe MVA at age 16).

Her husband helps whenever he can but is out working a lot of the time to provide.

She admits to some tough times emotionally but, in general, appears filled with an incredible sense of gratitude.

I questioned if I could do the things she's doing with my own family, if circumstances ever led to that point, on my drive back to the office.

"Big Red" would be very proud.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A cure for what ails ya!

Mr. M. is my age.

He's been quadriplegic since an accident in 1990.

He was back home after another hospitalization and a close call with death.

He was septic but responded to fluid resuscitation, IV antibiotics and artificial ventilation.

He's back at his baseline.

He still has a glint in his eye, loves to joke and make sarcastic comments and is so looking forward to his favorite outing in the whole (his) world...traveling by electric wheelchair to get Dunkin' Donuts about 1/4 mile from his home.

He's got a better outlook on life than most intact folks I know.

I've been feeling sorry for myself lately due to a lingering cold and a hacking cough for a couple of weeks.

I don't feel that way after my visit with Mr. M.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Hard knocks

I had the pleasure of meeting Joe Auer at the YMCA yesterday.

Joe is a former NFL running back and he's probably best remembered for his 95 yard kick-off return in the first regular season game the Miami Dolphins ever played against the Oakland Raiders in 1966.

He ended up being the Dolphins MVP that same year.

He lives in my town and regularly works out at the "Y."

We briefly talked about the recent NFL settlement for 765 million dollars for the former players and families in regards to information that was reportedly hidden pertaining to the potential long term effects of head trauma and multiple concussions.

Joe played for a total of 5 years and is getting a small NFL pension.

He's now 71 years old.

He has some evident word finding difficulties and he had me introduce myself three times so as to help him remember my name.

I did not ask him the one question I would have loved to ask:

"If you had known about the potential effects of head trauma and concussions, would you have still played nonetheless?"

Like most athletes, I suspect he would have said yes.