Sunday, August 23, 2009

Suffer Fools, We Got A Buck To Make

I have mentioned it a number of times lately, but this coming Saturday is the tenth anniversary of my mother's death. She died from cancer, which was allowed to spread and grow while her insurance company continued to deny the claims. For whatever reason, she has been on my mind a lot lately. She usually is, but with the combination of taking on bold, new ventures, the approaching anniversary, and all the debate of health care reform has increased the frequency of those thoughts.

Last week, I saw Patrick McIlheran have a number of posts (I thought he was supposed to be cut back - what happened to that?), like this one, regarding health care reform, spreading the usual inane and insane lies and misinformation regarding death panels and the such.

I've seen numerous other members of the conservative Posse Comatose echoing similar fear mongering, like this drivel from Aaron Rodriguez.

Too bad for these disingenuous liars and fear-mongerers that this sort of thing has been going on for much longer than since Obama has been president.

When my mother was spending her last days in the hospital, they asked my father if they could move her to a hospice. However, she never stabilized enough for the move. The day before she died, she called me, and I could tell something was wrong. Well, more wrong actually. She told me that it hurt to breathe. Can you imagine what kind of hell that is, knowing that there is no relief, except through dying?

I called my dad and my fiancee (now wife) and I met him at the hospital. We called for the doctor immediately and ordered him to give her morphine. The doctor told us that if we put her on enough morphine to kill the pain, it would shorten her life. There was no choice. Seeing her suffer was too much. If we allowed that to go on, just so she could live a few more hours or days would have made us less than human and unChristian.

It was the last time I got to speak to her, but at least she was out of pain.

Six years later, my grandfather, just before his 92nd birthday, started a series of medical emergencies which consisted of heart attacks, MRSA infections, and multiple trips between the hospital, the nursing home and the assisted living center.

When the hospital social worker called me to tell me that they were going to move Grandpa back to the nursing home where he received terrible care (another story for another time), I told that they were not going to do that, and demanded a meeting with the doctor.

If nothing else, my professional career and my experiences with my mother's passing made me into a damn effective advocate. I met with the doctor that afternoon and confirmed my worst suspicions. I told the social worker and the doctor that I wanted him moved to a specific hospice, and would not budge on that issue.

That meeting was on a Friday. The following Wednesday, he was in the hospice. By Friday, he stopped eating. By Saturday, he was only having moments of lucidity as his body started to shut down and his brain became starved for oxygen. By Sunday, when we were finally able to get someone to give him last rites, he was all but unconscious. His last words were singing a hymn in Italian, when he heard the nearby church's bells ringing. He passed away the next Wednesday at two o'clock in the morning.

Even though it broke my heart to make that decision, my grandfather had the foresight to have an advance directive, which I was honoring. I realize now, that if I had not pushed the issue, he would have gone back to the nursing home, and died there, without the dignity and peace he had while in the hospice.

For these fear-mongering fools to tell us that the health care reform is bad is just insulting. There is no way that they can justify having people suffer, so that the insurance companies, the pharmaceutical companies, and the big box medical providers can milk the system for all its worth.

All the right wingers are doing is a shameful, lowly attack on people's deepest fears, just to try to regain control of the government, so that they can go back to gouging us and giving everything to their rich friends.

Shortly after my mom passed, my wife and I had our advanced directives drawn up and filed. I do not want to go through this again if, God forbid, something happened to my wife. Nor do I want to put my wife through that if something happened to me. That is calling being considerate, planning ahead and being smart. Apparently, those are also the things that the conservatives are most afraid of.


  1. Caps, for myself, I'm against Government running it. Period. I'm not against reforms. There needs to be a dividing line here. Most people I know aren' against REFORM, they're against, ah hell, what's the friggin' point.

  2. Caps, threw up some thoughts at my place. Let me know what ya think.

  3. The government, in most likelihood, wouldn't be running it per se. Medicare, SeniorCare and BadgerCare are all administered by private companies.

    The government would just be footing the bill, lowering the rates we all pay.