Thursday, February 25, 2010

and I can't get health care, health care off my mind

     I hope most of you heard Keith Olberman's remarkable comments on CNBC about his father who has suffered the tortures of end of life health care. Tubes and stents and tracheotomies and surgeries, all the horrors of life in the care of fine doctors, whose sole mission seemed to be to keep his father alive!

     The comments were aimed at the recalcitrant Republicans who are making a public option, pre-existing conditions and escalating insurance premiums impossible to enact.

     Mr.  Olberman has medicare and the finest part D policy, but the out of pocket expense have been huge. For that family, money is not the issue, at all. For most Americans, it would be.  It is.

     I live with the issue of death and dying lurking somewhere in my mind. I think most ninety year old people are aware of its possibility! I am not worried about it, and my children and I have  talked it through and are on the same page. So is my doctor.

     No heroic measures! Do not resuscitate! Call Hospice to allow me to die with dignity. It's as simple and humane as that. It is all on paper, in my file at the doctor's office, in a desk drawer at my house, and with my power(ful) attorney, which is what my daughter, who has my power of attorney, calls herself.

     Designated Daughter, the book we wrote together, was the memoir of our journey from the early good years when she became my companion after Bob died to the later years when I began to fail, the bad years. I felt the book was the rehearsal for my death, only I recovered from Hospice and am still around.

     So ,we have finished rehearsing; we are ready for the main event. It won't be soon, but we will be ready. I only wish the very smart Keith Olberman and all the physicians had been able to relieve his father of his terrible physical suffering and admit that when it is time, it is time.

     My grandmother ( I cannot even calculate the year she made the observation) said there should be a sign of every hospital's front door: "Abandon Hope all Ye who enter here". I don't know if she was a pessimistic kind of woman; I know she was a smart woman.


  1. I think the best thing we could do to get the legislators to see how dire the situation has become would be to cancel their Cadillac plans and make them have to deal with paying for health care (or lack of) just like real Americans do.

  2. Stu, the National Hospice Foundation is welcome to use it or paraphrase it, or even just read it as a tribute from a very satisfied customer .