Tuesday, October 13, 2009

October already!

Ah, it's already October and I've missed blogging about a lot of water under the bridge. Sorry. Well, we had a great birthday party at my house for my grandson's 3rd birthday--lots of kids, parents, a few grandparents and a grandparent to be--my dear friend Jody as her daughter Shyanne is with child and, God willing, will give birth in due time to a healthy, happy bundle of baby. She and Alex will have a bond that will never be broken because of this child. That's the thing about babies that I don't think anyone understands until they have one, or two, or five. I think women get this. Once you've had a man's babies you will forever be honored in that man's mind--even if he doesn't show it. Believe me, it's there. When push comes to shove, you are still the mother of his child(ren).

Life. It's a circle isn't it? It's eternal. As one comes, one goes.

I am a little miffed right now at a certain GI doc that sent away an elderly patient of mine who had anorexia and abdominal pain. He said the only thing left to do because of her anorexia (said she didn't complain of abdominal pain!!) is to put in a feeding tube, and he didn't recommend doing that. The daughter stood at the nurses station this past Friday--lost look on her face. I mean, that's her mother. The doc said essentially no hope. I don't know if he didn't look at the whole picture, ask questions, or simply didn't care to delve any deeper for answers because of her advanced age. Yesterday when I got to work, my very inquisitive and dependable LPN on the skilled wing came to me and told me about Mrs. _______. She said that she had been hollering all weekend and asked if I could give her something to help calm her. I had spoken with the daughter on Friday and said that I would order an abdominal x-ray to see if anything showed up. I remembered this and then my LPN reported the upper abdominal symptoms and wondered if it could be her gallbladder. We giggled at this because another elderly resident had just had an ultrasound that showed up gallstones and this LPN had recently had surgery for this condition. So, an x-ray and an ultrasound ("US") were ordered. Guess what, my LPN was dead on the money. The US showed her gallbladder was full of stones. This is why she was in such pain, poor creature! We sent her to the ED and I trust they've taken her for surgery by now. I wonder what Mrs. ____'s daughter is thinking? I wonder if she wants to call the GI and give him a piece of her mind? It's sad but all too common that the elderly are often overlooked and every complaint they have is chalked up to a UTI, fecal impaction or dehydration. I just want to ask these young doctors, is this how you want to be treated or how you want your mother to be treated?

I don't agree with feeding tubes just for the sake of prolonging the inevitable. Hospice is a wonderful service, helping to keep your loved one's dignity intact and gently and lovingly caring for them during the transition and journey to death. Death. Humph. It's just a transformation from one form to another, like the ship leaving port headed for a distant land with our loved one on board. This is a journey we all must take, and take alone. It makes me remember a poem that my sister told me about that she found on a grave stone while walking around in a local cemetery in Portland, Maine. It goes, "All earthly friends as you pass by, so now you are, so once was I. So now I am, you soon must be, so prepare for death and follow me."

Life and death--that's life.