Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Hospitals and Holidays

Well, I'm finally back. Sorry for my absence, but in our life, if it's holiday time, someone goes into the hospital. This year was no exception.

While I certainly did not mean for this blog to be all about health care and my family's ailments, there's been a lot of them in the last year or so -- hoping maybe what I learn along the way can be passed on to others.

Just when I thought we were getting my parents settled into their new living quarters, my dad awoke ill one morning and was hospitalized for two weeks. That was just the beginning. Then there was my mother -- who insisted on staying in his room the entire time -- leaving only to go to the cafeteria for food a few times (or when we forced her to get out into daylight).

It was rough, but there were bits and pieces of humor. My dad thought he was a general in the Russian Army. He told me he was Secretary of State. He said that the aliens were plotting and that we needed to be careful. He also thought he was in a prison (that one I can understand!).

At any rate, I drove the doctors and the nurses nuts because I am an Internet freak and know enough about health care to be dangerous (and annoying). I was constantly online looking up my dad's symptoms, going over old doctor's and hospital notes from previous years, etc. trying to diagnose his condition. One physician had to ask me to "stay off the Internet"! It's simple. My dad has pneumonia and a serious bacteria growing in his lungs. For someone who is almost 80, this is not good.

He is out of the hospital but recovering at a facility in what I'll refer to as "quarantined" for at least 6 weeks. Everyone has to wear bunny suits, latex gloves and masks when they go in to see him.

While I love all the discoveries modern medicine has to offer, sometimes it feels like a double-edge sword. Is this really how we want to live our lives in the later years?

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