Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Then you weren't listening...

I recently shared my day from Hell with all of you, courtesy of an L.A. County Hospital.  But I didn't share some of the more disturbing conversations that I had with the doctors.  There is one in particular that keeps running through my brain:

At one point, 3 doctors were in the room, explaining to little ole me, what their treatment plan was going to include.  One doctor said that she needed a complete battery of tests to determine the cause of her behavior.  Another said that it was obvious that she needed an anti-psychotic drug to help with her paranoia and delusions.  The last doctor said that he wanted to start her on some Alzheimer's specific drugs.  When he said that, my mouth dropped open.  He asked why I was surprised.  I asked him, "Don't those drugs just maintain the stage that she is at and do nothing to improve her condition?"  Yes, that's true. As I continued to block the doorway that Mom was trying to get her pathetically thin body through, I asked, "Why do you want to maintain THIS?"  His answer was, I kid you not, "Because medication will give her a quality of life."  I became almost as agitated as Mom when I asked, "Doctor? Where do you see any quality of life in her?  What part of this situation should we maintain?  Why can't we allow her to die with the little dignity that she has left?"  I could tell he didn't get it.  None of them got it.

Later, when I was alone with the doctor who actually saw Mom as a person, I asked her, "Do you understand the point I was trying to make in not wanting to give Mom a drug that maintains this disease and prolongs her misery?"  Her answer was, "What we heard is that you are at the end of your rope and that we need to find you the help that you need."  Really?  That's what you heard?  Well, then you were not listening.

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