Wednesday, August 19, 2020

I want to live, make sure that guy wrote it down properly.

This article was sent to me by its author. It was published on her blog: What the Cleaning Lady Thinks on August 8.

First of all, I apologize. I apologize for not “classing up” my language enough to say this in a way those who predominate in our political class might find acceptable, but I think the Health Ministry of our province is pushing euthanasia for the elderly and people with disabilities because it’s cheaper. Or more profitable. However you want to look at it.

The Health Ministry is inappropriately extrapolating DNR orders to limit other life saving treatments for certain patients deemed disposable based on arbitrary criteria. In other words, a person can have a Do Not Resuscitate Order using CPR because such a rescue might be considered by the physician as futile or that it would cause more harm but that shouldn’t automatically preclude the patient from receiving other successful life-saving treatment.

My father is laid in the hospital bed with his multi-striped house robe on, tied at the waist with a sash over his hospital pajamas. He is thin, his arms and legs are like a child’s, his body is deteriorating, but his face is as calm as a judge’s as he shrugs his shoulders, and he blinks at me through his gold wired eyeglasses, “I want to live, you better tell them, go on, make sure that guy wrote it down properly.”

Yesterday a young doctor came to my 87-year-old father on my visit to the hospital and asked my father why he wanted to live. He asked this because my father, being of sound mind and currently medically stable, had opted to continue taking life-saving medication to prevent, or at least alleviate the symptoms, of his episodic illness. The young doctor was assigned to write my father’s wishes for what should be done by the medical professionals for my father if he should become ill again. The young Chinese doctor seemed exasperated by my father’s decision. My father felt compelled to tell the doctor that he wants to live for his family and most especially for his grandchildren. The young doctor said, “OK, but that means you will be getting far more service than almost anyone else in this ward.” And he extended his arm to wave to the hallway of all the rooms full of elderly patients.

The doctor said that he was “pretty sure it’s o.k,” but he advised my father that a lot of care homes won’t accept people “who want to continue treatment like that.” He said he would have to check if the care home my father is being sent to would accept my father given that he chooses to live.

My father sat in the chair by his hospital bed with his worn book of bible quotations on his lap. My father’s fingers never left the page as he spoke to the doctor as if drawing strength from the page.

At the same time, I could see a female patient, who also just happened to be Chinese, who was older than my father – who seemed to be one of the very very old – being helped by a team to walk up and down the hallway from her hospital room. And a young Chinese nurse spoke to her, in a Chinese accent, “You must walk so you can get better.” With a lovely emphasis on the word “better” as though the nurse was speaking gently to a child.

When I asked why my father could not similarly walk for exercise and was told by one nurse he was required to stay in his room due to the current Covid-19 policies, the nurse told me that the elderly female patient was a foreign resident and therefore able to pay for private care and there was as the nurse put it, “a big big difference” between public and private care.

1 comment:

genesis1v1 said...

That’s so sad, but so brave too. God bless you for your stand!