Monday, September 22, 2008

Does care-giving make me irresponsible?

It took quite a while to get the complaint to the federal authorities finalized. I regret that I needed to file such a complaint against my former orthopedic surgeon Chris J. Dangles, M.D. (Carle Clinic Association in Urbana, Illinois). But I would be demonstrating a phenomenal lack of self respect if I allowed a surgeon to knowingly and unapologetically cause harm to me.

Now I hunker down to focus on care-giving. Care-giving of an elderly parent is no small endeavor. Yet the general public dismisses care-giving as a waste of time and an excuse for the care-giver to be lazy! Amazing. Insulting.

My elderly father struggles with Stage 4 colon cancer (met to liver) and all of the side effects of being frail, weak and just plain sick. His body has suffered the ravages of multiple surgeries, chemotherapy and neglect by the medical community.

The father whom was once the strongest man in the world to me now has difficulty walking to the dinner table. Like an overprotective mother watching her child take his first steps, I want to keep my father from falling but know he needs to regain self respect and autonomy. Most significantly, I know that I cannot protect my father forever. I can only make his life as comfortable as possible.

In addition to the emotional aspects of care-giving, I am also my father's medical advocate. My father's medical care providers know me well.

My dad's doctors told me that dad required 24/7 care. I did not want dad to go to a nursing home. I wanted dad to live at home with his wife. And so I sacrificed my own personal life to stay at my parents' home and care for dad. And thankfully, my care-giving has improved my ill father's quality of life.

You would think that people would be impressed by my selflessness, love and commitment to the daily needs of an elderly, ill parent. You would be wrong.

Those who have read this Blog know that as a consequence of the repeated, unnecessary orthopedic surgeries performed by Dr. Chris Dangles, I became unable to walk and was increasingly depressed. The Illinois ARDC suspended my law license in large part because the ARDC was concerned about my level of depression.

As soon as I stopped treating with Dr. Dangles and received appropriate medical care and corrective surgeries, my depression resolved completely.

I asked my attorney about my getting the law license back. My attorney advised me that I could not get my law license back until I stopped caring for my terminally ill father and obtained a "real job." I reminded my attorney that I often assisted my mother with her small business in order to keep my family above water financially.

My attorney told me that (regardless of my care-giving), my failure to get "a real job" was a reflection of my financially irresponsibility and lack of integrity!

My attorney is not the only person who dismisses the importance of care-giving to an ill, elderly parent.

I owe a sum of money on my federal student loan. The United States Department of Education told me (no joke) that I lacked character because I chose to stay with my father instead of getting a job. The Dept of Education told me that I should place my father in a nursing home and attend to my student loan obligation.

Too bad that I did not just get a sub-prime mortgage. Then someone would bail me out.

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