Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Should I have just let my dad die?

Care-giving is tough. Each day has joys and frustrations. Once in a while, the caregiver (i.e. me) has regrets.

Maybe I want dad to live more than he wants to live. Maybe my dragging him to physical therapy 3x/week is mean and thoughtless. Maybe my feeding him and cleaning after him is selfish. Maybe he wants to die.

Should I have listened to the Duke hospitalists (Spetember 2007)and sent dad to a nursing home and then let him die?

On days like this (where I am many months past my scheduled post cancer mammogram and finally found an orthopedic surgeon that could "fix me" and learned I cannot get health insurance), I wonder why I have devoted my life to dad's care.

I wonder whether my insistence and daily fight for dad to enjoy life and recover is based primarily upon my anger at Duke University Hospital and the repeated incidences where hospitalists misdiagnosed and now dad suffers everyday with only a non functioning foot and then flatly ignored (and continues to ignore) my dad. DUH behaves in such a way that they just as soon dad be dead. But I am not ready.

Maybe I just want to prove to all of the DUH hospitalists that my 75 year old dad's life is worth saving.

I have fought through many "IMHO terrible clinical doctors" who:

(1) butchered me, left me lame, abandoned me and then violated federal law to my detriment (Chris Dangles, M.D. of Carle Cinic Association in Urbana, IL),

(2) abandoned and ignored me though they knew or reasonably should have known I was injured (Duke Orthopedics, Alison Toth, M.D.), and

(3) purposefully over-medicated me during the repeated orthopedic surgeries so that I was unable to practice law with a clear head (James Whisenand, M.D. of Carle Clinic Association in Urbana, IL)

On a day when I am frustrated and sad and fighting for my own health insurance, I lose focus. I am scared, in pain and worried about how I can care for dad when I cannot even obtain health care.

Caring for dad takes so much effort away from me. I don't know how much more I have to give.

BUT don't look for me to seek out federal or state Medicare or Public Aid. I will miss following with William Gradishar, M.D. (a terrific oncologist at Northwestern) and I will suffer a recurrence of cancer. The cancer will be missed either because I do not attend scheduled appointments or because I stoip taking the prescription drug that Dr. Gradishar prescribes.

Perhaps if the cancer recurred then my damaged, painful left leg/ankle/hip/back will not be such an issue for me. Maybe I can be so sick if the cancer recurred that I, like dad, could only lie on the couch.

I know this --- I will never accept a ounce of treatment for myself under government aid.

Dad is fortunate to have the best medical care money can buy! Part of me is jealous that dad has the medical resources to get better and does not fully take advantage of the resources. I have nothing.

Unlike what I allow for my dad, I will allow myself to die. I will die from a vascular disease in my leg or from a recurrence of cancer because I will not accept federal or state public aid.

Concluding that I would have to die is not by any means an indication of my being suicidal. To the contrary, I love life and I wish my dad wanted to be a part of it.

The realistic fact is that it is easier to allow yourself to die when you have no health care and no medical resources.

I hope tomorrow is better day.


  1. "I chose to name names because I am truthful and accountability is crucial if we expect reform."

    Accountablity? Why didn't you sign your letter?

  2. Thx for the question Selena. I do sign every letter that i write to joint commission, credential boards. I do not put my entire name on the og to protect privacy of my dad. But every doc & hospital knows who i am & how to contact me.