Many decry the Baby Boomer population, with its dire threats of ill health and dementia. In the meantime, there are many, like both my cousin and friend, who reported doing 30km in a day on the bicycles!
This book shows the reality of aging, and the mistakes many can make. It's well-written, and easily readable. I wish all of our GPs could read it, although the young ones we've encountered in our many trips in to visit our specialists, they seem to understand this philosophy.
Dr. Gawande writes a bit about the history of healthcare, from the poorhouses of old, where people were forced to work, and were incarcerated. This was the time before healthcare had back-up plans for those requiring nursing care. We have many more options in this day and age.
This marvellous physician insists that doctors should be listening to their patients more than lecturing them. He suggests these questions.
Questioning techniques on the part of the physician
- What is your understanding of your illness at this time?
- What are your personal, immediate goals?
- What are your plans?
- What does quality of life mean to you? (E.g., No catheter or colostomy bag.)
- What are your priorities?(e.g., pain control, or quality of life?)
- What are your fears and worries?
- What are we aiming for: curative or comfort measures?
- Do you want a long life or to have the best days possible in the time remaining?
There are side effects with many treatments. For example, radiation can lead to weight loss, some report being unable to taste food, others facing chemotherapy are unable to have a social life.
I have always counselled my clients to ask their physician the impact or the side effects on one's life. Chemo killed my mother. Radiation gave my father a UTI and delirium. Radiation on surgical scars can lead to life-long dates with colostomy bags or catheters. I've seen my fair share of these in my volunteer work. My 95-year-old friend, who chose a feeding tube, had a terrible time at the end of her life.
One of my clients had radiation, but it made him too sick. Next, on his treatment plan was blood transfusions. These last for a time, but eventually they don't work any more. He decided he'd stop treatments, and enjoy each day. Eventually he passed away, having enjoyed visits from family and friends.
There is a difference between being terminal and being treatable. We can ameliorate one's pain, many types of cancer can be put on hold, but we can also destroy the body's normal functioning. As many know, my husband with prostate cancer has chosen not to have radiation treatments, since the side effects could destroy his quality of life. Can't he have surgery?, people ask, but he did and the cancer cells have spread. Prostate cancer is a slow-growing cancer. We dwell in the present. We've seen what radiation and chemotherapy does to people already weak. He is not weak and he is asymptomatic. Life is good!
In the meantime... the mostly for-profit companies who run homes for seniors (long-term care –LTC) are making profits off the illnesses of our loved ones.
Health Care REIT, Inc. is a real estate investment trust (REIT).
Company Shares of Health Care REIT, Inc. Rally 2.29%
Insider Trading Report The Companys hospitals and seniors housing triple-net properties are leased to operators under long-term operating leases. Its medical office ...
The company shares have rallied 7.22% in the past 52 Weeks. On January 20, 2015 The shares registered one year high of $84.88 and one year low was seen on October 2, 2014 at $62.05.
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