After a harrowing few years filled with suffering from end-stage Parkinson’s disease, his days are finally coming to an end. My dad has stopped eating, and now all my family can do is sit and wait. For a doctor’s phone call.
Understandably, this is a difficult time for my family, made even more difficult by the people who are supposed to make things easier — medical personnel.
Such is the nature of health care in the US, or maybe everywhere.
It’s difficult enough to lose a loved one, but it’s exceedingly difficult when medical staff take on a philosophy of non-cooperation and callousness.
When I found out this weekend that my dad was probably not going to make it through the next couple of weeks, I called the nursing home to hopefully speak to a doctor on call.
I was not in denial and grasping at straws for a doctor to tell me my dad would be just fine. What I did want, and what I do want, is assurance that he’s comfortable and a guesstimate as to about when the doctor might think my dad will pass away.
I don’t think that’s too much to ask. Yet, by the reaction of the nursing home, you would think that I had asked for $1 million. They told me that no doctor is available to speak with me, even though I insisted there must be a doctor on call who can speak with me about my dad’s physical state. The head nurse gave me the number of the hospice corporation, where I might get in touch with a doctor.
Even though my name is listed as a contact who has a right to medical information, the nursing home didn’t want to be bothered. So I called hospice.
Hospice told me that even though I was listed as a contact, they could not give me information because I was not listed as my father’s caregiver. They told me to call the nursing home for information. Maybe I was a tad emotional about this runaround, but I gave them a few pieces of my mind — and then some more.
I called the nursing home again, and the head nurse told me to call them this morning, as the hospice doctor would definitely be in this morning. So I called this morning, and lo and behold, the doctor was not in. As of this writing, 1:10 p.m., Florida time, the doctor is still not in. I just got off the phone with a nursing home staff member, who sarcastically said, “Well, if the doctor comes in and I go to the bathroom, I might miss her.”
I felt like getting equally sarcastic and telling her she might fare well using a catheter, but I don’t want to escalate things.
My goal here is not to start a fight, although I pissed off quite a few people lately.
All I want to know is if my dad is comfortable. I’m not asking for miracles. I know my dad is going to die anyway, so I guess my efforts are futile.
I’m tired and resigned.
I have a feeling that no one will get back to me.
Tags: dementia, medical personnel, Parkinson's disease