Saturday, July 13, 2013

DEAR GARY AND GREG ~~


It is all OK. . .you know. . as they say in French "Nous faisons notre possible. . .We do our possible." hahaaaa

At the time of your difficult medical journey you did keep us informed. . "the mild version". . bit by bit. . Reading the current you told us some unfortunate details - like no one helping, falling and people didn't move to help you up. .not even the so called "family". . awful. Walking to the station, witwamth a backpack heavier than you. . seemed so barabric to me. Compared to that I did indeed have it easy.

As noted my own experience was so much easier. . .even in the hospital short stay there was nothing wanting. . .One of the secret fears on the backburner about healthcare USA are seniors less well cared for? Is there the "secret attitude" well, he is old, "had his time", made to feel like a burden? If that is present seniors have years of practical experience assesing the "status quo" and can be quite sensitive to the poorly disguised disrespect and sometimes neglect. . .and so become more or hyper-independent, withdrawing rather than evoking hurt/neglect.

In my psych studies on aging our profs made a great deal of the "hidden' or even unintended "violence" inflicted on the old, the elderly. . .too often unconscious.

Frankly, Gary, in reading your narrative last night I was appalled at some of the things that happened, to which you were subjected. . And I thought, "My gawd, even in the Land of OZ" !!!

I've just assumed OZ was so much more "civil". . .maybe I am wrong.

And Greg, I asked or tried to ask delicate question about your experience, when I inquired if you did this alone, by yourself. . .You see, in my professional opinion -- just from what you said, and not knowing any circumstances -- what you went through without any medical assistance/ intervention struck me as neglect. . .but not knowing the circumstances, insurance, etc, I didn't say so. That was what was behind my comment of "interesting". . .I was appalled, frankly.
I do not criticize anyone. you or your family,. . .how old were you when this happened? In our country way too many adults and children go without medical care, etc. due to lack of insurance and the abysmal insurance business, etc.

And hopefully "times do change". . .but I wonder. Insurance forms/reports of payments made, etc, are beginning to come in. I look at the costs! Without insurance of some kind, people cannot afford this: they "go without".
When I write of gratitude for my recent experience, and can joke about things, it is because in many ways I "come from privilege" [I HATE that term, but it is a reality. . I have good insurance and in our family the finances are there. . if that is "privilege".] My socialist bent tells me this ought to be present for everyone. . for ALL, old or young and in between.

All of this, Gary and Greg, lies beneath my reaction and feelings on this topic. . and yours especially. . since you are not just a statistic. . you are "friends and neighbors" and my strong sense of justice covers you also. LOL

I hope I keep on learning and never lose sight of what daily living shows and teaches me. . . that as I mature and modify my idyllic "Knight in shining armor" off for justice and right, I do not lose the fire and drive I feel vis a vis such matters of justice and equality. . "All for One and One for All". . .;-))

p.s. going slowly but I am looking at/for a clinical position away from the IvyTowers of Academia. . .I think it better for me to take my passion "out on the streets".
Since I cannot smile I am thinking of finding a nice big smile picture, glue it to a stick . .and hold it up, under my nose when I want my smile seen. Maybe too add the letters L-O-L. .ho ho ho.

ciao ciao. . . justino

8 comments:

J said...

No one has mentioned the tendency of men not to complain. They've been taught since infancy that big boys don't cry, and it is so ingrained that often they will ignore serious problems until they're much worse.
The other aspect is the impact on those of us who are body conscious--the ones who are gym rats of various degrees. My surgery last November left me lopsided, in that my left side around the surgical scar has developed a significant pad of fat not present on the right. Not being bilaterally symmetrical is embarrassing, even if it is more existent in the patient's eye. The next stop probably will be Gary's Auschwitz Weight Loss Clinic.

RADICALJOE said...

Justin, I have always turned my
head so that I am looking at people
with the right side of my face.
I know they must know what I am doing, cause it usually works.
Sometimes it doesn't, 65yrs. with
no left eye, sometimes they think
the artificial prosthetic is real.
It is the best that I can do. Guess
that God wanted me this way. Not
much of an education. 1yr college.
Just happy to be here on earth all
74yrs. I think of how many children never made it past 8, and
I didn't have a 50/50 chance. I See
how Good God has been to me. Thanks for listening............

Gary Kelly said...

I'm glad you were appalled by my experience, JustinO - it gives me the opportunity to say, "Awwww shucks, JustinO, tweren't nuthin'."

But I do need to take the blame for some of it - there was another patient in the same shared cancer ward who was in worse shape than I. He'd been there a month before I arrived and was still there when I left two weeks later. He was eating everything in sight to gain weight so that the doctors would allow him to go home - poor bugger. But I kinda cheated and managed to convince the docs I was okay when I really wasn't.

J's right about the tendency of men not to complain. When a little boy skins his knees, he complains if his mother doesn't show sympathy. If she does, he tells her not to fuss. I'm not sure if "boys don't cry" is a taught thing, I think it's a peer thing.

Anyway, I feel better now that you've expressed your horror hehe.

I should also mention that all my treatment - operation, hospitalization, radiation - cost nothing - not a penny. All I paid for was the train fare. When I finally get my dentures, they'll be free too. So I'm very lucky to be a citizen of Oz.

I was talking to an Indian bloke who said less than 10% of people in India can afford cancer treatment. The rest are left to die. "We just watch them waste away."

GreginAdelaide said...

Just got back from a weekend away, that's why I've been quiet, I don't take the interweb with me, too busy.
------------------


Oh no Justin, there was certainly no neglect on the part of family and friends, I was obviously so well adjusted to what had happened and was happening to me that there was little anyone could do other than fuss and "be there" for me.

As for the medical care, it was good, but I think the timing, ie getting to the stage where I was "with it" again and aware enough to perhaps be requiring counselling etc was right at Christmas. I was more or less being shunted out of the general hospital to the nut house before Christmas itself was on them and I think the but house was not quite prepared for me just at that point, probably preferring to wait till Christmas Day etc were over before settling into some sort of assessment and program to see what I needed.

As I was obviously not distressed I think I was put in the "later" basket.... I think Christmas caused me to slip through the crack and my decision, once at home in the care of my parents, to NOT return cut short any help I was probably about to get.
Suited me fine...ha!

In answer to your question Justin, I was in my late 30s at the time.

My story did perhaps make it sound like no-one cared or did anything for me... sorry about that, I gave the wrong impression.
I certainly had good understanding and plenty of offers of help from family and friends, but I just did not need, nor even want it, as I needed to sort it out in my own head, in my own way and manage it on my own.

Independent, that's how I was raised, but I was not raised to be blindly independent, I knew that I could always ask for help, for sure.

My great mate was injured in the same accident, only not so badly as I.
He too felt he was being somewhat smothered, it did not take words for each of us to know we were there for each other and that we were both sick of hospitals and fuss.
That's why his plan to get away on that road trip was just the medicine we both needed at that stage.

Hell, I was so keen to be active while I was away that even though I still had a cast on one leg and I had to use crutches, I was so mobile and had a great time walking over rough ground that I broke the cast and when I got back home, had to go to the hospital to get it replaced.
Much frowning and tutt-tutting by doctors and hospital staff, but x-rays showed it had healed well, in fact it was at that stage I learned I have abnormally fast bone growth...so did not need a new cast.
All good news, all positive stuff.

Just to be clear, my story was meant only to tell of my slightly similar journey, facing my mortality etc ..... and was not meant as a "my story top's yours" etc, just my story and how I coped. That's all.

Yes J, that is how I was brought up, not to complain, to seek solutions for myself and only if I could not cope, needed help, only then should I ask.
It's a man thing for sure....

And Justin, in my mind's eye I am sure that even though your mouth may not convey your happy moments, I am somehow certain that your eyes would twinkle and convey your smile to all, for sure, so don't stress on that score.

Keep at it, positive thoughts, okay, it's easy for me to sit here and write it, but your physical affliction is really only a small thing in the grand scheme of things, eh.

jimm said...

When I was a teen, my dad 'allowed' me to grow my hair long. But he would harass my brothers to get theirs cut. He thought it was cool cuz no-one could see my hearing-aid beneath my mop-head, and so did I.

Since I still had trouble with my hearing and especially my speech, people thought I was mentally challenged.

Eventually I figured it was better to let people see my hearing-aids.

So, DrJ, attitude is everything!

JustinO'Shea said...

THANKS, Greg. . .that is quite a story just the same. . but being in early 40s makes a big difference. . you were not a kid!
The human person is a marvelous mystery. . .and a mystery is something which gradually unfolds. . just as the human potential is always revealing itself in our varying situations. . a wondrous creation we are. . .don't you think. . . ;-))

GreginAdelaide said...

"a wondrous creation we are. . .don't you think. . . ;-))"

Most certainly!

GreginAdelaide said...

...and I'm still a kid :-)