Wednesday, March 30, 2005

enough

Enough. Enough. Enough. I don't want to talk about Jesse Jackson. Or the Schindlers. Or even Terri. Her story is sad and tragic, regardless of how it ends. Her life was cut short. We can all feel for her. I want to talk about what the Schiavo situation and story mean for the rest of us. Check your politics at the door. I believe the great questions in America today regarding end of life are these: Are people dying well, with their pain managed, their wishes honored? Should we be discussing the cost of treatments at the end of life, and whether costs should even be considered? Will we reach a point where they must be considered? What about all the people in beds next to Terri Schiavo, and in nursing homes around the country? What kind of care are they getting? Are they lonely and abandoned by society, or supported by the rest of us? Is there enough support for the caregivers, the nursing home aides, the people who have the biggest impact of all on the last hours, days and weeks of so many? Why is turnover among nursing home staff 70 or 80 percent annually? Is it possible to give tender care to people when resources are so tight? So many of the landmark end of life cases in America _ Quinlan, Cruzan, Schiavo _ are young women. Catholic women. But while they have a great impact on the law, the vast majority of people who die will do so after long lives, and long declines. My own father died last summer. Medicine served him so well. He got 10 extraordinary years of life _ quality years, wonderful years _ because of the best medical treatment in the world, nearly all of it paid for by medicare or his supplemental insurance. I'm a Baby Boomer. I'm wondering -- will I still be able to get such care when my time comes? Will I be able to afford it? I think these are the quesitons that need to be asked and answered. I'm new at blogging. This is an experiment for me. But these are the questions I'm interested in. I'm also interested in hearing personal stories, because I believe the best way to reach readers is through stories about honest experiences. Blog on, Baby. -- michael vitez

1 Comments:

Blogger momof22 said...

What about all the people in beds next to Terri Schiavo, and in nursing homes around the country? What kind of care are they getting? Are they lonely and abandoned by society, or supported by the rest of us? Is there enough support for the caregivers, the nursing home aides, the people who have the biggest impact of all on the last hours, days and weeks of so many? Why is turnover among nursing home staff 70 or 80 percent annually?

Michael - what great questions. And the short answer is - NO. The people in the next bed, or the next town are not getting the kind of support, care, respect they need or deserve. NO caregivers are not getting the help, support, respect they need.

Yes, resources are scarce, but resources are also distributed based on our national, corporate priorities, based on who we vote into the offices that make these decisions. I firmly believe there ARE enough resources in this country to provide the appropriate care and support to people with disabilities, feeding tubes, palliative care needs, BUT that we, collectively as a society - need to demand that this happen. Human needs of our own most vulnerable citizens always, always fall at the bottom of the heap when budgets are being drawn up and voted on.

If people really care about a dignified and quality life including end-of-life care, it is time to speak up and put our money where our mouths are.

12:06 PM  

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