This Medication in Short Supply.
Yes, it’s hard for kin to give up the caregiver role. Letting our parents inevitably and gradually disappear into old age is hard. But it’s not so much care giving that’s in short supply. As a consulting physician said to a distraught daughter whose mother was losing weight: “I understand your concern and the staff are working on it – they’re trained to help seniors with finicky appetites. But to spend your visits arguing with your mother over food is probably not good for either of you. During your time with her you can provide what the staff can’t. You can relive with her some of the precious times she can remember, and provide the joy of seeing her grandchildren. We have all kinds of medications here but we can’t share treasured memories or prescribe love and affection.”
This advice comes from the same physician who spends a morning a week at the retirement home seeing patients – usually accompanied by one of their kids. The same physician who throws up his hands in despair at the endless pleading – mainly from the relatives – that he fix this, or that, and another thing … that he somehow stop their loved one’s slow ache, limp or shuffle into old age.
And the forms – ‘the bloody forms” – the doctor spends half his time filling out government or insurance company forms, and their endless requests for more information to justify this or that treatment: “Please complete section F-1b justifying the patients need for… wheelchair, or dietary supplement, or expensive drug A rather than inexpensive Drug B, or physiotherapy” or whatever.
Little wonder he occasionally cancels his weekly clinics at the retirement home to attend a medical conference that just happens to be right next to a great golf course.
To be continued…Food… Food…Food!