Monday, October 11, 2010

The blessed phone call...

So...I finally heard from my mother's doctor.  He did not give me the opportunity to explain why I wanted him to call.  The phone rang, I answered "hello" and here's how the conversation went:

Me:  Hello

Dr. X:  This is Dr. X.

Me:  Doctor, thank you so much for calling.  We...

Dr. X:  (interrupts) Your mother has never accepted that she will forever be in a nursing home.  She is unhappy.  There is nothing I can do for her.

Me:  But Doctor, we're worried she is drifting back into a catatonic state.  She just lays there, rigid, with a fixed stare.  She cannot interact with us.  She cannot communicate at all.

Dr. X:  Oh.

Me:  We are wondering if she might need another round of Electroshock Therapy (ECT).

Dr. X:  Well, I guess I need to go see her...(NO FREAKIN' SHIT, SHERLOCK!)

Me:  Uhm, well, yes.  Plus, we need to think through this the right thing to do for an 81 year old woman.  She is spiraling downward to a place where I'm afraid we'll never get her back.  The doctor that treated her last year said she would need periodic ECT to maintain her mental clarity.  But is it the right thing to do.

Dr. X:  I will visit her sometime this week. (hangs up the phone)

And there, ladies and gentlemen, is the American healthcare system at it's finest.  When you are elderly, we just put you in a nursing home where you are out of sight and out of mind.

Tomorrow I will tell you about my mother's first experience with ECT in 1955 after just giving birth....this was the first of many times my mother fell through the cracks.

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