Elder care, why bother?
Messing around all evening cleaning old files out of my computer instead of writing the post that has been in my head since my grandmother’s last hospitalization 2 weeks ago. Now she’s back in, after about 10 days of freedom at home. At 90, she is in bad health, and is apparently retaining water at an alarming rate.
What is worse than her actual health situation is the attitude of the medical decision-makers at one of Israel’s largest hospitals. Can you imagine a doctor in the US telling a next of kin that, “Look, she’s old and even if we run tests and get a positive, she is too sick to take treatment, so we have decided not to do the biopsy.”
She’s 90, and apparently very easily expendable according to the perhaps unstated medical policies alive and well in Israeli hospitals. Years ago, doctors here had a policy of never telling cancer patients that they had cancer. Can you imagine that happening in the US? No, neither can I.
This isn’t going to be an academic thesis on elder care, rather I find myself also wondering at what point do we decide to expend limited medical resources on “hopeless” cases, ie. the aged so that more resources can be used for child development and health matters that once resolved will help the sick person become a useful member of society.
Do the very old have a place in our society? They forget. They can’t hear well. They repeat themselves endlessly, and they are usually sad because they live in a memory of the past where the present lacks so many of their lifelong friends and spouse.
I’d like to write a more well thought out article about elder care, but only feel capable of posting this rant right now.