When Conservatives Make Fools of Themselves – Exhibit B

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One of this week’s episodes of Conservatives Making Fools of Themselves is over the “Death Panels”.  Once the hype has been laid to rest, we realize that what is being discussed are end of life plans – living wills.

Listening to the arguments on FOX Monday night, I was a bit annoyed.  My 80 year old mother called, quite upset.  “Mother, you already have a living will.  They are making much ado about nothing.”

The Pink Flamingo is truly annoyed with FOX for playing up the killing grandma story line.  It truly upset my parents.  Then again I’m simply getting tired of unfair and unbalanced.  They’ve picked the wrong way to fight this one – this time.

Then, listening to their “experts” discuss the issue, I was disgusted.  As the designated primary care-giver for two octogenarian parents, one of whom has a serious heart condition, I face the possibility of an “end of life” decision on a daily basis – and have been doing so for nearly 6 years.

No one bothers discussing the fact that the best final thing a parent can do for their children is to have a living will, making their wishes known.

Do you realize how much friction it prevents among survivors?

So, my mother and I had a little discussion.
MY MOTHER:    “You aren’t going to give me one of those Hospice shots to kill me.”
THE PINK FLAMINGO:   “You think I am out of my mind? Of course not.”
MY MOTHER:  “I still get upset thinking about what Hospice did to your grandparents.”
THE PINK FLAMINGO:    “So do I. Let’s put it this way, if something catastrophic happens do you want to be a veggitable? I know if it is me, pull the blasted plug.”
MY MOTHER:  “Of course I don’t.”
THE PINK FLAMINGO:    “Well, that’s my point. That is what your Living Will does.”
MY MOTHER:   “I know, it just upsets me listening to this.”
THE PINK FLAMINGO:   “But you’ve already taken care of it. It is legal. No one can do anything to you you do not wish.”
MY MOTHER:   “Listening to this, it sounds like they can.”
THE PINK FLAMINGO:    “But they can’t.  It isn’t legal.”

From there the conversation went back to the legalities of the situation.  I reminded her about what the attorney had told she and my father.

It all started when the parents began work on their trust.  Once again we go back to taxes.  While they were discussing a trust attorney with Alan, he mentioned they needed a power of attorney and a living will.  Once the documents were created to their specifications they were signed, witnessed and notarized.

This brings me full circle to the whole “death panel” spew.

Dr. Bill Smith at ARRA News Service wrote:

“…Specifically, the measure was known as Section 1233 of the bill the House passed in November 2009. It was not included in the final legislation, however. It allowed Medicare to pay for consultations about advance care planning every five years. In contrast, the new rule allows annual discussions as part of wellness visits.…”

Bingo!

It’s those annual wellness visits that really bother The Pink Flamingo.

Everyone needs to have a living will.  Witness the whole Terry Schiavo fiasco.  That was a disaster.  We all need to go on record about what we want.  I’ll go on record now, pull the damn plug if it’s me – please!

From what I gather, those yearly wellness visits will access our mental health.  The person assessing our mental health is not a trained mental health professional.  The session includes end of life planning, esp if you are a senior, even though the person leading the discussion is neither a member of the clergy nor an attorney who is qualified to discuss legal issues. They will also tell us if we are overweight enough, AS IF I can’t look into a mirror.  Evidently this health care professional, who is not a trained dietician will tell me I need to lose weight.

Would someone please explain what is true and what isn’t?

NY Times

This is what really gets me:

“…For example, Dr. Silveira said, she might ask a person with heart disease, “If you have another heart attack and your heart stops beating, would you want us to try to restart it?” A patient dying of emphysema might be asked, “Do you want to go on a breathing machine for the rest of your life?” And, she said, a patient with incurable cancer might be asked, “When the time comes, do you want us to use technology to try and delay your death?”…”

Is this what is discussed or is this what they are going to do.  In my mother’s case, she has a-fib.  She has had problems for at least 40 years.  Her heart stopped twice 6 years ago come April.  Once I had a tantrum and she was given a pacemaker, she’s had a great life.  Do we play God and not revive?

This is so disingenuous.

“…In a recent study of 3,700 people near the end of life, Dr. Maria J. Silveira of the University of Michigan found that many had “treatable, life-threatening conditions” but lacked decision-making capacity in their final days. With the new Medicare coverage, doctors can learn a patient’s wishes before a crisis occur…”

There are those who think it is a bias to talk people into opting out of expensive end of life care.  This may be what the pencil pushers are doing, but I think it is something completely different.

I was near enough to home when my parents were caring for my father’s mother and my aunt Mabel, and was quite close to my mother’s parents.  I see it with my parents at times.  There is a tremendous bias against the elderly, especially by health care professionals.

You don’t see it with specialists, but you do see it with health care workers who specialize in geriatrics.  They treat the elderly, from my experience watching them, like dirt.  They treat them like they don’t know what they are doing.  I’ve also found these are the physicians who tend not to give adequate care to the elderly.  That’s where you get the horror stories.

These are the health care professionals who have no business trying to work with legal issues with the elderly.  If my mother were to confer with her cardio, she would be treated far superior to a certain GP I know here in Ruidoso who specializes in geriatrics.

End of life care and living wills need to be discussed with the family.  At times there are some people who need to confer with their clergy.  You need an attorney.

It seems to me a person can avoid the whole “death panel” fiasco by simply using an attorney instead of a health care professional.  Then again, there are so many problems in life that could be solved by consulting an attorney.

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2 thoughts on “When Conservatives Make Fools of Themselves – Exhibit B

  1. My sister just turned 90 years old last June. She is sometimes so upset over what she hears on Fox News that my niece has a hard time dealing with it. As for living wills, a relative had a stroke and the plug was pulled according to his wishes. I had a disagreement with his son because I felt that the plug was pulled too soon. It’s probably just me but I thought they should have waited to see if he would revive.

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