This is the story of Pam and John; she in her early 50’s and John is 62. Pam is a college professor. John taught at a local community college until diagnosed with Parkinson’s in March 2008, then Lewy Body Dementia in April.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

back to work

I had yesterday off but today I had a busy day, as I'm co-teaching a course that meets Tuesdays from 2 to 4:45. John went to physical therapy and had lunch with a friend before going to visit his aunt. It was after 5:30 pm when he got back--she had asked him to clean her CPAP machine, and her way of doing it involved taking apart every little part. I suppose we should be hiring someone to help her with such things (and mail and laundry and etc.) but it is hard to think clearly about when we have no idea how long she will be in the nursing home, if all goes well. I don't think the doctor has any idea how long healing might take, given her advanced age but exceptional health and determination. But with no idea whether she will be in the nursing home for more than a month or two it is hard to know how much to set up. She was originally thinking she would be there a few days; I'm not sure she has accepted that it will be more than a few weeks.

I was moved by the inauguration, which I listened to on the radio (I would rather imagine it in my head). But there was one point where the speech fell into something I preach against professionally. Obama said: "We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost." Technology isn't going to provide a magic solution to avoid hard decisions about health care. And a 97 year old woman getting a drug that costs something like $700 a month to encourage bone growth is just the kind of case that makes it so hard, even though it could save money if it gets her out of a nursing home back to her apartment.

1 comment:

Isis said...

When my grandfather was ill (this was almost 2 years ago) it was easy to hire a nursing aide to come in and help with these things. You might speak with the folks at the nursing home to see what your options are: they should have good information that would make it very easy to take care of this. Hope you're well.