Monday, August 3, 2009

My Family and Healthcare

I have three living grandparents. Two of them require quite a bit of medical attention. My maternal grandmother, who is 77, lives with my parents (my grandfather died in February, 2008), and is essentially unable to get around anywhere. In other words, she is wheelchair bound and needs all sorts of assistance in order to get up in the morning, use the bathroom, bathe, and go to bed at night. This is the result of diabetes and at present she is in danger of having her foot amputated because of an unhealed wound and a large infection.

My paternal grandparents are both still alive, but my grandfather has been going downhill for the past 4-5 years to the point that my grandfather has a hard time walking around and doesn't speak at all to anyone except my grandmother. He is 84 and she is 80. He is wasting away and sleeps most of the day. It has been truly sad because he worked in his garden for many hours a day until almost 80 and was extremely sharp in intellect and tongue.

Where I am going with this? I wonder what kind of effect any kind of health care legislation is going to have on the conditions of my grandparents who, at present, go to doctors fairly often and get treatment. My maternal grandmother gets treatment in a hyperbaric chamber to try and heal her foot wound, as well as seeing specialists and her primary physician. My paternal grandfather sees specialists, including a neurologist.

The question becomes - are they going to end up being statistics in a cost-cutting move? Will they be denied continued tests and attempts to make them better? Will they just be told to suck it up because they are allegedly 'beyond hope'? I pray that isn't the case, but there is certainly a segment of our culture that believes that our old is a burden on us and while they should not necessarily be euthanized, they have a 'duty to die'.

It a sickening, diseased part of our culture, that we have to view our old in terms of dollars and cents.

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