Can you choose not to fear death? At 73, Martha presented to the emergency department with a vague sensation of dizziness and was found to be in complete heart block. With her heart rhythm out of sync, sudden death was imminent. Martha needed a pacemaker stat! But she didn’t wish to be hooked up to a machine and was okay with death. Seemingly, … [Read more...] about Practice Self-Control on Independence Day
My dad had been in good health until this past February when he had two disastrous falls, resulting in a subdural hematoma which nearly killed him. Fortunately, a neurosurgeon was able to drain out most of the blood under his skull, beginning a long, slow recovery process. For several weeks my dad was complete assist, meaning he required help for … [Read more...] about Why Choose Holistic End-of-Life Care?
Medicare is a federal insurance program that covers certain health care costs for qualified Americans, generally those age 65 and older or those with disabilities. According to survey data from the National Retirement Institute, approximately 90 percent of older Americans are either enrolled in Medicare or plan to sign up for coverage as health … [Read more...] about Paying Long-Term Care Costs Medicare Can’t Cover
At 90, Ben appeared to be complacent with age and content having others tell him what to do. Every morning Ben experienced transient vertigo while getting out of bed. He happened to tell his visiting nurse about it and she detected an irregularity to his heartbeat and elevated blood pressure. She recommended Ben go to the emergency … [Read more...] about Begin Advance Care Planning with Strategic Aging in Mind
Josh was carrying his 78-year-old mother, Amelia, from her wheelchair to a stretcher when the emergency physician walked in. Seven years ago, Amelia had a stroke that paralyzed her right side. Her husband had been her primary caregiver until he died of a heart attack four days ago. Amelia was trying to do for herself despite Josh’s best intention … [Read more...] about Zero Tolerance for Family Separation
Cue the Beatles . . . You say you want a revolution: Baby Boomers were born to start revolutions. They enacted the greatest change in history during the 1960’s and never stopped. “Flower Power: gave them the freedom to love, not hate. Now we can not only love the one we’re with – we can marry them. Legalized marijuana is all but … [Read more...] about Sex, Drugs and PALLIATIVE CARE 2.0: The Next REVOLUTION for Baby Boomers
Like a hot potato being tossed from one player to the next, Leonard went from his primary doctor to an ENT specialist and finally to the emergency department due to a tumor obstructing his airway. Sophie, his daughter, stated, ”He needs one of those tubes in his neck that will allow him to breathe.” At 93, the emergency doctor took offense at the … [Read more...] about Sophie’s Choice: A Family Caregiver’s Charge to be Hopeful or Fearless
Emergency doctors normally don’t consider final wishes when it comes to treating a 47-year-old woman. Tina had metastatic kidney cancer that spread to her liver and lungs. With her being someone’s wife, mother, sister and friend, there’s an emotional charge to keep this young woman alive. Tina deserved the best treatment available. Like most, this … [Read more...] about How to Apply “Final Wishes” to Everyday Medical Decisions