There is a time and a place to ‘give up’ when someone is sick with a terminal illness, but that is never, ever for the physician to decide–it’s for the patient in discussion with the patient’s family to decide when it’s time to stop fighting and let go.
A physician’s job is to give someone more time on the planet, to improve their quality of life, even if it’s only *one* more day. That is their job–use the best of medical technology to keep someone going.
With time, comes miracles. Good doctors know that too. They’ve seen it.
My father has been waiting for a PEG tube, and possibly a trach for breathing.
And waiting and waiting.
So today I went to the Ottawa hospital, and stick my nose way deep into it to get some answers. I went through the run around process: I spoke to a bunch of different people (no one knew where I needed to go, so I decided to just keep asking people until I found someone who knew my father.)
Finally, I got to the right module, and the sweetest secretary of all time (second only to Dr. Sherman’s secretary’s back in Los Angeles :), finally took the time to help me. (With a little begging and pleading on my part.)
After some shifting through paperwork, we basically figured out that my father had the process wrong–my father is supposed to contact the peg tube doctor–not the other way around.
My father needs to have his Ptt and inc (?) blood levels checked first,
then call the doctor to set up a time to get the PEG tube in.
(If it’s urgent, and the patient needs the PEG tube immediately, they can go to the emergency room–I was told they do PEG tubes in there all the time too. My father just hates the ER, so that is the last resort.)
After many conversations with lots of people, I finally got all the right information: the doctors name, the orders, the right place to go and get the blood work done, the right number to call after his blood is drawn to set up the appointment,
and then my father’s cancer doctor–we’ll refer to him now on as ‘the Dooshbag’–calls my father an hour after I was there at the hospital (he knew I was there stirring things up), and he told my father he doesn’t feel my father needs the peg tube and trach anymore, AND when my father asked him for some orders for IV fluids, he said no.
No to IV fluids?? Really??
Look, Dr. Dooshbag. You have picked a war with the wrong person. I may get bloody, I may get bruised, I may lose my ego in the process, but I will win.
If my father wants some IV fluids, he’s going to get IV fluids.
Of course my father–a person of strange blend of incredible intelligence, hopeless naivitie with a streak of assholeness,
actually thinks this doctor has his best interested at heart!
“Paw, look. There is no reason for you to not get orders for some IV fluids. You have barely swallowed anything over the last week.”
“Dr. [Dooshbag] said I don’t need IV fluids.”
“Dr. Dooshbag is wrong Paw. IV fluids will help you feel a little bit stronger. It will help ease a little of your lethargy.”
“Dr. Dooshbag said I don’t need a trach or PEG tube either.”
“Paw!!! Dr. Dooshbag is saying you don’t need a trach or PEG tube, and refusing to give you orders for IV fluids, because Dr. Dooshbag is done being your doctor!! He doesn’t want to help you anymore. He’s done.”
“Well Teddy, he did say he would call Brueyere (the hospice across the street), and get me in immediately if I want to be put in there.”
“Of course he offered to put a call into hospice–he is *done* being your doctor!! I want you to live to make it to the Super Bowl. You are not going to make to the Super Bowl, without a trach and a PEG tube!”
If Dr. Dooshbag had said that he didn’t think my father would live through the insertion of the PEG tube and the trach, that’s one thing. But that’s not what he said.
By refusing to order my father some IV fluids–something so basic, so harmless in modern medicine–
That’s how I know Dr. Dooshbag is, well, a Dooshbag. And therefore, can not be trusted.
I told my father to call his family care doctor, and ask him to put the orders in for some IV saline. I offered to make the call myself, but my father said he didn’t want me meddling in his business.
(Um, it’s too late for that Paw.)
It just frustrates me that my father actually thinks this doctor has his best interest at heart. I know Dr. Dooshbag is just looking for another donation to his center (my father made one a few months ago), and now that he’s realizing my father can’t make another one, he’s really just not interested in helping him anymore.
(Or worse, he might think that he’s in my father’s will, which I know for a fact he’s not (there’s nothing to give anyone). What an arrogant doosh bag. That donation my father made was way more than my father has to give. Fuck, I’m not even going to see anywhere close to 5k, and I’m his daughter.)
Whatever the reason, clearly this doctor is just done helping my father.
My father is stubborn and difficult to handle as a patient sometimes, but a physician’s job is to help their patients to the best of their ability (if the patient wants the help).
I’m just disappointment because clearly Dr. Dooshbag feels that my father is going to die any day now, so why keep trying?
Because another day is another gift, that’s why.
It’s not for you to judge. It’s your job to help.