i can’t even think of a title

I keep meaning to write something long about this because it’s a topic that needs to be addressed in depth. The short version is that I’m in an utter funk right now because my elderly mother is is a state of decline and I’m fighting kaiser to get her taken care of, AND fighting my […]

I keep meaning to write something long about this because it’s a topic that needs to be addressed in depth.

The short version is that I’m in an utter funk right now because my elderly mother is is a state of decline and I’m fighting kaiser to get her taken care of, AND fighting my own inability to feel sympathy for her choice to stay helpless.

One of the tag lines in my rotating ‘description’ line in the header of this blog says better at euthanasia than at sympathy and I’m finding it painfully true. I’ve always been the one who dispassionately handles injuries and deaths; dispassion I can do. Commiseration with those who give up, I find, I have no stomach for.

In any case, I’ve disconnected from everything non-essential in order to get my job done and take care of what needs taking care of, so if I’ve dropped anyone, it’s not personal. The fact that I can’t even think of a title for this entry – something that’s never happened before – indicates my level of distraction.

10 thoughts on “i can’t even think of a title”

  1. Remember to breathe. Don’t worry about titles, don’t worry about doing anything but what needs to be done. *HUGS* And remember to breathe. It can make it easier.

  2. (Note: I considered sending this as e-mail; I’ll leave it to you as to whether to post it or not.)

    My own long-suffering mother suffers from both the opposite, and the same as yours does.

    Our family has gotten the short end of the stick for decades now; my stepfather was a long-haul trucker who got permanently disabled in an accident.

    It wasn’t his fault; a Coca-Cola truck crashed, and he had the choice between piling his rig up or squashing a family of four in the adjacent Corolla.

    He walked away from it, but finally filed for worker’s compensation, which referred him to an area chiropractor for therapy.

    The chiropractor attempted manipulation without first getting an x-ray; the second he did so, my stepdad collapsed in pain.

    Turned out he had broken vertebrae in his neck, and the chiropractor had just made it significantly worse. Today those vertebrae are essentially fused.

    To this day my stepdad lives with constant pain, made only slightly bearable by the diminishing returns of the painkiller patches he’s been on for nearly twenty years now.

    Stepdad took it well enough, confident that between Worker’s Compensation, his insurance, and Social Security that he’d be OK. He’d been earning in the low six figures, back in the early nineties, for being on the road 6 days a week, every week.

    He tried to sue the chiropractor, whose insurance company successfully litigated it to where it was stepdad’s fault for not having a full medical examination at the ER at the time of the accident. One battle lost.

    Then later, after the statute of limitations in Ohio had conveniently run out, the Bureau of Worker’s Compensation pulled his benefits, claiming that he was perfectly capable of working, despite being on full SSI disability.

    There have been multiple lawsuits, none of which proved successful because they were fought with bad lawyers bought on the table scraps left over from The Man’s table, while The Man brought full armies of lawyers to bear.

    Today, my stepfather and mother –who should be set for life– live month-to-month, paycheck-to-paycheck on his leftover insurance benefits (which mostly only cover his ongoing medical care) and his SSI allowance, as well as my mother’s modest salary as a secretary.

    My mother, always a fighter, has been reduced to alternating between rage at the way things turned out, and complete helpless bewilderment that there’s not a damn thing she can do about it. It has not had a positive effect on her mental health. (She’s not crazy, but it’s taken a bigger chunk out of her soul than I would’ve thought possible.)

    My parents’ failures were in having faith in the system, and in failing to be as much a bastard as the people who would ultimately take EVERYTHING from them.

    And of course, to speak of my own experiences in fighting other people’s battles, you know of my ongoing attempts to take on certain politicians and power brokers in my area on behalf of those who were wronged by them.

    For men such as you and myself, then, the takeaway we get from events like these, are only a certain stoic satisfaction that can only come from battling the forces of evil on behalf of those weaker than ourselves.

    We *do*, because we *can*. Not because we want to, but because our own senses of honor don’t leave room for any other options.

    So stay the course, and remain confident in the fact that while you’re not fighting a battle you SHOULD BE fighting, you are nonetheless fighting a battle WORTH fighting, on the sheer basis of principle.

  3. My mother and father have also chosen to be helpless. My mom is going through physical and mental decline, and at least the physical part is needless. And because they’re military, they can get free (or at least quite cheap) treatment for her, so at least we’re spared some of the insurance bullshit that you’re forced to deal with. But they won’t do anything! I don’t understand it, and I hate seeing her deteriorate needlessly before my eyes. It’s hard to know what to do. Words can only do so much; I can’t frog-march her to the doctor.

  4. Sounds Grim. I’m really sorry.

    There’s a whole bunch of shit I could add to that, but it ain’t *my* mother, so what the fuck do I know? All I can say is that I’ll keep you in my thoughts and whatever passes among us godless heathens for prayers. Hang in there Karl.

  5. Buck, never hesitate to add. Your brain dump is incredibly welcome.

    GG – ‘frog-march’ is such a great term. And yes, it’s almost this exact scenario. Mom has great coverage (my father was a state employee (state college professor), so she gets pension and lifetime medical. The thing with kaiser, though, is that they seem to follow the insurance directive of absolute minimum care unless you *ask for more*. And my mother won’t ask, she feels that getting help is some sort of failing.

    To get any sort of meaningful care out of kaiser, you basically have to call them up over and over and over; typically, what a doctor orders will be modified by a case worker to a lower cost alternative with no notice to doctor or to patient. So for example when mom’s doctor ordered daily in-home care fur the duration of her injury, the (non-doctor) case worker switched it to one visit so *show her how*& to change her own bandages. Nevermind that’s she’s 80, feeble, and losing her memory (which means she can’t physically do it *and* can’t recall an instruction). They then suggested the alternative of bringing her into the facility daily (never mind that she can’t walk more than ten steps, AND is on oxygen 24×7, and panics when she’s out of the house and nearly faints at the idea of going to a doctor’s office, and never mind that this is all in her record, and nevrr mind that the doctor already knows this and ordered the appropriate alernate; no, they change it as they see fit to save kaiser dough).

    (gnashes teeth)

    Brandon, that story is so fucked up I don’t even know what to say. BUt your summary is dead on.

    Anyway, I need to blog out the rest of the story I’ve told a couple of you in email, if I ever get a second to convert it to linear story. I’m losing the battle against time though.

    It took us three days on the phone to get the doctor’s order to actually get carried out. And that is an absolutely typical kaiser interaction.

  6. sweet Mack, i’m sorry. you are missed, and many will be happy when you return to the world.

    wish i could offer something, but i am not quite there with my parents. i know it’s coming and i dread it.


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