Post # 8 – LiesFebruary 15, 2013 - Author: Alva - Comments are closed
9:37 p.m. Thursday, February 14, 2013
Since March 2009, I have been diagnosed and treated by five neurologists with expertise in Parkinson’s disease. All made a diagnosis by observing movements of my walking, hand and eye coordination, and questioning me. There was no blood work, no calibrated measurements of strength, mental abilities, or machinery that records strength or dexterity. All diagnoses were opinions by each doctor.
Herein lies my fault for the treatment of Parkinson’s patients. Nothing is standardized and everything is a guess. The goals of the five physicians were all different. Some regarded success in treatment by the minimum use of drugs with longevity the utmost goal. Others administered drugs guardedly with compatibility in mind. But in my estimation, none regarded quality of life as being equal to the longevity of the patient.
The last neurologist I visited in August 2012, when I complained that I thought I was under-medicated, said he was holding off on the optimum dosage as “a last bullet in the gun” and told me to come back in six months.
Parkinson’s patients are the perfect occupation for neurologists regardless of subscribed treatment; the outcome is never in doubt. The patient always dies and there can be no malpractice. The Parkinson’s patient represents a goldmine for the practice income stream. Unless great care is taken with living wills and other forms of control, the patient is maintained through the use of IVs, force-feeding tubes, and other methods of preventing death. The patient’s death is not to the benefit of the medical facility.
I have tried throughout my treatment to obtain knowledge about the length of life expectancy and how it would end. All to no avail. Not a single doctor would tell me what my future symptoms would be or give me any estimate of longevity. They would hem and haw. But never give a definitive answer.
Why is it that the sick and dying are always denied the truth of their condition? How can a doctor look someone in the eye whom he knows is dying and tell them they will “shortly improve or get better”? Why do friends and loved ones give false hope to those individuals?
An individual on his death bed usually knows it, and knows a lie is being told.
I have been guilty of the same moralities with my father. The following is an excerpt from my memoir:
He knew he was dying, but sometimes tried to get out of bed to prove otherwise. He complained to me, “Son, everybody lies to me. I know I’m dying. My ship of dreams never came in, but I know she’s out there. I’ve seen her mast over the horizon.”
“Daddy,” I continued the lies, “you’re going to be fine. You can move to Beaufort next year where your ship will come ashore.”
That lie has always haunted me. Of what value is my trust and respect when Daddy knew the last words he heard from me, someone that loved him above all, were deliberately false? He deserved better.
Daddy died three weeks before his sixtieth birthday. We buried him in the family plot in the graveyard where I hid from a Sunday morning congregation when I was sixteen. Every morning, when I use the bathroom in my Hyde County home, I can see his tombstone through the window.
Many years after his burial, I stood over his grave and whispered through choking sobs, “Daddy, please forgive me for the lie I told you before you died.” I felt no relief as a primal scream wailed out, like a wounded beast bemoaning his dying soul.