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Stories by a short, fat bastard

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Dad Update
It's been a long month.

After being brought out of the coma Dad picked up a lung infection which made recovery slower than normal. He was having a lot of trouble breathing and had to be on oxygen for most of the time. His recovery was very slow and was made worse by the deliums he was having. He could answer questions, but much of what he said made no sense, such as:

- "Lower the bed! They won't charge as much!"

- "We should pay them the $600 to get our advertising on that TV *points at CCTV monitor showing the door to ICU*"

- "I've given Polly to the Taiwanese Ambassador. You need to crate her up and send her to the embassy on Tiwi Island." (Tiwi is a group of Aboriginal lands off the coast of Darwin.)

- *points at green Emergency Exit sign* "The light's green! You have to go!"

- "What was the name of that movie we saw yesterday? You know the one: about that chef who became a police man and let all the bagettes out of jail..."

Most of these passed quickly but the most persistent delusion was getting electrocuted by the O2 sensor which caused blue sparks to shoot out his bum, and electrified his urine. He was convinced we could get $200k from the hospital so he asked the nurse to send a sample of his urine to our friend Arpit at Dubbo Base Hospital. He was quite agitated about this until the nurse took the sample, labelled it and said she would mail it to Dubbo now. Then she went out the back "To send it" and dumped it in a bin. Dad calmed down. Later he told me he did a blue poo.

The ICU docs were worried his recovery was very slow, but al least his was eating and drinking. Then they realised his gastrointestinal tract was paralysed and all the food he was eating - not that there was a lot anyway - was not passing through. The pressure was pressing upwards and constricting his diaphragm and lungs. So he was intubated *again* and left semi conscious while they pumped more drugs in to force the anaesthetic to unbind from the gut wall. After sorting out that problem and expelling all the accumulated gas - the entire ICU stank of fart for half an hour - he condition improved rapidly. His lungs started to clear and he could eat again.

Two days later he was moved to a general ward, and recovery was swift. After 4 weeks in ICU and 7 days in the ward, the doctors were talking about sending Dad back to Dubbo on 5 days for rehab. Then he had a fall; he tried to go to the loo unassisted and his knees gave way. He grabbed the table for support and brought down the table, breakfast plates and food and cutlery with a massive crash. Nurses came running, and later the doc decided a few extra days in General wouldn't hurt.

And it didn't hurt! At the end of that extra time Dad was eating proper solid food and drinking tea and proper liquid water instead of the weird thickened jelly water he'd been eating. Eventually the big day arrived, and Dad was transferred by ambulance from Royal Prince Alfred to Dubbo Base Hospital. He was in Base for 5 days, then transferred to Loudes Hospital for rehab.

And that's where his is now. Twice-daily sessions with a physioterrorist leaves him exhausted, but he is improving every day Mum is meeting with the physio staff to discuss what Dad will need at home, because they are talking about releasing him in 2 weeks. Which is good news.


Let's talk about the evils of socialized medicine. The final bill for for this medical emergency is $Zero. But it's not like my parents pay nothing for 4 weeks in ICU, ambulance x 3, air ambulance x 1, and weeks in hospital. Mum and Dad paid tax their entire working lives, and have contributed the mandatory 1.5% tax to Medicare since the mid 70s. This is why we pay tax for Medicare; it's not for nothing or to give freeloaders a free ride, it's to create a pool of funds to treat those who need it. We have almost zero medical-induced bankruptcies in this country. It's a bloody good system and I hope the conservative government keep their hands off it. Rant over.

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Glad your dad is doing better! And +1 on your rant. I wish we had that kind of system here.

We do have the option to buy health insurance if we wish. It covers private wards with TV, and no queues for operations, and additional dental and optical treatments. But for a pensioner like Dad, the pubic system works.

And emergencies take priority over all, no matter what medical insurance you have.

You are so lucky to live in a civilized country!

I take it your Dad is back in touch with what passes for reality...

He is still disappointed when he starts to tell us what "happened," and we have to say "Well... no." No new delusions though.

As for your medical system, I shakes me head at it. WTF USA?

He remembers very clearly what he experienced - even though what he experienced was a hallucination. It's probably best not to correct him too much, and let his brain sort it out by itself.

I'm old enough to receive Medicare, the US' only form of government-funded medical care. It paid for my second cancer operation (I wasn't old enough when I had the first one), some of my eye operation, and some of the emergency-room visit when I fell and broke my teeth. But it doesn't pay for new eyeglasses, or any kind of dental work (see my most recent journal entry). Medicare was put into effect in order to take care of "senior citizens", who were often faced with having to choose among food, rent, and medical care. But what are the two things you think of first when you think about the medical needs of old people? Glasses and dentures! *sigh*

Yay. Thank you for the update. I am very happy, that your Dad is finally on the way to recovery.

rant++ ;-)

I think your medical system is better than ours. The UK used to have a better system but the Tories gutted the NHS in the name of privatisation.

If you were here he'd recite Der Erlkönig at you. He still remembers that.

Edited at 2016-05-25 12:57 pm (UTC)

Das ist gut. :)

I don't know enough to compare the German system to the Australian, but at least we do not have conservatives bent on gutting it. Over here it is consensus across party lines that socialized medicine is a GoodThing (TM).

When my dad came back from his cardiac arrest, he was stuck in an infinite loop with slowly growing period: "Where am I?" - "Hospital" ... "What happened?" - "Cardiac arrest." ... "What about [job that was planned for the day]?" - "Taken care off." - "Good." ........... "Where am I?" ...
The next day he was able to call us on the phone and joke around. On the other hand, when my mother asked him a few hours later, whether a doctor had already come around to see him: "No, there was just some whippersnapper." In the end he fully recovered, but did not really have memory of the two weeks he spent in the hospital.

Yay! What a road! I'm glad he's doing so much better, finally!

It's been a rough road. The end is in sight!

Tell your Dad I'd like to see that Chef/policeman movie!

And yea, I agree with your rant 100%

I want to see that movie too! Those poor baguettes... I bet they were fitted up.

And they'd be stale by the time they got out! No good at all!

Glad to hear everything is going ok.

My dad went through another emergency recently caused by his autoimmune condition deciding that it would be lots of fun to eat his lungs instead of just his kidneys. This resulted in his lungs filling with blood and a five-day stint in ICU. He's fine now, but the bills are...well. Let's just say they're not $zero.

Dad's heart attack was a non-Stemi. If you must have a heart attack, that's the one you want to order. It doesn't drop you dead on the spot.

Sorry to hear about your dad's on-going problems. US doctors are the best in the world, it's a pity the finances are controlled by the insurance industry.

I hope your dad gets better soon. My sister's mother fell down the stairs and broke her shoulder. She is in a sling. :-(

Thanks. And sorry to hear about your sister's mum. Mum's brother broke his shoulder a few months ago and it was a constant round of "Where's your sling? WHY ARE YOU LIFTING THAT? Put that sling on!" etc.

Coll's mom is a tough cookie. She will get better.

I'm adding you as a friend if that is ok. :-)

Yay! Glad to hear your Dad is doing so much better. Sorry he had to spend so many weeks in hospital, though.

And yes, I hope your healthcare system doesn't change and become the nightmare of bankruptcy my personal healthcare in the US has become. :-(

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