Will there soon be a blood test?
My father-in-law recently passed away after suffering with Alzheimer’s for several years. I also have an aunt who is currently living with some form of dementia, probably vascular.
Few diseases strike more fear into those over the age of 50 than Alzheimer’s. Needless to say, both my husband and I worry when we find ourselves saying:
“Oh, what’s the word I want?”
or “Where did I put it?”
or “Why did I come in here?”
So when I read the prevailing health headlines this week about a blood test to predict Alzheimer’s, … Continue reading
I read a really sad and infuriating article in the New York Times the other day: “The Policy Lapsed, but No One Knew”.
The “policy” referred to an elderly couple’s long-term care insurance, which they had purchased over a decade ago. Even at that time, in their late 50s and early 60s, they knew health care costs for the aged could be exorbitant, and there was no accurate way to predict either how old they would get, or how sick.
So they did what prudent people do—they bought long-term care insurance.
They even gave their son power of attorney … Continue reading
The anatomy of a prolonged death
In 2001, author Katy Butler’s father suffered a stroke. Thus began her and her family’s long journey through our health care system detailed in Knocking on Heaven’s Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death.
After his death, I would not rest until I understood better why the most advanced medical care on earth, which saved my father’s life at least once when he was a young man, succeeded at the end mainly in prolonging his suffering.
During vigorous rehabilitation to regain strength following the stroke, Ms. Butler’s father developed a hernia—a … Continue reading
I don’t consider myself old, but we are all aging, aren’t we?
One of my personal irritations with our for-profit health care system—and the main reason I started this blog—is its predilection to market and sell screening tests and prescription medications of questionable value to the aging population.
In his book Rethinking Aging: Growing Old and Living Well in an Overtreated Society, Dr. Nortin Hadler scrutinizes some of the most over treated aspects of aging, and rigorously reviews the scientific literature that does—or doesn’t—support those treatments.
Like many doctors that are thankfully pushing back against the current … Continue reading
A son’s anguish
Have you ever read the comic strip Dilbert?
Created by Scott Adams, it is a wonderfully humorous and satirical cartoon about a white-collared worker, Dilbert, who exists in a world of partitioned office cubicles and micromanaging bosses. It’s very funny.
But this morning I ran across Scott Adams’s blog and read his very angry, very painful, very un-funny post about his dying father.
I hope my father dies soon.
My father, age 86, is on the final approach to the long dirt nap (to use his own phrase). His mind is 98% gone, and all he has
… Continue reading
Farewell to a beloved husband and father
Today I am in Idaho attending the memorial service of my father-in-law.
He passed away two weeks ago at the age of 85, after suffering for several years from declining health and increasing dementia. His wife of 59 years and all four of his children were at his bedside when he died.
Death is not pretty, but neither is childbirth. Both involve pain, fear and uncertainty. And hope. Hope that mother and baby are healthy at the end of the ordeal. Hope that the dying one finds peace and an end to physical … Continue reading