Friday, April 23, 2010

Mother V

A doctor from Dunfermline hospital phoned this morning to report the latest news concerning mother. X-rays and scans indicate that she has a fractured pelvis, a case for surgery which, subject to further discussions amongst the hospital personnel concerned, will be effected during today My sister and I can, apparently, veto this operation but to do so will condemn our mother to living out whatever is left of her life bedridden, dependent on painkilling drugs but far from necessarily free of suffering, and at high risk of a fatal chest infection. Reasoning that the professionals involved consider that she has a good chance of surviving an operation, my sister and I have raised no objection. It is painful to think of any fellow being suffering, particularly so when it is someone to whom one has had close association for life.
I feel the pains from the horns of a dilemma stabbing into me; the choices concerning mother's future. On the one hand if we allow nature freedom to take its course mother will be saved a good deal of short-term inconvenience but be at risk of having to endure a painful, albeit probably early, end to her days. On the other hand, by employing currently available surgical skills and clinical technology, she can be repaired to continue, with appropriate intensive care, to live the demented semi-life she has been living certainly since her accident last December and in increasing degrees for many months before that, more or less indefinitely .
My exposure, through mother's trials and tribulations, to the problems of old age and dementia has made me aware of the colossal scale of the problem and its cost to our society. How long, I wonder, until those presently canvassing for electoral support based largely on promises of least painful expenditure cuts will wake up to the savings to taxpayers to be made through quietly and efficiently disposing of the demented elderly? Presently nearer to seventy than to sixty; my concern, I believe, is justifiable!

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