Saturday, August 11, 2007


Dad Update:

Friday nights I try to spend with my wife. So I return here Saturday mornings. Friday night he would not eat anything for the aide or my brother and was mostly not communicative. When I walked in this morning he was in the stiff position kind of half sitting and half reclining. He would not or could not talk to me. I had to physically lift him off the bed to change him. He resisted but finally stood enough that I could get the Depends off and the gown off. I moved him to the recliner while I made the bed and got the laundry started and so on. He would not drink juice by glass or straw and I ended up giving him juice and some yogurt by spoon. Took about 2 hours. He has virtually no fine motor skills with his right hand. He is able to use his left some. Got him back in bed and he's happily sleeping away.

I was thinking about the rescue effort for the 6 miners trapped in the coal mine near Huntington, Utah.

There are hundreds of men and women involved in the rescue. These people have specialized skills. They are risking their own lives. Millions of dollars worth of equipment and other resources have been mobilized. There are other hundreds of people at the site in various capacities including many reporters and camera crews. And many people across the country, maybe the world, are praying and watching cable news for any word.

All this effort is for the sake of six persons who may or may not be alive. Astonishing really. If we did not value human life as we do, then we certainly would not risk more lives than we are saving. Even if it were only one life we would do the same thing if we could.

It may be that the miners are not alive. As I write this it is still unknown. Regardless though the attempt to reach them will continue.

I was thinking how the rescue effort is like caregiving, especially for Alzheimer's patients. Except we caregivers know that the patient is not going to survive. There is no question. But we mobilize tremendous resources for our patients. We put together large teams of providers. We jeopardize our own careers, relationships, and health to care for our patients.

This astonishing respect and valuing of life is one of the more noble qualities of our humanity.

Noble as it is though it is not all that common in history. Life, or at least some life, has been remarkably cheap and disposable for much of our recorded human existence.


redcedar said...

This is an interesting comparison you make between the massive rescue effort and the massive effort we caregivers mobilize for our patients.

The one thing that strikes me about the rescue, though, is that our society is willing to mobilize millions of dollars of equipment and resources to attempt to rescue miners AFTER THE ACCIDENT has happened, but sometimes not willing to mobilize resources to prevent the mining accident in the first place.

I don't know if there's an analogy there with Alzheimer's, or not.

flintysooner said...

Hi redcedar - thanks for posting.

Lori1955 said...

I am so very sorry that your dad is doing so poorly. I am worried about him. Have you thought much about life after caregiving? I often wonder if I will feel grief or relief. Maybe both. Be good to yourself, I already know how good you are to your dad.

flintysooner said...

Hi Lori - I actually wrote about life after caregiving on my July 12th blog entry.

I am certain I will grieve but I am not afraid.

Have you thought much about it?

Lori1955 said...

I have thought about what I will do but really haven't thought much about how I will feel.