Sunday, December 14, 2008

On Having Sick Parent

So it was this tutorial session with Dr. M whose speciality in Primary Care is on travel medicine. Like, WHOA! Me likey! No no, not the man, but the speciality that he's in. In fact, if anything, I find myself enjoying the discipline a lot. No doubt, all those concept and principles, are like, uh, what?! What's with the Stott and Davis and Murtagh and whatever thing they still have... We were complaining of how we didn't even know what is the gist of all of the journals that we were given from the start of the posting.

Rest assured, I like the discipline still.

See, primary care versus secondary care, to which all the other disciplines are grouped under i.e. surgery, ObGyn, Medicine, paediatrics and what not, it's like, of two different point in the spectrum. Primary care is like the first line in medicine. Like, any simple fever or headache, and you're the first one the community come running for. So basically, the spectrum of diseases covers a wide range. However, the difference between this end and that end, primary care emphasize on treating the patient as a whole, and not just the disease itself. With that being said, family institution plays a major role. And this is where the question comes in.

Say, your mum, let's just say, your mum had a fall and become paralysed. She can't move, can't walk, can't talk and can't even do things for her own. She lives with you of course. Dad's not in the picture. You are working, your spouse as well, and your kids have their school to attend to. Or put in another way, you're still unmarried, but you have to work.

And you're worried of leaving her at home. You love her too much you don't want to send her to the old folks' home. But you cannot afford to take leave and stay at home to take care of her. It's too much a risk to take, what if it's a long term problem?

Hiring a maid? Indonesian maid is not an option. You need someone who knows how to take care of sick elderly. And more often than not, you get young innocent maids who travels abroad for money. Which, is not an option. Even the ability to keep the house clean is in doubt, what more taking care of a half paralyzed elderly?

What will you do? You're at a dead end. You just refused to give up on her. For she's been there taking care of you from the first day you were born. And now it's your turn.

See, I am one who resent of sending old folks to the old folks' home. I wanted to live with my parents. Whether I'm married or not, they mustn't be let to live alone. I mean when I work next time... So either one of my siblings live with them, or they're coming to live with me. Or at least next door to me. No questions asked. In one way, I feel it's an obligatory responsibilty. But in another, I really want them to be near. So that I can take care of them. What's more with Dad's obesity and Mum's hypertension, it's like they're predisposed to ANYTHING! And that thought just freaks me out!

All this while, I have always thought it's our role as the children to take care of our parents when they're old and fragile. It must be us who must carry that responsibility. And whoever refused to, I feel they're owing a whole chunk of their lives to their parents.

Until the recent past few years when Grandma started to have uncontrolled blood sugar and refused to let her in-laws take care of her, I began to worry. She's super stubborn, that's one. It's not like none of her children or in-laws are worried sick of her. But her stubborn-ness is just unnerving and frustrating. She refused to walk, she refused to take her medications, she just basically wants to let go of everything and moved on. And it's not like none of her in-laws never took care of her, it was her resentment that made most of them gave up. But not my mum. She stood by her till her last days. Even when she was leaving this world, she called out my mum's name, and would only drink when grandpa said it was my mum in the house.

I'm touched by what my mum did. It was a burden. What's with her needing to work and everything. But she never grumbled. I mean, okay she grumbled sometimes, but she still stood by her and took care of her. In one way, I think she's teaching us. That no matter what happened, our parents are still our parents. You shall not abandon them. You're tied together by blood and genes, and like it or not, you have to be with them.

What am I going to do when my parents are 90 and weak? Touch wood I'm willing to give everything to have them walking and doing tai-chi at that age, seriously, but what if? We can never predicts anything. The future is yet to be revealed...

When mum was over in KL a few weeks ago, she saw an advertisment. About elderly nursing. Services includes full time healthcare offered by medical personnel. Such thing does not exist back in our hometown. But she was amazed. She totally agreed with that. That it's not because the children doesn't want to take care of their sick elderly, but it's all the other obligations that the children are tied to. So she said if she ever knew there's such a service, she'd definitely opt for it. And besides, it's not an old folk's home altogether. You can get a home-visit package, where you hire a full time nurse. Or, you can opt for a day care. Nursery for the elderly.

I looked at her. The most reasonable woman I ever know. Yes she might have mild obsessive compulsive disorders, but she's still her.

And I found my answers. To that what if question that ever got me so scared.

pics: C Ray Dancer, choja and dashananda

4 Jujus:

Mannpriedo d'Saintner said...

I know how hard it feels to actually watch your loved ones suffering an illness. I have gone through all that a month ago, and I cried and cried every now and then, when I saw my mum's suffering pain from cancer. I don't know, but I still cry occasionally, when I thought of her sufferings. I miss her a lot now.

Medie007 said...

am sorry to hear about ur mum... be strong yah!

TZ said...

Sorry to hear that Mannpriedo d'saintner... be strong and move on... I belief your mom also would like you to move on.

Jaded_Jeremy said...

Thought provoking post.