Death Watch 2000

Well, here I am, staying at my Mom’s house for a while anyway. My father came home from the hospital. Turns out he was pretty much dying all along in there, but the hospital ghouls never really leveled with us and came out and said it.
Instead we got happy faces and, “He’s going to recover just fine!” and then the next day, “So, do you want to pull the plug then?” or “We are setting up an appointment for you with the End of Life Specialist!”
Cool! That’s just the person I want to meet after struggling to survive yet another day in 2009 America – the fucking End of Life Specialist! What kind of a job is that anyway? How do they sleep at night? I think gravedigging would be more pleasant.
After we pieced it all together, it started to make sense. The inability to swallow, presented as a horrible development by the docs but never explained properly, makes sense now. He stopped swallowing not because of a damn tube down his throat for two weeks (the lie they told us) or because of having pneumonia (pneumonia doesn’t make you quit swallowing) but because he was starting to die. That’s one of the many fucked-up things that happens to you when you start dying. You quit swallowing. You just can’t do it anymore.
On the next to last day in the hospital, he developed a golden staph infection of the blood. Probably MRSA. Blood infection means septicemia. Septicemia kills you.
MRSA is one of the most evil superbugs on the face of the Earth, and it hearts US hospitals to the max. Every hospital in the US is infected to rock bottom with MRSA. It’s all over the community too, but most of us are too healthy to show any signs.
I’m trying to figure out how to keep from becoming a carrier myself, but it seems that the MRSA is worse than the zombies in Night of the Living Dead. It’s worse than a Great White Shark in terms of being near-unkillable. It hearts soap and most antiseptics and the more you use them, the more superbug babies you breed.
MRSA’s are really small but sometimes I think I see the fuckers flying around. Since they’re unkillable anyway and are also flyswatter-resistant, there’s nothing to do but hide behind the covers.
Anyway, all of the relatives have been coming around, which is ok, since unlike most Americans, I actually like my relatives, even though many of them are actually crazy. But generally they’re not mean or nasty. So as long as they are nice and crazy, it’s cool. I’m kind of like that myself.
So it’s Death Watch 2000, but you don’t to score any points for kids and little old ladies and there’s no winner at the end. The hospital released him to home with instructions, “No food.” Cool! Just what every human wants – starvation.
Well, the hospital lied again and we got him to eat some semi-dissolved ice cream. He opens his eyes now and again and is able to say a few words once a day or so. Actually, it’s a good thing dying folks can’t talk much. Can you imagine the shit they would be saying? That would probably be even worse than dying.
So the relatives all gather around this dying guy and everyone’s all smiling and happy and stuff (Why?!). They’re cheering him on with every word and swallow of ice cream. People walk out the door and shout, “Hang in there old guy,” but he’s passed out and can’t hear. I look at them like, “I can’t believe you said that.”
His kidneys are failing – probably MRSA. Respiratory failure is ongoing. This is what I get to listen to all night while I try to sleep. I’ve always enjoyed heavy breathing, but not this kind.
I’m drinking lots of wine. I’ll telling off all the morons who are ordering me to have a good day.
This hospice guy came over. He was really cool but I don’t see how he does it. All does is the Dead and Dying Scene. Shit, he deserves $200K a year just for putting up with that and staying sane. He showed up, minced no words,  and recited the unhappy facts.
There will no antibiotic treatment of the MRSA. He’s already gotten every antibiotic known to man and any more of them will just kill him from the antibiotics themselves. There’s lots of morphine around and we get to administer it sometimes. Dammit, give me some! I want some of that shit!
Anyway, he will probably be headed out in less than a week. I get to get up in the night and check on the dying guy and make sure he’s not dead yet. This ensures a great night’s sleep.
This should be driving me nuts, but I’m sort of handling it, which is testimony to my awesome psychological defenses.
Speaking of the End of Life Specialist, don’t you think America needs to see one? I do!

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7 thoughts on “Death Watch 2000”

  1. “Every hospital in the US is infected to rock bottom with MRSA. It’s all over the community too, but most of us are too healthy to show any signs.”
    Hispanics and other 2nd/3rd world immigrants to America carry often carry MRSA, along with TB, leprosy, and other diseases that were wiped out in America until they started coming here by the millions.

  2. Robert, not only you’re doing the best you can do for your father, but you’re also doing the best you can do for yourself. Eventually these days of hardship will be left behind and a well-earned sense of peace will fall upon you.
    “Actually, it’s a good thing dying folks can’t talk much. Can you imagine the shit they would be saying? That would probably be even worse than dying.”
    I have a personal tale about that, but I will spare us. One famous case you might be interested in is that of von Neumann:
    … his mind, the amulet on which he had always been able to rely, was becoming less dependable. Then came complete psychological breakdown; panic, screams of uncontrollable terror every night. His friend Edward Teller said, “I think that von Neumann suffered more when his mind would no longer function, than I have ever seen any human being suffer.”
    Von Neumann’s sense of invulnerability, or simply the desire to live, was struggling with unalterable facts. He seemed to have a great fear of death until the last… No achievements and no amount of influence could save him now, as they always had in the past. Johnny von Neumann, who knew how to live so fully, did not know how to die.
    From the MacTutor History of Mathematics archive

  3. If they were on the ball they’d be giving him large
    IV doses of ascorbates, with selenium and methylene
    blue. Great stuff for sepsis. Google up selenium and
    sepsis for lots of interesting info. (The leading edge
    people in traumatology are using it.)

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