Monday, September 17, 2007

Illness, care and life

The weekend has been a bit unusual. It's also been frightening at times.

It all began Saturday morning. I'd been out for a haircut and had just arrived at home, ready to settle in for some college football, when my mom called.

She reported that she thought my dad was having a stroke. I told her to call 911 immediately and that I was on the way.

When I arrived at the ER in Richardson, my dad was dealing with a nurse and was very confused about where he was and what was happening.

Thanks to a couple of really attentive doctors and some good nurses--especially true of one of his nurses who became his advocate the moment he made it out of the intensive care environment of the ER--my dad "came back" over the course of the next 24 hours.

Now we understand his problems. He likely suffered a mild heart attack, possibly earlier in the week. Compounding that reality are carotid arteries that are 77% and 98% blocked. Surgery could be indicated. But then, my dad is 87-years-old.

Today we will move him to Baylor's hospital in Plano so that his surgeon can evaluate him and they can decide what, if anything, to do next.

Friends have been coming and going since he entered the hospital, mostly from his church and his neighborhood.

He has and will continue to receive lots of care from many people. The nature of his recovery will depend, at least in part, on this caring connection with others, both personal and professional

Illness and life just go together. As life unfolds, illness just shows up. We can count on it.

Care is another matter.

People with deep personal connectons can cash in on the social capital they have in their "account of relationships" when they need to. People are important. Everyone deserves respect, connection and attention. People who enjoy the wealth of these basics of being human just get along better than those who don't.

I've watched low-income folks amass this special variety of capital just as effectively as those who have more income. People can take care of each other in wonderful and amazing ways, whether rich or poor.

Still, my dad enjoys a decided advantage over lots of other people. In addition to lots of friends who care deeply, his high quality health care is guaranteed. He is insured thanks to Medicare and AARP.

Unfrotunately today, almost 50 million other Americans don't have the benefit of such protection and professional care.

Health depends on both varieties of care: personal and professional.

Everyone deserves both.

2 comments:

owldog1 said...

Praying for your dad to have sucess with the surgery tomorrow. Prayers from the Matthews family

Lynn said...

Steve and I prayed tonight for your Dad and mom! We will continue to do so. May the Lord continue to bless him with quality life. It is hard to see our parents aging, but at the same time we are eager for them to receive their heavenly reward. We have been walking this journey with my 83 year old dad this past year ourselves. Blessings!