Friday, September 16, 2016

For elderly, the vultures will hover

This past summer, a person dear to me, was admitted to one of the hospitals here in Lafayette, Indiana.  It is significant to mention the city and state because hospitals here that were small and cozy have been bought up by corporations.  Most all of the nursing homes here have too.  The once small, cozy, city hospitals, are now equipped with big machines, staff that try to act caring and the names have changed too.  They once had pleasant names like: Home Hospital and St. Elizabeth, names that made you feel warm and fuzzy.  Now hospitals, and nursing homes have big, inflated (like their budgets), names to impress people.  In my book, those names may as well be: We're big, impersonal, and just want your money.  Cities aren't the only places, even small town hospitals have merged in order to make big bucks.  Corporations don't buy any hospitals or nursing homes and spend a lot of money to build all new buildings unless they stand to gain an obscene amount of money.  Like my book states: These places, especially nursing homes, are a billion dollar industry, make no mistake about it.  

The person in this episode went to a doctor here with an infection.  Well, well, the doctors here all work under the umbrella of those corporations.  I suppose if they don't then they are out of business.  Problem here is: Since they are under that umbrella, they, of course, refer as many as possible to the hospital they are affiliated with.  Due to the person's infection, there was a procedure that could have easily been performed in the doctor's office.  Since the actual doctor was 'all booked up' for over two months, this patient had to see the nurse practitioner to be examined.  Well, the procedure required inserting a catheter into a person who happened to be male.  I sat in the waiting room that day and I observed many, many male patients.  The stupid nurse practitioner stated: "I've never done this procedure on a male before."  Not to mention this doctor's office wasn't even equipped with the proper catheter.  Are you kidding me?  What in hell kind of college did this dunce attend?  The whole incident reminded me of the part in Gone With the Wind where Prissy says: "I ain't never birthed no babies, Miss Scarlett."  I know it takes pretty extensive training (or is supposed to) in order to obtain nurse practitioner status.  But since she had a problem, guess what?  Yep, the patient was handed a paper and told to go to the emergency room of the impersonal hospital the office was in cahoots with.  Surprise, surprise. 

I went too, this whole trip was quite an adventure.  Once in the emergency room, your sick ass gets to wait hours for an examining room to open up, once it finally does, you, as a patient, get a needle stuck in your arm only to wait another several hours to see a doctor.  Finally someone comes in saying: "Dr So and So has ordered a million tests."  Well how in hell do you think the hospital pays for machines that cost a fortune?  How in hell do you think they pay for the entire hospital?  By inflating your bills.  So once the patient is wheeled back and forth for tests ( a nice bumpy ride would make me feel a whole lot better) then they get to wait several more hours for test results.  Let me add here that those tests produced nothing unusual and the doctor was sadly disappointed.  This patient is over the age of 65 so, in the medical profession's eyes, there damned well is supposed to be more wrong than the infection.  A person over 65 who is otherwise healthy, unheard of. These massive hospitals are in the business of 'filling every room with asses' so my person went to the emergency room at four in the afternoon and it was after ten at night (six hours later) that a room finally became free.  Oh, before being admitted, the doctor came in and said they'd 'like to admit' this person to the hospital.  Ok, I inquired whether the person could go home with a hefty prescription of antibiotics and be able to rest in their own bed.  I was told that of course a patient could go home, after all it's not a prison.  Since we didn't just say, sure,  admit him to the hospital to inflate his bill, the doctor resorted to scare tactics.  Having worked nursing homes for a number of years, I'm familiar with those tactics.  They went something like this:  "I'm not going to say he might have a heart attack if he went home, (I think he already did say exactly that.0  But he will get better care in the hospital."  Better care?  Seriously.

It played out like this:  He had nothing to eat since lunch.  Was admitted to the hospital at ten at night and not one person on staff ever once asked him if he would like a sandwich, a nutritious drink, not even a lousy package of crackers and some juice.  He got such better care that a nurse came in almost every hour on the hour and woke him to take his pulse, poke and prod and of course this patient rested well.  

Finally the next morning, after all of this indignation, the patient asked if he could go home.  I walked in his room about that time and said: "I'm a certified nursing assistant and I'm sure he would get much better care at home in his own room as long as his tests were negative."  Gee, his battery of tests did come out negative.  Imagine that.  Number one, never ask if you can go home.  Remember you are a paying customer in charge of your own body, even though courts are trying hard to stop you from having those rights.  But for now for the most can call the shots concerning your own body.  Too many people think doctors are God and they think the doctor always knows best.  Not so, you have to be your own champion in health care.  When you are not, this is what big pharma counts on, hoping you will take every pill that is prescribed to you, whether that medicine is good for you or not.  I've noticed, over the years, simple things many of us experience, have been turned into an affliction in order to sell you a bill of goods so they can make money.  Doctors have become the biggest drug pushers in America. Even our televisions are trying to sell us drugs in commercial after commercial.  Just be aware and do your own research because I assure you the drug companies are doing theirs. 

When asked what type of antibiotic was administered, we were told which one.  I said: "Oh yeah, the sort that can cause c-diff."  The nurse immediately looked up, almost shocked I knew this.  She tried to do damage control saying there were other factors that cause c-diff with these very heavy drugs.  No, Folks, these heavy antibiotics can and do cause c-diff on their own quite well.  Now, c-diff can cause harsh symptoms for people over 60 years of age and in some cases, can cause life-threatening inflammation. Leave it to the medical professions to try and cure one ailment and then cause ten more for you to deal with. The patient finally did go home that day, after several hours of being ignored when discharged and waiting for assistance to the front door.  When we went into the hallway, several people who could be helping, were milling around the nurse's station chit chatting.  Nice.

But I think the biggest thing that pissed me off most happened just before I arrived in the patient's room the day he was discharged.  A damned vulture had entered his room and said: "Do you have someone at home to take care of you?"  You want to know why I was pissed?  He is over sixty and I can assure you that if he were twenty, thirty, forty and even fifty, this vulture would have never come into his room to ask that question.  For one thing this vulture saw his age and never bothered to check and see if he was capable of getting around on his own.  It was an infection, which 24 hours of antibiotics will make you start to feel better.  He is ambulatory, able to walk on his own and care for himself.  But the vultures (stupid ones anyway) simply see the age and try their best to drum up business.  Business for whom, you might ask.  For nursing homes and those pesky in-home services that cost a fortune.  Simply because, after all, over sixty spells fresh meat and fresh big bucks.  All I can say is that vulture can count herself lucky I missed that little visit because she would have been put in her place pretty darned fast.  The vultures (maybe even hospitals these days) get kick backs for every elderly person they can prey upon and convince they need help just because they are over a certain age.  Nursing homes don't make money either unless they are filled to capacity.  So, as I said, they all are trying to fill those beds with asses,their main objective, priority number one.  

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