Today I took off of teaching my class to take my father to the cardiologist. I didn't have any particular feeling that this doctor would solve all the problems presented by my father's case: ie: his kidneys are bad, but he also had two heart attacks (very small ones, it seems) while in hospitals. The doctors wanted to find out if there's a clot that caused the heart attack, but couldn't do an angiogram because his kidneys would give out completely because of the stress posed by the dye used for the procedure. So should they kill the kidneys (or risk doing that) and save the heart? This was the question his doctor wanted this specialist to answer.
I thought the doctor's answer was clear and definitive, and it was the same answer my cat's vet gave many years ago when I wanted to forestall the cat's death from a fatal disease. He said that death was inevitable in this situation, and we shouldn't spend a lot of futile energy and money trying to prevent it, and in the process causing the animal unnecessary pain at the end of his life.
My father isn't a cat, and his death of any particular condition he has isn't inevitable, but it's inevitable sooner or later because of his age AND these conditions, so it was time, he suggested, to stop struggling and allow things to proceed as they will.
To tell the truth, I was glad he didn't want to take aggressive action like killing my dad's kidneys and making him go through the hell of dialysis, which, as this doctor said, would probably kill him anyway within a few weeks. I still have to talk to the kidney doctor. He may feel differently, but I really do not want to do that. I don't see how I will get him to dialysis, and I think it will be miserable and painful for him, and that it would make him pine away out of misery, if nothing else.
I can't see doing it to him, even to save his life. For how long, and at what cost?
So it was a peaceful day, a day of acceptance. And I stopped at Borders afterwards to buy him a book of Sudoku puzzles and then we went to the audiologist where he had his hearing aids fixed, restoring his hearing fully for the cost of $16.00.
In all, it was a good day, but one that presages storms ahead.