Sunday, June 23, 2013

Between A Rock and A Hard Place -Dan Mathis

As a person who has Pulmonary Fibrosis and is an advocate for spreading awareness of the disease, Dan Mathis shares his frustration of its impact upon his quality-of-life as well as the type of  care received from the medical community...

I hate Pulmonary Fibrosis.  Have I told y’all that?  The doctors will not operate on my hips because of the Pulmonary Fibrosis.  The pain doctor will not treat my pain with the medications it will take to help –because of the Pulmonary Fibrosis.  He says he is afraid of me because I have Pulmonary Fibrosis.  What is a person to do?  What?  Go to the ‘street drugs’ to get relief?  What?  Go ahead and go into hospice in order to get help?  What?  What?  What???  ~Dan Mathis
Dan's concern is not an isolated incident.  There are many folks who do not qualify for a double-lung transplant in order to save their lives.  Whether due to their age, other ailments, financial or logistical concerns; or all of the above.  Some, such as my hubby, decide that they would prefer to try to manage their disease and live out the remainder of their lives with the quality that they have become accustomed to.  I remember when my husband decided not to get a double-lung transplant; the patient advocacy group that was assisting us essentially explained to us that if he was not going to pursue the only viable option for survival, they would recommend hospice.  It was the right thing for them to do, although explaining this to my husband was quite difficult. 
There are so many emotions that come from the decision making process of going into hospice.  Essentially it is coming to terms that the medical community does not believe you will get better or live for more than six months.  On the other hand, one will receive all the medications it takes to be comfortable, as that is the primary goal -making the patient comfortable and meeting their current needs.  When I discussed this with my hubby, I remember telling him that just because he goes on hospice does not mean there is a time limit on his life, although it would allow him whatever he needs in order to have a good quality of life while he is with us.  Such a heart wrenching thing to think about.  Thank You, Dan, for allowing me to share this.

1 comment:

  1. I wrestled with the same question for months while in and out of the hospital. I finally "gave in" and went on hospice. At first I was a bit overwhelmed but now I kick myself in the behind for not agreeing sooner. They have been wonderful and have kept my pain and body controlled so that I can still get out and enjoy life. I highly recommend hospice. Without them, I would have given up. They bring me strength and peace, not to mention giving the hubby a break.