Friday, February 13th, 2004

Re: Mark’s mother appears to be on her way out.

Filed under: illness,Margrit — alison @ 07:48

Updates for the concerned:

Actually, she isn’t. Well she is just like the rest of us, and probably a little faster, but nothing obviously imminent. She had us frightened with that quick series of episodes of whatever, but it turns out that it was a single very ordinary stroke. Apparently it’s completely normal for new symptoms appear days after the episode as the brain copes with whatever happened to it. After many scans and evaluations, the diagnosis is atherosclerosis. The plaques on the insides of her blood vessels can chip off and bits can travel to her brain and get stuck.

Margrit will be going to live in a local rehab centre for six months to learn to work with her new body; after that, we’ll see.

The Dutch do things a little differently. Birth, death and illness are handled privately, in the home, as much as possible. Doctors do housecalls so that people can die of cancer at home with the comfort of morphine. And only they can call an ambulance. If you’re sick and can’t get to a clinic, you call your doctor. Your doctor visits you, evaluates you and will judge if an ambulance is necessary. This part sounds completely weird to me. Your doctor will show up at your home within five minutes of your phone call with a defibrillator if you have a heart attack? Though I suspect that in practice they often evaluate people over the phone and call ambulances right away, without showing up. So that they double as 911 dispatchers. Personally I would rather call a service organised to be available 24 hours than have to look up the number of my doctor’s clinic at 1:00 in the morning, listen to the recorded message, write down the emergency backup number and call that. And I think this system works best for people who do not live alone.

But I can think of lots of situations where housecalls would be nice.

[originally transmitted by e-mail February 13, 2004]

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