Inside Doug's Head

I am not a number, I am… What's that stuff they make glue out of? I'm that. Forever swirling, forwards and upwards, but always sticky. Sometimes, a little sad.

True story, this. My mother in law lives in Canada, and she is demented. Some might say that she suffers from dementia, but to be clear, she has dementia and it is everyone around her who does the suffering. She lives in a home with other old people, some of whom have dementia and others have different issues. Whatever the situation, they are all biding their time, waiting for the inevitable.

A couple of days ago, my wife found out that her mother, my above mentioned mother in law, has a bowel obstruction, which does not mean she forgot the letters A, E, I, O, U, and sometimes Y. No, it’s different from that affliction, and she was in a great deal of pain. The nursing home sent her to the hospital, and in the part of Canada where she is, it really is the hospital.

When you are afflicted with dementia, one of the first and most critical things you lose is context. The who are you and why am I here part of life that keeps us all from screaming at strangers, hollering that we know they are trying to murder us and are holding us in this place against our will, somehow. Without context, life gets pretty scary.

Because she is old and has dementia, it is not economically viable for the Canadian healthcare system to perform any sort of costly, potentially lifesaving, intervention. So, they stuck a tube up her butt and gave her some acetaminophen for the pain. Since she is crazy and confused, she promptly yanked the tube out. After she pulled the tube out for the third time, they at the hospital decided it wasn’t worth reinserting for a fourth time. To be honest, I really have no idea what the purpose of the butt tube was, or if they had to use a new one each time she pulled it out. Maybe it’s just something they do to old people. Who knows? It’s a rhetorical question; obviously they would know, but I am not seriously interested in figuring it out other than understanding how to avoid a situation with a butt tube of my own in the future.

When a doctor tells you something like, “You have a problem and we need to stick a tube up your butt,” that’s the context you need for when you wake up in the middle of the night with a tube up your butt. Your thoughts would go something like, “What the? Oh, yeah, right, that doctor told me there would be a tube up my butt. This tube must be the one he was talking about. Best to leave it in there.”

When you have dementia and you wake up in the night with a tube in your butt, the inner monolog would be more like, “What the? What the HELL is this? It’s… it’s a tube up my butt! Why is there a tube up my butt? I must be into that sort of thing. I better take it out before anyone sees me with this tube up my butt,” and you would promptly remove said tube from said butt. Of course you would yank the tube out, it would just make sense to do so.

Upon the second and subsequent wakings to discover a tube in your butt, your reaction would probably be something along the lines of, “NOT AGAIN! WHY DOES THIS KEEP HAPPENING? Am I being abducted by aliens or something? I keep taking this thing out and it keeps getting back in there, somehow. Is this some sort of a joke, or do I keep falling in a pile of tubes and getting one stuck in my butt? I am very disturbed by this tube in butt situation, but I dare not speak of it to anyone. I will just quietly remove it and hope that this is the last time.”

It seems quite reasonable to me that a person with dementia would repeatedly remove a tube that was in their butt. To believe otherwise is irrational. My mother in law still has dementia and she is still in the hospital, where they are refusing to treat her in any effective manner because she declined to leave the tube in her butt. Anyone who wishes for the debut of Canadian style healthcare in the US should get a tube installed in their butt and see how they feel about it then.

#CanadianHealthcare #TubeInYourButt


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