A conversation the other day with my sister-in-law about her cat, Luna, reminded me of the book by Dennis McCullough, MD – My Mother,Your Mother: Embracing “slow medicine,” The compassionate aproach to caring for your aging loved ones. I don’t think I’ve discussed it here. I bought it for my brother and sister and recommended it continually when I first read it; I’m thinking I should read it again soon. Here’s the connection:
Three years ago Luna had a biggish lump on her side. She was diagnosed as having a hernia and needing surgery. At the price of about $750 Rebecca asked what her alternatives were. The vet told her that she could choose to do nothing and see what happened. Reluctantly deciding that she had better not spend nearly a thousand dollars she said she would wait. Today Luna is busy being a happy cat. She seems no worse for wear and even found a hidden bag of dog food which she has been secretly chowing down when she’s supposed to be on a diet. She’s 9 and going strong.
OK. How does that relate to McCullough? A measuring stick that I personally use for difficult decisions is what I call the pain/gain ratio. What will be the benefit of doing something – what are the drawbacks ? For me this works in many different arenas. I include medical intervention in this light – especially for aging bodies. What will be the costs of surgery – emotionally, physically, and financially — even if you aren’t paying the bill yourself? What will the quality of life look like having the procedure versus without the procedure? Will the individual get a gentle loving last 6 months if nothing is done; if a major procedure is done what will the 6 months that follow it be like? I remember liking how well McCullough wrote on this.
Today was such a beautiful day – everything in bloom – perfect temperature – one of those ” glad to be alive” days! I hope that you and those you love are well. If anyone you care about is dealing with difficult medical decisions I strongly suggest reading McCullough.