Friday, September 14, 2012

Til Death Due us Part.

Escaping life's' pitfalls sometimes means confronting the horrors that you can and coming out the other side in reasonably stable condition. The pitfalls are sometimes bad luck and truly happen in different degrees to everybody. Bad luck can happen in the strangest of ways; sometimes it would easily been seen as somebody else was negligent with malice aforethought. An unusual event that truly is bad luck and perhaps the spin of the bottle away from death itself. And I wonder Victim#?? of our great medical system would think about actual murder. Actual murder seems such a bad business trait, but the world sometimes rolls onward without taking a full look at what we've done. And William Turner of Chicago could reflect to you the sense that what happened to him was that unusual departure from this world, through the medical community. And depart he did in a long and slow death.A 68 y.o. man with arm and shoulder discomfort for a long time and seem to have faith in the surgical skills of a team that had a good storefront for spinal surgery. Perhaps people just don't want to shop around or wait to try a medical regime of physical therapy and maybe a change of life style. For whatever reasons few can imagine after the damages what it would be like to have that choice again, and Bill was not much different than prior victims of surgical mishaps, and neglect.
Directly post operative Bill was confronted with the eventual fact that his surgeon had erred and compressed a major nerve in his neck rendering him paralyzed less than four weeks after the surgery. His surgeon had the chance to reduce the compression had he listened to the other neurologists; eventually a slam dunk lawsuit, as may have pleased those left behind as it was hefty enough to get some attention, although not enough to equal a life lost to 4 months of  dying in a narcotic haze. The mental anguish is a conviction toward death that few can emulate. Having a leg paralyzed, or even two legs is not quite the same as being totally paralyzed. Staring at that dirty ceiling in an extended care center that was also designed to make money by a once avid mountain hiker was time stand still.
On those days from his bed could he could see his caregivers tending to others not unlike himself, was alert enough to know that there was good and bad in the world and could the bad be ever stopped
Bills' son, Roger, a mature and well conditioned man would visit him once and sometimes twice a week, especially when his work as a lawyer would bring him close to his. There was a county courthouse not far off and Roger sometimes had to appear there.
Roger had great respect for his father. A hard working man that seem to always be there. The honesty of his life and his work simply to lie in the fact of what he did, he basically helped people and pursued those things in life that money couldn't buy. The earth always was interesting and one need only to wander around it to understand. Rogers' Dad spent his grown adult years working every day and raising a family now in the Chicago jungle of the South Side to which so much crime had been centered around that in the 70s it surely was well established hell zone for drugs and crime today. A testament to the life of Roger Thurman was what he did with his life, and what he learned from his Dad, no matter where he lived. He survived well, now today in perhaps the simplest terms of living a normal successful life without major catastrophes before the the age of 45. Despite a life of accuracy in the field of commercial fishing, charter captain, salvage diver with operating deep sea rig and a ivy league education to fly into most flames, the cure for emotional pain he now felt had escaped him. Nothing he accomplished could shore him up. He found to involve himself closely with his fathars' care was also not to dwell on this demonstration of devotion to family. It was what he felt compelled to do. Other family members came and visited but recent lifestyles were not acceptable to Dad. Marriage on paper existed but Mom and Dad had split long ago and both realizing they could both go separate ways and keep the real estate out of simplicity. It all moved and few missed a beat in the daily lives of stable, African-American working families. These times of Dads' devastating illness and what now looks like an unavoidable deterioration will add stress of a new kind. The sense of death.
Roger was such a rare bird in that he remained mostly rogue through out his life in spite of his ability to perform successfully through a long time frame of working about life without major interruptions such as jail, divorce and unemployment. His bout with alcoholism was evident but under control now for many years with a stable life of being sober and not drinking. The stable life, late family, present today wasn't an argument for Roger; he was happy with sobriety and oddly not a difficult standard to live up to once the alcohol was gone. His life at 42 years of age has been remarkable in that his life has been a mission of serenity and almost waiting.
From the age of eighteen Roger began his military career out of the simplest desire to get out of the south side of Chicago. He joined the U.S.M.C. and entered basic training at Paris Island in South Carolina. A reserved but ambitious personality got him the notice to separate him from the run of the mill recruit, if there is such a thing. The Marine Corps training makes most recruits similar in many ways. Roger had all of those attributes as well as high intelligence which was evident to most in those close quarters.
Roger did two hitches with the corps and with broken service at which time he received a college education in Boston on the G.I. Bill from his first four years. Although his one and only relationship went bad during that time frame it became an instrument for understanding a world to which could not be understood, only diagnosed to avoid repeats. And Roger remained unmarried throughout his lifetime, at least up until now. And now was 2004 and traveling to this skilled nursing facility to visit his father was extremely difficult for him. It seemed that the ability of the medical staff here was certainly adequate but it was doubtful it could overcome the intrinsic mental anguish his father was going through. The entire issue of a paralyzed body was more emotionally pain than death. Every day was a massive depressive experience, and would not subside.
The life Roger lived at this time was dedicated to help his father in whatever way he could. Roger, now 40 yrs old was in very good health because he worked out a physical exercise program daily. Being an alcohol abstinent individual allowed him to maintain his weight around 170lbs and muscular. He frequently offered his father to come home with him and he could assist in his custodial care, as he was fit, and wanted to help his Dad. Bill was a stubborn man and said it would be not a meaningful or dignified death. And a constant feeling of doom is how Bill felt for a long time; when it became evident he'd never walk again, or even move his arms; simply straight up death was his every thought.
Bill would frequently talk about his situation and how it was so strange that the physician whom had put him in this situation was still operating, as if nothing happened. The surgeon although experienced quite a career downturn because of what he did to Bill. Or more accurately, what he didn't do. It was hard to understand why the surgeon refused to accept the opinions of his own colleagues. What was clear was that had the surgeon followed the advice of two other physicians Bill would be walking now, and not facing a life of dying in the tombs of life in this nursing home for the horribly afflicted and that's precisely what he was. Horribly afflicted and he raged on the inside, as it was ignorance that put him here. Its a strange world this medical community, sometimes its pure crime. However, it was a case that didn't bring Dr Isaac Thames a wave of greatness. After the news of the reason for Bills' total paralyzation was known, Isaac's career tumbled with insurance liability being so costly he couldn't afford private insurance. The university where he was an associate professor of surgery decided anybody who would make the kind of decisions that causes these kinds of mistakes certainly better find employment elsewhere. Other cases caused further failure which ultimately required the physician to be hired at a reduced rate of pay, where he was insured by a large group. Essentially away from the well known and successful.  Roger had done research to find the so called good doctor was relegated to some desert nothingness in Arizona somewhere. Bill would rage on and on about this doctor and curse him, and sometimes this would go on for hours. Roger came to feel a reasonable feeling that his father was simply right and this physician was a menace. It seemed that the system protected this man as his error was so egregious any reasonable person would consider it time to put up the scalpel. Compressing a major nerve was bad enough, but refusing to remove the screw causing the compression out of ego protection his plain criminal. Roger also felt his father was a crime victim. The lawyers helped themselves with the case and no doubt put a dent in this hacks' style but its not too much longer that the same surgeon is in another state, doing the same thing. Roger was very well aware of the crime it was, but now only focused on making the end of life as best he could for his father. They would have long periods of conversations related to his earlier life and how it was such a struggle at times. Roger frequently spoke about how both his mother and father were good role models. Real parents with jobs and who stood up to responsibility needed at anytime. At anytime.
Towards the end of his physical being and connection with living tissue Bill experienced deep insight into his situation. He became paralyzed because of not only what a surgeon did, but at the same time that same physician was notified well in advance that removal of a wrongly place screw would still save his spinal cord. The surgeon refused and discharged him while he still could move. By the end of two weeks he could not walk or feel anything from his mid chest, down, nothing. Although he did have head control, and breathing ok, he still could not take in a full deep breath. The catastrophe was experienced by everyone. Although the surgeon continued operating he eventually was forced out as other cases showed medicalmal. However, he popped up in a desert Colorado river area.  
Roger clearly remembers that day close to his Dad's death that he spoke for a long time with such clarity and articulation. He seemed to have periods of depression although never complained, at least not openly. His depressive periods turned him almost mute and he refused to talk, or eat. One physician called him borderline catatonia. Roger frequently would visualize these times at home and would have nightmares about his father suffering so much. Medication of several types were tried, but Bill eventually refused all medication, and resolved himself to death by his own hands, through starvation. Those end of days was brutal. Towards that last few weeks of his life he remained lucid and alert, and alert enough to go on and on about the doctors who did this to him. Roger had to frequently remind him that it was really only one doctor, in that there were several others whom did a lot to help him. However, he himself could not see his way clear of wondering about the process that brought his Dad to die this way. A truly horrible way to die.  He eventually died during an infection that he got from infected wounds from lying in bed, and unable to move. These kinds of wounds were sometimes related to poor nursing care and stated by professionals to be an event that is reportable to the authorities for neglect. However, Bill was non compliant and his poor nutritional intake was noteworthy for those to understand the state he was in. Trying to blame somebody was realistically not the fault of his present day caregivers. Bill had asked Roger to see if he could fix it so the doctor who did this to him could be stopped. Roger didn't respond during these tirades; just to be there for his Dad was all he wanted to do.
The end for Bill was assisted with the help of large doses of narcotics and could be considered assisted suicide. Be that as it may the demons of death were easily passed from father to son. There was business to attend to, before events in Rogers' life changed drastically. And on that rainy afternoon visual fixation on that winning numbers ticket worth after taxes 750,000 was not deterred by any pleasurable thoughts. Only that the financial foundation was growing and at times on luck. Roger was perhaps later effected more by his fathers' death, than even winning the lottery could sum up any emotion. His fathers' words would roll through his mind many times, with many vivid memories. Roger came so close to drink.

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