Hello Cruel World
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Friend's Stroke: shock, horror, confusion
A very good friend is ill. For years he's known of and been treated for idiopathic hypertension. Seems to run in the family. Sometimes crazily high BP; rather drug-resistant, despite a good diet and definitely not being overweight. So over time many, many tests looking for causes, trying different drugs. It looked under control with diet, exercise, drugs. All either free, or at least affordable, with Australian Medicare and PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme). Dentistry a different story.
He's been nagging me to get off my tail and go off to enjoy myself because of my probable future bouts of cancer, and was angry that I hadn't managed anything during the recently-ended remission. So I did head off for a weekend to Canberra (details posted separately), got off the train on Monday afternoon and found his partner, another friend, waiting on Central Station Concourse.
On the weekend a blood vessel burst in his head. Ambulance straight to our local, excellent, hospital. Tests, scans, operation, ICU, 'nother operation adding 'nother head-tube, ICU, re-scans; 2 visitors at a time. He's still unconscious/under sedation. The medistaff are helpful, kind and fairly communicative. I'm trying to give whatever practical support his partner may need (food, laundry, music he or she might like, books for waiting time, ** any aid suggestions welcome **) and taking spells at bedside.
It's fearful and deeply saddening to see him half-head-shaved, tangled in an ugly reticulation of lines and arcane wires and tape and tubes. Fearful for his easy physicality and fierce intelligence; fearful remembering despair and depression that came with my own pain, weakness and struggles with disabilities in my own illnesses. But, thank Whitlam & Co., all Labor governments, and continuing general Australian public opinion, we don't fear financial disaster too, nor being thrown out/unplugged for non-payment. Thinking of that because I'd been following & commenting a little in the debate in the USA on the problems in their health care, particularly the insurance & payment arrangements.
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Australia, New South Wales, Sydney, English, photography, reading, natural history, land use, town planning, sustainability.