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2010-03-25 04:07:25.744351+00 by Dan Lyke 2 comments

So my comment urging you to write medical advance directives and make sure that you've left instructions for the disposition of your body was not hypothetical: Cynthia died yesterday. Cynthia was the woman whom Charlene has been helping with fundraising and emotional support and everything while they tried to arrange a liver transplant. After many ups and downs and elevator trips on the MELD score, she got her transplant, but by that point everything else was failing.

This morning we take the mom from our Family Connection family to oral surgery. There are some extreme anxiety issues which mean we end up in yet another facility on the other side of San Francisco, but Charlene and L. go into the room, I'm hanging out in the waiting room, I do the crossword puzzle (Crossword fail: there was no "e" on the "blond" answer for "Marilyn Monroe or Madonna", there should have been), and then someone comes out and says "are you with the two people in there? Someone's passed out", and I'm all like "What the hell? Who's the medical professional here?"

But it was fine. My first question was "where's the closest Kaiser?", but then I paused and asked "do you have a blood pressure cuff?" (Actually, I probably said "sphygmomanometer" but then they looked at me funny and I made a arm cuff like gesture), and they had a fancy machine. We hooked Charlene up, got blood pressure and blood oxygen and heart rate, and her vitals were all stable, pulse was a little low but hers runs down there normally, speech was fine, peripheral vision was fine, just a bump on the head (which, she tells me, hurts a lot).

And then at the Petaluma T&TAC meeting this evening the audio was out and we had all sorts of wacky potential legal issues from that, but we went ahead and ticked a couple of things off the agenda.

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comments in descending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2010-03-25 16:03:20.902733+00 by: Dan Lyke

Yeah, I'm not sure if any other medical system would have served Cynthia better. Not that struggling to come up with the premiums in her last few months was easy, but the portions of the health system that really failed her are hard to restructure in light of the limited supply of livers.

But, yeah, Cynthia's struggles are part of what lead me to grudgingly support the health care bill.

Charlene's doing fine, the thing that freaked me out was that witnesses described her as being stiff when she fell; the people I've seen faint before have all been pretty loose, and their bodies have done an amazing job of protecting their heads when they went down. But we got some calories in her, kept her up for the requisite 4 hours, and then slept and she's feeling okay.

#Comment Re: made: 2010-03-25 14:28:11.725943+00 by: ebradway

Welcome to the worlds greatest medical system... Not bad if you can afford Kaiser premiums and have a better knowledge of medicine than most of the providers! I hear it's even better pay cash for all services... I think I heard a line in a movie once: "Mexico is a wonderful place to live if you have lots of money." You can pretty much replace "Mexico" with any country.

I'm sorry for your loss. It sounds like it was a long, difficult battle for Cynthia. I guess there is comfort in knowing she's no longer struggling. And I hope Charlene's OK. Hitting your head when blacking out is very dangerous - smart move to check her vitals.