Cuts that hurt

A little while ago I wrote about poor old Barney, the lovely gentleman that has cleaned our office for 16 years. He had been taken into hospital when he'd been overwhelmed by the cancer he had so bravely been fighting. I wrote about how grim it was seeing him all anonymous and vulnerable, how they were calling him by his formal name of Robert and thinking he was unresponsive.
Last Monday we got a call from his sister to say he was being moved to a hospice. While this obviously means all hope of recovery has gone, the prospect of him being taken to somewhere a little less like Beruit provided some comfort. Some prospect of dignity being restored to a once very private man. We've walked onto the ward to find him all alone being sick and choking as he is so weak he can't swallow. Others visiting have found so few staff on the ward that calls for the toilet have to go unanswered. The nurses and doctors we've dealt with have been lovely, but there just obviously aren't enough of them.
But even though there is a bed waiting for Barney in the idyllic hospice, he's still stuck in that horrible ward almost a week later.
When you're dying surely hours are pretty significant never mind days.
Will there be an ambulance to take him tomorrow? Who knows. He's been meant to move tomorrow so many times already.
We can't put him in a taxi, he's still a big man and he's very weak and hooked up to oxygen and morphine etc.
When I'd been in casualty myself a few months back, the ambulance staff had said they were being cut back again and they didn't know how they could possibly get any leaner.
Non-emergency ambulance trips may not obviously save lives, but they can give someone a much better death.
No dogs in this story, but then dogs are treated with a lot more dignity than our old people these days.


Anonymous said…
Poor Barney so awful and it is not an isolated case i hope he is moved to a place of more comfort soon
Anonymous said…
So many elderly people without much family are treated this way in hospital. NO-ONE listens to them and very few listen to what family there is. There is no dignity in death for an elderly person alone these days. All they will have is someone, a relative or friend, to be with them at the end for them to know they were not alone. Right now is when Barney needs to know there is someone there for him, someone with him. He will shortly slip into a coma and quietly leave. His awful suffering will be over but hopefully he will not die alone and uncared for.
As for your comment about dogs having more dignity in death. Most do but what about those that have been abandoned and those being cruelly treated and all the puppy farm dogs, not much dignity there.
Dignity is just a word for the living to ease conciences.
The only saving grace is that soon the awful painful suffering will be over.
Let Barney know he has his friends and that you will be thinking of him.
San.M said…
No dogs in this story but I wouldn't say this merits a comparison. As someone already said about dignity of the underprivileged dogs. I guess it's a question of privileged vs underpriviledged. Surely everyone deserves dignity. Those of us who have dogs know the unconditional love they give and what it is to lose one. They become family members.
Anyways I didn't post to get into a discussion on this matter. I just wanted to say that perhaps Barney can still be cured with nutritional therapy or what we call the Budwig protocol. I would state for the benefit of those who don't know, Dr Budwig over a period of 50 years cured very serious cancer patients. Patients very close to death and she had a success rate of over 90%. The protocol is very scientific and is known to help pets also. There is a yahoo group "Flaxseedoil2" which is specifically for people practicing this protocol and wanting clarifications.
Beverley Cuddy said…
Apologies, it was a throw-away remark about dogs dying with more dignity. I should have said a bit more. If a dog is loved we can ensure that the end of their life is peaceful and dignified. But there are far too many dogs who aren't loved who die in terrible ways.
Kate Price said…
God bless Barney.
Sadly for many years the hospital care of the elderly has been terrible. They are seen as a waste of resources and I have witnessed the second class care they receive.
Hospices are wonderfully caring places. Soon Barney will get the one to one care he needs, and live out his last days with dignity and without pain.
Please give Barney a gentle hug from me and Olive x
Anonymous said…
In this area there are private ambulances that can be hired to transport people to hospices. Is this worth looking into if he doesn't get moved soon? It used to cost £60 for a short journey, but that was a good few years ago and I am not up to date with how much it is now.
I really fear for elderly people without anyone to speak up and fight for them.
Really hope that things improve for Barney soon.

Beverley Cuddy said…
Thankfully Barney made it to the hospice on Monday.
Beverley Cuddy said…
Barney passed away last night, surrounded by people who loved him.
RIP Barney, such a lovely man, much missed.
San.M said…
So awfully sorry for Barney. Why is it that the elderly/ senior citizens who are a large percentage of the world's population are not being cared for ? Surely there is voice in numbers. These people have given their best years to society and shaped the tomorrow that is today. They would be a society within our society. I think it demands we look inwards and do some introspection. Surely 20-30 years from now a large number of us would be in that category and time does fly.
Chapstaff said…
Bless him, I'm really pleased he wasn't alone when he died.
Kate Price said…
rest in peace now Barney.
We will always remember you x

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