If We Were Having Coffee – August 16/2015: Guest Post

The  New  Patient

Paul your Barista

Welcome to Willow’s weekly coffee and tea garden. My name is Paul; I’ll be your barista today. I’m happy to see you have come for a cuppa and a chat. Please come into the garden and make yourself comfortable. Willow fluffed the cushions on the chairs and set the tables in the garden so we can have a cuppa and chat as we soak up the sun and enjoy the beautiful plants. As usual, I’d be pleased to bring a pot of whatever beverage you prefer – we have a wide range of teas and coffees to satisfy our world-wide readership. Also available is a large selection of spirits for addition to your cuppa or in its place. We can relax amongst the flowers while we discuss the affairs of the week both personal and/or worldwide. How has your week been?

Raw home video of Tianjin Explosions (two explosions)

Things here have been relatively normal this week. The newspaper headlines are about political corruption, housing figures, Islamaphobia, oil prices, all topics that are ongoing and talked to death. Oh, there was the terrible explosion and fire in Tianjin, an industrial port city close to Beijing. So far 85 have been reported dead and hundreds injured. As terrible as it was, it seems from the reports that it was a simple case of illegally storing hazardous chemicals and poor communication that combined to turn a small incident into a disaster. Firefighters reported to a small blaze in a chemical storage facility and sprayed water on chemicals that explode in the presence of water. Things got progressively worse from there. Combine that with the fact the chemicals were stored close to homes – which is illegal in China, they are required by law to be no closer than 1 kilometer to residences – and you have a disaster. Like the other concerns of the week that I listed above, it was a matter of a few individuals trying to benefit personally at the expense others, an age old human behaviour. Nothing really worth discussing there.

Would you like a refill of your cuppa? Perhaps a sweet? So, I ran into a another new dialysis patient this week – Jackie. She is about my age and her husband passed away a few years ago. Para-Transpo has put together recently for our ride back home as she lives in a residence on the way back to my place. Jackie has diabetes as well as kidney failure – not an uncommon combination. She was pretty depressed the other day when I met her and had skipped a few dialysis treatments. As much as one gets upset and sometimes can’t face dialysis (and I have done the same) there is a price to pay. Too much fluid aboard and an overburden of blood waste products as well as an electrolyte imbalance, all add up to a miserable (if not dangerous) existence. That in turn makes you more depressed and less likely to do further treatments. Anyway she was dealing with an infection as well and was on pain killers. She had asked the doctor on call to up her pain prescription (dialysis often aggravates nerve pain) and he had refused. She didn’t elaborate – there could have been very good reasons for his refusal – but she was still upset by that as well.

When I saw her Wednesday night she was particularly down and had an operation scheduled for 6:30 am, the next morning to install a fistula in her arm for dialysis. She said she was too depressed to go. I convinced her that she should go anyway, that it was her depression talking. The anger and dollars it would cost if she didn’t show up when an operating room, a surgeon, an anesthesiologist, nurses, technicians, equipment, etc were all ready and waiting would cause serious repercussions. When I told her that the system cost would likely be greater than $10,000, she was taken aback – we never see cost for health care. Besides which the doctors would be angry and take her less seriously. They are professional and her care would be fine but they would not be as attentive and special requests like getting forms signed and such would be more difficult. She agreed to go. While we were talking outside emergency, the pick-up point, a Para Transpo bus came and the driver – Guy – and I greeted each other by name. Guy said that he wasn’t here for us and went inside to find his customer. Jackie and I both had 11:30 pm pick-up times and it was early – only about 10:50 pm. A few minutes later, as we were talking another Para bus pulled up. This one was driven by Caesar – a Hawaiian from Oahu – who is very outgoing. He walked over and shook hands and told us he was supposed to pick up two others and then come back for us at 11:30. I asked if we could go with him now and save him a trip back and he was fine with that. He loaded his other two customers – one was a wheel chair – as Jackie and I climbed aboard. I greeted the other two – Norm in the wheel chair and Cynthia on foot. I’ve been in dialysis for about 9 years and I’ve known, who is a bit younger than I am, since the beginning. He has gotten progressively worse since I’ve known him going from ambulatory to a walker to a wheel chair and then with one leg amputated and then before he could learn to walk on a prosthetic, the other leg amputated. He is sad these days and doesn’t speak much. He still lives on his own in an apartment that has been modified for his wheel chair.

Jackie was quite taken aback that I knew the drivers and the other patients and she asked if I knew everyone. Ha! I told her that 9 years of dialysis does that. We dropped off Norm and Cynthia while Jackie and I talked. She lives in a privately owned assisted living residence that has 4 persons per room and provides meals. The state pays the owners $1,600 per month for each resident. This is considerably more than I get on disability to live on my own.The residence is 3 stories high and has about 75 people living there. According to her the owner drives an expensive sports car and comes to visit occasionally. I would imagine that this is a profitable enterprise for the owners. As the population ages there are more and more demand for such assisted living facilities and they are being provided by private enterprise. I guess I can’t fault them for making a profit and yet they are charging about 25% more than I get to live on my own – and the tenants live 4 to a room. Jackie got off at her residence at 11:30 – early because we had travelled with the 11 pm customers. A few minutes later I was home and making a coffee while my computer started up.

Presland Residence

On that note, that’s about all we have room for this week, so it’s time to settle in with another cuppa and enjoy the garden. Sweets anyone? Please join me in thanking Willow for her invitation to tea. We are all honored that you dropped by today to visit. I hope you’ve enjoyed yourself and the conversation and please look around at Willow’s other posts while you’re here. Willow is over there serving her guests and chatting it up. Let’s go see how she is today. Have a great week. We look forward to seeing you back here for sweets and beverages of your choice again next week.

And of course  the

IF WE WERE HAVING COFFEE:  WEEKEND COFFEE SHARE

over at Part Time  Monster  and Gene’O’s

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