How My Experiences with Pneumonia Prior to the Covid-19 Pandemic Has Influenced My View Of Modern Medicine

Getting old sucks. I know, I know, I’m not as old as many, but I will say that it still sucks. I think I’ve finally discovered the reason why most of us are born with 10 fingers though. It’s for all the creams.

Yes, you read that right. As you age a decade, you need another finger to dab cream on whatever unsuspecting body part ails you. The creams span from things such as anti-aging cream, anti-itch cream, anti-fungal cream, muscle cream and even hemorrhoid cream or as I lovingly refer to it…ass cream. Not to be confused with ice cream.

As I am fast approaching 40, I noticed that I am now requiring the use of a fourth digit to apply as many creams before washing my dried out, wrinkly and aged hands. 10 fingers, 100 years…maybe. Ugh, just pause the world for a second, I need to get off. Sigh, and to think, if I scratch my face using the wrong finger prior to washing…well, that’s not a picture I want to paint.

Creamy Roulette

I just had a flash forward. I know that when I get old (hopefully) and end up in one of them swanky homes, I’ll probably be the one sneaking out of my room at 9 pm with my friends (hopefully Clem will still be with me) to hide in one of the supply closets to play the latest variation of Russian Roulette, Creamy Roulette. I’ll have my friend Wanker (his real name’s Richard), and Sloppy Betty (her real name’s Jo), and my nickname will probably be what it’s always been, well the last 10 years anyway, Tube Sock Tits. I picture us all sitting on the floor wearing our tin foil covered colanders and holding up our wrinkly deformed hands and saying, “Hey Wanker! Pick a finger!”. Yeah, I am deeply disturbed.

Getting older is starting to bother me, and I think it’s because I realized that I’ve been starting to roll down the hill with all the other turds, no longer sitting atop Turd Mountain being Queen Shit any more. Ah, the days of my ignorant youth! It kind of scares me how quickly it crept up, but I find that my fear of death isn’t what it once was. I acknowledge, that although health authorities want us to think that we are adding to life expectancy, what I’ve been seeing and experiencing, isn’t the case. So, to say I’m in a mid-life crisis, truly isn’t accurate, I started rolling down the opposite side of Turd Mountain a while ago, so I guess I gotta suck it up, Buttercup.

After being locked down and watching the news these past few weeks (I never watch the news by the way because that would imply that I’m old), because that’s what you do when you’re stuck in your house making models of famous human faces and buildings out of garbage and baking bread, my conclusions have been verified. I once held a wholehearted belief in medicine, I still have some of it, not fully, but we are most definitely ‘over-medicalized’ in North America. Medicine is limited as to what it can and cannot do.

That isn’t an easy thing to say, and I am not belittling anyone, but respectfully, we rely on modern medicine and pharmaceuticals far too much, often placing it upon a pedestal without realizing the implications thereof. There’s no magic pill in this world for aging and death sadly and fear is being utilized for control. And no, frozen lemons may not be a cure for cancer, some may be that fortunate, but most won’t. They make refreshing projectiles though!

Please do not take offence, but be willing to hear me out because I know the other sides of this issue very well. I had to come to terms with the fact that my beliefs, weren’t supported in the situations I’ve been in and witnessed. The situation that we’re all in right now, is yet, another to add to the pile. Another valuable lesson I’ve learned, came from witnessing my grandmother transition from illness to death.

My dear grandmother

My maternal grandmother, was someone I loved and respected very much. Her loss was a very painful (still is), confusing, and eye opening experience. My grandfather too, but I’ve come to realize that the connections I have to the strong female influences in my life is because I am a direct reflection of them in many ways. It scares me sometimes, when I stop mid thought or sentence, and realize that pieces of them are falling out of my mouth. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. The same goes for my very being, in a bodily sense and I often wonder what fate awaits me.

My crazy assed granny that I loved to pieces, died nearly 3 years ago, shortly after turning 77 years old, due to what my mom and I think was ‘modern medicine’ and not necessarily complications of pneumonia. Why do I say modern medicine? Because quite frankly, someone needs to be honest. The medical faculty, government and pharmaceutical companies sure the hell aren’t and people do not want to accept the truth. Yes, I am casting that stone during this time.

I don’t like to shit on people, but this is exactly the reason I started writing in the first place. Remember my previous warnings, don’t be like me or follow in my footsteps. Please hear me out or you may face the same pain that I live with and will for the remainder of my days. I’m not anti-medicine, it does have a time and a place in our society, but the corruption in its entirety needs to be addressed (it’s a very vast and widespread problem on many levels) and honesty needs to be exercised.

My grandmother was like a second mother to me and I spent a lot of my childhood with her, mainly because there’s only a 2 year age gap between my aunt and I. She and I grew up like sisters and were together often. My grandmother became a grandmother for the first time at age 41. She was young, holy shit! I can’t even fathom becoming a grandmother in a year, ha!

Anyway, she was a ball cap wearing, dirty joke telling, bread making, football field sized garden planting, cattle farming, sporty (especially baseball, she tried to kill my aunt and I once with her insane pitching ability!), avid ‘canner/pickler’, ice cream eating, creative, innovative, straight shooting, busy, foul mouthed and fun loving lady. She became an exceptional great grandmother when my kids were born, and she made the world a better place, like most grandmothers do. She was awesome and loved by many.

Pneumonia is an asshole

My grandmother fell ill with pneumonia, which failed to respond to treatment and she ended up in the hospital. She (GG, is what we called her after she became a great grandmother) was a healthy 76 year old, with no major health implications when she fell ill. After a short time, she required airlifting to a larger center because she needed a ventilator. The long and the short of it, I witnessed the limitations of what medicine can and cannot do. I saw the human side that medicine seems to so desperately want to cast aside and never admit, unless it suits them. I also witnessed that no two humans are the same and will vary in regards to disease, medications and treatment.

I feel like I am a compassionate person, and I openly admit that I am not a perfect human being. I strive to do and be better every single day. I want to say that I know that doctors and nurses are also human beings, and they deserve the kindness and compassion that we should all receive from one another. Whether they want to admit it or not, they are only human, just like you and me and I do appreciate the efforts of the ones who truly do their job because they are passionate and compassionate about others.

With that said, there is a very ugly and inhumane side to medicine. You’ve seen a couple of my subtle shots here and there, and I guess that it’s time to start saying what I think should be said. I am only asking for others to listen. I understand that all of our situations are unique to our own perceptions and perspective as well and that mine may be one that people haven’t lent themselves to or maybe don’t want to acknowledge. But first, this.

Death is scary, but this?

We don’t want to be afraid. I get it, but we really shouldn’t be. Death, sadly, is a part of living and although scary, is experienced by every single one of us at some point and usually only once. I feel that there can be peaceful deaths within a hospital setting if done with care and compassion and that death can be extremely harrowing and painful in those settings as well. Experiences vary.

I admit, I have more fear in regards to the greedy people who are the powers that be, and the blindly following, who are being misinformed by those very powers, than death. Wear a mask, don’t wear a mask, it won’t help you but why do healthcare workers need them then? Why cough or sneeze into your elbow? You said it lingered in the air for 3 hours, so wouldn’t a mask help? Lock downs in place for potentially years, but the models are completely inaccurate, yet government intends to follow them to a T with extraordinary powers being bestowed upon them.

Ramping up testing, but then only testing those with severe symptoms, only to change their minds again on testing parameters the next day while shouting more testing will beat this, like it’s some kind of secret weapon or something (funny, the best defense is the most primitive, nothing fancy about it, and it doesn’t cost a thing). The counts go up, and then fall back down, what exactly do those tests test for? Antibodies, exposure, actual disease stuck in your snot that may not come to fruition? Do they actually know? They won’t ever admit to anything, so don’t hold your breath.

Anyone else wondering what the fuck? I take health advice with a heap of salt. I get it, it’s new, but if you say social distancing, isolating, and covering coughs/sneezes helps, a mask will too! You’ve gotta be kidding me! Throw whatever tiny amount of trust I had in you out the window and pick my ass cream finger, mother fucker.

Sorry for my PSA rant, back to the story

That PSA pertains to my story…honest.

When my grandmother landed at the first hospital she required (there were two major hospitalizations over the span of a year), we were met with doctors who had absolutely no clue what was going on. To see them flounder around, casting off in multiple directions, just hoping for a bite of some kind, was alarming to say the least. At that point, I still had most of my eggs in the medical basket so to speak. My thoughts had been shaped to think that they knew all and could do, nearly all. The very first moment, of that very first day, corrected my automatic unquestioning thought process in a hurry. Their ‘human’ was showing. Medicine and the body are complicated and we still have much to learn.

In an attempt to help my grandmother, who was fairly healthy prior to all of this, doctors ran a plethora of tests, from biopsies, cultures and scans and threw out terms like ARDS, Hantavirus, C. Diff, MRSA and eventually BOOP. They didn’t know if she’d make it, or if it was going to take time or if they had antibiotics that would help. It was a total shit show.

After who knows how long (my memory on timelines is sketchy because I had just been thrown into Caelan’s cancer), it was finally settled that they could try corticosteroids, which thankfully, helped to wean my grandmother from the ventilator. What followed, was an unfortunate reality check in regards to the status of our ‘healthcare’ system. Just a friendly reminder, I live in Canada.

If there’s no crying in baseball, why is there lying in medicine?

I can tell you, that I’ve witnessed a few things in my time that has made my skin crawl, which has led me to questioning the policies, procedures and practices of our system. One of the most disturbing, was the difference in the quality of care between the different floors of the same hospital. How that can make all the difference, is outrageous. I understand that different units have differing levels of care and patient/staff ratios, but wouldn’t a patient’s well being still be the main focus at each level? Aren’t policies and procedures supposed to be the same regarding basic patient care? That is a definite no, from what I’ve experienced. Same health authority, varying practices and procedures.

When doctors finally felt that my grandmother could be brought out of her medically induced coma, which they ‘fluffily’ referred to as ‘deeply sedated’ (their words), she had difficulty ‘waking up’. As I’ve said before, transparency and honesty go a long way, and some of my family members downplayed the situation because hey, it’s just sedation. Yeah, it’s just that. Medically induced coma and deep sedation have different meanings. The third time my grandmother was intubated, she was sedated but awake instead of completely out of it, so there’s a spectrum there.

Blurred lines and fuzzy comforting names, causes confusion, pain and suffering for many when they realize they’ve been lied to. To wonder why many are beginning to turn their backs on medicine, is no mystery. Sometimes it only takes one instance to lose trust. I understand why they do it, but for some of us, it’s a slap in the face. It also doesn’t help loved ones understand the severity of the situation.

Medicine: Newfound Methods of Barbarism

When doctors stopped the drugs that kept GG ‘deeply sedated’, in the hopes that she would wake up, she began to have ‘discomfort’ (that’s the only way to describe it because she was struggling to be settled by way of thrashing and arching her back against her restraints and fighting to open her eyes which hadn’t happened before). It took (I believe) 3 days of hoping for her to awaken to no avail, when someone finally noticed that the catheter draining her bladder hadn’t been draining properly.

This, according to doctors, had been the cause of her discomfort. Official diagnosis, an overly distended and improperly drained bladder (a doctor finally figured it out…they did check on her each day, didn’t they?). Her thrashing and ‘discomfort’ subsided upon her bladder being drained. I can only imagine what she was feeling, and not being able to ask for help, makes me want to vomit.

3 days. This was in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU). They didn’t think she was going to wake up. After they finally got her bladder draining again, properly, guess what? She finally began to gain consciousness. Isn’t that something? They also told us her kidneys were shit (she had been down to one functioning kidney previous to this, possibly a birth defect? I can’t remember specifically), do you think that that may have had something to do with it? According to doctors, no. I get it, we’re all human and mistakes happen, just admit it and move on. Is it really that hard? You’re completely untouchable in this country.

Long story short, during the 2 months that my grandmother was hospitalized, she ended up getting off of the ventilator, moved to a recovery floor, where the ball was dropped and she landed back in the ICU on a ventilator only a week or so later. The nurses who treated her in the ICU previously were pissed to see her return. So when she eventually got off of the ventilator a second time, they moved her to a different floor entirely, to ensure she wouldn’t deteriorate again. That action, speaks volumes.

People on death row get last request meals, why didn’t she?

Eventually, she went home for a few months, only to end up back in the hospital the following year to die. She wasn’t on a ventilator at the time of her passing, but was originally admitted for it. We’d thought she was doing well (we were given different reports on her condition from different people) but she died a few days after they placed a feeding tube in her stomach. Apparently, as I’ve read, this is done far too often with the potential for multiple complications, but has found its place as a necessary and common procedure for ailing humans, unchallenged in a hospital setting. We weren’t allowed to bring her the things she had an appetite for, which could have made a difference because she’d probably have consumed more nutrients. Hospital food is nasty.

It’s sad that we couldn’t give her the ice cream she asked for. My hindsight shows me that maybe her body was shutting down in preparation of her death and that no feeding tube would’ve saved her ailing and weak body. I don’t feel that surgery on that kind of body was ideal either, but I do know that we can only do so much. People on death row get last request meals, why didn’t she? Some of the nurses just became outright nasty when asked. At least we asked because I’ve heard many don’t and that can be to a patient’s detriment, but this was just downright sad.

Death changes everything

She suddenly took a turn without warning one evening and was gone an hour or so later. No answers were provided after her death and she was whisked away to a funeral home in a manner that makes me wonder if or what they were covering up. My mom recounts that there was some mumbling about a misplaced PEG tube and medication uptake not happening properly from said site. Otherwise, it was crickets. I know, older people die, but this was deeply perplexing throughout.

In Canada, it’s pretty much impossible to take any legal action against a doctor or a hospital (they have billions in taxpayer’s dollars to protect them from legal action), and I often wonder if that wasn’t the case, how many would still be left practicing? I’ve encountered far too many who really shouldn’t be practicing medicine at all. Many, I wouldn’t even allow to treat my pet rock.

It’s not that I would’ve been suing the ass off of whoever, but I’d hope that there were teachable moments, from which to avoid future mistakes. What matters to me, is that people learn and move forward without causing more harm to others. This would be the human thing to do, I’d like to believe.

I have more things I could share in regards to that situation, but that’s the gist of it. When it comes to pneumonia, doctors are truly limited. The ‘treatment’ my grandmother endured, appeared to be very barbaric and inhumane and sometimes I wonder if death would’ve been more appropriate. Being restrained, with tubes everywhere, without any idea of prognosis makes me wonder. It has changed the way I see life and death, and has influenced the choices of any medical care I’d ever wish to receive. Every single medical decision, is a deeply personal decision, and will vary for each individual because we are not all the same.

I loved my grandmother and would’ve done anything to keep her alive, but what I witnessed, I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Before I go any further, I’m certain many are wondering the following: yes, she had been getting the pneumonia and flu vaccines and had been to her doctor very regularly receiving the ‘recommended/mandated care’ set out by the Canadian government and leading medical authorities. It made no difference to her outcome.

I feel that that is important, especially since we’ve come to rely on ‘modern medicine’ so heavily and especially in our current situation. If I can, I’d recommend looking into pneumonia and its implications in our society from past to present, if you can find unbiased information. Many people die every year from pneumonia, it’s not new.

It all boils down to experiences and hindsight

In my own experience, I’ve had pneumonia twice and I can say that it truly blows the big green weenie. I had it at 8 and at 23 years old, and I thought I was going to die with the latter case. I never saw it coming, and yes, I too was vaccinated for it not even 2 years prior to the last time I was sick. I was young and healthy with no health issues and I’ve not fallen ill with it since, thankfully. Pneumonia ain’t no joke.

Lola just had a go with it too and I feel that she actually had coronavirus. She fits the bill exactly. I honestly feel that Covid-19 was here as early as December. I’ve spoken with many people who feel they too were affected around the same time. Every single person has had a similar experience, and some with a few different symptoms on top of it. Just like my experiences with adenovirus, it all depends on the person, so an exact list of symptoms is a really a three horned unicorn.

I’m not looking to blame. I am seeking better. For as many things as we’ve developed as human beings, medicine hasn’t changed much (some things yes), but mostly the shiny packaging surrounding it and exotic names we apply to it. Some days it seems like a bad infomercial. I hope that many are realizing the charade because we all deserve better.

Pick the ass cream finger, bitch

As I sit here today, watching the powers that be, I can only shake my head. We can do better. I would never tell anyone what to do or how to think, but it’s evident that we need to start thinking and doing more on our own accord and possibly reconsidering the whole concept that is modern medicine and all it encompasses. Everything should change over time and for the better, that’s called progress.

I know who has been one of the biggest misinformation spreaders this last while, and it’s the very people we feel we need to rely on for guidance and provide us with the ‘necessities’. We handed them power, and I know they are only human, but the failure to listen and continual lying is a dangerous thing. I’d like the millions of taxpayer’s dollars returned for your shitty misinformation commercials by the way. Challenging the narrative can lead the way to positive innovation and a bright future. I have faith in humanity, so don’t screw this up world.

I see people doing amazing things for others, but am sad that this will all come to an end when the common bond dissipates from our reality. I’m already seeing lines being drawn in the sand between those who have all their eggs in the government’s and pharmaceutical companies’ basket and others like me, who don’t. I am currently cheering on (this is very unlike me) ‘real’ doctors who are looking for actual cures or support measures, unlike the governments and pharmaceutical companies running in the direction of fear for profit.

Separation is weakness, strength in numbers, respect and awe for individuality, and knowledge and wisdom in the form of an awakening are inspiring and uniting. I am truly hopeful that positive change is on the horizon for humanity and not an even worse, greedy, inhumane and cruel dictatorship. That is not the world I want my children to live in, nor you and yours.

After all I’ve experienced, if I were to end up on a ventilator, with hardly a chance of survival, I’d ask that my family say their goodbyes and let me go. I do not wish to suffer, and until we find better or more humane ways to extend lives, I’d rather die peacefully. That’s not giving up, it’s realizing that we are human, and can only do so much and that’s okay. Sometimes we have to put on our big boy panties and make adult decisions that are tough and based on reality. We can always still have hope, but sometimes, that just isn’t enough.

My grandmother’s birthday would’ve been this week and she would’ve been a very cranky and wise-assed 80 years old. I’m having a beer for her tonight. Here’s to you GG!

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