punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,


So my sister-in-law Debbie is pretty ill. She's only in her 50s, and they put her in a nursing home, but so far it's temporary. Part of her illness stems from a doctor who put her on steroids for years, which messed her up so bad, she ended up suing him.

The western panhandle of Maryland and the Eastern panhandle of West Virginia seems to have a collection of some of the worst doctors in medicine. At least two of Christine's relatives have died due to negligence. Her mom died because they gave her medicine she was allergic to which made her crazy, so they strapped her down to the bed. She had massive acid reflux problems, but they didn't keep her chest upright, so her stomach acid backed up into her lungs, and she died of a complication of that. One of her sisters died because they didn't have a band small enough to fit her face for an oxygen mask, and so her oxygen mask fell off and she suffocated due to lack of oxygen. At least her sister was in the last stages of MS, and wouldn't have lived more than a year anyway, but Mom's death was far too soon. Now while there are some good doctors, the majority of them seem to be the bottom of the barrel as far as competence. In Keyser, WV (takayla's hometown), there's a hospital called "Potomac Valley" which is also known as "death hospital" because so many people have died there due to accidents, negligence, and faulty equipment. People try VERY hard to get shipped to other hospitals.

But Debbie is in Frostburg, where she is in a nursing home that is the first one I have seen in the US that seems cheerful. Like, it isn't full of people sitting around waiting to die. The staff and patients are friendly, the place is pretty clean and home-like, and I didn't get a bad vibe from the place at all. The only mean people were some of the people visiting patients who acted like they'd rather be in a bar, but screw them. Debbie's roommate was a wonderful 89 year old woman named Thelma, and some guy named "Harry" came by to say hello. I think he was also in his late 80s, his wife had passed away several years ago, and he didn't want to die alone on his farm. So he moved in under his own will just so he could spend the last fear years of his life surrounded by people. He was awesome. Some older woman raced by our door, her wheelchair decorated with pennants.

Debbie was diagnosed with congestive heart failure, but now they think that's wrong. I won't go into dull medical details, but they think she can be released back to her apartment by Christmas.

I also got to see Erica, takayla's niece and Debbie's daughter, who brought her kids Kaitlin and Danielle (11 and 3). I hadn't seen Kaitlin since she was 4 or so, and Danielle I hadn't even seen. They are great kids.

Frostburg, which has a university and seemingly little else, is on a mountain somewhere in Maryland surrounded by snow. Because of where it is, it's one of those places that always gets the worst snow, the first snow, and random snows when no one else is seeing snow anywhere else. Nearby Westernport is the same way. I remember one day, while the sun was out, watching a rogue cloud roam around the mountains dumping snow like a blimp driven by a drunken pilot. Just one large cloud following a pattern of its own. Stuff like that is surreal; it makes you believe in magic and supernatural things because, really, who ever sees that kind of stuff?

That was a day trip, but it was great spending it with takayla.
Tags: debbie, frostburg
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