Tuesday, June 23, 2015

"We have met the enemy and he is us." - Walt Kelly

When my grandfather was in the last stages of his life, suffering from dementia and unable to care for himself, he developed pneumonia. I took him to the hospital, where by mistake they administered a sulfa-based antibiotic.

His medical history and information clearly indicated he was allergic to sulfa-based antibiotics. Because of the allergy, he developed a large ulcer on his arm.

I'd learned, in my life, that in large, busy hospitals, it's important to be on top of everything as a patient (or a patient's caregiver). No matter how competent and caring the doctors and staff are, no one knows as much or can devote the time and attention as you can.

I'm sitting in my grandfather's room, nurses treating the ulcer, when the doctor comes in. "So," he says, "we're treating your grandfather for an ulcer."

"No," I said (politely). "He came in with pneumonia. He was given a sulfa-based antibiotic, which he is allergic to, and that precipitated the ulcer." Maybe the doctor would have caught this, but maybe not.

How often do we start treating people for problems that we have caused?

As a parent, I think the third decade of my parenting has been all about figuring out the damage I did during the first two decades to our children, and trying to make things better.  :)  I'm kind of joking, but I'm kind of not.

How much of the behavior, attitudes, and even aptitudes of children in school have actually been created by us? Are we busy trying to "solve" problems that we created?

If so, what does that mean about how we look for actual solutions?

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