Hopeful for the future...Being an advocate for loved ones...

High tide in Sumbersari, Bali in 2016. See the link here.
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No words can express how grateful we feel that our daughter-in-law Camille is now on the other side of her long and difficult battle with cancer. Her eight-hour surgery was a success and although she'll have challenges to face in recovery, for now, she's out of the woods.

As the wonderful mother of my three grandchildren and a loving daughter-in-law to both of us, we feel a profound sense of relief that now, her healing process can begin. As we all know, a good outcome of cancer surgery is no guarantee of future good health. But, then again, none of us have any guarantees when it comes to our health.

Even in these trying times of COVID-19, the fittest, the healthiest, and the strongest of individuals are not exempt from the ravages of this dreadful virus. We continually hear stories of athletes and fitness enthusiasts still becoming infected.
The setting sun between the palm trees. For more photos from this post five years ago today, please click here.
Our DNA appears to have more of an impact on who becomes infected along with the strength of our immune system. As research continues, we'll know more about this in the future.

But now, the speculations as to what works and what doesn't are flying all over the not-so-trustworthy news and internet. Who and what can we believe when over and over again, each new treatment, each new concept, and each new protocol gets shot down by yet another "study" in some country or another, confusing the heck out of everyone, including medical professionals.

This has been the case with the medical field for decades by doling out advice and then decades later, deaths and illnesses are discovered from the wrong advice being given. I have no reason to believe most of which I read and hear until a vaccine or more effective treatment is developed and ultimately proven to be effective.

The scary part is what do family members do when attempting to advocate for their loved ones in insisting on certain protocols to attempt when all else has failed? 
The waning sun.
It's imperative for each of us to take the responsibility to at least be aware of some available options in the horrifying event that a doctor tells us there is nothing more they can do for our loved one. Can we insist on certain risky treatments that may or may not work? If we aren't aware of other options, we won't be able to advocate for other treatment modalities.

Let's face it, the exhausted, overworked and stressed medical professionals could easily become ambivalent when they haven't slept in 24 hours, haven't seen their own families in weeks and are all living in constant fear they too may become infected.

We must consider that medical errors account for 250,000 deaths a year in the US alone, the third leading cause of death. Can we idly sit by and not question the path chosen by medical staff, especially when its a life or death scenario such as this virus?
And then, it was gone.
Fourteen months ago, when I had open-heart surgery in a small town in South Africa, I hardly slept while in hospital, staying awake to ensure I was given proper medications and treatments to the best of my knowledge. 

I questioned every drug I was given either by pill, IV or injection after I'd first asked for a list of everything I'd be given and the dosages.

If a drug wasn't on the list, I needed to know why I needed it and the correct prescription for that drug. I could barely lift my arms since my chest had been split open, but my fingers flew across the keyboard on my phone, while continually researching every aspect of my treatment. I was in ICU for nine days.
The colors of the sea appear to change before our eyes.
As soon as I was moved to the regular ward and I determined the level of care had dropped exponentially, I insisted on getting out of the hospital to be at our holiday home in the bush where I knew I'd receive better care from Tom.

Why did both of my legs become infected? Could that have been prevented? It was 12 months ago this very month that I had to return to the hospital for two more surgeries on each of my legs when the infections had become septic. Had I failed in protecting myself?
If you aren't a likely candidate as an advocate for someone you love, it's advisable to find someone who cares deeply for the patient and will gladly take on the role, keeping in mind, that in this world, all of this must be done by phone, not in person, making it all the more difficult. If no one is available, if we can, we must choose to stay alert enough to constantly ask questions about our treatment and doses.
The pool created at high tide is considerably larger than it appears in this photo.

This doesn't require a medical degree. It requires compassion, assertiveness, diplomacy, the ability to ask lots of questions and the ability to conduct research from highly reliable resources, of which there are many online. Time is of the essence in each of these cases. My sister Julie played this role in our daughter-in-law Camille's treatment and did a fine job.

We all need to fight for ourselves, our loved ones and the world. Sometimes it's as simple as refusing to enter an elevator with others and risk infection and if required, taking the stairs. Social distancing, washing hands and wearing face masks is simply not enough.

Let's all use our heads and our hearts to put an end to this pandemic and save lives, not only our own and that of our loved ones but also that of people, all over the world.
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Photo from one year ago today, April 16, 2019:
A hornbill watching Frank take a dirt bath. For more photos, please click here.

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