Common sense ain't common.
I have been sorting out family memorabilia lately. Here is an excerpt from my great-grandfather’s obituary from March 7, 1929:
“Frank Briggle, 63 years old and a widely known farmer, died suddenly this morning at his home on Joplin Street, death following an attack of heart disease. He had been in poor health for three weeks but was considered improving. He came to town this morning with his son, Will, and was at the Dawson Motor Company’s office when he was seized with heart failure. He was rushed to his home in the ambulance and died there soon afterwards…Mr. Briggle is survived by his wife and three children: two boys, George and Will, and a daughter, Mabel.”
Did you read that? Were you as surprised as I am? “He was rushed to his home in the ambulance.”
In fact, my great-grandfather’s town had a very well-respected, up-to-date hospital. Apparently, though, when my great-grandfather was close to death, the place to send him — via ambulance, no less — was home. That would never happen today.
This dusty family episode came into perspective for me when I ran across the following numbers: we each spend, on average, over $300,000 on health care during the course of our lifetimes. Of this, over $188,000 is spent after we reach age 65. Studies show that we spend an average of $30,000 on health care in the very last year before we die. People who eventually die from cancer spend even more. The costs can be devastating.
I would like to think that my frugal Presbyterian great-grandfather completed his life controlling his own healthcare costs and maintaining his dignity. Maybe he was on to something when he persuaded the ambulance driver that the place he needed to be in his final moments was not at the local hospital, but at home with his wife, his two boys, and the sweet young woman who would eventually become my grandmother. May they all rest in peace.
Joyce GF, et al. The Lifetime Burden Of Chronic Disease Among The Elderly, Health Affairs
2005 Sept; 24 Suppl 2:W5R18-29
Alemayehu B, Warner K, The Lifetime Distribution of Health Care Costs, Health Serv Res
. 2004 June; 39(3): 627 - 642.
| ||The following is feedback received for this blog:|
Thanks for the personal-anecdote from your family's past - certainly helps to add perspective to an otherwise seemingly polarized political-topic. If you have any recommendations for resources as far as how I can learn the different perspectives on the current politics and changes in health-care, I'd love to hear them! Thanks!
- Mary B.