Life of Its Own/ October 16, 2010

My Dad decided against cardiac surgery. He decided this in the hospital after frank discussions with his cardiologist, who has treated my Dad for 15 years. Dad trusts him. Within two days of taking Dad home from the hospital, the cardiac surgeon had called/talked with him once about surgery, and then he got two additional phone calls from the surgeon’s office confirming follow-up appointments with them. At first Dad interpreted these calls as proof that perhaps he should have surgery after all—that the surgeon’s thought he was a good candidate for heart valve replacement. He admitted to being confused as to what to think. I tried to not show my frustration at the health care system and told him he should go to the appointment if he needed more information. He thought about it through lunch and then told me “I don’t want to open that up again.” He got yet another automated telephone message the next day confirming his cardiac surgery appointment. By that time he had already told at least three of their office staff that he wished to cancel and didn’t want surgery. I explained that the medical system has a life of its own and just won’t take ‘no’ for an answer.