Gransnet forums


Hard decisions surrounding Coronavirus

(29 Posts)
willa45 Mon 09-Mar-20 17:23:41

Both DH and myself have routine doctor visits coming up in the near future. I already canceled mine. DH's (Cardiologist) is in NYC, where Coronavirus cases are multiplying daily and where not everyone has been tested. To make matters worse, Drs. office is on the fifteenth floor of a very large, busy hospital.

DH is a very vulnerable senior. He has serious health issues surrounding his heart and he's in his late seventies. He almost died of pneumonia two years ago. He now insists he has to keep this appointment because it involves a test to see how his heart is doing. He thinks if he drives, that will assuage my concerns. I say exposing himself by walking around and using the crowded lifts inside the hospital, is an even bigger risk to his health than the one in the crowded train.

His appointment is in ten days. I feel so strongly about this that I've considered wrapping myself around his right leg when the time comes to keep him from going. Unless it's a life threatening emergency, I feel he shouldn't go. Am I being unreasonable?

endlessstrife Mon 09-Mar-20 17:33:09

I would contact the hospital and ask what they advise. I don’t think you’re being unreasonable at all. It’s right to be cautious, but could it be to the detriment of his health otherwise? You say they’re routine checks. Sorry I can’t be any more helpful. It would be hard for any of us to make decisions now I would think. All the best to you both.

rosecarmel Mon 09-Mar-20 18:05:04

No, you are not being unreasonable- We have to adapt to accomplishing what's required which will involve sacrifice without compromising our health- Its going to involve teamwork on all fronts, and where there isn't any in place we will have to act as our own advocates even if it means taking a different path to get our needs met-

I agree with endlessstrife- Call the hospital and see what measures they are taking to protect vulnerable patients that need to enter their facility for appointments and testing- They might have assigned a safe entrance and elevator and or protective items such as a mask and gloves-

Medicare has approved Teledoc and private insurance provides coverage for them too so that one doesn't need to meet face to face with a physician for some issues-

I understand the strain it can place on relationships when faced with having to make these difficult decisions- And I don't blame you for wanting to wrap yourself around his leg .. But you've 10 days to work out an alternative-

I would really appreciate it if you come back to this thread to let us know how it turns out as we are all faced with similar situations -

merlotgran Mon 09-Mar-20 18:10:29

We've been asking for advice from health care professionals with regard to a couple of upcoming outpatient appointments for DH. He's anxious because he's in the high risk group.

All we get is, 'Just keep washing your hands!' angry

So, based on those rather obvious nuggets, we've cancelled this week's appointments.

lemongrove Mon 09-Mar-20 18:58:20

Willa My DH has similar health problems to yours, but with his heart check up next month, wild horses wouldn’t keep him away. He knows that it’s so important to keep the appointment and would be too worried to cancel it.
Your DH could use sanitising gel the minute he leaves hospital.You have to let him decide which is more important to him, though I understand your concerns.

Sussexborn Mon 09-Mar-20 19:20:22

Ring the consultant’s secretary so she can get the best advice for you.

Perhaps investigate the various face masks and, if available, get one for your OH to wear. Driving and parking in a city might bring its own challenges!

We have a train journey to London and concert tickets for two weeks time so having to wait and see how things go. Also meant to be meeting in laws to be for the first time.

Tangerine Mon 09-Mar-20 21:02:19

You say "the near future". If you mean in a couple of weeks, things could be different and it's hard to predict.

At the moment, I'd say telephone the hospital and ask for their opinion.

Scribbles Mon 09-Mar-20 21:23:54

You are not being unreasonable and, in your shoes, I would probably feel much the same way as you do

Phoning the doctor or doctor's secretary in advance for some advice is a good idea and you can tell OH clearly that you really, really don't want him to go but, in the end, you have to accept that he's an adult and must make his own decision.

Ellianne Mon 09-Mar-20 21:26:56

If you decline an appointment for whatever reason do you get put to the back of the queue or do you get knocked off the system altogether?

Sussexborn Mon 09-Mar-20 22:07:57

It depends on the policy of the health authority in the U.K. Most likely you would go to the back of the queue but you could ask to be fitted in to any cancellations if it’s feasible.

willa45 Tue 10-Mar-20 00:10:38


When you cancel an appointment here in the US, the doctor's assistant will typically offer to reschedule a few weeks after the original cancellation. If doctor is a renowned specialist in high demand, getting an appointment could also take months.

Most family practices on the other hand, are pretty good at 'fitting you in' within a day or two. In urgent cases, (if patient calls early enough) they may even get in the same day.

sukie Tue 10-Mar-20 03:34:36

So glad to see this issue addressed. I'm in a somewhat similar predicament. I'm scheduled for surgery in 9 days in a major city about 4 hours from the small town where I reside. Interestingly, both my small town and the large US city now have confirmed cases of the coronavirus just in the past 2 days. This surgery is to replace implants that were put in during reconstruction after a mastectomy. The implants are those that have been found to cause a rare type of lymphoma. The surgery has been on the schedule for 6 months, this was the first date available after I was informed and had a chance to consult with my oncologist. All my pre-op testing has been completed in the past two weeks so I'm cleared to go. We have a hotel room booked for the week where my dh will stay while I'm in hospital and I'll return to for a few days after I'm released. I'm feeling a lot of anxiety about going forward with it at this time but also quite anxious to cancel it, knowing how long I've anticipated it and the worry about the implants. Locally we've been informed that the confirmed case did mix in the community in recent weeks before diagnosis. I now feel concerned about going to my salon appt that I booked for Friday to get haircolor and nails done ahead of surgery and I need them so. What to do?! I guess I'll follow advice here and call the hospital where the surgery is to be done to discuss my concerns and see if they have a plan as things seem to be changing daily. I'm guessing they will tell me it is ultimately my decision and I can't seem to sort thru the risks in my mind. Any advice will be appreciated.

sukie Tue 10-Mar-20 03:41:08

I apologize for not writing the above in paragraph form. I don't post often and just sort of nervously blurted it all out. Can see now that it makes reading it difficult.

To anyone that read it through, thank you.

welbeck Tue 10-Mar-20 04:15:43

i read it through, no problemo.
cannot really advise you though, sorry.
my only thought was that i definitely would not go to the hairdressers appt, as that seems non-essential, and so just an added risk. yet you say you need them, hair colour and nails.
well, lets look at the non vacuous contrast, as we used to say at college ! what would happen if you did not get hair etc done.
you could actually continue ok without this preening, but maybe it's become a custom for you, and hence might cause you stress not to go.
but these are unusual circumstances, and maybe different priorities have to hold sway.
there may be a risk in attending hosp and having the surgery. but given the circumstances, you may consider that is a lesser risk than continuing with dubious, perhaps carcinogenic items attached to your person.
so if you decide that is an unavoidable risk, ie going to hosp, you may further think it wise to cut an unnecessary risk in going to the salon.
sorry, not much help.
all the best whatever you decide.
and i bet you are plenty beautiful just as you are.

welbeck Tue 10-Mar-20 04:20:37

do you pronounce your user name as sue-key.
the only place i have heard that name is in the second verse of polly put the kettle on, x3, we/they all had tea.
sukie took it off again, x3, we/they all went home.
do you have that rhyme over the pond?

GagaJo Tue 10-Mar-20 04:38:26

I'm due to go home to the UK in 2 weeks for school holiday (I work in Switzerland). I'm desperate to see my family but given that Italy is just over the border and is now in lockdown, I think that maybe I'm not going.

It's horrible, not going, because I have a 3 week school holiday, and after this, it'll be the end of June before I see them. But, things are getting worse, so...

polnan Tue 10-Mar-20 04:54:12

well I never knew Gransnet reached outside the UK.. so this is interesting

I too would suggest contacting the hospital..

I am up in the very early hours having woken, and starting "fretting" to put it mildly, came on my puter, and now am very fearful

the news here in the UK appears to be lockdown for elderlies! Isn`t that ageism?

sukie Tue 10-Mar-20 05:19:25

Thank you wellbeck for your prompt and thoughtful response. You are right, these are unusual circumstances and I do need to adjust my priorities. Foregoing the salon appt makes sense in light of the risk. In the grand scheme of things, graying roots aren't important and I shall try to put my pride in appearance out of my mind.

Learning about the lymphoma associated with the implants was quite discouraging. I pulled myself together, did the research and spoke with professionals before making the decision to proceed. The possibility of having to wait another 6 months to get booked with this specialist again and redoing all the pre-op testing is discouraging.

I really needed to hear another's opinion. Though I did have to look up the principle of "non vacuous contrast," your wise approach to weighing the various risks is calming.

And yes, my user name is pronounced sue-key. It is a nickname my father used to call me. He had roots in the UK so it's quite possibly from the rhyme you mentioned but I hadn't hear it before. Thank you for that as well.

Oopsadaisy3 Tue 10-Mar-20 05:35:35

Today we have to decide whether to go away for a 3 week holiday.

DH was diagnosed with a chest infection a week or so ago, at first the antibiotics seemed to be working, but last night he felt as breathless as last week , so off to the surgery today, hopefully for more antibiotics.

The resort we are going to is Coronavirus free, it’s the long flight that concerns me.
We can self isolate at home no problem, but self isolating abroad would be difficult as we would have no supplies at all, we would have to go shopping as soon as we land and but everything, assuming they still have stocks in the supermarket.
DH also heard last night on TV, that because of his age and ‘underlying health conditions’he would be unlikely to be treated in hospital in the same way as a fit younger person.
This is also the reason I am awake so early!
We both also have Asthma issues.
So, do we stay or do we go?

Oopsadaisy3 Tue 10-Mar-20 05:36:30

And buy everything.

BTW we are due to fly out tomorrow.

GagaJo Tue 10-Mar-20 05:37:20

I would NOT be travelling unless I was desperate. Which I am. But I STILL may make the decision not to go back to the UK.

It isn't BEING there, it is the airport and the plane travel. Lots and lots of unavoidable close contact with others.

Oopsadaisy3 Tue 10-Mar-20 05:39:47

Sorry, forgot to say to the OP, can your DH wear a mask and take hand sanitizer with him To help protect him whilst he is walking around the hospital?

As this situation could go on for some time, a heart health check could be important.

Go with him , but protect yourselves.

rosecarmel Tue 10-Mar-20 06:19:30

I had a friend in grade school, her sister's name was sukie- smile

craftyone Tue 10-Mar-20 06:37:07

polnan, you need to do some scientific research concerning the immune system, particularly T cells. By age 60 they have just about been used up and 60+ in general cannot cope with novel(naive) viruses. Its not about ageism (ridiculous) it is about preserving life.

willa45 Tue 10-Mar-20 18:28:50

At my insistence (OK nagging), DH finally agreed to reschedule his appt. and now it's in April. He is having second thoughts at this point, but is still undecided.

Your responses BTW, have also given me much to think about......

First - That many of us 'vulnerable seniors' seem to be in a similar predicament.
Second - That many unanswered questions surrounding this virus, make it very hard to come up with an informed decision.

For perspective, in the US, we seniors are being told to avoid cruise ships and airplanes and to practice social distancing or better still, to quarantine in place and avoid getting sick.

My GPs secretary called this morning to tell me not to worry about rescheduling my (follow up) appt. for the time being. Urgent patients only, going forward, I was told; everyone else stay home. Hospitals reporting they are short on life saving intubators to treat respiratory distress. In some other countries, sufferers are already being turned away for lack of sufficient medical equipment and resources.

News reports say that Italy went from regional shutdown to total lock down overnight. In NY, they went from 2 cases to more than 150 in less than a week and still counting. In one NY town, they've summoned the National Guard to cordon them off and help contain the outbreak. I just learned of first two cases in my own town!

As far as I know, not everyone is being tested and that includes our fearless leader ('He who must not be named') It appears he was recently exposed. They aren't testing enough or in an organized manner to really know who has it and who doesn't.
In other news, the stock markets have been going apesh$%t and at this point, all my alarm bells are going off at once!

On the one hand, we have the immediate (increasingly growing) probability of being exposed to CoVid-19 (Novel Coronavirus). For vulnerable seniors that appears to be a death sentence, not to mention the chance of coming back and exposing loved ones and others.

On the other hand, by cancelling doctor visits and putting off (non emergency) diagnostic tests or planned procedures indefinitely, important health issues will be deliberately ignored and the subsequent outcomes uncertain.

So how do we measure the risk so we can make the right choice?