Serious health issues in the boonies…

I have known three people living out here with dangerous health issues. One’s dead, one moved away, and I don’t know what’s to become of the third who got driven away in an ambulance this morning.

And getting her to the ambulance was something of an adventure for her husband, because you can’t just call 911 and give’em your address. Basically you need to agree on a meeting point on or near a numbered county road, load him/her into a 4-wheeler and hope to make the meeting. If it’s not possible to get the patient into a car – this happened at least once that I know of – then you need to leave your loved one on the floor, go meet the ambulance yourself and lead it back to him/her, no doubt wondering all the while what you’ll find when you get there.

I obviously have a lot of sympathy for a desire to live far from the madding crowd. I also don’t just believe but outright state that to do so this far from it is to accept some level of physical risk. But you need to maintain some sense of realism here – I mean everybody makes their own decisions and this is literally none of my business but if you’re so chronically sick that you can’t get five feet from an oxygen bottle on your best day, if you can barely get out of a chair and are doomed to spend what’s left of your life isolated indoors anyway, well…

I have to wonder what’s the point, is all.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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17 Responses to Serious health issues in the boonies…

  1. Ben says:

    People can be mighty stubborn about these sort of life choices.

    Also, if the county is extracting property taxes from those desert folk, the county medics should damn well should make themselves able to at least navigate to certain known places (like to better-known houses) in the boondocks. Doing at least that much could save much time vs leading them in from the nearest county road.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Agre with you Ben. Very sorry to hear about this.

  3. Robert says:

    “everybody makes their own decisions” to preserve the illusion of self-determination.
    This is why I’m rethinking my retire-and-live-in-the-middle-of-nowhere plan. Dammit.

  4. Judy says:

    I understand the sentiments here, but I know of a neighborhood in major town the cops couldn’t navigate and they had to ask the paper carrier (Hubby and me) for directions. So not surprised when the county EMS doesn’t know the way in.
    I wish your neighbor well.

  5. coloradohermit says:

    After living 20 years off road and off grid in the national forest, I’m very grateful that we moved back into town when we did. There’s no way I could have cared for DH in his end times without help and occaisional calls to 911. Aging creates a new reality.

  6. winston smith says:

    Some folks dont have a problem when judging lifestyle in the boonies vs how many years they can hang on. Personally, I am approaching the point where i am ok when death comes calling. I dont see trying to squeeze a few more miserable days/weeks/months by living somewhere i really dont want to be.

    And Ben is right re the gov taking your money and (not) providing basic services.

    Maybe have a set of GPS coords with instructions that you can read over the phone would help the medics find their way to you. “go to GPS-x coords, turn south, proceed about y miles to GPS-z coords….etc”.

  7. Joel says:

    I dont see trying to squeeze a few more miserable days/weeks/months by living somewhere i really dont want to be.

    Oh, I get it.

  8. winston smith says:

    Yeah i know, Joel. Maybe thats why i feel comfortable here and look forward to your posts. Well, that and the dogs of course.

  9. Michael says:

    Probably not for everyone, but there are some quite reasonably priced insurance plans for helicopter med-evac from remote locations. It might make sense for those with serious health issues living out in the sticks. It saved John Wells down in Terlingua when he crashed his ATV and had a compound fracture of his leg a coupe years ago. Some personal locator beacons like Spot or InReach offer inexpensive add-on search and rescue insurance.

  10. Michael says:

    Looks like about 65 $ per year for air med-evac insurance. Not bad at all even for desert hermits.
    More details on John’s blog here.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Joel, what would you do

  12. BobF says:

    I see the decision of moving toward uburbia kind of like the one about turning in the car keys. It’s easy to logically see, to theorize, but maybe most don’t make that decision — others do it for them. Same with moving to assisted living or nursing home. I think it is few who decide those things for themselves. And yes, at 76 with many parts and pieces failing I have had more than an occasion to think about such things.

  13. Joel says:

    Joel, what would you do

    Don’t really know, and I’d be reluctant to publicly say if I thought I did know. My philosophy of life has not always synched up perfectly with what I actually do in the event.

  14. Beans says:

    The was a blogger who built a wonderful multi-storied compound up in the Georgia (state) highlands. Beautiful. Gorgeous. And once he and his wife turned… old, the compound started killing them. Rooms up and down not accessible, not able to climb on the roof for repairs out in the middle of BFG.

    Last I heard he was grudgingly accepting the wishes of his wife to move to a condo or a flat house closer to a decent medical center. His blog is still there but inactive for a couple years now.

    Not having to climb stairs, no real weird corners that would impede a stretcher (or a guy carrying totes and packages), reasonable distance to pharmacies and doctors (and hospitals) all drove the selection process to the place I’m living now.

    It’s one of those ‘getting old’ things. Where the ground-floor parlor becomes granny’s or grandpa’s room, that sort of thing.

    All about access and mobility, sadly.

    Getting old sucks.

  15. jabrwok says:

    Hobbit Hole architecture make a lot of sense.

  16. In Dad’s last years, he spent all his time on the central level. No upstairs, no basement. The old TV room was the bedroom. Near the end, he made one last trip upstairs, just to see, I guess. Maybe visit his old bed. I wasn’t there (sorry, train of thought derailed a bit) when he did or at the end, but Mom has a new place with the new husband that is all on one level.

    Good planning. I fear I will not visit my basement the last years I own this house.

  17. Ben says:

    “I fear I will not visit my basement the last years I own this house”

    You would think that people would plan for the inevitable.

    We can live pretty well without a basement, but around here I see people in droves retire into those cheap (relatively speaking) multi-level attached townhomes with the bedrooms and bathrooms upstairs, and I shake my head. At some point in their inevitable physical decline, most of them will be bedding down in their living rooms, and will be lucky to have access to a bathroom!

To the stake with the heretic!