My current clinical rotation is in a facility where the majority of the population is geriatric. I am learning a lot, and I love to hear about my patients' lives. What I've noticed though is that not many of them talk about their kids. Of course, some of them are proud parents and like to share stories, but, surprisingly, the majority of my patients don't talk about their kids if they have them.
I guess what I'm saying is that, to every (fertile) person who wonders who will take care of me when I am old, kids aren't insurance.
One patient recovering from surgery shared how she had to kick her 30-something-year-old son out of the house right before going into the hospital because she could no longer tolerate his alcoholism and everything that came with that.
One patient (whom I wrote about in "Stupid Question" last month) doesn't have kids but spoke lovingly of her nephews. (I have already given my nephew a heads up that I am counting on him haha. Lucky for me, he is a nurse.)
One patient tearfully told me how her son has power of attorney and that he put her husband in a place for people with Alzheimer's. However, she doesn't know where that place is and she hasn't seen her husband in over a month. She wants to return to their home so they can live together like they used to. "But I guess that will never happen again," she said. She seemed so heartbroken over her husband and confused about where she would live in the future.
Another patient complained about her children, saying they were not nice people and that's not how she raised them to be.
One man told me about his son but he lives several states away.
One woman talked about her daughter who lives in the same city, but her daughter has to work and also raise her children so she is not able to come visit as much as the mother would like.
So many patients and so few visitors. So few pictures, now that I think about it.
So few stories shared.
This sounds a little depressing, which is not my intention. My patients, for the most part, have a good attitude and a desire to get better. I just think that whoever has kids expecting them to live nearby, visit often, and take care of them when they are older may be in for some disappointment in the future. Having kids doesn't guarantee that they will take care of you in your later years.