Leave me Alone!
Those were the words spoken by an elderly person, in the next bed over from the person who I was visiting. “G..D! G..D! G…D! Just leave me alone!”
Talking with my friend who had suddenly found himself in the need for assistance, he was put into a room with another elderly man who could no longer care for himself or, his kids got tired of messing with him.
My heart went out to this person.
Think about this for a moment. No one ever thinks about the progression of life. We take for granted that life will simply stay consistent until we are hobnobbing with angels with harps and we hope that when that happens and we are given a harp, that magically we will know how to play it!
Maybe you think that you will be alive one moment and with former family the next. Maybe you think you will be with God after the “sting of death” and all of the mysteries of life will be made known to you.
Life runs in-congruent with our ideas of it, most of the time however; as there are no crystal balls that actually do anything other than collect dust. If there were, there would be no lottery, or gambling of any sort, as the same folks would always be winning. No one other than god knows your future.
As the guy in the next bed was fussing at the staff, the reason for the turmoil is that they were forcing him to shave. The rules as told to the “keepers of the aged” were that they must be bathed, shaved and not appear to be neglected should some inspector come around. I do not know “who” inspects such places or if they were worried about family actually coming for their obligatory Sunday after church visit.
When do you loose your rights as an individual?
There is an entire industry that has been created for, “taking care of the elderly.” What they are really doing is taking care of their bank account or so it would seem.
One elderly man put his wife into assisted living due to her advanced Alzheimer’s. He was her medical proxy as well as the person who took care of her needs. He was there every day; he dressed her, took care of her needs and only left for the night after she was in bed. When the facility where she was had a significant rate increase, he objected. Not too long after that, he came to visit her to find a multi-page letter on her bed informing him that they were suing to be her legal guardian, thus making all decisions for her and taking over their joint bank account.
This 84 year old man was forced to hire an attorney to fight the home and retain control of her care as well as their money!
This was a protracted court case and the judge found in favor of the husband but not before he was out an extra $10K as well as forced to pay the extra charges that the home went up per month during the entire time of the trial. How would you like this to be your battle at 84 years of age?!
It turns out that this type of activity is common with “homes.” If there is money involved, they do everything that they can to get it all!
There are lawyers who do this type of work, day in and day out and somehow manage to put their head on their pillow at night, and manage to sleep!
We do not know what tomorrow holds.
We get up every morning expecting a day pretty much like the one that we just had and than one day, something is wrong. There is a new pain, or it becomes harder to bring up a memory or you place your wallet or keys in the kitchen cabinet, or fridge.
If the nursing home is not a sad enough story, we have funeral homes.
Thousands of dollars for a casket, thousands for a simple cremation, these folks are right up there with used car salespeople.
Those people however are not messing over the deceased, they are screwing the folks who are dealing with loss and, when emotions are involved you can be so easily manipulated it is unreal!
When my mother passed, she had gone to the hospital after suffering a heart attack. Folks if you live in Arkansas, learn from this! She had subscribed to an air flight service that if you have an emergency and need to be airlifted out; you have already paid for the cost. One morning after taking a nitro pill and having the pain subside, she knew that she was in trouble. She called the service that sent and ambulance who then took her to an area where the helicopter could land. It was obvious that she had suffered a heart attack but was stable. The care flight people took her to a hospital that did not have a cardiologist on staff.
The ER doctor anxious to perform a surgery badgered her into allowing them to place a stent in one of her arteries. During the process, they ruptured the artery, which was the beginning of the end for my mother. By the time I could get there, she had undergone multiple surgeries, and doctors from Little Rock had been flown in.
This was made known to me by one of the witnesses on the form, that they had to really badger her to allow this.
The Cardiologist from Little Rock informed me in the hallway to the ICU, with all sorts of people around, “Your mother is not going to make it! You need to allow us to terminate life support.”
“In the truest sense of the word, I was Gob-Smacked!” Her kidneys had shut down, she was bleeding out of every orifice that one has, and if by some miracle she had managed to live, she would have brain damage, lost her legs as the circulation had been cut off from them too long, and would need respiratory care for life! Now remember that we had an audience as everyone that had family in ICU was riveted to the conversation and I could actually feel their stares!
I asked for a second opinion and walked away!
After a sleepless night wrestling with God, and another round of “what if,” the decision was made to let her go. A technical description of how this was to happen, was dictated to me by a person of the hospital, which was as cold and sterile as the morgue itself.
Shortly “two hours or so” after her death, I got a phone call from some funeral home demanding instructions what to do with the body. Time is money after all! My mothers’ desire was cremation but mine was to bury her. During the “sole searching,” they embalmed her for $2000.00. The next day I was informed of that, while I was signing the paperwork to have her cremated for another $3000.00 and then there was transportation from the funeral home to the crematorium that had to be paid for.
Lesson learned, plan for your own funeral so your kids do not have to.
So, what do you do with an aged family member?
Where my grandfather was concerned he came to stay with us and became part of the family until he passed many years later. He was actually a blessing as he was a kind man who had been generous his whole life, worked hard and raised his family with integrity.
Did he cause issues within the family dynamic? From time to time but, who didn’t? When there are people involved, there are issues. Family is family and you just “do!”
My cousins decided that they could no longer take care of their selves so they searched for, found and signed up for an assisted living place. They had a room, their own bathroom and a microwave, small fridge and of course TV and books. While there, the meds were dispensed per script, and care was given as needed to bathing and what have you. There were three meals and the rooms and facility were comfortable.
While visiting one day my cousin pointed to an elderly man who was lost. He was frustrated, angry and most probably dealing with feelings of deception. His family told him to get dressed, that they were going to come get him and take him to lunch! Lunch that one does not have to cook is always a good thing when you live by yourself.
They brought him to this facility, where they sat in the cafeteria and had lunch. When lunch was over they left him there with his new “keepers” as they went back to gather some of his belongings and liquidate the rest.
My cousins witnessed the spectacle and shook their heads while telling the story. The man was truly lost and anger was the least of his issues, I am certain that he felt betrayed.
I cannot begin to fathom his anger and feelings of betrayal! The fact that he was upset tells you that whoever he was, he still was.
Another “friend” had to put her mother into assisted living and everything was going good until she was told that she could not have her dog there. At this, the elderly lady said, forget it, take me back to my house. Little to her knowledge, most of her belongings were already gone, between the relatives and the Goodwill, her home was a shell; ready for the realtor. There was no going home.
Working with people who foster pets I have also learned that while the kids are happy to get the car, junk and revenue from the house, the pets are another story. One such pet was a 16 year old cat that belonged to a lady that went into a nursing home, no room for the cat! Folks, 16 year old cats do not adjust to new homes very well. This cat was scared and did not show well. Had I not already had animals, I would have given her a home just to let her hide under the bed and maybe come out once she felt safe.
During the human lifetime, many animals will go through their life. The animal’s life on the other hand will only see one owner, if lucky.
What kinds of people abandon their parents? What kinds abandon their parent’s pets?
Regrettably, some of these are simply greedy people who see this as a way to rid them of a burden and get their hands on the estate before it is an estate. The economy is tough so taking your parents home and car and “residual” might look like an answer to some.
Some of these are people who had parents who did not plan for one reason or another and woke up one day unable to take care of themselves. (it happens)
There are too many ways today where a person can live in their own home until they are no longer alive. Some on the other hand may want the social aspect of living in a community of people like themselves. The bottom line is to plan today for tomorrow.
I do not know if there are facilities which allow cats or dogs but, if that is important factor in the life of your “loved one” I would look long and hard for such a place.
Making the transition from home, to an assisted living facility should be made as thoughtfully and carefully as if it was for yourself! It is easy to be pragmatic when it is not you! One can only truly honor their loved ones by taking care to make certain that they are well cared for and comfortable.
Even if your loved one has Alzheimer’s, or some other form of dementia, touch, soothing conversation and a warm embrace will mean something to them. I know one lady who crawled into the bed with her dying mother and held her for most of the night. During this time her agitation was diminished, her breathing slowed and her racing pulse throttled back to normal. Some part of her mother’s addled brain still recognized the comfort and kindness provided her, by her daughter.
Once a man, twice a child….
As a child I learned to walk and then run
I became a man over night, while chasing the sun.
I straddled the cliffs and the peaks of life
And swam the streams of despair while fighting the good fight
Raising children to be strong both physical and of character
While leading by example and prodding, them onward.
My hair turning gray and my frame not as sturdy
My gate is for sure, not very trustworthy
Thinking back to much simpler times
When someone else led the course, or pointed the way.
Is it time to sit back and learn how to fish
Or chase little white balls with others like me?
The sounds I now make, sound much like my father
As well as the language, that sometime makes for unpleasant fodder.
My God knew me, before I was born
His plans for me however; are still an unknown.
The winter of life, I see in the distance; and know not whether to run,
Or simply embrace it.
Live life for today, as tomorrow is uncertain.
Learn to forgive and give thanks, for each memory you make
Once today is gone, its gone so don’t waste tomorrow
Spending time in the past for nothing can change it.
Worry little, love often, and laugh whenever possible.
Life is but memories both yours, and those that you share
-Best to you and those that you care about!
Copyright Timedok 2015 All rights reserved