Being there

This is pure vent. I am seeing red right now – it seems yet another terminally ill person in this world has been abandoned. Left to die. Yesterday, the second shoe fell for this person and they went through the whole “there is nothing more we can do but set up hospice” spiel. Enough to leave the worlds strongest man or woman a quivering mass of confusion, pain, grief, despair, anger – you name it. But to get up this morning to a “Dear John” letter???? REALLY?????

I don’t know why it surprises me. I sure saw plenty of this played over and over in the nursing home last year, when my husband was a patient for 75 days for aggressive wound care. I know his “neighbor” across the hall, a man in his 80’s, full-blown Alzheimer’s patient, whose wife had been his “roommate” until her passing just the week before we arrived, had 2 visitors in those 75 days. Not 2 people who came to visit once a week. Out of 75 days, 73 of them he had NO ONE. His children couldn’t even deal with him to let him go to his wife’s funeral. Not one of his children. Oh, sure, we heard he was a right-sided jackass before his mind went. But that bad??????

It played out over and over again. I was there every single day (except one, when I was running a fever and had the good sense to stay home). You would not believe just how many of the residents NEVER had a visitor. NEVER. One lady died, and I can honestly say that was the only time I saw any of her family members, when they came to collect her personal effects. The nurses, aides, all who worked there tried – but all they knew was the fragile old woman in the wheelchair, who could no longer speak, or the belligerent old man who ran his wheelchair up and down the halls, or the Alzheimer’s patient who was convinced he was a police detective working a homicide. They didn’t know the gentle hands that changed countless diapers 50 years ago. They didn’t know the patient man who taught his sons how to hunt and fish, and change a tire. They had no history with the patients – they had what they knew, but not really who the patient was. The illness was part of their life – it did not define their 60, 70, 80, 90 years of living.

So now, at one of the lowest points of his life, this man is alone. Just like so many of those in nursing homes across this nation, in hospice care, in hospitals. They are no longer 100%, they are on the downhill of their life, so they are no longer necessary. No longer viable. I say BULL! These are someones parents, spouses, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors!!!! EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM! DO YOU KNOW OF A SINGLE SOLITARY HUMAN BEING IN THIS WORLD WHO HEADS OUT THE DOOR IN THE MORNING WITH THE IDEA “GEE, I WONDER WHAT LIFE ALTERING (OR ENDING) ILLNESS I CAN CONTRACT TODAY??????????????”

Yes, I am angry. Almost beyond words. Let me say here I am not against divorce! If two people can no longer get along, if the relationship is abusive – multiple reasons. But “in sickness and in health” doesn’t mean as long as its nothing more serious than a good case of the flu! When you truly love someone, they always come first, especially when they are not at their best. You don’t leave someone because “me and the kids can’t take it”, when what you can’t take is a simple part of life, called death. You can’t tell me that she loved him yesterday morning, when he was simply a terminal cancer patient who was sick, but hadn’t gotten an end date yet, but the discussion about hospice and the END erased all that???? What about her kids???? Can you hear the excuses now – cause I can. “Mommy, why did we move away from Daddy?” “Well, its like this, Daddy was sick, and wasn’t going to get any better, so I decided he could be sick alone so you wouldn’t have to see him sick”. Makes no sense, does it? Of course is doesn’t!!!!!!!Kids are smarter than that, and they will see through her spineless defection. I only hope they take after their dad – who is strong enough to face terminal cancer, and not their mom, who obviously can’t handle her own hangnail.

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