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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Nursing Home


I just spoke to my friend Ted, who’s in a nursing home due to the same NF problems I have, only more advanced.  Tons of pain, unable to do anything by himself (this was six months ago) etc.  Well, he wasn’t feeling well one day and went to the ER because he knew something was wrong.  He had a fight with the ER staff because they weren’t listening to him explain the problem he was having.  He insisted on a CAT scan and they found his appendix was ruptured.  Now he’s in a nursing home because he can no longer take care of himself. It is a nightmare, to say the least.  He told me to do everything in my power to make sure that doesn’t happen to me.

Ted has had dozens of surgeries.  Unlike me, he has rods in his back.   Like me, his pain receptors are full and nothing helps with the pain in any way to make a difference.  And now he is in a newer nursing home, which is the only plus because they keep it clean, but there are TWO nurses for 22 patients (his section) day in and out.  The noise level is through the roof from dawn until 10 p.m., the bed is so bad the staff must turn him during the night because of sores on his backside, the sheets are so thin you can watch television through them and the food?   This is a grown man who weighed all of 140 when he got there; now he weighs 120.  Once in a while, his ex-wife (who he’s close to now) or a friend will come by with some edible treats, but he doesn’t have much of an appetite anyway.  Mostly, he’s sorry he didn’t exit himself before it came to this.   Mostly, he encourages me to go that route if I was getting close.  How would I know?  He didn’t.  It was the last surgery that did him in.  The one he wasn’t expecting.  Mostly, he wants to die as soon as possible.

Well, who in the right mind tells themselves that’s where they want to die.  He said his biggest regret and fear is that that’s where his life will end.  He eats alone every single meal because everyone there is in their 80’s and they are either being fed, drooling or making horrible noises.  He did start to eat with everyone on Thanksgiving, when he looked up and saw his ex standing there, smiling. She had told him in the morning she was having Thanksgiving with friends, but surprised him.  She is having surgery next week and won’t be around for a few months.

As difficult as it is for me, and it is difficult, I must try and not go to the abyss, my favorite hangout.  I must try to hold on to what I do have, not what I don’t, or what I think I want, or need.  Because in the end, none of us knows the real answers to those questions.  Mostly, we don’t even know the questions.

This seemed like a better place for this John Prine song, rather than under "Caregivers"


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