July 31, 2011

Repaying a Debt

I try to see Joe every day, but it's become every other day. He was moved to a rehab center that is even further from my house and it's a problem getting there at times. This has been a busy summer.

I think he is getting substandard care, but I think that's how most of these places are. They sent a member of his family some paperwork for them to sign, stating they would waive their right to sue.


She sent it to her attorney and the place was horrified she would have an attorney look at it. At this point she said to them, 'Let me get this straight. Since he's been there, two weeks, you let his colostomy bag explode all over him which is probably what caused the subsequent infection to his feeding tube that was never removed, and you didn't come for an hour after he called to use the restroom... at FIVE AM... and when he got out of bed to try to help himself, he fell and got hurt. Why would I waive my right to sue?"

It's kind of been one nightmare after another the last two weeks. Here he is at the end stretch and I wonder if the rehab center will kill him.

I'm the one that is calling the family, "Make them get his ass out of bed and eat in the dining hall. He has to get out of that room." "He fell... again..." "I bought him shorts for rehab... but I'm not sure he's wearing them..."

He doesn't have family here. I am their eyes and ears and I report every time I see him. What do people do without people to look in on them?

And so this is a post about the selfishness of me... not the good in me.

People who know the situation, work and friends and his family, have said, "You are so good to do this to him. I think you might be a saint...' And on and on and on.

And I need to set the record here... get it off my chest as to why I am doing this, going in the 11th week. Why I go every day or every other day. Why I check on him. Why I dutifully report back to the family.

I would love to tell you I'm altruistic and do it because I'm a regular Florence Nightengale.

But that's not my personality and truth be known, I'd just as soon not be doing this.

However, I owe Joe.

For 10 years, my mother in law was dead, and my father in law wanted to come live with us.

I don't miss my father in law, coming up on the 1 year anniversary of his death next week.

For 10 years my father in law missed her. The drama, the inability to live alone, the mental issues he had... they were headed to my house. And they would have been at my house... every.single.day... if it had not been for Joe.

Joe hung out with him. They were buddies. They went to the intracoastal, rolled down the windows to the van and napped. They ate two out of every three meals together. When Pop couldn't drive, Joe drove him.

Joe... was my buffer. Without Joe, Pop would have been in my life.

Nobody else realizes that. My sisters in law live in NJ and CA. My brother in law lives an hour from here. But my husband and I... we felt the brunt of him and with my husband at work, I'm acutely aware that if Joe hadn't been in his life, he would have used very trick in the book to be at MY house... with just me and the kids.

Joe saved me.

And THAT is why I go every day. Joe was a genuine friend to Pop and still cries for him. He is lonely without that mean old goat. He was his friend for 70 years.

And I am indebted to him. For as long as it takes...

Posted by Boudicca at July 31, 2011 09:43 PM

HUG! That's all. Just a big HUG.

Posted by: Mary at July 31, 2011 11:20 PM

But Bou, that IS being good and decent! You are an honorable person. :)

Posted by: PeggyU at August 1, 2011 04:16 AM

Going along with PeggyU, someone who isn't good or decent wouldn't feel like they owed Joe anything. Or if they did, they wouldn't feel the need to do as much as you have done and are doing.

Posted by: Andrew Phule at August 1, 2011 06:13 AM

Have to go with Peggy on this one as well. You don't have to admit you're good and decent, it just shows.

Posted by: pam at August 1, 2011 10:02 AM

I'm no Saint. I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't feel indebted. It's very frustrating. I have no control. He's really not family. So nobody has to speak to me and I don't ask.... It's just different if its family.

Posted by: Bou at August 1, 2011 10:47 AM

Doesn't matter your reasons...you're DOING it. It is not selfishness...it is gratitude for what Joe did. You're paying it back and even paying it forward...your sons see what you're doing, what it takes to care for the elderly. What it takes to be a 'good' person. And it's not just giving virtual hugs on FB and feeling content that you did your part. You, however, CAN say you did your part...and then some.

Posted by: Mrs. Who at August 1, 2011 11:54 AM

but I think what adds to it is that he's NOT family. There really is no family... and so there is not alternation.

With my father in law... my sister in law came down for two weeks. My bil's wife took a week off and went every day. My husband went every day (it was his DAD!), and there was just an influx of people rotating. And we all had say. He was family. So if care sucked, we were jumping on people. And there were times that care sucked. We moved him out of one place because care was substandard. As family... we could do that.

But I"m not family. I have no say. I don't want say for someone I don't love like that. If this was my Mom or Dad? I'd be frickin' sleeping there and no way in hell would I allow the treatment I see because *I* would be there to make sure it didn't happen and *I* would be there to make sure things went as they should... and gladly, never questioning.

But there is no one for him. There is me and a neighbor. And I'm kind of done because really, Joe doesn't care. "Joe, why are you on oxygen?" 'I dunno.' "Did you ask what is going on?" *shrug of shoulders* Well you know what, if the patient doesn't care enough, then why should I?

The whole thing... and I don't see an end to it. I don't. I finally told his family they have to move him closer to me. I can't keep doing this. Whey Pop was sick, we found things close to us. If I'm going to keep going every day, they have to find some place closer.

Posted by: Bou at August 1, 2011 12:06 PM

I think that is a reasonable request.

Posted by: PeggyU at August 1, 2011 12:11 PM

And the family didn't put him in this place, the docs did based on who would take him and his complete crap insurance. It is really a disaster...

I found out today, the place I wanted to move him to that's closer won't take him.

Posted by: Bou at August 1, 2011 01:41 PM

You might want to point his family here: http://lawelderlaw.com/

You have a big heart, my friend. Lots of people wouldn't acknowledge that there ever was a debt, let alone honor it.


Posted by: Omnibus Driver at August 1, 2011 04:26 PM

Survivor advice and, deleted. Wow!

Posted by: Curtis at August 1, 2011 10:33 PM