Tuesday, June 30, 2015

"Merciful" a tale of 3 women

I have tried not to hear too much about the first woman.  She was disabled, in a group home, and left in a hot car to die.  They "found other injuries". 

The second woman tried to do everything for her quadraplegic mother, at home.  It ended her marriage.  The day her husband said he was leaving, she murdered her mother.  Ultimate caregiver burnout. 

Then you have me. 

I am not a proponent of group homes.  Maybe I just see "the dregs".  Maybe only the worst and most terrible group homes use the paratransit service.  I don't know.  But what I do see is horrific.  Unwashed, unfed, in dirty diapers.  Bad behavior.  Warehousing.  I look at the residents and think, I was expected to put Ron somewhere like that?   And I'm crazy, because I said no? 

I can't think of anyone I hate enough to put in a group home.  And they're big business, $30-50K a year, per resident. 

One of our drivers complained very bitterly, to us, one day.  He had always admired the "big brick houses" in our subdivision (we live in a small clapboard bungalow), tried to buy one, and was rejected because he wanted to turn it into a group home.  Thank God for deed restrictions. 

Yes, I am a NIMBY.  Not In My Back Yard.  Years ago, some people with a learning disabled child rented #2.  The kid was always in my yard, destructive, banging on my door at all hours, and bothering my cats.  We had to talk to the parents, repeatedly.  I can only imagine 7 or 8 of them. 

I understand, sometimes you don't have a choice.  My own in laws are in a nursing home.  My father in law has severe dementia, no one can handle him.  My mother in law has severe mobility issues, psychiatric issues, and a complicated medical case.  In spite of that, I would have tried to care for her, if Ron had not had his accident.  I am also unable to drive, also a huge setback. 

As it was, the choice wasn't ours to make.  Ron wasn't even consulted.  I have asked him if he wants to visit, he says no, he'd rather remember them the way he was, and they disowned him anyway.  I don't argue.  I would at least go and try to make their lives a little better, if I thought they'd want to see me. 

I know better, especially since I fought so hard to keep Ron out of a nursing home, even, at one point, yelling "Why don't you shoot him, then, it's a lot more merciful!"  

I won't throw rocks.  If someone's in a group home, that's between their family and God.  In my case I resolved to do whatever I could, in my power, to care for Ron myself.

At the end of it, it was simple: he did better when I was around.  He loves me.  I make him happy.  He still does better when I'm around. 

I do accept help, however.  I accept rides on paratransit.  I am a participant in a job program.  I accept help from the other vendors, cab drivers, church members, sponsors, blog readers, message board buddies (one gave me this computer!), and business from my customers.

I accept a lot of help.  I know I can't do "everything" on my own.  I would burn out, assuming I could even do everything, which I can't.  

However, a lot of women (like the one who burned out and murdered her mother), think they have to do it all on their own.  You can't.  You absolutely cannot. 

I have even, when necessary, left home and stayed with family for a few days, for my own safety, and Ron's, during drinking binges.  I'm sure some thought I was "horrible" but I have to protect myself.  If he won't protect me I will protect myself.  My aunt made sure I had a "good visit". 

If you are a caregiver, you have to accept help.  Yes, I am a proud woman, but hopefully becoming less so every day.   Does that mean I take Ron out on medians, begging?  No.  Does it mean I am always looking for a handout?  No!  I DO Handouts, I don't take them.  LOL 

I do accept help when appropriate.  I'm only one woman, and a badly disabled one at that.  If the cart attendant wants to help me load the truck, I accept.  If someone wants to hold the door, I smile and say thank you.  I only take what I need. 

Our yard guy would absolutely do all our work for free.  I have to "catch" him and drag Ron out, because he will only take the money from Ron's hand, if Ron "really" means it.  So I play the game and make sure the man gets paid, because he's working.  We can afford it. 

I want to be a good example of God's enablement shining through. 


2 comments:

Anonymous said...

It is sad that people dying has become a big business and money maker. It makes them keep people around a lot longer than they need to be. If I had dementia I would hope if I had some type of medical issue that needed to be addressed or I would die, that they would choose to allow me to die rather than prolong my life. I will not go into a nursing home. To be put in a diaper and treated inhumanely. I would rather end my life on my terms, not someone else's based on how much money they can get to keep me alive for another day, month or god forbid years.

Do you think because of the religious in this country that dying with dignity is often denied to people?

Heather Knits said...

No, I don't think it's a religious issue. I don't object to someone committing suicide, the Bible says it's murder, but all of us sin daily. It IS between the person and God.

That said, I have an illness with a pretty high mortality rate 24% - breast cancer only kills 23%. I don't want anyone "putting me down".

That's another thing I faced with Ron - everyone kept telling me to end him - because I would regret it if I didn't. Overall Ron brings me a lot of joy and is a very good influence in my life. I would have felt the lack!

I worry more about panels deciding some people are "too expensive" to live - my sister being one of them (about $25K a MONTH in medical care) -denying treatment, or outright ending them. I believe that day is coming.

I am very glad that Ron doesn't really require anything other than Tylenol and over the counter mobility devices. I don't think ANYONE'S dumb enough to deny my medication, and I pay for it myself anyway (no programs or drug coverage, just out of pocket).

I wish there were a test

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