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Thoughts Of Suicide

Confession: March 24th was going to be the end for me. Months with no car, pain, painful treatments, meds screwed up, isolated, low on cash...

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Mom's In A Home UPDATE

When Mom was admitted to the nursing home, it was as her aftercare rehab from a fall, heart attack and renal failure. As her condition improved, she was no longer covered by insurance because dementia does not qualify for "skilled nursing care." This meant her social security benefit of $708.00 a month would go directly to the facility for her 'extended care.' Basically, she is residing there because she can no longer live independently and has no family able to give her 24hr care.
The nursing staff have been great caring for Mom and even used the fact that she used to be a certified nursing assistant in their nursing care plan. For example, Mom "made rounds" and was given "charts" to fill out. This gave her a sense of purpose and a feeling of usefulness.
Mom fell one Monday morning on the way to the bathroom. Her injuries were nothing more than a scraped knee and a little embarrassment. The following Wednesday, she fell again breaking her right hip. She was hospitalized and required a right hemiarthroplasty. The procedure was simple and basic so Mom was able to return to the nursing home that next Monday. Unfortunately, she has fallen out of bed three times since she returned despite every precaution the facility and staff implements. At least she hasn't fractured or re-fractured anything.
Meanwhile, Mom's bill collectors are circling. While I have cancelled her phone, electricity, rent and mail, one group of bill collectors remain. Payday loan reps.
Mom fell for the payday loan folks who send elderly people checks through the mail. Living alone and slowly losing brain function enabled her to cash these checks then either keep it secret and/or forget the transactions altogether. Her total with interest comes to approximately $3500.00. But now that it's 'time to pay up,' I get about 25 calls a day from these companies.
I understand that there are probably people who take out this type of loan with no intention of paying back the money but to 'decide' that EVERYONE who gets a loan like this is trying to get out of paying is horrible. Calling me every day is also horrible. To be honest, sending these types of checks to a specific population like the elderly is also horrible. But she DID cash those checks...as their representatives remind me.
When this month is over, finances will be a lot easier. Mom's insurance has resumed covering her care and her monthly check will go directly to her bank account and can be used to take care of some of her outstanding bills. Even though she has credit card bills and payday loans none of us knew about AND no one but she is legally responsible for them, I have been trying to repay them--with little to no success.
It just adds another level of sadness to realize that there are businesses that send our elderly offers that are 'too good to be true.' I also wonder about my concept of responsibility and tendency to lean towards martyrdom when it comes to my mother. Why would I try so hard to take care of her bills when she never took care of me? Why should I try to do anything for the woman who tried so hard to forget all about me when she was younger and is finally accomplishing that through dementia and old age? All I can come up with right now is--why not?

Saturday, May 3, 2014

My "Sterling" Experience

When the initial reporting of the Clippers owner's remarks began, I was shocked. How could a man who owned an NBA team allow himself to think the way he does AND allow himself to be recorded making these remarks? It's 2014! The guy is a billionaire! What's wrong with the guy? He's in L.A. for Pete's sake--does the name 'Mark Furman' ring a bell, Donnie? When Johnnie Cochran got the detective to admit that he had used the N-word sometime in his life, Mr. Sterling 'shoulda took the hint.':
"Don't say nuthin', won't be nuthin.'"
As the days went on, certain 'news' organizations wanted to turn the focus of Sterling's remarks from racism to the issue of privacy. 'How could this woman secretly record this man?' 'Whatever happened to 'free speech'?' One news program quoted a certain billionaire NBA team owner as saying he, "doesn't want to live in a country where he could say something in private and lose everything he owned." Free speech does NOT mean free from consequences. These statements make me wonder what these people who are more 'outraged' at the taping than the remarks are saying privately. Their argument seems to be that "we all say things we don't want others to hear." But "we all" do not say racist things.
A few years ago, a physician in my hospital had a reputation for holding "certain views" about "certain groups." He was a white, rich son and grandson of  doctors, did a lot of charity work and had  his share of humanitarian awards so rumors of his real feelings towards women, minorities, etc., were written off as jealous people trying to damage a 'great man's' image. When he found out that I was Native American, he started calling me "Red" but he "didn't mean anything by it. Don't be so sensitive." I was told.
I had heard that he only treated white people, had settled a couple of discrimination lawsuits and was married but his mistresses were always African-American. I wondered how someone like that could be granted admission privileges at this particular hospital. Money? Power? Probably. No proof of his true self? Definitely.
That all came to an end when one of his "ladies" recorded the good doctor voicing his opinions in one of their conversations and made it public. In the recording, he 'explained' the physiological reasons African-Americans are better athletes than whites. He states that he 'preferred' white patients because 'having to wear gloves to examine Hispanics and African-Americans took too much time.' Far worse things followed. At one point the woman asks him how he could say those things about black people to her when she is black and he is heard saying, "The only color than really matters is green!"
The firestorm with Mr. Sterling reminded me of this incident because it was very shocking to hear a doctor reveal his contempt for and prejudice against minorities. Unlike Sterling, this man had taken an oath to treat all people with dignity and respect. Right? Maybe like Sterling, this man felt that his life, career, wealth and accomplishments entitled him to feel the way he did.
While the fallout was nowhere near that of Donald Sterling's fall from grace, it did show certain qualities and expectations the 'rest of us' project onto people of wealth and power and what happens when we are proven wrong. We may find out that we're wrong a lot.