For Chip: He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion. —Unknown

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving 2011

It was almost Thanksgiving as I arrived at my mom's home.  We drove around the neighborhood to see where friends used to live.  Hundreds of trees had been cut down due to the drought and there were stacks of limbs that lay dead on the ground.  I looked forward to meeting an old friend at the neighborhood bistro where the menu is named after familiar phrases understood only by area residents.

The next day we met John at the airport.  We took my mom to lunch and thought it would be a great opportunity to take her for a visit with her best friend Dorothy.  Dorothy lived in her own home, but had fallen in August and hit her head.  Her legs could not hold her after the fall and she has been struggling to improve.  After a brief stay at the hospital she was moved to a local nursing home.

The nursing home looked pleasant from the outside and the foyer looked attractive and beautifully decorated.  As we approached the reception area we were directed to Dorothy's hallway.  When we got to the room it was  stark and uninviting.  I noticed the shower down the hall that said "in use".  Dorothy was no where to be found and we were told to go to the cafeteria.  The path to the cafeteria  led us through a sea of listless people.  There were rows of wheelchairs and  unattended residents with empty stares.  We found Dorothy having lunch and she insisted that we go to the main lobby where we could be more comfortable.

The Ring
Dorothy has a positive attitude as she told us she was thankful to be there and lived one day at a time.  However, we were shocked to find that the living conditions seemed more like a prison.  We heard about the staff and how she had learned to work the system.  One of the staff had gotten angry with her and had put all her things very high so that she could not reach them.  Her roommate kept her awake all night talking and moaning.  While Dorothy had a  favorable prognosis everyone else appeared  to have a more serious condition.  She explained how she could not upset the staff or there would be consequences. We quickly surmised that  we would not want a relative living there.  The staff  was laughing and talking as the patients were left unattended.  One woman wanted to see the TV but no one would come to her assistance except for us.  The patients have no phones and can only talk when one of the staff is present at the nurses' station.  Of course they do not want anyone to tell their family that they are trapped in a poorly managed institution.  The manager seemed to ignore the staff as they giggled and pretended the patients did not exist.

After we left I was thankful that my mom was not at this place and hoped that she would never encounter this lack of care. It was very sad but sweet as Dorothy struggled to stand.  The two friends hugged one another and said goodbye.

We were able to have a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with my mom's niece Joanne.  Joanne is one of the few living relatives left in my mom's life and she enjoyed seeing family and friends. 

Happy Birthday John
As we got ready to go back home my mom brought out several rings.  One of them was my dad's wedding band that was removed before the burial.  She had been wearing his ring but wanted to give it to me if I would wear it.  Of course I will wear and cherish the little gold band. 

John did numerous improvements to my mom's home during the visit.  He gives unselfishly and is a wonderful and dedicated son, grandson, and brother.  Love to John on his Birthday.  We are lucky to have him in our lives.

The video is by Jeremy Crady who is an aspiring country western singer/songwriter, and friend of John and the family.

Love to James who was missed and had his first LA Thanksgiving.