Saturday, July 28, 2007

Fuckety fuck!

Remember that line? From Four Weddings and a Funeral? Hugh Grant woke up, and realized he was too late.

In DHLand, sleep is sacred. I was a bit nervous when his phone rang at 10:30 last night. It was the ER. The young woman wanted to speak to DH, because someone there needed a ride. "Who is it?" I asked, worrying about the kids. Our neighbor. I woke DH up.

After some swearing and locating of the pants, DH went to the ER to pick up Lady Eve's Dad. Since I completed Lady E and gave it to Eve the Dog's mom, Eve's been put down, Eve's mom had a seizure, my Dad died, and Eve's mom moved out. And left Eve's dad.

LED didn't take all this too well. Over the past two months, we've had conversations with LED, and LED's out-of-state son.

"My dad's an alcoholic-you knew that, right?" Not really, because the only settings I saw your dad in were settings where a beer was completely appropriate. We knew LED was sliding downhill rapidly-garbage cans not taken in, wearing the same clothing for days at a time, you name it. He called DH about 2 months ago to borrow an electric razor. (DH went out and bought a new one the next day.) THAT's when I looked up his son's number, and called to make sure he understood what was going on with his dad.

LED's son was here two weeks ago-tried to get his dad help, tried to get something to happen, and was blocked by his father's 'rights' at every junction.

Last night, LED wrecked his truck. Drove it straight into a ditch on a busy highway. He was a mess at the hospital...was he drunk or just written off as an old crazy? Who knows? Since he didn't spend the night in jail, he was probably handled as an old crazy. He refused treatment, but DH said he was barely coherent, and very confused.

(I'm a little hung up on this part-a drunk can't enter into a contract, right? So could the medical facility take a drunk refusing treatment at his word? What if he was hemmoraging and refusing treatment at the same time? What takes precedence, the refusal or the obvious medical problem???)

Just before noon, DH called me...EMS was at LED's house. The police suspected he was dead. Were they coming to ask him about his accident? I don't know. Maybe. What killed him? I'll find out soon enough. I made the appropriate phone calls to out-of-state son, and Mrs. LED, who moved out of town. DH called me back for phone numbers, so the authorities could notify next of kin. Too bad, I already did it. Ooops. I don't have any experience with this, how would I know I am not supposed to tell them??

I am confused and mad. I know CPS would be on my ass like a duck on a junebug if I smacked a kid in Walmart....but I could not find a soul to deliver meals to my dad twice a week before he died...payment wasn't an issue, and he lived less than 2 miles from a Walmart, a Target, an Albertsons AND a Safeway, plus that instant "corner-copia" of big box stores that's been springing up all over the US (Subway, Hallmark, Chili's, Home De-Pot, Mailboxes Up Your Butt....you know what that looks like). I could get my legs waxed, my nails done, go to Walgreens for a new Dora the Explorer toothbrush, ship it to any point on the globe, and buy a latte at 3 different Starbucks, but could find no one to deliver dinner to my dad twice a week. In damned Fullofoldpeople Arizona.

LED's son sought legal counsel to gather his dad up and dry him out....but he had no options. I spoke to Eve's mom today, and they had been trying to get Adult Protective Services to pay him a visit. I think they were supposed to come by last Wednesday.

I am going to need aging services in a few years, but the current system doesn't work! It took me two weeks to get an appointment at the VA. That's 'get an appointment' a month away, not make an appointment and be seen. And I get that, that's my right to recieve treatment, according to VA rules. Shit, what will happen when I am older and sick?? CPS barely works for some of the kids, and as many can tell you, doesn't work very well at all. I have seen some freaky stuff happen with older people, but don't REALLY want a CPS-style agency. I want stuff that makes sense. I don't see it happening.

9 comments:

Grace Yaskovic said...

Wow Bets, your title says it all, keep us posted on whats going on, and I agree That alot of our systems suck, even when I qualify for medicare, how am I so to pay for it, it costs my inlaws a small fortune!! Its nuts out there

Christine said...

Betsy,
I know what you mean about services for the elderly being from bad to worse, and that's based on CPS, which is generally useless out here. My mother died of leukemia over a 10 year period, and I was the primary caregiver. Finding help was nearly impossible, and when I could, my mother refused it. Fortunately, or not, depending on perspective, I lived with her during the latter part of her illness, so I didn't have the problems you and LED's son had, of trying to find help long distance. I can imagine the nightmare that has to be.

benne said...

Bets, I understand what you are talking about. It is damn near impossible to get help for the elderly or those who are not competent to make good decisions for their own care. It's sad that this happened to your neighbor, in spite of the attempts by you and DH and his son to help him. The frustration of trying to get help for a loved one and not being able to find it, or find it in time, only make situations like this more painful As for notifying his relatives, trust me on this because I know from experience, it's better to get the news from a friend or caring neighbor than the authorities.That stranger's voice on the phone with news like that makes a hard thing even harder.

Marta said...

Bets, your neighbors are very lucky to have you and your DH for a neighbor, that's for sure!
As for care for the elderly, my experience has been on the other side of the border (the northern one) and equally as frustrating for quite a while. Even as my mother rapidly deteriorated, she kept canceling everything I and my brother started, and there was nothing we could do - legal rights, put there with the intention of protecting the elderly from abuse...until the situation got extremely dangerous and we lucked out with a case worker with a brain and a heart, who finally helped us put my mother in a very good Long Term Care home. It hurts like hell not to be able to have her closer, but I can see every time I visit that she is very well cared-for.
I do hope that if my turn to need help comes one day, my power-of-attorney to my children will be more useful here than my mother's was to us in Canada.
Hang in there,

Marta

Joan said...

I know all about the lack of support for the elderly sick out there. I've explored every lead too.

So sad about your neighbor. Your DH is a hero, pitching in as he did.

Lisa W. said...

i echo every f-ing sentiment you have. there are only 2 medical offices in Anchorage accepting new medicare patients..both with a 2-4 week waiting period for even a GD basic physical for someone with CHF and hx of breast cancer...so we picked the one with a residency program...same doc every time for 2 years...got our new resident last visit...so not impressed...did'nt even have the freakin' chart...didn't reorder all the CHF and blood pressure meds...not like that wasn't a pain in the ass for a week...seriously...it's absolutely desolate for our elders, especially those who start to lose it somewhat and become very vulnerable...it kills me sometimes to have the lil' Granny Clara here...but it would kill me worrying to have her NOT here....we need people like us to shake this up because in a couple decades it's gonna be us baby!

Evelyn said...

Hi Bets
Sounds like all of you need to go to Michael Moore's website and get one of his Sicko cards. It's a card that you print from your computer and present it when you require health care in the US. You show it to the people you are requesting help from, and ask if they would like Mr. Moore to come and film their office practices.

I may have some of the details wrong but he was on The Tonight Show last week promoting this card and he says it really works. I'm sure his website could clear up any information that I have wrong. He was talking from the reports of people who had tried it and made it work for them.

Everyone thinks that Canada has this great health care system but believe me it has put our government in dire straits financially. I wear custom molded braces on my hands to reduce the arthritic pain. Trouble is they don't last long because I rely on my hands to get me out of a sitting position so they take quite the strain and frequently break. I usually need replacement every 6 months. This time I have waited for 18 weeks to get an appointment which I still don't have. So, I have to put up with excrutiating pain and increase my narcotics just because of this.

Sandra D said...

Bets,
It sounds like you and DH have been thru the wringer. Bless you both for getting involved! This case just emphasizes to me the need for family to step in and take responsibility when their elderly start to fail, government agencies won't. It's too bad when the family member in need due to mental failings/denial does not volunteerily give SOMEONE in the family the legal power to help them. What can the family do then, but hold their breath waiting for disaster to happen as they're waiting to be appointed guardian.

Trish - My Merino Mantra said...

Bets, you and your husband are angels in disguise. And you know, it is not only the elderly who need health care, it is the 40-50 million other Americans without health insurance who are in dire straits.