A Grimm tale.

May 2, 2008 at 3:24 PM (Uncategorized)

I do not give myself a pass for this, I’m not trying to justify.  It’s what happened.

It’s  Fall 1992  I’m a caregiver.

And the physical symptoms have reached a place where I physically cannot clean up after them, and percieve and believe that I’ve hit the mental end of the road too. (I was just as clueless as any able bodied person about what technology was available to me to assist him with basic bathing, dressing,  hygenie in his conditon.  I Had No Clue.  Wish I did, but since I’d passed for able my whole damn life, I had no idea how to make things work.

So, I said to the patient.

“This isn’t me leaving you.  Your mom will be here in an hour.  And I will come back from work tomorow and we will figure this out.  But I have to leave now.  I’ll call you when I get to the other side of town, and I’ll call you tomorow.

So, I called a male friend, in front of the patient so he had full knowlege of where I was going not hiding anything.  And I was crystal clear that there would be no ‘hooking up.’

And walked out of my house and left that terminally ill person alone. Walked through a rainstorm at 222nd and Lakeshore at night and waited under shelter in that storm at the bus stop.

In about forty minutes  a taxi slowed, and a door opened.

My male friend was inside, his car wasn’t functioning so he’d gotten a taxi to get me.

We went back to my male friend’s insane little studio.  I called the patient when I got there.  He was safe, (no thanks to me) and more clued in, his mom was there.

“Isn’t this something we can talk about here, now, together?” Immeasurably sad he sounded. As sad as the day he found out.  And I was the reason.

“No, not today. ” I said. “But tomorow, yes tomorrow, absolutely when I get home from work.  We will talk about this. I just can’t talk about it with you today.” And I disconnected the call.

And I spent the next four hours talking things out with this friend about how I would continue to be partially responsible for my patient till the end.  How could this be done? Where might help be and how might my patient and I get it.

Then, my male friend and I fell asleep, and he took me to work the next am.

I did go home, that next afternoon.  The patient’s *doctor* was the one who made the final decision that I could no longer be the sole watchdog, caregiver whatever.  But, was that really true? I’ll never know.  Honestly I would have prefered a third option, that was never given us.  Nursing care by a pro in *our own space.”  But that was unavailable I’m not sure why.  The only options presented were a hospice across town, or hospice care in his mom’s house.

I asked her, and she agreed.  No coercion.  But evidently she and his sisters saw it much differently than I remember it, so they were pissed off, adding to their already incredulous anger that I’d actually ‘left’ him..

Yeah, I’m not a Good Crip.  Never was.

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1 Comment

  1. bridgett said,

    No such thing as a Good Crip. I remember it like you remember it, with a side of interfering in-law (oh, the starchy casseroles of doom) and fairly useless extended support network (me included in that).

    Wandering around in the painful parts of the archives tonight, are we?

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