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The slowest and cruelest of deaths: Invented by health care systems for elderly

Elderly people to die in indignity: the slowest of death invented by health care systems

A friend confided in me. He talked for an hour and his story almost matched mine.

The story of parents dying the slow death, in daily and constant pains, bedridden and no outside aid coming to the rescue of hapless family members

“My father is 89 and my mother is 86.

My father health has been deteriorating fast in the last couple of years. What started as a pneumonia, Not taken care of immediately, degenerated in a bed-ridden body living on external oxygen machine 24/24, in a country with no steady electricity. Actually, it was my dad refusing to go to the hospital until he felt totally helpless.

In this winter season, he barely uses the walker for his morning shit and he prefers to use the padding, for me to remove and clean him up. Actually, when mother had a hip surgery, she did her best to go to the WC because she could Not stand any padding: It was out of the question for pride and dignity.

By noon, father felt rather not getting up from bed, on the ground that he feels too weak and too cold to step out of his cozy bed. (We lacked central heat because we couldn’t afford the cost of mazout)

Mother is in a worse case in matter of aches and pains, but she is functional and make sure that she washes father in the morning and bring him food to bed. Not to mention changing the bed sheets every morning and all dad’s wet cloths.

The problem for mother is that father insists on Not leaving his bed after lunch on account that he feels too cold and out of power to walk to the close-by toilet for his frequent pissing sessions. And we have to wrap him with pampers till morning.

Mother has this daunting task of changing father every morning and doing at least 2 washes for the wet bed and father’s cloths, every morning, and she suffers from back pain, arthritis, and you name it. And dad plays the child game for constant attention and waking up mother at night for no valid reasons.

Mother considers that putting in 8 straight hours of work in the morning, without any break to rest, her daily job.

And everyone in the household must share with her non-stop chores. Even when she feels sick and unable to work, until she faints and drops.

Occasionally, mother sleeps in the sitting room because father makes it a point to wake her up frequently, just out of boredom and restlessness.  Eventually, she returns to sleep in the bedroom, out of compassion and duty.

Father has had no jobs for the last 40 years.

What he did when he could drive was give ride to his 6 grandchildren to school and bring them back home, and leisurely doing a few gardening…

And he was a heavy smoker since he was 14 of age, mainly smoking in the sitting room, and polluting this room, while enjoying a few glasses of whisky.

Until he started to fall down after finishing drinking. He had to quit drinking, but resumed smoking, out of total boredom and dense worries from the fast dwindling of pecuniary resources.

In many States, there are No government facilities to rescue the elderly people, not even in health insurance, or a small remittance every month...

The elderly people are in the care of the children, relatives… supposedly in the care of the community that no longer exists.

Dad has plenty of time now to dream of the time he was still able, but I guess he can focus on how to stay alive: He keeps touching the Saint icons.  For a soft departure or for exhausting mother to death?

Do you think his deep wish is to see mother passing away before he does? A senile revenge of people who revert to childhood?

Funny, every now and then father creates a tantrum to remind mother that he is the head of the family and that what he wishes must be obeyed, and bangs his walker to confirm his statement: “I want you to wrap me up now (7afdineh) and this tragic bout of energy surges at the time mother is taking a short nap from a back ache.

And when mother tells him: “I am tired. wait till I rest…” father responds: “You do it now or I’ll piss in bed...”  These kinds of reactions…

He goes: “Ya wallao? Are you kidding me? Are you sleeping? Get up now…”

He refrains Not exhibit all his pent up anger and desperation when I am around: He knows that my reactions can be worse than his, and we do have the same bad genes

I aided mother in cleaning and wrapping up dad when I was around, and dad abstained from harassing mother when he knew I was there.

It was a 24/24 job for me and mother to keep dad contended, and he wanted to eat at his routine schedule, Not a minute later, and he ate well and voraciously.

Most of the time  I had to wake up several times at night in order to go down and switch the electrical interrupter from public to private provider (and vice versa) because we could not afford an automatic interrupter that required a higher amperage. And the oxygen machine was run on electricity and dad would shout when he sensed that the machine had stopped.

A year before he passed away, he opted to be totally bedridden, kind of despairing for any recovery.

At least father managed to construct a building of 3 floors, one for each one of his children who all graduated from universities and are married with children. Except one child: I never married and have no children that I know of. And I have been now living with my elderly parents for the last 14 years.

I don’t recall ever having a chat with dad, and now he is almost deaf and he refuses to babble.

And mother’s chatting are of the most boring type with me, but very funny with others.

She regurgitates the same worries that I cannot help with, and suggestions that are too late to reverse and act upon.

Mother never cared to handle money in her life and never wrote a check.

Currently, she has to handle the few cash that she receives every now and then from her children and relative and make sure that she can buy her medicine, father’s couches, the gas canisters for cooking, bread and biscuits for dad… Nothing fancy at all.

And she declines invitations because she will have to bring a gift as custom demands, and she has to cook a few sweet dishes for the occasions… and keeps cleaning the house in the event anyone remembers suddenly to pay her visit…

I wish the visits are not set in advance by “appointment”: Mother will start cleaning and cooking a week in advance of the visit, and ends up working overtime. And I was the only one to help her with all the cleaning tasks.

I help mother in most of her chores: assistant cook, washing dishes, vacuuming, lifting “heavy” stuff that she can no longer perform, changing bed sheets, gardening, gathering vegetables and fruits, tending to the few chickens that I don’t want in the house, going on errands…

I find time to read, write, post articles on my blog, watch documentaries and non-violent good movies on cables after every one in the household is supposed to be sleeping…

Tell me. Am I talking abstract so far?

My dad suffered a mild stroke at night: he must have knew it but we didn’t. We forced him to go to the hospital, but he kept saying: I want to die at home.

In the hospital, 2 days before Christmas, dad did such a tantrum for 2 days and a night and harassed all the nurses and mother that they had to send him home.

After lunch on Christmas Eve he passed away while mother was taking her nap in the bed next to him.

My nephew checked on him and he told me that dad must have died. I approached a looking glass to check on his breathing because he was in a serene state with eyes opened.

Apparently, he wanted to ruin our celebration, or maybe send the message that he is no longer willing to ruin our lives.

Mother is Not in any good shape because of all kinds of pains and aches to the stomach, back, neck, hands, and you name it.

I took her to the hospital for a check up on a pain to her side that lingered for 2 days and kept her awake.

Two days later, mother was home with no major relief: a small cyst in her abdomen and maybe a mild thyroid deficiency.

There was nothing that can be done to elderly people, much less performing any kinds of surgeries that are Not urgent.

Two years now and mother is still suffering, especially during the cold season and lack of hot water.

She insists on waking up and working in the kitchen for a couple of hours until she barely reach the sofa and don’t move for the day and watch TV.

Frequently she keeps working and tries to keep boredom at bay until all kinds of acute pains force her to the sofa.

She barely can hear, and all she wants is someone to visit her to listen to her.

But practically nobody visits her or has the patience to talk to her or listen to her.

Mother is a rock and still functional. Her worst nightmare is to feel dependent on anyone in her daily chores.

Such a big difference between mother’s resilience and dad’s attitude to pain.

My worst nightmare is, if I have to survive as long as my parents, “How am I to spend the next 24 years, if no haphazard calamity suddenly ends my life?”

Note: Mother Julie passed away 6 years after father. She was an undaunted force to stay functional, regardless of the many kinds of pains and difficulty to express her pains…

 

 

And how Julia, the undaunted, passed away at 92?

I decided to relate this story, with the intention of Not pressing “publish” for a long time.

It was urgent for me to recollect the fresh facts and impressions of the demise of mother Julie.

A week before she fell in the bathroom, Julie was Not feeling well. I could Not tell what was ailing her and she could Not express how she felt.

I knew she was Not well because she slept a lot and wouldn’t mind that I bring her the food tray at bed.

Julie used to feel dizzy more than usual.

When she fell, laying on the ground and waiting for someone to discover her, I used to help her stand on her feeble legs  and walk her to bed. I cover her up and wait until she recovers from whatever ailing her. An hour later, she is up and giving me worries.

That evening, Julie fell in the bathroom when I was Not home. I discovered her laying on the floor and moaning. Moaning means she is in pain. I called on my nephew to help me out carry her up to her bed.

I figured out she was removing a top, got dizzy and fell on the lavatory.

Not knowing if anything was broken, I called the Red Cross to transport Julie to the emergency.

This time around, I decided to take her to Bhaness hospital and called the bone surgeon to be the main physician in this case.

Four hours later, the x-rays showed 3 broken chest bones. And mother was hospitalized and we returned home after midnight.

The next day, the bone physician told us that mother has also some kidney failure, but this can wait after she recovers and her bone heal within 3 months.

In the meantime, mother is to take Panadol for her pain and suffering. And we were dispatched home.

For 3 days and nights, Julie was in constant pain at home.

She barely slept a wink and I could Not sleep a wink.

She was unable to swallow any soup or drink

One night, she made room in the bed next her and wanted me to lie next to her and hug her. This was totally unusual for this prude and tough girl.

I wanted to hug her and then I felt that my side of the bed was wet. And I decided to let her sleep alone and in pains. Always alone.

Julia would never accept to wear any kind padding (couche) and would rather suffer moving to the restroom.

But she had to swallow her pride and let me clean her up and cook for her.

Three awful nights and days, Julie was in acute pain and I trying to believe that it was a case of just broken bones that need time to heal.

I felt totally helpless and suffering for her. This home treatment crap was no longer a valid option.

We managed to find an “excuse” that it is the dialyse physician who should be in charge.

My brother-in-law and I shouldered her and Julie descended the stairs patiently. This undaunted woman was so weak that she leaned her head on my shoulder for a few breaths.

We finally drove her to Beit-Chabab emergency because her condition was no longer sufferable or acceptable to be at home.

The physician looked at the blood test and the second item demonstrated that Julie had a urine infection. The physician was beside himself and said: “She should have been treated at the hospital for this infection”.

That was a total chock for me and I wondered if the bone surgeon had no communication with the blood test physician or if any serious communication was done before releasing the patient. No antibiotics were prescribed after Julie was released from Bhaness,

To the insurance request of what Julie is suffering from, the physician said: “She is in coma already

Julie was hospitalized for 3 days and then moved to ICU section. Her urine output was very deficient and less than minimal: kidney not functioning anymore. For 7 days, Julie was Not allowed to eat or drink out of the risk of deficiency in swallowing.

The dialise physician decided to intervene with a dialysis session. Julia suffered in these procedure sessions as she never before. But all her organs were already failing.

At 11:30 am before she passed away, we connected Julie with her daughter and preferred niece in London. She moved her hand to kiss the picture. She even moved her hand downward to remove the padding that she couldn’t stand. And I said: this is a sign that she is improving.

At 1:30, we received the call that she died.

Julie decided it was no longer worth it to live totally dependent.

She was supposed to be able  to walk to the restroom and to the refrigerator to find something to eat when she wakes up several time at night.

Even when she was functional, barely anyone would visit with her, and occasionally she would cry silently telling me that no visitors are showing up.

Actually, in my 20 years since I returned from USA, no one paid me a visit. I who lived with her and took care of her. Even when she had a hip surgery and could Not move. barely anyone visited to extend any help.

My sister was oversea, and only Hanane was available and we would have lunch in mother’s room, on a portable light table that I bought for these occasions.

All those cousins whom Julia did her best to help, accommodate, shelter and feed in order for them to finish their schooling and who did well.

Anyone who has a point of view of what happens after death, he must include all the living creatures, even the tiniest of insects, lest he is practicing the lousiest of racism of the charlatans.

Death is a continuation of “Life cycle” on earth, as it is everywhere else.

Note: You may read who was Julie https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2009/05/02/julia/

 Julia recollects: “How I fell in love and selected my husband…”

In those days, people and future couples constructed a love story: they were unable to intimately meet, talk and express their feeling except through the eyes and a few gestures.

An older friend of father recounts that, once they were passing by my mother house, Geryes told father to remove his shoes lest Adel hear them. Adel was the aunt (sister of Eugenia, mother of Julie) and her house was across the street, and she kept an eagle eye on any intruder where the four sisters lived alone. Father found this advice pretty relevant and acceded to the request.

Eugenia and Tanios worked in Africa (current Rep of Mali) to eek out a living.

As WWII ended and travel lines were opened, Julie’ dad asked for her and her two younger sisters Maria and Montaha to join the family in the town of Segou, in West Africa. Segou is in current Rep. of Mali and was a French colony till 1962.

Apparently, Julia’s father had lined up two prospects for marrying Julia without her knowledge.

The trip from Beirut to Marseilles (France) took an entire month, and mother was so seasick that she couldn’t swallow anything. The Captain alluded that Julia will not make it to destination.

A month later, Julia and her sisters left on a rickety plane from Agadir and barely made to Dakar (Senegal)  and to Segou by train and cars.

About a month before Julia left Beirut, Georges had travelled to join his family in Segou.  Georges’ ship landed first in Cyprus, then to Alexandria before resuming the travel to Marseilles. Georges boarded a “bananier” or a cargo ship for banana to Dakar and then by cargo train to Segou.

Julia’s mother opened a shop for selling almost everything that could be sold and her 2 daughters Maria and Therese took over the running. Julia barely set foot in the shop.

There were deep enmities and animosity between the Georges and Julia’s  families: Julie’s father Tanios Gebrayel considered the other family (the Bouhatab) to be plainly a lazy lot and that nothing good will ever come from them. (These 2 families are from the same town of Beit Chabab)

Tanios was not far off the target in his assessment from facts and evidences: the father of Georges (Antoun) was known Not to care for business and his wife didn’t care for raising her children (Many died in childbirth or shortly after as was  very common). Actually, my dad worked hard in the next 20 years and then reverted to his genes. Same case with me.

Julie’s dad disagreed with any marriage arrangement with Georges, although he knew that “I loved him and will refuse any alternative arrangement”.

Julie said “Father brought me an eligible handsome and tall guy, but I faked to be busy and never met him”.

She resumed: “I asked Georges to rent a room in the hotel in front of our shop in order to distance himself from his family. The next day, Georges packed a suitcase and moved in a room”.

Georges crisscrossed West Africa for a suitable location to settle with his future bride but could find nothing but a shack in the town of Bouake, kind of 100 km from Segou and leading to Haute Volta (current Burkina Faso). You had to use a barge to cross the river since no bridge was available at the time.

Julia convinced her dad to meet once with Georges and he changed his opinion: “Seemed a nice and intelligent guy”

Georges’ family refused to attend the wedding despite several attempts by many people. And Julie’s father had to pay for all the expenses of the wedding ceremonies.

Note 1: Mother was 8 months in her pregnancy when two problems happened simultaneously. Georges had to undergo surgery of the appendix, which turned out Not to be the case, and all the saved cash was stolen in the shop at night.

I came to life in dire conditions. I was born upside down, feet first, and I was blue and barely breathing. I would not eat or take the tits and the physicians took me for a goner. Mother would lie to the doctors saying that “I managed to suck some milk”. I’m sure the physicians never believed mother’s assertions but they had to deal patiently with such cases of insane mothers under grave situations.

Note 2: Gerges passed away in 2014 on Christmas Eve after being bedridden for 2 years. Mother and I took turn to change him, clean him and feed him while on oxygen machine. and with frequent electrical interruptions. Mother suffered from back pain but Georges was relentless in following his routine to the minutes.

Note 3: Julia/Julie passed away in January 2020 and suffered constant pains for an entire week, and Not from from cancer.

Note 4: Julia https://wordpress.com/post/adonis49.wordpress.com/2659

 

Mother Julia recollects: “How I fell in love and selected my husband…”

After WWII ended and travel lines were opened, Julie’ dad asked for her and her two younger sisters Maria and Montaha to join the family in the town of Segou, West Africa. Segou is in current Rep. of Mali and was a French colony till 1962.

Apparently, Julia’s father had lined up two prospects for marrying Julia without her knowledge.

The trip from Beirut to Marseilles took an entire month, and mother was so sea sick that she couldn’t swallow anything. The Captain alluded that Julia will not make it to destination.

A month later, Julia and her sisters left on a rickety plane from Agadir (Morocco?) and barely made to Dakar (Senegal)  and to Segou by train and cars.

About a month before Julia left Beirut, Georges had advanced her to Segou.  Georges’s ship landed first in Cyprus, then to Alexandria before resuming the travel to Marseilles. Georges boarded a “bananier” or a cargo ship for banana to Dakar and then by cargo train to Segou.

Julia’s mother opened a shop for selling almost everything that could be sold and Maria and Therese took over the running. Julia barely set foot in the shop.

There were deep enmities and animosity between the Georges and Julia’s  families: Julie’s father Tanios considered the other family to be plainly a lazy lot and nothing good will ever come from them.

Tanios was not far off the target in his assessment from facts and evidences. Actually, my dad worked hard in the next 20 years and then reverted to his genes. Same case with me.

Julie’s dad disagreed with any marriage arrangement with Georges, although he knew that “I loved him and will refuse any alternative arrangement”.

Julie said “Father brought me an eligible handsome and tall guy, but I faked to be busy and never met him”.

She resumed: “I asked Georges to rent a room in the hotel in front of our shop in order to distance himself from his family. The next day, Georges packed a suitcase and moved in a room”.

Georges crisscrossed West Africa for a suitable location to settle with his future bride but could find nothing but a shack in Bouake, kind of 100 km from Segou and leading to Haute Volta (current Burkina Faso) you you had to use a barge to cross the river since no bridge was available at the time.

Julia convinced her dad to meet once with Georges and he changed his opinion: “Seemed a nice and intelligent guy”

Georges’s family refused to attend the wedding despite several attempts by many people. And Julie’s father had to pay for all the expenses of the wedding ceremonies.

Note: Mother was 8 months in her pregnancy when two problems happened simultaneously. Father had to undergo surgery of the appendix, which turned out not to be the case, and all the saved cash was stolen in the shop at night.

I came to life in dire conditions. I was born upside down, feet first, and I was blue and barely breathing. I would not eat or take the tits and the physicians took me for a goner. Mother would lie to the doctors saying that I managed to suck some milk. I’m sure they never believed mother’s assertions but they had to deal patiently with such cases of insane mothers under grave situations.


adonis49

adonis49

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