Nothing gives you perspective like spending a few days in an emergency room cubicle.
All is well now but that is where I spent a few days last week with a loved one since there were no “real” beds available. Needless to say, my #NaNoWriMo word count was the last thing on my mind and a hard chair in cubicle #4 was not a conducive environment for creative writing. However, it was an opportunity to soak in the sobering environment (while trying not to soak in any germs) and be reminded of an important lesson:
Be grateful for the loved ones around you and who have your best interest at heart.
Seeing the number of elderly patients in that emergency section completely alone, vulnerable and unaccompanied made me sad.
From the fragile man in his late 90s with a deep rattling cough, not knowing where he was and trying to fight off the nurses who tried to aspirate him to the old woman doubled over in a wheelchair, refusing to be touched by anyone because she was in agonizing pain from a fall…
It all made me wonder where “their people” were – I mean, their family or loved ones. No one present to advocate for them, no second set of ears to understand the doctor’s instructions, no one to keep an eye on their personal belongings while they were wheeled away for tests, no one to run around the corner to the tasty Portuguese dive restaurant because the hospital dinner looked like this…
Most sobering of all was overhearing a doctor trying to question an elderly woman in the presence of her unkept-looking middle-aged son.
Doctor: “Where did you get those bruises Mrs. X?”
Son: “She fell down.”
Doctor: “I’d like to hear it from her.”
Elderly woman: “Yes, I fell down.”
Doctor: “How did you fall Mrs. X?”
Elderly woman shrugs and looks at her son. “I don’t know. I just did.”
Doctor: “You were in here just a few months ago. Have you been having problems with your balance?”
Elderly woman: “I don’t know.”
I wasn’t convinced of her story and from the manner in which the doctor continued to grill her with questions, in my mind, he suspected elder abuse.
It’s heartbreaking to think that some seniors have no one to look out for them in this world. Some have no choice but to fend for themselves because they have no family around or who live far away. And it’s even sadder to think that when you do have “someone” close to you, they may not always be acting in your best interest.
It made me think hard about who will advocate for me when I’m older and vulnerable.
How often do you think about your future years?
All Rights Reserved ©2017 Marquessa Matthews