(noon. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

She lay in her bed, with a bible clutched in the hand not encased in a cast, speaking openly about her divorce. Despite her deeply religious views, the divorce seems to not bother her at all, other than strategically.

She answers her ancient roommate, “I’ll pray for us both to get better, so we can get out of here, but if that doesn’t work, we just have to live it, one day at a time.” The old lady starts to cry, and she speaks again, “Look at it this way, at least you got 50 more years than I did before you landed here. You’ve had a pretty good life, dear. We’ll get through this.”

That stops the old lady’s crying.

The two of them talk a lot at night. Neither sleeps well, but when you are bed ridden all day, as she often points out, how tired can you possibly get?

She’s 42, and this nursing home is her final stop, and she knows it.

They have been unable to diagnose her, but it appears to be ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. She can no longer walk at all.

Her husband is a fireman, and they chose to live up north, with him making the commute back down here for his 4 day on, 3 day off types schedules. They liked the slower pace of their small rural town, their church, and the schools their 3 boys, now 7, 9 and 11 attended.

It started almost three years ago, and she degraded quickly. She had been a stay at home Mom, and her husband took care of her as long as he could. Working, taking care of the boys, lifting, feeding, bathing her, and people chipped in as much as they could when he was gone.

It became impossible, so a friend from around here often to take her in. That too, after a few months became untenable. They all knew she needed 24 hour care by professionals. She tells the story, and you can tell her mind is bright and active. She names how many nursing homes there are in the tri-county area, and how many will accept Medicaid: Strikingly few. Then she does the quick math mentally, and offers a number, a number of just how many people are in the same situation as she and her roommate. She says her story is no exception, but the horrific rule.

When the Medicare ran out, and the State took over the financial burden, they had to divorce. The tears come now, for if they decide to go back the 3 years on her “ex” husband, he and her sons will lose everything, their home, their assets, the savings and 401k’s they had created for their future.

She looks at the old lady’s dresser and sees my son, and the tears start to fall harder, “He reminds me so much of my youngest.”

A friend is sitting with her, discussing the Bible, and she tries hard to focus anew on it. She can’t. She speaks, but never mentions her children again. Not if they visit, nor how long it has been since she’s seen them, but one gets the idea they do not, or cannot come.

“We are doing what we have to do, you know,” she whispers, and she seems at peace with her condition, only becoming agitated when worrying about her family. So it is with renewed calmness she addresses the Health Care System. They had decent benefits, but no doctors have ever worked very hard to make a positive, sure diagnosis. Many parts of it seem like ALS, but other parts do not. The whole fiasco of not providing in-home care, and seizing a family’s very means of survival seems wrong to her.

“This is not what its supposed to be,” she says resolutely, “breaking up homes and making it for profit, and letting people wallow away, when there could be an explanation, or treatment. They just dump you and try and get the money.”

She cannot believe any person in America, let alone a God-fearing person could vote for this kind of “Unchristian” system. She had been Conservative all her life, but this, she feels, is the anti-thesis of her beliefs. She thinks that the system should not penalize people and families for getting sick, not throw them away. If they are Christian, those sick and in need should be their very focus.

She drops the subject, goes back to cheering up the old lady.

She has already lost almost two years since it got bad. She is in what should be the prime of her life, with young sons, a man who loves her. She had to let that go prematurely, even if she is dying, she was forced to tell her family to let her go, so that they may survive. She chose to carve herself out of their life like she was already dead.

She’s 42, slim, pretty, with short dark wavy hair. She’s alone in a nursing home full of ancient people, most of whom can no longer speak coherently.

And she spends most of her day trying to brighten a 90 year old woman’s life.

If that isn’t proof there are angels, I don’t know what is.

Angels are people, people who put others first.

If this isn’t proof positive there is a Hell, that Hell being imposed by the Demons running our country, I don’t know what it.

Demons are people, people whose greed and avarice create Hell for other People.

I have not yet met this woman, but I plan to spend some time in her company, to see what I can do for her.


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    • Diane G on November 17, 2009 at 14:07

    that no matter how bad you have it, someone has it worse, and is still a living testament to what is beautiful in people.  

  1. to live and die in dignity at home with loved ones, while others without such “assets” must suffer in a cold, lonely alien nursing home. I’ve had a lot of experience with these matters. In fact, my sister and I worked out a plan to have our mother move to India with her, because we didn’t have the money here to provide 24 hr. care for her condition (M.S. & Parkinsons). It worked out quite well for 8 years before she passed on. It was a very complex and difficult move, but we pulled it off (at the time, $1000 US dollars bought about six times as much nursing care in India than it would have here).

    I think the answer is simple if we can create more communal type living arrangements here in our own communities with family, neighbors, friends and government working together. Care in exchange for spiritual death and financial ruin is not acceptable. This is a very complex issue to address in a comment. This is why health care reform is so important: It is really a moral, spiritual issue dressed in political clothing, which for some make it easier to avoid the truth.

    It’s about human dignity and compassion. If we are “We the People”, then how is it NOT  (our) government’s business?

    I say Universal Health Care and End these immoral wars NOW.

    Shift our focus to sustaining life instead of smothering it.

    • Joy B. on November 17, 2009 at 18:07

    Guess it’s good that I’m not yet so jaded that I can’t, eh? The insane cruelties our system visits on innocent citizens just because they get sick are unforgivable. And I agree that both heaven and hell exist right here on Planet Earth, populated by angels and demons in human skin. We’re getting more hell these days than heaven. And it’s done entirely on purpose.

    • Inky99 on November 17, 2009 at 20:56

    that to go on disability in this country you have to lose EVERYTHING is just the most sadistic system I can imagine.

    I’ve seen how it works.  They won’t even let you have a car.   You have to sell it.

    You have to be virtually homeless before you can go on disability in this country.

    That is just savage.

  2. This is really mind boggling.

    Forced to divorce for treatment, to allow the children to eat.

    One has to wonder who is the sickest in that context.

    It is definitely not the “Angel” you describe.

    I believe that when you do meet her, it will end up not what you can do for her but what she seems to already have done for you.

    Sad, but what a testament to that Angel.

    • Diane G on November 18, 2009 at 21:13

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