Old Age in America | Tamela Rich
My dear friend is going through end-of-life issues with her parents. Below I've pasted a missive she sent to me from her childhood home, where she's been helping out after her father collapsed.

Old Age in America

elderly handMy dear friend is going through end-of-life issues with her parents. Below I’ve pasted a missive she sent to me from her childhood home, where she’s been helping out after her father collapsed.

This post has nothing to do with my “business” and the things I usually post, but since I own this blog and get to make all the big editorial decisions, here it is.

Subject line: “Aging in America”

I cracked today. Sitting for two hours outside of the house because the garage door opener wouldn’t work and there was no key and my mother can’t hear the phone while she’s out cold on Darvocet and Atavan at 9am.

… buying a wheel chair, at my mom’s request, then being told it was uncomfortable and “felt funny”

…being told where to turn and when to turn and what speed to drive and what lane to do it in on a route I had memorized thirty years ago

…buying dinner that was “too salty and cooked with some awful hot sauce on it” ( it was a plain chicken sandwich from Arby’s)

…seeing my father hunched over a walker in a shirt flecked with drool in a “rehab” facility where the patients still look like they will only be leaving feet first

…hours where the only conversation is ” do you need a drink, do you need to go to the bathroom, do you want to get in the bed, have you had a bowel movement yet ( not kidding)

…sitting in a room trying to have a conversation where the “roommate” has the TV blaring without any regard for their neighbor– Wheel of Fortune does not sound good at any volume, much less loud

…watching my dad sit there catatonic after an Atavan to “relax” him after a stressful day

What finally got me was when the wife of the room mate closed his curtain to do some clean up on her husband and this horrific odor began to permeate the entire room – it kept getting worse and worse and I had no idea why someone’s shit would stink that bad- then my brother told me that the roommate had a colostomy. I can not describe this stink.

And this facility is the top notch skilled nursing/rehab facility in the region – everyone has said so

That is when I had to leave the room to cry. And cry and cry- but by myself because if my Marine brother sees me cry I will have to take 50 lashes and 100 push ups because I am “an enabler” and too emotional.

The only levity is (my brother) — he says he’s bringing Vicks to stuff up his nose like for autopsies and he reminds Dad that many men would like to have cute little aides wipe their balls and ass.

Oh boy this is fun. I’d rather be working 70hrs. And by the way I have yet to get online to try to do my job. Even an aircard does not get reception in this house in the country.

I truly suck at this. Lousy daughter.

I invite your comments, good wishes and prayers for my friend and her family below

About Tamela M. Rich

From Charlotte, NC, Tamela writes books, articles, speeches and presentations for business professionals. From "the road" she writes about the people, places and experiences she discovers and the life lessons she learns from them. Invite her to share some of her lessons from the road at your next event!

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