By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Whos watching the nuthouse?
Placeholder Image

I like to poke fun at people, places and things all the time. I mean, my own parents were often joked about because of their ailments and frailty and their occasional “senior moments.”

I remember my father eventually got to the point where he quit trying to blame the loud results of his flatulence on the family dog or cat.

He would sit at the dinner table and grace us with one of his “f” bombs (“f” for “fart,” “t” for toot, “p” for poot ... whatever you wanna call it) and then just look up at all of us and grin.

“Sure, Dad. Thanks. I think I’ll pass on that broccoli just the same.”

When he underwent surgery a few years ago and began his downward spiral, we handled it the same we always handled uncomfortable situations.

We made fun of it.

When my mother had a massive stroke in ’92, she was laid up in the hospital for a couple of months, unable to walk or communicate. By communicate, I mean she was unable to speak in a language that we could understand. What she was left with was a mixture of Gullah and Asian. She resorted to using her one good hand and making signals, which were about as confusing as a blind person with dyslexia.

Her sense of humor, however, remained intact for the ensuing 14 years.

We were merciless, but the upside of it was all the attention she got till the day she died. She was ready for a laugh a minute, even when we were posed with the prospect of having to put her in hospice for her final days.

When the folks said, “Till death do us part,” they sure as heck weren’t kidding. They went seven weeks apart, and that was really when all the fun started.

Welcome, my friends, to the reality that is “Life After Death.”

You think you will be able to put your loved one in the ground and that be the end of it?

Think again.

Our National Bird should not be the bald eagle, it should be the Government Vulture.

The government just cannot let anyone die peacefully and go to the great beyond. There is always someone from the government standing close by, with pen and notebook in hand, ready to take charge of anything left over and doing their quick math to decide what is their share of it.

If you have a parent or a loved one in dire straits at the moment, you’d better get jiggy on it and find out everything you can about how to take care of them and just what is expected of the immediate family.

One of my friends is in such a situation at this moment.

Her mother in-law is suffering from alcoholic dementia.

“Think Joan Kennedy...only worse,” my friend told me.

“That bad, huh?”

“Oh, she’s definitely now into the ‘wet brain’ phase. She won’t allow anyone into the house to clean, won’t bathe or change her clothes, doesn’t trust doctors or lawyers and can’t remember one conversation from any other because her short term memory is absolutely non-existent. The only reason she ever opens her wallet is to go down to the corner liquor store. What’s funny is that she can’t remember what day it is or when the last time was that she ate anything, but she sure as heck remembers when she needs to get her hair done. That’s a must do!”

Her husband had to make an emergency trip to where his mother lived to check out the situation because he’d been getting numerous phone calls about her behavior from neighbors and the attorney’s office about how quickly she was sliding downhill.

He called my friend and just cried on the phone because he had no idea that his mother’s situation had gotten so bad.

He’d had an idea, but the reality of it came as a complete shock.

He was able to get in touch with some of the local senior services agencies, but the paperwork and red tape are just so overwhelming that it seems nearly impossible to get his mother the help that she is clearly in desperate need of. There is no other family other than him, and he is ill-equipped to care for her.

She wants to go to an assisted living facility, but he has no idea how it will be paid for or if she can even get into a facility like that because of both her mental and health condition.

My friend said, “My goodness, think what will happen if she has to come and live with us .… I just don’t know if we could handle that situation. She would probably have to go into rehab, then would most likely have to have visiting nurses ... she doesn’t have the kind of money to pay for that, and neither do we.”

“Listen honey, just dress her up in funny clothes, park her outside the grocery store and put one of those cardboard signs on her: ‘will lap dance for food’... or you could dress her up like a gypsy and when someone drops a quarter in her little box, she’ll give ’em the evil eye and tell them where to go. She might just make enough to offset the costs of being crazy.”

“Really ... what if we end up having to take care of her? We can’t afford that.”

“Well, you could always ask an illegal family to take her in ... they’re the ones getting all the free help and stuff. One more mouth to feed adds just that much to the income. You know our government loves people like your ma in-law!”

There was a groan on the other end.

“I’ll have to quit my job to take care of her. And I never even liked her! Even the dogs don’t like her!”

“Put her out the door and let her wander down the street with a tee shirt that says: Property of The Obama Administration. Trust me, someone will scoop her up so fast...”.

They’re supposed to find out PDQ from the social service agency what they’re up against.

What they’re up against is a burgeoning illegal population that is getting the benefits of what a taxpaying society has no claims on.

We are living in a nuthouse.

And we are running out of room.