Thursday, July 23, 2009

Life As a Personal Aide: The Back Up Disaster(s)

If we were exhausted back in May, we're even more so now. Once again, by "we," I mean Ruth and I. The search for back up help isn't going well at all.

Wanting to spare me the drain, Ruth has personally interviewed nearly 40 applicants by phone. Her tried and true screening technique includes asking if they're willing to do anything she actually needs. Generally, they are not and it's game over.

What kind of things? Body, mind, and spirit breaking stuff. . . like making a sandwich and then cutting it in eighths so Ruth doesn't choke to death. You might be surprised by how much of an issue this and similar tasks quickly become; I no longer am. And oh dear God, how I wish I could be surprised by some of the crap Ruth endures.

Alas, I am no longer surprised by people who say they'll pitch in, but don't show up. Or show up, but refuse to do more than one thing per visit. Or, have the nerve to suggest Ruth try harder to become a little more self-sufficient despite that pesky spinal cord injury. Or, drop food off in containers that can't be opened and in portions that wouldn't keep a hummingbird alive. Or who bag up garbage, but won't haul trash cans to the curb. This is the short list of what no longer surprises me.

Last month, when I was out of town, someone showed up as promised. Short-lived surprise. That someone smoked when asked not to and refused to open windows to vent out cleaning chemical odors. Now, four weeks later, Ruth is almost over the ensuing pneumonia. The pulmonologist hasn't had to make a house call for two weeks.

There's yet more to this story, but I'm too disgusted to write it all out. Surprised?


  1. Meredith always has wonderful brilliant commentary in her blogs. As a casual reader, I am always amazed at the responses as they are insightful, smart and caring. Of them all, this one breaks my heart because this is one that asks SOMEONE to DO something. The others are all thinking, responding and philosophical. I'm not sorry to point out that we are all LAME. I see NO responses here and this one (singled out from all) is the one that needed the biggest response. I'm sure we all have ideas as to how we might help Ruth and Meredith. Hello. Is anyone listening? This a religious blog.

  2. This is a religious blog?!? Wow! Who knew?

    To be fair, a number of readers have contacted me via email and Twitter, mostly with expressions of prayerful, loving sympathies. One person has, thank GOD, taken some action to actually DO something and I now have names of people who might be able to pitch in. We'll see!

    The big taboo topic is, of course, money. The other day I told someone to ask everyone in her network for $15 so Ruth can start replacing broken down not-durable medical equipment. What's $15 these days? A movie and popcorn? We'll see what happens with that, too.

    Oh the irony: if Ruth didn't want to work and was willing to go on the government dole, some of this stuff would be taken care of...but not really. Not even close.

  3. The hypocrisy drives me crazy! I will say a prayer for you and Ruth, I am not close to this situation but this is all I can offer from the other side of the word. God Bless!

    Liturgy of the Hours


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