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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I Don't Want To Get Old

Two of my customers I clean house for are elderly ladies. Ann is 98 and Norma is 85. It is quit scary when they become sick that they may pass away. Last month Ann had an episode where she was sleeping her life away. She was in bed for a whole month, sleeping and we didn't know why or if she would make it. Then one day she was up and about like nothing happened. We are hoping she will make it to her 100th birthday and now it looks like that she will.

A couple of months ago, Norma fell while trying to get into her sisters car the go to lunch. The fire department came and got her up and into her home. They asked her if she wanted to go to the hospital and get checked out, but she declined. I think she was very embarrassed and thought she was OK. We now know that she should have gone to the hospital. She hurt her leg and banged her head. I knew that something wasn't right with her after her fall. Norma was a career woman who worked for IBM in her younger years. She was married for a short time to a "not so good" man and divorced. She never had children and is a very strong independent woman. She doesn't like to ask for help or look like she needs help. She will do it on her own.

After her fall, she became really shaky. Her leg hurt and her sister took her into an emergency care hospital to have her leg looked at. Well, they wouldn't take an ex ray because they said they did it 6 months ago. I couldn't believe it when she told me that. They didn't take very good care of her there and just kept making her wait and wait. They looked into getting her a walker, but after being there for hours and hours - they wanted her to leave and she ended up leaving without a walker after all of that wait. What a waste of time. Both Norma and her sister are soft spoken and I think people don't take them seriously because of their age.

Two weeks ago when I cleaned Norma's house, I noticed that her shower had not been used. I clean her house every two weeks and thought that was strange. I didn't say anything because Ann rarely takes a shower either. I just assumed it was an old person thing. I now know that they are afraid that they will fall in the shower and are scared to do it, especially since no one is around as both of these women live on their own. Norma's health was getting worse and she finally admitted to her sister that she would love to have someone come and help her get a shower. Her sister, Carol became really worried about Norma's health and called the State of Idaho (where she used to work, also never married) and found a service to call to give in-home help. The service came in and found that she had open wounds that were oozing and she needed to go to the hospital - it was bad.

Carol called me Friday while I was at work. The message sounded like she was kind of crying and she told me she needed to talk to me, but everything was fine. I called back and she wasn't there so I left a message. She called me back Saturday morning and told me what had happened and that Norma was in the Hospital. It was a yeast infection, because she wasn't keeping herself clean. A very bad one - with oozing soars, that I am pretty sure they had to clean out and lance.

When I was on the phone with Carol, she told me that Norma was really upset because some social workers were trying to interfere and take over her life. They felt like she wasn't able to take care of herself. It just makes me mad because Norma has not lost her mind. She is capable, but she was just to proud to ask for help in showering. She now has this in-home service that will help her and doesn't need a social worker to take over her life and household. Carol asked if I would help. Of course I would and went to visit her in the hospital to see what was going on. She looked so much better then she had been since she had fallen.

At this point we think the social worker has backed off because she had signed up for the in-home help. I told them they need to ask me to help if they need it. I will do whatever they need. It's so very sad that both these women don't have children to help out or belong to any church organization. They are on their own.

Yesterday I cleaned Norma's house and she was home. It makes me want to have a strong support system around me when I get old. Luckily I have children to turn to. I really dread the day I am old and afraid to take a shower because I may fall. Poor, poor ladies. I'll have to drop in and call more often to check up on Norma. Hopefully we won't have this problem again and she will continue to be healthy.

1 comment:

Ann Marie said...

You are amazing Sondra.
I don't know if you know, but when my children are all grown, this is what I want to do for people. Clean, organize, and help elderly people. A few of my neighbors do it, and a couple have gone from "cleaning ladies" to just helping people that can't run errands and such to helping them do daily chores - paying there bills, showering them etc.. That sounds to me like such an awesome thing, as I helped take care of Chad's Grandmother with Dimentia, and my Grandfather right before their deaths, and even though some things were hard on me to see and do at that time, it was one of the most christ-like and rewarding experiences I ever had.
Even though they have no family or religion, you are an angel and example to them before the end, and I think you are marvelous!

" If ye have done it unto one of the least of these my Brethren, Ye have done it unto me.."

You are a great lady, and I feel more and more priveledged to know you each time I read one of your posts..
This is one of my favorites so far.. Have a happy Week! ~ Ann


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