I’m thankful for…
They teach me so much about aging, independence, moving forward, and resisting conforming to societal expectations of how and where they should live, despite fear, pain, loss, and loneliness.
Like the woman who had Life Line and heard people prowling around in her house one night. While she was paralyzed with fear in her bedroom behind a closed door, she finally realized that it was the cops.
The reason the Cops broke in: Because her life line had been activated. She didn’t hear their response to the activation, so they sent the police.
Why was her Life Line activated? Because her cat stepped on the button on the unit that was connected to her land-line on the kitchen counter. She creatively prevented this from happening again by putting the counter top unit in a hamster cage. Problem solved. The cat was never able to activate it again. I loved her ingenuity and her bravery for continuing to want to live alone.
Another woman in her 90’s pushed her Life Line button one night when two young men appeared in her bedroom. One of them told her to be quiet. She said “I will NOT!” Seconds later, the cowards heard the Life Line staff calling out to her and they left as fast as they could. They were never caught. She’s another brave soul who refuses to leave her home. I’m thinking that would have been enough for me.
Another patient has recently begun the long process of living alone after losing her husband after over 50 years of marriage. I can see the uncertainty in her eyes right along with her commitment to carry on.
And it’s not just women. There are many fiercely brave men who believe that the risks of living alone outweigh giving up their homes and independence.
In the few short years that I’ve been doing home care, I’ve met some amazing, brave, funny, loving, and memorable people. I find myself standing on the doorsteps of new patients, waiting for the door to open, wondering who I’m going to meet next. I’ve see the best and worst of living conditions. I‘ve seen the best and worst of medical conditions. I’ve see the best and worst of people in the situations they’re in. Some want help and some don’t.
I always try to keep Maya Angelou’s quote in my head when I meet and treat my patients:
We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.
We all experience loss, pain, uncertainty, happiness, and contentment. That’s what we all have in common and what makes us human.
Our differences are relatively minor.