If we live long enough, each of us will be faced with the one unfortunate consequence of longevity: being placed by our "caregivers" in The Home. Having had the experience of daily visiting my Dad for the last 3 months at St. Joseph's Care Center, I can tell you that I have seen my future and it is frightening, indeed.
During the time we are healthy and aging like fine wine, we never give this prospect a second thought. But medical science is denying the Grim Reaper his share of early retirements, prolonging the dying process just long enough so that those interred in The Home can bequeath their assets to the health care system. However, putting asset transfers aside, the mere fact that the dying process has been changed from the blazing glory of Niagara Falls to the drip, drip, drip of Chinese Water Torture, should be enough to scare the 'bejezus' out of everyone.
My Dad is fortunate. On September 13th, he is coming back home. His roommate, however, a very bright and alert former sculptor, will not ever leave except through death. He sits in his chair looking out of the window, watching visitors come and go...none of whom will be finding their way to his room. Mr. Miller's predicament has caused me great anguish and the sad thing is, his experience is not unique.
Dyda has fared pretty well. The caregivers at St. Joseph have been wonderful.
But being in the presence of so many sick and infirm senior citizens has taken its toll. Last night during our visit, he suddenly began to count "54, 55,56,57..." I said, "Hey, Big Guy, why are you counting over and over again?" He looked at me with a slight grin and said, Hell! I gotta do something!" Let us pray fervently for cardiac arrests while sleeping.