Being with Betty
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Betty came to my house for dinner tonight. She was thrilled. We have trout, string beans and baked potatoes. She loves this meal and she ate well. She aways eats well at my house and she enjoys interacting with my daughter Joan. She barely stays 1 hour but it is a high light of her day. When she walked in to my house she felt chilled so I gave her my shoal to wear. She was thrilled She found it soft, warm and cozy. She actually didn't want to take it off when it was time to go home. I told her I would look for one for her. I had bought mine at the local pharmacy gift area and I hoped I would be able to find one for her.
It always feels good to make another person feel good.
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Today Lola or what ever her name is comes for 4 hours to babysit Betty. What a waste of time and money. She sits and watches TV while Betty lays on the bed. I always walk in on my way home from the gym usually around 9:30 AM. I proceed to talk into the kitchen and Betty in her excitement to see me follows with her walker. I usually offer her a banana to eat followed by Apple juice and dried apricot and date. She likes that routine and it makes me feel good that she is getting food into her body. Lila or Lola follows behind protesting that Betty refuses to eat.
She is worthless. I asked her to take Betty to the Senior Center this day and I laid out the coat and scarf because it is very windy out. I also set out the food for lunch. I didn't return today because my schedule didn't permit so I cannot say what was eaten, however when I returned later in the day, I say that some of Betty's food that is delivered daily was picked through. I know that Betty would never do that.
Lila, I suspect searches through Betty's things looking for something. The money is mostly hidden so she can no longer take it I do not trust her and her capabilities are very limited and suspect. How sad it is that Betty's family has no knowledge about this set up yet the worse crime of all is that they honestly don't want to know what is going on. Out of site is out of mind is there best policy.
I interview a women by the name of Anna today whom I was hoping to be the answer to my prayers. I wanted her to care for Betty--- be her companion, make sure she eats 5 times a day, stimulates her mind and her body.
Anna rang my door bell--- as I opened it, before me stood a creature wearing a cowboy hat and ugg boots slinging her big bag and waiting to be accepted with open arms as my savior.
UGG! Is all I could say---she was not the imagine that I was hoping to receive. My heart sank as my daughter and I ushered her into my living room. My first question was: Tell me something about yourself? Looking at me blank--- she said: "Didn't my friend Sherry tell you about me? All I want to do is say hello to Betty and meet her if we have a good feeling about each other then I will tell you about me.
UGG! No, it doesn't work that way. I want to get to know you and understand what it is you are looking for in employment. But that was my second realization. She actually didn't look at this as a job but rather a place to hang her hat as she slung her -I guess body around --- and Oh yes, Betty would eventually fit into the picture that is, if she had time. But as for feeding her 5 times a day was out of the question. She actually said: You want me to baby sit her?
No, I say, I wanted you to be her friend and companion. And yes, I expected you to stay in the house with her, assist her, talk to her, stimulate her with puzzles and word games etc.
You would think I was asking for the MOON.
I couldn't usher her out of my home fast enough. In fact, I think she was rather surprised when I practically pushed her out of my door and politely said: Thank you and then closed the door.
Upset would put it mildly. I so very much wanted this to work out and I really wanted someone to take over my role but I guess today was not the day.
I went to Betty's house to explain to her that the cowgirl with UGG boots was not going to work out. She too said she was disappointed.
I had a word puzzle book and 2
pencils in hand so we sat down and proceeded to find the words. Once Betty got the hang of it, she was hooked---interested and having fun. I too, must admit was hooked and busy looking for the appropriate words that were seeking to be discovered.
Betty didn't want this time to end but I was on my way for my daily 2 mile walk. Telling Betty that I would return to make her dinner.
She is actually thriving on the routine that I have created for her. She does fit me to eat her food, but I always insisted that she finish her meal so in the end I win out. Her favorite words are: I am nauseous. I am going to get sick. But some how I know that that isn't the truth so I persist and she finally finishes her meal. Tonight was no different but after her meal, she enjoyed ice cream and had no trouble eating the entire cup with I might add a nice chocolate cookie at the end. We always complete this exercise with me washing the dishes and her job is to dry them and put them away. She is eager to complete her task. I sense that she finds great joy and pride in feeling needed and important. Knowing that she enjoys this exercise nightly also feeds me with great joy and contentment.
While I know that I am doing something that is kind and noble, I pray that God will help me help Betty find the right person who will do as I have done Be a friend and allow her to have a reason for living.
Friday, February 17, 2012
As usual I arrived at Betty's house around 9:30 AM to give her a banana and some dry fruit plus a glass of apple juice. This has become our routine. This way I know that she has some quality food in her body. But when I arrived Lila was there and informed me that she is now employed for 3 days a week---Monday Wednesday and Friday. She was getting ready to take Betty to the store. I said first let me give Betty her breakfast and she preceeded to tell me that Betty does not like bannana's. We went back into the kitchen and as usual, Betty ate. Lila was watching and asked how do I do that. She rushed over to see if Betty wanted a cookie or some mixed nuts. My comments were: NO>> not for breakfast. As I told Betty's daughter, Joan, Lila is useless. She sits and watches TV while Betty lies in bed resting.
My intention and desire is to get Betty active, motivated and stimulated. It is truly an up hill battle. I am convinced that all Betty's daughter and especially husband want is waiting to see if she has died yet. It truly gets me angry when I think about it.
The Wednesday night when Betty was at my house for dinner, she felt chilled so I gave her my shoal to wear and she was thrilled. I told her I would look for one for her. I did go back to the pharmacy that has a gift shop where I bought mine and they had a lovely one but in the wrong colors. They have several stores and were going to check and see if one of their other stores had a lighter color shoal. Upon discovery, they called to say they had one in purple if I wanted it. I took Betty to look at it and she was thrilled. Once she put it on, she didn't want to take it off. She bought it and wore it out of the store feeling young, beautiful and very happy. She also wanted sunglasses to wear, so I took her to lenscrafters to buy them. She ended up buying a wonderful pair of Maui Jim glasses which besides being a perfect fit looked wonderful on her.
Leaving the store with her shoal on and her new sunglasses, she walked with a spring in her step and a smile on her face that was contagious. Betty in deed was tired but it was an exhilarating exhaustion and she felt so very happy.
She voiced her joy and pleasure to me. She is most grateful that I was willing to talk her to make the purchases. I was thrilled that she got a very good pair of sunglasses to protect her eyes. She hasn't stopped talking about the way she can see so well in the sun and she doesn't have to shield her eyes because the sunglasses are doing it for her.
When we arrived at her home, a young neighbor comes rushing over saying: Betty where have you been, Joan has been calling me all afternoon worried about you. Of course, we only left her hours at 2 PM after Lila left and lunch was finished and we arrived back at 3:50 PM.
Looking at me he said and who are you. I said I am a neighbor and who are you? He preceded to say that Joan, her daughter doesn't want Betty going out at all.
Betty and I continued to walk in the house and he followed quite annoyed. He wanted to know what I was doing. When I told him that I was helping Betty out, he told me that her daughter told him to look after her. I then got enraged I have never seen him at Betty's house before. I said, wonderful, then maybe you can watch her eat her meals maybe sit with her for dinner and see that she eats. He said , I do not want to get involved and he walked out. I felt that Betty was slightly annoyed so I told her to rest and I would be back at 5:30 to prepare her dinner. She was happy with that.
I had bought Betty a word puzzle book that we have been working on together. She loves looking for the words and has fun circling them when found. She told me that this was fun! Can you imagine that she was happy with this exercise! I am looking for ways to stimulate her mind and body. She is actually a very active person for her age and she can continue to do all of this if and when she eats properly to nurture and sustain her strength and well being.
On Friday, in all of my rushing to get my chores done, I lost track of time and missed my acupuncture appointment. When The doctor's office called me, I was disappointed but she said I could come right down, So I turned around and drove immediately to his office. When I arrived I blurted out to the receptionist that I was looking for someone to help with an older woman---Did she know of anyone who might work out. I am sure she was shocked by my questioning but I was feeling upset, probably a little desperate and worried that I would not be able to continue doing the job of keeping Betty healthy. When I finally went into the Doctor's inner office I broke down in tears. That is not like me, but I realized that I had all this pent up energy that was ready to explode. He said he would work on me and add extra to relax my pressure points. I must admit that he helped me a lot and during that time in his office I worked on myself, my mind and spirit and connected with my inner Source where I was able to let go of control over Betty and release her to God. I am not her daughter and I am not related. I am only a caring neighbor who has seen the neglect of a 98 year old lady and wanted to try to help out.
So it was no surprise when today, Saturday, the next morning February 18, 2012 as I was walking towards Betty's house, I saw for the second time this man " do not want to get involved�� walking out of her house. As I passed him in her garage, I said : Well Goodmorning Mr.I don't want to get involved! He said: What did you say to me I only kept walking into the house. He followed me and said. I came to check up on Betty--- I thought---since when I have been there almost every day for the last 6-8 weeks and have NEVER seen him there once.
He got angrier by the minute and said: You are not wanted here what are you doing here I said, I decided to get involved when One day I came into Betty's house and found her so weak she could bearly stand or walk and when I went into her kitchen there was NO food
NOTHING! I immediately went home and made her tomato soup loaded with rice and she ate the entire amount. I continued to say, at this point quite sternly--that Betty has been neglected and mal-nourished and that I have been giving her 5 meals a day because her stomach was so shrunk that she could only eat in very small portions. I further said that if you were so interested, you would have seen this and that I was going to call the police and let them know what was going on. He simply turned around and walked out of the house saying I have been looking after Betty for 8 years.
I can honestly say that for the first time in a very long time, I was enraged----my anger was so strong that I had a difficult time calming down. That is when I decided to write a BLOG site.
To share this story with others but more importantly to say to whom ever is interested that there are many other people men, women and even children in our country who need some form of assistance and are not getting it because those who are saying that they are overlooking the needs of others are not doing it. There is too much lip service and I would like to think good intentions but no good actions.
Betty's family calls her once or twice a day and even Betty says: All they want to know is if I am still alive. When my neighbor, "Mr. I don't want to get involved�� appears on the scene, all he does is say hello and how are you and when she smiles and says I am okayk, he turns around and walks back out the door. Now understand,, I can only surmise this but the proof is right in front of me and now you.
God help us! It might be helpful if he or others like him checked to see if people like Betty were losing weight, which Betty is and I might add that was my first clue months ago.
In fact almost a year ago when I say her daughter and son in-law at a rare visit to Betty's house, I was walking in with a bag of groceries and they were standing there wanting to know who I was.
Boy did I give it to them at that time. They certainly know my sentiments and they know I am watching but they truly don't care. They offer the minimal assistance and no more.
I have come to see and know that Betty can no longer be left alone. She needs help with her food, her life and her well-being. She has many capabilities and she is eager to help and make choices for her life yet she is not able to do it without assistance.
I called Betty's daughter on the phone two weeks ago and offered my services till we found the right person to live with Betty. At first Joan said yes but when her husband, Erin got on the phone he said NO He could not afford to pay for any additional help. He was going broke over the expenses that he was now paying. Even though they now own Betty's home and have that investment, he refused to budge. Not to worry I will not be discouraged. With god's help it will work out.
Sunday, February 18, 2012
I slept in late today just enjoying the quietness of nothingness. It may seem strange to you but I do this often on the weekends when I feel I have the privilege of relaxing and thinking of nothing else but me---that is for at least the early part of the day. If you have never tried it, I suggest you do it now it is a wonderful feeling. But as I awoke , the phone rang and I immediately knew that my day had begun.
My daughter called to say that our friend Kate invited us for a boat ride in Huntington Beach Harbor area. We have wanted to go with her for sometime but something always got in the way. So we said yes for today. I was also supposed to go to Laguna Beach and shop for items that we needed for our upcoming workshop weekend. There goes my lazy, relaxing day.
But before my day gets started, I must go to Betty's house and check in with her. I was not there last night to give her dinner. Even though there was food in the refrigerator for her to prepare, no one was there to make sure she ate much less to prepare the food. So at 9:45, I arrived at her back door shouting Betty I am here---Finding her in the bedroom, she looked weak and tired. When I asked her if she had anything to eat she said: I think so. I immediately walked to the kitchen area and as usual she followed me like a little puppy.
I checked around the kitchen and the refrigerator to see what was eaten what was different. One banana was missing, as was one small cup of ice cream. The meals were still in the refrigerator and everything was still in place.
Betty did not have dinner last night and she probably didn't have anything to eat this morning and as a result she was weak. My heart sank. I proceeded to pull out a fruit cup, and apple juice and I made toast. She was fighting me to eat but with gentle prodding, she finished the fruit cup, drank all of the juice and ate ﾌ_ slice of toast. I was pleased and she felt better. I then left her alone as I went home to prepare my breakfast. Feeling upset and worried, I wasn't sure what to do. I knew that I wasn't going to be around this evening to give her a meal and I didn't want the same thing to happen again where she was left with out eating a meal. I finally decided that I would try to call a neighbor Fred or Shila--hoping one of them would help me out and make sure Betty ate.
Before I arrived at home I saw the young girl, Shelby who is the caregiver for an elderly couple two house away. She was charming and warm to me and gave me a booklet on aging that the daughter of the couple suggested I read. She wanted me to become familiar with pricing and cost for care etc. I became emotional sharing my story about Betty this morning and she listened kindly. I realize that it isn't her problem but I keep thinking that if I tell this story to anyone who will listen, someone will have a solution for me. So I babble on again and again hoping against all hope that I will get help.
When I got home, I immediately called Fred on the phone saying: " Fred, can you come over immediately, I have an emergency.�� He said he would be right over.
I breathed a sign of relief. Fred was coming over, a wonderful older man of approximately 70 years of age who has always been available to help Betty and me.
When he walked in my door I proceeded to tell him about Betty and how she has not eaten since yesterday at 2PM when I gave her a snack. I was upset because I was not going to be around this evening. Fred immediately said he would go over and stay with Betty till she ate.
I told him that I would prepare a hot meal for her for lunch so he could give her chicken salad and potato salad. He agreed again. He actually stopped over at the house around 1PM to see where I hid the food and He saw me prepare the food for Betty and feed her. She often wants to fight me by saying that she can't eat any more or she feels sick, but after my prodding, she finally eats everything. Know that her stomach was warm, full and content made me happy.
I felt so relieved to know that I had someone to help me out. God, it is emotionally exhausting to keep this woman alive with good solid food yet I feel good knowing that I can be a part of this process. My greatest concern is that I will not be able to do this alone and I am desperately seeking others to help me out. Don't get me wrong, I feel good knowing that I am helping another human being but at the same time, it is an awesome task and I am only a compassionate neighbor.
I needed to go to the market to buy milk so I took Betty with me for the ride. She loves getting out, smelling the fresh air and just observing what is going on around her. She spends so much time lying in her bed alone that she has lost contact with the outside world. I am hoping to bring some of that back into her life---to stimulate her senses and mind and help her body to stay fluid. It is actually a full time job, but I will do the best that I can do. I continually tell myself that God is in control, I am only an agent and I am willingly following his lead. That is the only way I can handle this situation. I acknowledge that I do not have solutions but if nothing else, as long as it is in my power, I will help sustain her. The amazing thing is, she is capable of living for many more years in good health. That in itself is marvelous.
Today Betty turned to me and said: I am so grateful to have you with me. Thank you. And then she said at least 4 times---I love my sunglasses. They are so wonderful and I can see so well. They are truly worth the price. They are the best thing that I have ever bought.
I was again thrilled that she saw the worth and value and that this small little need was and actually is a huge benefit for her well being. Thank you again God that she can have this joy. I am sure her family is probably cursing me but I do not care---Betty just might actually live longer than them and wouldn't that be something!
Joan Marie Ambrose