Monday, November 20, 2006

Nobody Does It Better

This afternoon, I called my cousin, Margaret Ann, to find out if she and her husband had been over to the nursing home recently to visit our mutual aunt and cousin who have been residents of the home since August 31st. Because of issues at home, my own health problems, surgery, now transportation problems too, I have only had one opportunity to stop and visit our aunt. So, I have pretty much been relying on Margy and Jack's visits to them and the occasional times my younger daughter is over in Clearfield and is able to stop in to see how our aunt and cousin are doing.

Margy's report today was pretty good, overall and all things considered.

For anyone reading this and who doesn't know the history here, this aunt is the baby of my cousin Margy's and my father's family. Margy's dad and my dad were brothers and were both a good bit older too than this aunt. My dad I think - if I have the math right here - was 17 years older than her and Margy's dad was probably 14-15 years older than this aunt.

Our aunt has not had the nicest life in some aspects. She has had some very good things here and there - was able to go to college, became a teacher and was well-respected, even loved, by many of her students over the years too.

She didn't marry until she was about 34-35 years old, had a miscarriage sometime thereafter and then, at age 39 (almost 40) she had her daughter, Jane Ann. Now, here is where the problems set in. Age can and often is a factor in pregnancy - more so I think back 50 years ago when Jane was concieved and born than today due to so many improvements in medical science. One factor in particular though is what went against my aunt back then - she was RH negative blood type and also, she had had a miscarriage prior to having this child and at that time, there was no such thing as the Rhogam shot they administer now to all women who have just had a child or a miscarriage. The RH factor obviously did much damage to Jane Ann - physical deformities, cerebral palsy as well as mental deficiencies are more than evident in her.

My aunt though, has always regarded Jane as her very special baby, her daughter - and this is how ALL children should be thought of and tended to and special pains being taken too in order to assure that anything that could possibly improve Jane's quality of life be done for her. My ex-husband, for all his faults back when we were still married, had a very, very soft spot for this particular aunt and also said then - would tell you this today too if asked - that if a child has to be born with the problems such as Jane has, then those children should all be blessed with a mother like my aunt! And, with that there is no question in my mind either as I agree wholeheartedly in his opinion there.

I don't remember exactly now when my aunt retired from teaching - probably though it was in the mid-to-late seventies - but for Jane's entire life, she has kept teaching in that she has kept trying anything and everything she could possibly think of to try to teach Jane new things. She has had physical therapy for Jane over the years - sometimes intensive therapy and other times, just very mild therapy for Jane's legs to try to avoid the issues with arthritis and atrophy of the limbs. She has probably purchased just about every stuffed animal ever on the market as well as puzzles and other toys geared to kids in the 2-4 year age range that might possibly give Jane a little bit more ability, learning things from numbers to shapes, the alphabet - you name it, she's tried it!

When things at the family homestead finally fell apart this summer and it was really obvious to everyone that the mother and daughter - for their own safety and health - should no longer be allowed to live alone there - difficult as it was, they were placed in this nursing home by the state. Margy's and my cousin, Mike - who has power of attorney for our aunt - more or less orchestrated this event and I am not going to say anything critical of why this was done because I know, deep down in my heart, that it was done out of love and caring so much for our aunt and cousin! I know Mike and his wife, Bea, well enough to know that no way would he ever do anything deliberately to hurt or harm either our aunt or Jane Ann! Of course, if you were to talk to our Aunt today about this, she will tell you a totally different story, but that is how she views this whole thing and she is entitled to her belief too.

But, the point I want to make in this message today, stems from a conversation my daughter had last week with a young lady who works at the nursing home and Mandy had mentioned to her about her aunt and cousin being residents there. The girl said how much she liked caring for Jane, as she is so pleasant, always laughing, etc., and yes, that is generally how Jane is too. Then she told Mandy about an incident that occurred recently at the home with Jane. Seems Jane kept removing an alarm thing they have attached to her clothing and it would set off a loud alarm in the room as well as at the nurse's station. Well after several times of her removing this, the nurse's moved Jane's bed out of the room and put it down by the nurse's station so they could monitor her easier. All this was done though while my aunt was asleep. When she awoke and her daughter was not there in the bed beside hers, she went absolutely ballistic!

Now, I could have told the nurse's this would happen if she woke up and Jane wasn't there, but by the same token, I am not criticizing the nurse's decision either. THey have how many other patients to worry about and dealing with this alarm constantly going off - well, I'm sure anyone else can understand their logic there.

But my Aunt was furious, absolutely livid and told the nurses that she and only she could care best for her daughter!!! End of discussion as far as she was concerned I am sure.

Mandy then - after hearing the girl tell her this story - asked her if she has any children herself and the girl nodded that yes, she does. And Mandy then asked her if she thinks anyone else can care for her children better than she can and she thought for a second or two and said "NO!" Well then, Mandy told her, that is exactly how my aunt feels about her daughter.

Nobody Does it Better!

And you know what, my dear Aunt Mike is so right! Nobody does it better, at all, than you do!

1 comment:

Mike said...

Some times tough choices have to be made. It's always difficult. I'm glad your aunt and her daughter are being cared for though.