I’m Half a Man

Yesterday my job took me to meet Mr. R.K.Jones. The receptionist buzzed me in and said, “You’re here for Mr. Jones in room 32, he’s by the window.” As I walked down the urine scented hallway, I realized this was a long term hospital for those who have had strokes… Room after room of men and women locked in their demobilized bodies. This would have been a Faustian nightmare had my father come with me, his greatest fear was landing up in a place like this.

I turned into the room and saw a man laying in silence, one side of his face frozen. I thought to myself, “God have mercy on him.” The second bed was thankfully curtained off and there he was Mr. Jones. He greeted me, “Thanks for coming. My cord is too short and by the time I can move this piece of junk of a body into position, they’ve stopped ringing.” I reached in my bag and uncoiled a long cord.

He admitted why he was in room 32 laying nearly frozen, bad diet and no exercise. “I’m stuck here in hell and all I can do is look out this damn window. Hey I actually called you out for that. Look at those dead wires dangling from that telephone pole over there. It’s driving me nuts watching them blow in the wind. I used to work for Ma Bell, I retired in 84. Could you cut them down?” I replied, “Sure. I have a bucket truck.”

We talked for a good 30 minutes and he told me of how this is the place you land up in if you have no money. I took a deep sigh. “Softly I said, “What about this one?” I pointed to the curtained bed. “Steve? He’s literally dead but they won’t let him die. Most of us here wish we were dead. I used to climb poles just like you. Now I can’t even scratch nuts. My advice to you is, if you have a stroke, let it finish you off. Don’t call for help.” On that I left.

I pulled around the corner and boomed up to the strand and lopped off the dead wires. I triangulated where his room was and waved to him. This too will pass

4 thoughts on “I’m Half a Man

  1. Again a caring man caring about the well being of another. You did a wonderful thing spending 30 minutes talking with the person. For my training for the hospital I had to do some work in a nursing home. I did most of the time in an Alzheimer’s ward. That was hard but easier than the assignment I got the 2nd day. I was handed a food tray and asked to go feed the person in room XX. As I went in the person was watching TV strapped into a sort of high sitting wheelchair. He was a quadriplegic who could move his one hand slightly and move some of his finger on that hand. He had enough movement to adjust the TV channel and volume and that was it. He was not even 30 years old. He wouldn’t ever get better. He could talk. He was lonely. I had never fed anyone before, even though I had read about it for the study book. I slowly fed him letting him tell me what he would have a bite of and when a drink. But what I did for him that was far more important was I talked with him. I also let him talk. He tried to extend his lunch meal long after he really was full because the only time he saw anyone was either for care or feeding. I set the tray aside and just stayed and spent time with him. I don’t even remember what we talked about. I have had nightmares of that poor guy and what he must go through. No family, poor, no money, in a nursing home, no control of anything. Desperate even to have someone to talk to. If I could do it, if I could drive and my body would let me I would go from care home to care home just to talk to those who are so lonely. Thank you for doing the human thing. Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really don’t know how I would be if I was in that position. Families put you away when they can’t take care of you… imagine a roommate who can’t speak, move and another man helpless. I wouldn’t wish that on my worse enemy…

      Liked by 1 person

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