Neverending Trauma

Today some woman called from the medical supply company to talk about Max’s wheelchair. She wanted to schedule a pick-up time, since the insurance company won’t pay for the rental “once the client has passed.” I don’t want to hear the word “passed.” People die, even though we don’t want them to. Passing is a euphemism that seeks to downgrade the truth. Let us speak of death openly.

The woman says that we already owe $400 for the chair but guess what? I looked up the exact model and it sells for $325. I am not giving them the fucking chair because it’s still at the dining table where it belongs. When the woman calls back, I plan to tell her that I’m keeping the wheelchair and she can take me to small claims court. It’s staying here no matter what.

But nothing   is ever enough. My dad was admitted to the hospital yesterday after losing 25 pounds. He can’t swallow or talk. He’s 89 years old and they wanted to send him home. They had no idea they were dealing with a hardened veteran of hospital chicanery. Fuckers. Now the whole group of my father’s 7 children are assembling to handle the situation. Some of us barely know each other. None of us can bear to see him suffer, now that he’s old and helpless.

The man in the next bed was telling his imaginary friend about 1933. He was incensed at times, ranting about ten children, and then slipping in and out of Word War II.   At one point, he said, “Why, thank you!” with such graciousness that I wanted to cry.

I’m not close to my father but I was grateful to have someone to care for, a hand to hold, a head to stroke. I just want to take care of someone again.

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42 Responses to Neverending Trauma

  1. i remember some 12 years ago when my grandma got so sick, (she’s close to all her 5 kids especially to my mom), but for some reason they can’t commit to taking care of her. Cos here in the Philippines there’s so home for elderly people. The kids take care of their parents. It was hard seeing my grandma slowly dying everyday. I guess must be more hard for her children.

    it’s good that you’re with your father now. He needs you.

  2. Queen Marie says:

    After reading this I too want to cry and to scream at the universe to leave you the f**k alone…
    stop. it. now.


  3. SACRAMENTO says:

    I do not think that you meant to make us cry, but to feel de desperation caused by the institutions who think people are numbers on paper.
    I also think that you are very lucky to have your father, ill and all. I lost both my parents on a car crash many years ago, and I still miss them.
    Un abrazo fuerte from Andalucía Spain

  4. Mathilde says:

    I second Queen Marie! Also the healthcare system there just sounds totally fucked up, makes me grateful for the National Health Service we have in the UK.


  5. WendyB says:

    I’m glad your father has you.

  6. Elena Abaroa says:

    The USA health system is a fucking joke, I cant belive that “the most powerful” country in the world make suffer the people like this…I´m so sorry about your father…You are amazing, as always you express your grief in a sensitve way and after reading your post i have “my heart in the throat” (its a Spanish quote to express emotion). “I was grateful to have someone to care for, (…) I just want to take care of someone again”, these words are very sad, but beautiful, you are a very special woman, you seem very strong but your loss is so deep, hope u could feel a bit better soon with the love of your family…Lots of love xoxo

  7. Ann says:

    “Once the client has passed?” Fuck me, could she have made it sound less human, less personal, less real? I realize this dumb bitch never knew Max but Jesus, woman, THINK before you speak. The atrocities in our healthcare system start with $6/hour people like her and reach all the way up to the cretins in the hospital that wanted to send your dad home without a diagnosis or a solution.

    I’m beyond sorry to hear about your dad. Your life has been a revolving hospital door for over a year now and it’s just not right. He is lucky to have you. Keep doing what you do, Sister.

  8. Bevitron says:

    What everybody else has said so well, especially about the universe leaving you alone. All I know is I’m sad and I want you to be okay.

  9. tobilynne says:

    Thinking of you, Sister.

  10. Beck says:

    Your dad’s lucky to have a formidable daughter like you, sister. I really hope you can sort out the care he needs. Rant at the charmless wheelchair woman on the phone if it helps – although if she has any conscience, she won’t call back.

    When my dear gentle granddad died after years of dementia, in the nursing home where he’d been for several years, the nurse phoned my dad to inform him, and during the same phone call asked him to arrange for an undertaker to come as soon as possible to collect ‘the body.’ There are an unbelievable amount of fucking idiots working in so-called caring professions.

  11. Cricket9 says:

    Health systems treat old people like crap everywhere. Some years ago I visited my father in Poland – he was 80 at the time. I noticed that his eyesight is really bad, but he’s not wearing glasses. I asked why not. The answer was: “the doctor said IT WOULDN’T HELP”! Holy fuck, glasses wouldn’t help! He wasn’t blind, just needed correction glasses, which the lovely doctor deemed too expensive for the state to pay for. I went with him to an optometrist, next day he had glasses, his quality of life improved immediately. I couldn’t find the doctor to give her shit, apparently she was on holidays. Bitch.
    SW, I’m glad your dad has someone to protect him from the system. Hang onto the wheelchair; one day you may feel that you are ready to give it up, but not now, and not “when the client has passed”. Hugs & love!

  12. Lara says:

    Good grief woman! It never ends, does it?

    Fuck those equipment rental people.

    My mom has M.S. and I have been her primary caregiver for a decade of her being bedridden. I have kicked out nurses, cussed doctors at hospitals, done post surgical care, pulled out drainage tubes, insert catheters, fought Medicare in Federal court (and won)… you name it.

    My favorite was when my mom had a clogged femoral artery in her left leg causing her big toe to start dying. The doctor wanted to just amputate her leg because well, she wasn’t using it anyway and the surgery was really quick. I cussed him to hell and back in honor of my mom’s bodily intergrity and they did the angioplasty and you know what? It worked. And I saved that damned toe!

    If you leave your loved ones at the mercy of the system, god help them. You father is indeed lucky to have you. Stay strong. xoxo

  13. Aja says:

    I am horrified by how much you’ve had to endure this year. And yeah, if you already owe a certain amount on the wheel chair than I have no idea why they would try and collect it from you.

  14. tinlizzy says:

    Keep the wheelchair and let us know the date they take you to small claims court. It’s time to take a public stand against this kind of treatment. Un fucking believable!

  15. RedHeadFashionista says:

    I cannot believe these people. I understand that they probably have to chase up hundreds of items of hospital equipment every day but they should respect that they are talking to real people who have suffered terribly, not monsters who steal their wheelchairs. And as for how they have handled, or not handled, the issue with your father, makes me sick.
    You hang on in there and to that wheelchair. xx

  16. rebecca says:

    Fucking hell, SW.

  17. Bourbon Drinker Known as MJ says:

    Yep, after my grandmother died at my parents’ house, they got a call pretty quickly looking for the wheelchair. Classy.

    Thinking of you.

    I got a call this morning from a 49 year old acquaintance, diagnosed with the worst kind of brain cancer and frantically looking for a great estate planning lawyer for family affairs. I connected her and am reminded of how I’ve always felt during a close death/disaster – how can this happen? How can this happen on a nice day with a blue sky, where 99.8% of the world is going about their business without a care? How can the world not stop when someone’s blissful reality just did?

  18. Sister, I’m so sorry you have to deal with this stuff. Keep the wheelchair!
    Your father is lucky to have his children around, advocating for him, and I’m glad you have someone to take care of if that’s what you need right now. Let’s talk soon,

  19. jd says:

    Oh Sister Wolf…life is a fucker to some people. I am crying and angry reading your post.

    Stay strong against these assholes. Lots of love xx

  20. hammie says:

    The fighting never fucking stops! Thank goodness all the family are rallying around. What happened to a society that reveres and honors its elders for their wisdom?

    Or is the hospital and insurance company conspiring to implement the Inuit method of leaving people out in the snow?

    May your dad come back fighting too and hang around for many years more. (even just out of spite, my favourite reason for doing anything)


  21. dust says:

    I’m proud of you, Sister.
    Don’t forget to take care of yourself as well.
    One day, when you are ready to give up the chair, give it to somebody that really needs it.


  22. patni says:

    life can be a motherfucker. Health care systems increase the fuckingness.

    My 90 year old aunt, who is paranoid schizophrenic fell and broke her hip. While she was in the hospital getting her hip fixed, the orthopedic drs didn’t see why they should be bothered to go get a psych person ot administer her anti psychotic drugs.

    My dad and my aunt caused a big fuss, but no one would do anything. So my poor aunt wakes up from anesthesia, un-medicated and in pain and slugged the orthopedist, giving him a black eye. We were all very happy about that and he could be bothered to go get her meds after that.

  23. kt says:

    This is a perfect example as to why I am so completely chaffed and wary (plus weary) of any systemized institution that exists with the intention of “helping” and providing care for people, but in fact does the total exact opposite. I’ve dealt with a number of medical and concurrent legal issues, in which one situation involved me getting into a major vehicle accident with an MTA bus. The bus ran a red light, rammed into my car, and sent me spinning playing bumper cars, leaving me to finally stop in the middle of an intersection and crawl out of a window. To try and make a very long saga short, I had to acquire legal help when the bus driver refused to admit any fault. The ambulance, hospital, and physical therapy bills were uncovered by health insurance I didn’t have yet because I had just started a new job. I needed justice, and importantly I needed those damn bills paid. I refused to suffer any more than I already was, physically and emotionally. Well, the law office I sought help from turned out to create a bigger headache. The incompetent staff assigned to my case were forgetting about the hospital bills that were put on lien and let them go to collections. They helped in screwing me over more than I was already screwed. Eventually I realized that I really was alone in this process. That if I wanted ANYTHING done right, I had better pay real fucking close attention and be on top of absolutely everything.

    The damn bus driver finally admitted to running the red in his deposition, but it still took over the course of 2.5 years to actually settle. This situation was especially difficult as I was up against a big government agency that has the money and resources to fight back someone like me, who at the time was 23 and still hopeful and trusting in the aid of others. The whole experience has left the worst, most bitter taste in my mouth. It further displayed the incompetence of a society of people who lack reason, compassion, and any understanding. And it just makes me so, so angry.

  24. *gemmifer* says:

    Sister Wolf, my thoughts are with you and your family. Like you haven’t been through enough already without medical peeps screwing you around… it all boils down to money, not caring for patients and their families’ physical and emotional health. You keep that chair at your table, and screw the person who tries to take it away! I will say a prayer for your father too. I consider myself blessed to have a wonderful relationship with my dad, but no matter what state the parent-child relationship is in, it is still painful to see them suffering.

  25. Moda says:

    I agree with Queen Marie. Fucking hell SW. Bastards!!

  26. Ann Hooker says:

    Sister Wolf, I had no idea that your son had died. I thought he had just gone on a long trip that boys that age often do. My heart breaks for you and I mean that. My boy was taken away from me in a custody fight, but it does not compare I know. I know you don’t care too much for superstition, but may God keep you and your husband during this intense time of trial. I’m thinking about you and wish you well. If I had the money I would send the fuckers their $400.00.

  27. Witch Moma says:

    SW – I find it very rewarding to “Adjunct” @ the local Comm. College in base level drawing & design courses. The money is nothing but love the students, & it helps me with my work too. W/your writing ability & wit this may be a good fit for you.

  28. deja pseu says:

    Fuck, will the universe cut you a fucking break already?!?

    I’m so sorry to hear about your dad. Kick some serious hospital ass for him.

  29. Alicia says:

    This is so fucked up. Ugh.

    And yes, please kick serious hospital ass for your father.

  30. A budda cow named Bessie says:

    Sending lots of love, blessings, hugs and well wishes, and good thoughts your way. Stay strong!

  31. TexasArt says:

    All this sucks … As some have said, make sure you take care of yourself in the midst of the tough times.

  32. Angelica says:

    Jesus Christ, could these people be any less caring? “Once the client has passed”?? Then they try to take advantage of a person’s grief to rip them off, and the hospital tries to take advantage of peoples’ ignorance and trust in “medical professionals” to save some money? Those kind of people aren’t even human, they’re machines programmed with lies and bureaucracy and greed. All they care about is scraping profit from wherever they can, and not giving a flying fuck about the “small people” in the process. There’d better be a special room in hell waiting for them.

    I’m so sorry that more bad shit just keeps happening to you…it’s fucking unbelievable. At least your dad has actually got a fighting chance now that you and your siblings are advocating for him.

  33. alittlelux says:

    I agree with Queen Marie. If I could rip the heavens down for you and let you give the universe a swift quick in the nuts, I would. I love you. Foot rub offer still stands.

  34. mai says:

    SW, you give me hope and strength. I have been battling with our own health system (commentators above, the NHS is just as bad, if not worse – full of arrogant pricks who think they are God’s gift and DO Not Listen to what we worthless humans have to say.) It drives me to the brink of despair, but your fighting spirit gives me the drive to keep kicking their balls in too.

  35. Elaine says:

    Glad you’re back with your pack Sister Wolf
    This has been one hell of a shit year for you.
    Best of luck to you and your family

  36. PeaceBwithU says:

    Awww Sister my heart aches for you. I wish I had some comforting words to pass along but all I come up with is “Time heals” and I can attest to that.

  37. Sonia Luna says:

    My god Sister Wolf, how much more can you take!
    Thinking about you, keep strong.
    Love to you and your family.

  38. Cami says:

    You are kidding me! Gosh, I can’t believe how heartless people can be… no actually, I can. But you don’t deserve a drop of it dear Sister.
    One of my closest friends from my younger years who was severely depressed and in and out of mental hospitals (beginning in the more expensive rehab and then being dropped to the most public of public for total delinquents because his parents couldn’t afford it), was so disgusted and traumatized by the health care system that I swear it had something to do with his final demise. They were trapped in cages, with a couch, a bunch of drunkard/misfits and a packet of cigarettes and then asked what was wrong. He left the building via the roof top (which, in a mental hospital was accessible and high enough to be useful). The health care system is a complete joke.
    It brings a tear to my eye thinking about you and your situation.
    Please take care of yourself little one. XXX

  39. marianne says:

    Can’t even begin to imagine just what you’re feeling, it’s so strange the American way of tying up sickness with money. When my mother died, I cried when we took away the little pieces that outlined her life with us – the reading pillows, her bed, even the fucking commode – because they were things that she had touched and to remove them was stealing her even more away from me.

    Hang onto your wheelchair. You are an amazing lady; brave, cool & funny as fuck.

    Wish you all the strength in the world x

  40. nothing i say is good enough…i have tried typing so many different responses. but i either sound like a fucking asshole, a fucking idiot, a fucking joke or a fucking pathetic loser.
    i am so sorry.

    what i can say without any of the above retardation is that you are incredibly funny and there is a silver lining in all of this…there really is. you’ll know it when you see it.

    if you are ever in atlanta please let me buy you a drink.

  41. liz says:

    I agree with the above about not being able to type anything remotely good enough to I’ll just say that this breaks my heart and that I’m sorry for your loss and the world’s loss of such an interesting and talented dude (I just listened to “be my baby” and it was so fucking good)

    sending love from brooklyn

  42. sikiÅŸ says:

    The Zune concentrates on being a Portable Media Player. Not a web browser. Not a game machine. Maybe in the future it’ll do even better in those areas, but for now it’s a fantastic way to organize and listen to your music and videos, and is without peer in that regard. The iPod’s strengths are its web browsing and apps. If those sound more compelling, perhaps it is your best choice.

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