Sunday, February 21, 2010

Some people have it, others don't.

James 1:27 "Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. " What about the "widowers"?

It's interesting to me how men react to getting older and being dependent on other people. They react quite differently than women. My beloved father passed away about a year and a half ago. We were relieved for him. He wasn't good at being dependant. I have learned from visiting nursing homes that most men just don't last long in a dependent situation. I'm sure there are many facts that would prove that but all you have to do is visit one to know that the men in nursing care are outnumbered. Women can stay alive and deal with the emotional feelings that come with elderly nursing care. At the Wesleyan Nursing home, the health care is excellent but the men don't last long. At first, they just seem frustrated. They will put up with it, all of them thinking that they will be home in a few weeks. If they don't go home in a few weeks and reality sets in that this is the place where they will live until they die, they give up. Men react to being dependent by either becoming passive and losing interest in living or they become defiant and rebel against their caretakers. Mom has developed a friendly relationship with a former dentist and male resident at the Wesleyan. She likes him because he has a beautiful set of teeth and smiles when he sees her. He was admitted a few months ago and we have seen him going from frustrated but hopeful to hopeless and defiant. "I am married and my wife says I can flirt but only with women your age" he teases. At first, he was going to his physical therapy, joking and teasing all the ladies but things have changed. He developed a hopeless attitude and stopped eating. It was very upsetting to mom when she saw him become mean one day and bite a nurse aid. He was shaking all over and wouldn't let them put the oxygen tubes in his nose. "Ouch that hurts!" the nurse aid screamed loud. Mom got teary and said, "He’s just not acting like himself today." He hasn't been acting like himself a lot lately. It has nothing to do with the health care, they have excellent care. It has to do with "attitude." When my Grandpa got put in a nursing home he would close his eyes, try not to breath and act dead for hours at a time. He hoped that he could just "will "himself dead that way. Lots of men just "will" themselves dead and it works. We finally put my father in a nursing home right next to mom. On the first day, a nurse came in and bossed him around. He said calmly to the nurse, "are you trying to boss me?" When she left, he looked over at my mom, his loving wife and best friend for 65 years and said "this situation is not going to work for me." It didn't, he lasted one day and a half and died.
Another interesting reaction I've noticed about older men is that they become romantic and more sensitive toward the end. One night, mom was awakened by an old man standing over her who had wandered into her room. He was just gazing at her quietly. "It's been so long. I have missed you so much. I love you. You are so beautiful!" he said passionately. Mom told me about it the next day, "at first I was a little startled but he looked so sincere and he was saying such nice things." She seemed disappointed that a nurse aid found him and redirected him to his room. "I just smiled and let him talk. I know he thought I was his wife." she said. What girl can resist good sweet talk! Mom didn't get a lot of sweet talk from my dad. He was a great husband and no one ever doubted that he loved her dearly but he wasn't romantic. A few months before my dad died, he went to visit mom in the nursing home and he told her that he wanted to take her to a motel and just hold her in bed. "I can't do that now." she said. It was too late for romance as far as she was concerned. I can see why she would feel that way, sitting there in her wheel chair halfway paralysed with a diaper on. If you need to tell your wife how beautiful she is, how much you love her and hold her tight. Just do it now! Don't wait until it's too late!

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