When there’s no easy solution
In between all the craziness of COVID-19, writing for a paper, and the ongoing ordeal going on up north, I managed to find some time for myself to just be alone and enjoy some moments of peace.
Lately it feels like I am being pulled in multiple directions, especially as I navigate the situation with my friend Jo’s husband, Phil. He’s improved dramatically from when I first saw him, shortly after Jo’s passing, but I fear for him when the time comes when he has to leave the house he has lived in these past 25 years.
He’s insisting on staying there, which does not come as a surprise. When you try to explain the severity of the situation, and that he cannot stay there, he stubbornly refuses to listen.
Again, this does not come as a surprise. He’s frightened, watching as his whole world crumbles around him. For me, it feels like no matter what I do, I am making the wrong decision, or that I could be doing more.
I’ve been assured that I am making the right choices by multiple parties, but knowing that I’ll have to sign the rock shop away is hard for me. Our healthcare system refuses to take Phil in until they know what kind of resources he has at his disposal - which is gross and unfair.
My friends from across the pond in the UK and Australia are rather horrified when they hear about the ways our country handles healthcare. I think many of us here feel the same way.
I’ve been blessed to be very healthy, and am the only person in my family to have never broken a bone or needed stitches. I’ve found that by staying relatively active and eating relatively healthy I can avoid a lot of aches and pains.
But we all grow old, and nobody cheats Father Time or the Grim Reaper. It’s a sad state of affairs when two peoples’ entire lives have to be sold off in pieces so a man who is afflicted with an incurable disease can be taken care of.
I am not going to lie, I am angry. I am angry that we as a society tolerate people losing their life’s saving on chemotherapy. I am angry that we seemingly have no problem with pharmaceutical companies charging exorbitant rates for life giving drugs that cost citizens of other developed nations a few dollars.
I am also tired. Tired in a way that goes beyond physical exhaustion, tired in a spiritual and emotional fashion. It’s with a heavy heart that I have agreed to sign the guardianship of Phil, along with guardianship of the estate, including the Jackpine Rock Shop, to a corporate guardian. It’s a hard thing to admit when you cannot solve a problem.
It’s going to be even harder to lock the rock shop up a final time knowing that all those years of joy and hard work and wonder have come to an end. But there is hope.
I have hope that the rock shop will re-open its doors and there are friends working towards this goal. I have hope that good people will see to Phil’s needs and that his final years are as comfortable as possible.
I also have hope in the American people, hope that we can change a broken system. As the great British statesman Winston Churchill once said, “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they’ve tried everything else.”
M USINGS AND G RUMBLINGS
ROSS PATTERMANN REPORTER