This post first appeared in American Thinker Marooned in No Man’s Land: A nursing home on May 13, 2020 and I thank them.
I now know what living was like for Robinson Crusoe….no, not shipwrecked nor floundered on some shoals. But a victim of cruel circumstances.
After decades of toil I retired. An over 55 retirement community became my destination. Lovely grounds right out of a story book. Activities that would put a cruise ship to shame. Extensive dining room options. Farm to table. What could be better?
That is where the good part of the saga ends.
See, this over 55 retirement community comes complete with what is called “continuing care” “home care” “assisted living” – and what is known as a “nursing home.”
Thus all the mandates government imposed on “nursing homes” fell upon the entire community as well as the management wanting to keep us “safe” they say.
I can be charitable and say what is being done is in our best interest. If not I can say it is a cruel measure being perpetuated upon the voiceless.
The “shelter in place” notion is no less harmful than the virus itself. Essentially everyone is locked down. Socializing? Nope. The cruise has ended. We are no more than inmates. Meals being delivered with a knock on the door by a faceless person with a mask and wearing purple gloves that makes them unrecognizable. They drop the package of food – our meals on the floor. Because you see, there can be no human contact.They scamper away long before one can get to the door.
The bus trips for “excursions” to faraway places have long ended. The bus shuttles that run several times a a week into town to get whatever we need has ended as well. Remember, this is for our own good. We are not to visit our fellow humans. No outsiders are allowed in. We are not allowed out. No family members. No one who isn’t required to keep us alive. If what we are doing is living.
I have exhausted Amazon Prime and Netflix movies. At least the ones I am interested in. I am a lucky one. I have binged. I am able to amuse myself. At least to a point.
I am one of the lucky ones. I like to think I still have my faculties. I have a car and able to drive. I can escape.
Spiritual care called.They asked if I had talked to anyone. They could set up face time. That was nice. Did I need anything? Nope.
I didn’t watch the COVID hearing last week. I wondered if it was a sign of depression. They warned us about that. Perhaps because it would be pouring salt in my wound.This COVID thing. They might discuss nursing homes and the need for additional draconian measures to keep us safe.
Perhaps a sign of my potential xenophobia… When I saw Trump at the latest presser attacked because he suggested the “reporter” (some kid there to hassle him) she ask China for the answer to her question. (She was Asian don’t you know) I thought yes… I could resent this China thing. Big time.
But I digress from my point. The designated nursing home.
Killing with kindness…
Those whose husband or wife who now lives in our designated nursing home but their loved one still has a cottage or apartment cannot visit their partner in the nursing home. Those who live in the designated nursing home are essentially not permitted outside of their room. No communal meals.
Thus little physical activity or mental stimulation. None of the group activities that give meaning to daily living. Loneliness that is a proven killer.
Just whom are we saving for what?
In a study of elderly Americans who moved to a nursing home for their final months or years of life, 65 percent died there within one year, according to an investigation by researchers at the San Francisco VA Medical Center and the University of California, San Francisco.
“One quarter of all deaths in the United States occur in nursing homes, and that figure is expected to rise to 40 percent by the year 2020,” says Smith.Smith describes the average and median length of stay before death as “surprisingly brief.”
The average age of participants when they moved to a nursing home was about 83. The average length of stay before death was 13.7 months, while the median was five months. Fifty-three percent of nursing home residents in the study died within six months.
Men died after a median stay of three months, while women died after a median stay of eight months. Married participants died a median four months sooner than those who were unmarried.
The implication, he says, is that “we need to engage nursing home residents in planning conversations about end-of-life care and treatment preferences very soon after they are admitted. We have only a brief amount of time to address their concerns before they become seriously ill.”
I can assure you that isolating these poor souls for the months they have remaining on this mortal coil is not in their game plan.
Robinson Crusoe by William Defoe:
“I cannot explain, by any possible energy of words, what a strange longing or hankering of desires I felt in my sould….O that there had been but one or two; nay, or but one soul sav’d out of this ship, to have escap’d to me, and to have convers’d with! In all the time of my solitary life, I never felt so earnest, so strong a desire after the society of my fellow-creatures, or so deep a regret at the want of it.”
This is what the swamp looks like on the inside looking out.
Fox’s Janice Dean who lost both her mother-in-law and father-in-law in a nursing home to the virus:
Translation: ‘Not my fault even though I approved the order that recovering corona virus patients could go back into nursing and assisted living homes. And then it spread like wildfire to the most vulnerable people that we are supposed to be protecting…’”
That’s all folks.