15 June 2017

Hard Days For Connie

Hard Days For Connie

It is never simple to age, it is sometimes incredibly frustrating and painful to be an elderly person in America if you are not wealthy and live at the mercy of others. We knew Connie was ill because she couldn't come to the Open House last week, nor could she visit the farm a week earlier, as planned.

This week she has been in great pain. It took several days before she could see a doctor, then she waited in an urgent care facility for 10 hours, then she was prescribed medication she needed but that her insurance company would not pay for, for reasons they would not explain, at least initially.

The story made me angry, she said one patient after another came in and was seen before her, something that happens to her often.

When she finally had her X-rays taken, the doctors found that she had somehow torn every muscle in her lower back. This on top of breathing issues so severe she had to be evacuated for one night during a storm that knocked out the Mansions power and hit their emergency generator.

Connie is in great pain, it is hard for her to find a comfortable position. Her new medications – the insurance company approved a different medication eventually – came tonight. Her cell phone has been out of order all week as the Mansion transfers it's phone service to another company.

The cell service sent her a bill for service she didn't get.

She can't communicate with her family unless she can walk to the office, and she can't really walk this week. She feels isolated, since she can't move around. She hasn't spoken with her sons in some days. And she is still being treated for the painful styes in her eyes.

The staff is devoted to her and is bringing her food and administering her medications. Everyone is trying to cheer her up.

She is frustrated and unhappy, it is not easy to navigate this system of you are elderly and hurting and can't pay for additional services and specialists.  Connie is fiercely independent, she only wants to feel better so she can take care of herself.

She is in too much pain too knit, but grateful at least for her air conditioner which makes her days more bearable. I keep asking her if there is anything she needs, but she says no, but she enjoys the letters she is receiving.

Connie was excited to get an envelope full of stories and photos about one blog reader's farm animals, she couldn't wait to show it to me and Maria. She keeps every letter she gets by her bedside, and right now, it is the only diversion and brightness in her day. She was very happy to see Red and touch him and feel him. He clearly sensed her discomfort, he stayed very close to her.

I wlll go back and see her tomorrow (it is also Friday, the story-teaching hour for me there). I should add that the picnic tables and chairs your donations purchased for the Mansion have arrived and as soon as they are taken outside, I'll take a photo so you can see what you did.

Your letters mean more than ever right now, they brighten Connie's day and give her something to focus on, she is in great pain. Hopefully her medication will help.  She is tough and determined. If you wish to write her, that would be welcome. You can write her care of Connie,  The Mansion, 11 S. Union Avenue, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816.


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