Only Anecdotal

No numbers, just stories


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Today I sat next to a sick man. He told me about the tomatoes he grew this summer. Tomatoes so big and sweet, juice dripping down… he had devised a cage to keep the squirrels away, and it worked. His partner chatted with a nurse about working, as a girl, on a farm, the meticulous methods that the older girls used because they were paid by the quantity of work they produced.. the fun, the hard, hard work. They both spoke of their home, the expense of having someone help him there, still cheaper by far than the nursing home, but not so insurable.

Most people do not ask me to help them find the best or the fanciest things. They want the simple things, really, the things that easily fold into their life as they have come to enjoy it. Staying up late, morning crossword puzzle, and coffee. The TV turned on just for the noise, or not. The birds outside the window, feeder filled. An open window. Grass. Beloved pets at our feet, on the bed, spoiled rotten.

A long time ago, I had been talking to a woman at her home, and called to check in. Her husband told me that she had been in the hospital, and was now at a nursing home nearby for short-term rehabilitation.

I went to see her. On the bed of the room she was staying in, I saw only a suitcase and a cane, but not the woman. I looked, but the room was dark, too. Walking back to the nurse’s station, I saw her small figure walking slowly down the hall. She grabbed my arm, and walked with me to the room, and shut the door.

“Julie,” she said, “I just went upstairs! I just told the nurses that I am going home!”

She had just been exploring, as she was keen to do, and had found the long-term portion of the facility–and talked to people who said they had been there for more than a year. She said she did not want to become one of them.

A few weeks later, I called her again. She told me that she had had a wonderful Sunday recently, cooking and laughing with her husband. She said that in all, she spent many days in bed, sometimes had a hard time. She had help, just about enough of it.

And for those Sundays, the scent of her native dishes, the sun streaming into the windows, plates on a table, being home mattered more than anything. Simple pleasures.


Written by Only Anecdotal

14 Jan 2013 at 10:21pm

Posted in advocacy, consumers

Tagged with , ,

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