On Wednesday, I went to a "nursing home"... not one of those NICE ones, that you see in happy movies... But, one of the STATE run ones... that are... dreary and smell like pee.
Some people there, are there because they have no family, and no one to take care of them, but have such horrible medical problems that they need constant care.
Others, have family, that obviously could care less (because NO ONE would leave there family member here, if they really cared).... And are stuck.
Some are amputees... Some are mentally disabled...
We brought these people presents.... That's what my organization does.. we reach out, and make sure everyone enjoys this holiday.
I went in with my best positive attitude.
I went in thinking, "I am going to make someones day. I will make a connection, because who knows when the last time this person will get another visitor?"
Feeling sullied and unusual. . . .
It wasn't the conditions of the hospital. You can tell they try to keep it as clean as physically possible.. But, they are packed to capacity. Let's just say that.
I was walking through one of the wards... and we were instructed to leave the present on there side table. Whether their curtain was OPEN or SHUT... I thought this was odd, and it made me uncomfortable. I was raised, if a door or curtain is closed.. you don't enter, unless someone can acknowledge you are there... and invites you into their space.
Well... back to what happened.
I go into this room (5 beds in each room.. this was a little much for me) and I drop of 4 of the 5 gifts, and the last bed has the curtain closed... and the table is just beyond the curtain... **SIGHS**.. So, I lean in just to drop of the present....
And, the man was in there... let's just say... I got an eyeful...
And, an experience that I want to erase from my brain.. COMPLETELY.
I quickly ducked out, I'm sure he saw me, and I just scurried away... Feeling very dirty.
I did not open any additional curtains during my volunteerism.
I let the MAN that was with us do it...
I just kept focusing on what happened, and thinking not of the.... "event".. but the horrible circumstance... I mean... That tiny little hospital curtained space.. is THAT MAN'S HOME. That is where he feels most comfortable... and safe....
And that struck me as very sad.
Yes, at least he is warm and has a bed... and is being medically provided for.
But: I wouldn't let my worst enemy.. live in a place like that.
It made me cherish what I have and love the family I have around me.
It also made me realize that one day.. my mother might not be able to take care of herself.
Now, I don't speak to my mother, and she is NOT a safe person... But, I would never allow her to be in a place like that. I wouldn't take her in to live with me... That is just not something I am comfortable with... But, I would make sure that she was someplace... that could actually feel like a home.. and not a hospital.. Not have to share a room with 4 other people... That's...
It's no way to live.
Feeling very reflective on this, and I can't seem to find the right words...
I could drone on and on about how awful it makes me feel.
I think the basic sentiment is that LIFE IS PRECIOUS, and SO IS YOUR FAMILY.
And sometimes, family isn't blood... it's love... Make sure those you care about are taken care of.