Dying Alone: Nursing Home Loneliness

I woke-up to a silent breeze blowing through the window – love the cool air. Getting out of bed, my legs wouldn’t work…found myself crawling on the floor.

My wife immediately called 911. By ambulance, I was taken to the nearest hospital. The doctor said something about a stroke, but it was caught in-time and everything would be fine. Then I had a very severe headache. Everything is blank from then on.

I wake-up in completely different surroundings. This isn’t my bedroom. This isn’t my farm. Speech is difficult. Remembering the past is easy but not the present. People come-in and help me to the bathroom. Sometimes they bring food. Where Am I?

Where is my wife, Evy, or my daughter? Where is my grandson, Andy?  They were always around in the past. I don’t know this room. How long have I been here?

Time comes and goes – I can’t really tell. Strangers enter my room. Where Am I? How often has this question been asked?  Or how did they reply?

Remember the morning I couldn’t walk, the hospital and the severe headache, but nothing else. Eventually, after many days, weeks or months, the answer to Where I Am is clear: In a nursing home.

But why don’t my wife and family visit me? In the past, I saw them all the time. My words still aren’t clear. I do have most of my previous memories, but every single day seems like a blur. What was the severe headache? Maybe a stroke?

Days run into months. Feel myself getting weaker. How long has it been? I ask the employees where is my family? What happened to them? Pretty sure the questions on my loved-ones is being repeated day after day. Why aren’t they here? Is the nursing home far from them? My hope for seeing them lessens.

Growing weaker. My body is no longer strong as it once was. My appetite is very low – simply don’t feel like eating. As my body fades, sleep takes over. Like waking from a bad dream, I open my eyes to the same room.

My decline continues, and I learn the answer to my problem: Visitors aren’t allowed. Why? No idea. This is no way to live. I long to go home but it isn’t possible. I really enjoyed striking-up conversations with anyone. Now, I can barely form words, and they don’t come-out easily. This isn’t the life I want.

Time continues to move on. There is no hope of seeing my family. I simply want to leave. It won’t be back to the farm but to my final resting place. One day, I awake to dim light and low music. Is that Country Music? I can barely keep my eyes open. Why can’t I see my loved-ones before I die? I find myself slipping away…

Dying Alone

Grandpa Mike was in a nursing home; at the time, he was a brother, husband, father and grandfather. We all know – or have a loved-one – who went or is going through the same situation.

But since our society is so concerned about COVID, no one seems to care about nursing home residents – their last days on Earth – with no family contact. It doesn’t matter COVID is more a myth created by “the powers that be” than reality.

Nursing homes are thick with irony: The employees come and go with modest guidelines; their temperatures are taken, face masks, gowns and gloves are worn. They live their lives no differently than you or I. EXCEPT, they get to see our loved-ones for a few moments each day.

Ask yourself what type of society won’t allow its citizens to visit those they love as they lie days, weeks or months from death’s door in almost complete isolation.

Why can’t we have our temperatures taken, wear the appropriate attire and enter the home just like the employees? We are bound to be more careful around patients because we’re there to see  loved-ones.

Whoever created these regulations ­-- state, federal, or the nursing homes—their lack of empathy is pathetic.

Contact your Congressional Representatives.  They must be made aware of the situation: Nursing home residents deserve better.

Reprinted from Scragged
Dying Alone by Gerd Altmann is licensed under pixabay.com Pixaby