CHAPTER 17 Hopeless Has An Address

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copyright 2017 Chris Smith  All rights reserved.

"I walk at night

nothing by a lone Hoot-Owl

perched atop a power line

to keep me company

twinkling lights

on the distant shoreline

the cold wind

creeps in my bones

and I am done

with this day."


Dad and I came by every morning and evening to see Mom at the skilled care facility on our way to and from the office. Each time we came I was a little bit more comfortable. But I didn't like to see her there and she didn't want to be there. You could see it in her eyes every time we left.

When we walked down the hallways the darkness of the place echoed with each step. The walls were filled with sadness. There weren't a lot of regular visitors that Dad and I saw.

Did anyone visit?

Or were the patients left here to die by loved ones who finally cut the cords of love and support.

I reminded myself that each room held stories. I wondered if there was anyone here who was loved. I didn't know how anyone healed in a places like this. I wasn't even dealing with health issues. But I can't imagine what it was like for them.

There was one guy in wheelchair that was considered a "problem" patient. He was constantly talking in a raised voice trying to get someone's attention. The nurses thought he was a pain in the ass. But I felt for him. I bet he didn't want to be here either. If I had been stuck in a place like this, I would have been a problem patient too. I would have thousand-mile-an-hour tapped my finger to the call button. Fuck it.

I wondered if anyone had thought to talk to him and try to comfort him, not fix him but comfort him. I wondered how many people were dumped off in places like this. Their lives written off by loved ones and society. The out of sight out of mind mentality. I wondered if anyone came out of places like this, in any way better. Or if it took pieces out of them as payment for their stay.

I headed for the bathroom as Dad headed down to the end of hallway to Mom's room. When I came out I met him in the hallway.

"What happened?" I asked.

"They moved Mom to a room closer to nurse's station by the door so they could keep a better eye on her," Dad said.

Mom was in "Break Out" mode at the facility. They had to put a wrist alarm on her, because they'd found her wandering outside one time. She was a "Flight Risk". I'd be trying to make a break for it too.

Dad walked me to Mom's new room. This time she was in a room with only one roommate. It was a much bigger room too.

"Okay. Mom and I are going to go for a walk," Dad said.

"Okay," I said.

He and Mom went walking down the hallway. Then about ten minutes later they came back in and Mom settled back into her bed.

"How'd it go?" I asked.

"Good. We went into a few rooms and visited because Mom wanted to," Dad said with a slight eye roll mixed with a smile.

"Really?" I laughed.

"Yeah. So we went in and said 'Hi'. She did the same thing at the Hospital but the Doctors were always against it. They said they don't want patients visiting each other. She wanted to talk to people. I tried to steer her away from it, but she was insistent," Dad said.

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