Two Sides to Every Story

Updated on December 16, 2017
snakeslane profile image

Verlie Burroughs is a west coast writer from Vancouver Island.

Mrs. U
Mrs. U | Source

There are muddy paw prints on the sheets. There are muddy paw prints down the wall under the window sill.

Eliza is scratching fleas. Mrs. U never seems to be bothered by them.

"They don't bite me," she says over toast and coffee, choking on the crumbs, and gagging til her plate falls out.

"I can feel them jump on me in bed, but they don't bite. Brewers yeast is good for that, sprinkle a little in the cats' food."

With a flip of her hand the teeth are back in her face. The old bleary-eyed face surrounded by white hair, held together with a pair of stark cat's eye glasses with coke bottle lenses.

The lenses intensify the clear blue watery eyes, and Eliza could swear the old lady is watching her.

Legally blind? What does that mean?

"I'm legally blind," spouts Mrs U, to each new visitor, although there aren't that many since Eliza got the 'helper's' position. Her old cronies don't worry about her now that she's in 'good hands'.

Eliza is just as happy the 'Committee' has decided to back off, bunch of old bats.

Being legally blind is a frustrating reality for Mrs.U. She is ill-tempered from morning til night. But she can still see a piece of fluff on the carpet after Eliza has vacuumed.

"What's this?" she asks, picking up the cat hair between her long hooked fore-finger and her thumb.

"I swear she can see," Eliza tells Mrs U's doctor on the street in front of the Post Office.

"Her vision goes in and out," is his professional reply.

"But she says she can't see at all."

"Some days are better then others," he tells her. The Doctor is head of the 'Committee'. Ever since Mrs. U fell down, he's insisted she have a live-in helper. If not, she will have to go into a 'Home'.

Eliza wonders how much the old lady can see. Did she see her drawing a sketch of her at the table when she was supposed to be writing out the TV listings in extra large bold letters on the back of a used envelope?

This is the part of the routine Eliza hates. She has to translate the TV guide's long titles, like 'Josh and Ron's Family Adventure' or 'Great Moments with Nature's Film Makers' into something Mrs U will be able to see later.

She is searching for programs that might interest the old lady.


Morning chores
Morning chores

"Does it look like anything's on TV today? asks Mrs. U taking another bite out of the toast and choking on it as she speaks.

"What's on channel 9? Read it to me!"

"It's a telethon."

"Oh! I don't want to watch that! What's on Channel 7? Are there any gardening programs?"

"No, no gardening on today."

"What? No gardening on Channel 6 either?

"No Mrs U, no gardening on. Channel 6. There's a special on the life of Margaret Lawrence," she says hopefully.

"What? Why do people write novels? I hate fiction!" Mrs U likes to read only non-fiction or Detective stories, but she can't see to read anymore.

"I like books I can learn from! I've always wanted to read the Koran. I miss my books.

By the way my tape machine is mixed up. I must have pressed the wrong button last night. Can you look at it?"

Mrs U listens to talking books on a big blue tape deck borrowed from the Canadian National Institue for the Blind. The talking books arrive regularly in the mail. The current Reader's Digest is in the deck.

In a fury Mrs U picks up the tape deck before Eliza has a chance to look at it. She presses the wrong button and the words speed up into a high pitched babble.

Eliza takes the tape deck and trys to get it working. It's at the end of side one.

"I think you have to press the track button to continue Mrs U. That gives you the index. If you wish to bypass the index you need to press Stop, the red button, and then press the track button to continue." Eliza is completely confused. She sets the big blue tape deck back down on the table.

"Let's finish this TV schedule first so I can get these dishes cleaned up", she suggests weakly. She doesn't know how she is going to get the talking book back on the right track.

"I don't care about the dishes!" shouts Mrs. U. "People are too tidy!

Mrs. U's half-chewed toast is dribbling from the corners of her mouth as she speaks.

"There's better things to do than clean house! I don't mind a messy house!"

Eliza looks around the room. There is cat hair everywhere. She can feel a flea biting her ankle. She had 24 bites when she counted this morning. The bites are swollen, red and painful.

Mrs U chokes again as she takes another slurp of coffee.

"It's the crumbs, they get under my plate. She rubs her watery eyes with a soiled tissue. But her plate stays in her mouth this time.

"I'll watch a nature program and then I'll have a bath. By the way I had to use the commode last night."

Eliza is printing up the TV schedule on the back of the envelope in extra large bold letters. When Mrs U holds it right up to her face she can read the times and titles of her favorite programs. But if it's a card or a newspaper someone has to read it to her.

The big blue cassete player is still not working. It's stuck on the wrong track and still sounds like the 'Chipmunks' when Eliza presses the play button.


Eliza helps Mrs U to the bathroom where the old lady struggles with her walker and jams one of its legs between the door and the door jamb.

"God damn it!" she cries, flinging the walker forward with an amazing burst of strength. Eliza helps her with her dressing gown and gets her settled on the toilet. She leaves the door open because this is how Mrs U likes to have it.

While Mrs U is in the bathroom Eliza picks up the breakfast things and wipes the crumbs off the table. She waits in the living room and plugs her ears. Three cats stare at her from their respective perches.


Mrs U loves her cats. They are her companions since her husband died. There is Bad Boy, Sweety, and Sue. Bad Boy sprays around the house on a regular basis.

Sweety eats on the counter so Sue cannot get her food, but she is too fat to jump up on her own so Eliza has to lift her to the food bowl. Each cat has its own menu. Mrs U spends about twenty-five dollars a week on cat food.

Soundtrack for Two Sides to Every Story

Mrs U chain smokes

Mrs U chain smokes, but she doesn't inhale. She usually lights the filter end because she can't see. She saves these ruined ones in a basket on top of the TV, and there is another whole box of mutilated cigarettes in the cupboard under the phone.

Mrs U never throws anything away, ever. She will use a piece of aluminum foil over and over again. She will use a plastic bag over and over again.

Eliza is washing up a plastic bag when Mrs U clumps herself out of the bathroom.

"My bowels aren't working today. I think I'll have forty winks. Will you cut me up an apple and leave it on the TV."

Eliza helps Mrs U get settled on the couch.

"Thankyou, now where's my Sweety-Pie? The fat cat goes and lays beside her head.

Mrs U is snoring. She is still wearing her blue velour dressing gown. It has stains on the back where Mrs U has soiled herself.

Afternoon chore list
Afternoon chore list

While Mrs U sleeps Eliza creeps around the room doing her morning routine. For most of it she wears a pair of yellow rubber gloves. She is nauseous as she empties the commode. She flings the bathroom window open. Outside is the cool green of the garden and the sound of birds.

Eliza strips the bed and throws the wet sheets into the washing machine in the back room. She makes the bed and picks up an empty glass off the floor from under the night table. Mrs U likes to have her Rye beside the bed at night. It helps her sleep.

Eliza quietly opens the fridge and pulls out a beverage. She tiptoes past Mrs U on the couch (Sweety is sleeping on top of her now) out the front door and through a glass porch to her own apartment which is in complete disarray. She is weary and sad, and she hates the damn fleas.

In a few weeks it will be Spring and Mrs U is very excited about what's popping up in the garden. The Snow Drops (great mounds of them) have been out for weeks, but now there's more showing, and Mrs U likes to take a walk around when she wakes up from her afternoon nap.

Mrs U can't get far with her walker, she can just get down the ramp and then she has to stop for a rest. Eliza comes up behind her and unfolds a deck chair under the old lady's ample back-side.

"What's that?" asks Mrs U, pointing to a spot of bright yellow.

"That's a Daffodil."

"I know it's a Daffodil, but what type is it? I have at least twenty varieties of Daffodil in my garden! Did you know they are actually Narcissus?"

Suddenly the joy goes right out of Eliza, she doesn't care what variety it is. She only cares that it is bright and yellow, that Spring is coming and that she is outside in the fresh air.

They proceed around the garden past bed after bed of bursting new growth. The Primula are bright and colorful in shades of pink, yellow and deep purple and red. The Crocus are abundant.

"Take a bouquet to your Mother. I don't like flowers in the house. I like to see them growing."

"Thank you, I'll come back and pick some later".


Source

"Lets have a cigarette now," says Mrs U. The two women sit and smoke without talking. When Mrs U is finished her cigarette she puts the butt in her pocket. She never throws a cigarette on the ground, ever.

Mrs U looks perky in her blue ball cap with the words 'Caterpillar Tractor' on the front. Eliza feels a wave of warmth for the old girl. They sit huddled on the flimsy plastic deck chairs. Mrs U is wearing her 'Gum boots'. She doesn't like to get her feet wet, ever.

Eliza helps Mrs U with her boots when they get back inside. She has to be careful how she pulls so she doesn't hurt the old lady's bad ankle, the one she sprained last winter when she fell down after she got into the Rye.

"My toe is bothering me again, can you look at it?"

Eliza removes the white cotton sock and stares at the horny big toenail and the swollen red toe.

"Yes it looks sore, I'll trim it for you when you have your bath."

"Don't ever cut your toenails straight across. Always cut a V in the middle, otherwise they'll grow in."

"Yes, Mrs U."

"The people from Family Services are coming today Mrs U."

"I don't know why I have to talk to those people."

"They need to know what your needs are to help set you up with a Home Care."

"I don't need their help, I'd rather find my own help."

"The appointment is for three-thirty Mrs U."

Mrs U is looking pretty when the Home Care people arrive. She is wearing her pink sweater and her hair is clean and her big toe is nicely clipped with a V, although the Home Care people won't be looking at her toe. They just want to know about her income.

Eliza makes tea for the meeting. She has vacuumed and dusted and aired out the house, despite Mrs U's protestations.

Eliza has a hidden agenda. She wants out. She is trying to find Mrs U some alternate care, but she can't tell the Home Care people this, especially in front of Mrs U.


There is a catch. If Mrs U will put her name on a waiting list for a Nursing Home the in-home care people will provide services for free until a bed is available.

There is a two-year waiting list. If Mrs U won't sign up for the Nursing Home then they won't be able to help her unless she pays full price.

Mrs U will not discuss going into a nursing home and she flatly refuses to pay full price for the government Home Care Services.

"They must think I'm made of money, she tells Eliza after the meeting.


It is morning. Eliza is late for work. She can hear Mrs U's TV as she walks through the porch. The door is locked. She knocks and waits.

Mrs U is rustling around. Her walker is clumping slowly across the floor. She opens the door for Eliza.

"Good morning," Eliza greets her.

"Morning, what's so good about it," replies Mrs U. Eliza feels drained. The old lady looks ruffled and there is a weird smell in the room. Eliza follows Mrs U into the room. There is a horrible mess all over the back of the old lady's dressing gown.

There is the same mess on her slippers and smeared across the kitchen floor and along the counter top. The mess leads into the bathroom.

Eliza finds her rubber gloves under the sink.

"Don't do that now, I want my coffee first."

Eliza is making coffee and stepping around the mess. A flea is biting her ankle, but she doesn't feel it. She doesn't feel anything as she lifts the fat old cat onto the counter to eat, and pours hot water into a cup.





© 2011 Verlie Burroughs

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    • snakeslane profile imageAUTHOR

      Verlie Burroughs 

      3 months ago from Canada

      Thanks Robert. That it is.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      3 months ago

      This is a realistic story about someone who needs a personal care aide and the difficulties of being a personal care aide.

    • snakeslane profile imageAUTHOR

      Verlie Burroughs 

      5 years ago from Canada

      Hello Randy, big thanks for reading and thoughtful comment. In all the years since this story was written my view is now fast approaching that of the old lady. It is distressing how ill prepared I am, (and we are as a society) to deal with the inevitability of aging.

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 

      5 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Quite a story, snakeslane. I think we all look at this time in a person's life with dread for our own future. All too often people's lives are bent into similar routines experienced by the elderly and those who look after them. Feelings of distaste mingled with admiration for the ordeals the latter part of our lives seem to dictate.

      A very believable and well written tale.

      SSSSS

    • snakeslane profile imageAUTHOR

      Verlie Burroughs 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Thank you Perspycacious (that's quite a name!) your words inspire me to try harder.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 

      6 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      I enjoyed the quality of the writing which conveyed this story to all of us. I can imagine many more snakeslane stories and topics, but should your writing further improve it will put all of us to shame.

    • snakeslane profile imageAUTHOR

      Verlie Burroughs 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Thank you baygirl! This story is fiction in the sense that all of the events did not happen exactly as described, but is inspired by some real people. It was written more than 25 years ago, and now I think I can relate more to Mrs U than to her young caregiver. Interesting how our perspective changes as we get older. Your reading and thoughtful comments are most appreciated.

    • baygirl33 profile image

      victoria 

      6 years ago from Hamilton On.

      Snakeslane,thank you for this.It is such a sad but true picture of what happens to us as we age badly.I love your sketch! Mrs.U has that kind of legally blindness that keeps you from seeing up close but allows you to see everything that is about 2 to 3 feet away. My friend is legally blind and can't read but can see a hair on her husband's shoulder across the table!

      I love your sketch of the old woman.

      Aliza probably gets paid very little and hates her job but allows Mrs.U to be her fiesty old self.

      Mrs.U seems to be a depression era person,not throwing away her butts and reusing the tin foil.I think that we carry these traits that allowed us to survive,into our old age where we no longer need them.

      Thanks for writing.

    • snakeslane profile imageAUTHOR

      Verlie Burroughs 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Wow! Thank you so much. That is beautiful. The Japanese really know how. Cheers Peg!

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      6 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hi Snakeslane,

      Back to reread this great piece and to send you a song.

      http://youtu.be/keF-KYKKYeI

      Peg

    • snakeslane profile imageAUTHOR

      Verlie Burroughs 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Hi Peg, Thank you so much for reading with 'rapt interest'. That is so good to hear! And thank you for sharing anecdote about your visually challenged old aunt. You are blessed with longevity in your family.

      I probably worked longer on this story than anything else I've ever written. It has seen many re-writes and revisions, so I appreciate that you loved it. Thank you for saying so.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      6 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hello Snakeslane,

      I read with rapt interest your compelling tale of Mrs. U and Eliza. How familiar so much of this story sounds as I struggle with the variances in my duties as caregiver to a "mostly" independent mother and 91 yo auntie who live nearby. Sometimes it is Heaven and other times not so much. You are right. There are always two sides to a story.

      When Auntie could still walk, we were in the grocery store and as she was telling me how she wished she could see (she has Macular Degeneration) she spotted some cookies on a low shelf and exclaimed, "Oh, Kudos! I love those." We've laughed at that one so many times.

      You've told this story in such a remarkable way; so realistic and down to earth. I loved it. You really have a gift as a truly talented writer.

    • snakeslane profile imageAUTHOR

      Verlie Burroughs 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Hello Derdriu, thank you for reading and commenting on this story. I wrote this when I was much younger, and have since experienced so much more in life and what it means to be a 'caregiver'. It is a fragile relationship, and as you say, absolutely poignant.

    • profile image

      Derdriu 

      6 years ago

      Snakeslane, What an innovative, insightful, intense look at the poignant life of those whom the busy modern world sidelines! It's disheartening how dreary the interaction can become between the care giver and the care recipient. But it's heart-warming how caring people persist in providing meaningful help and needed companionship.

      Thank you for sharing, etc.,

      Derdriu

    • snakeslane profile imageAUTHOR

      Verlie Burroughs 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Thanks Twilight Lawns!

    • Twilight Lawns profile image

      Twilight Lawns 

      6 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      I have missed out on something wonderful here... I mean wonderful writing and conveying of mood and atmosphere.

      I cannot imagine what it must be like, and have little insight or knowledges of the elderly as my friends are mostly very young or amazingly fit.

      I find it really difficult to comment, but just cogitate.

      Thank you for opening my particularly selfish eyes.

    • snakeslane profile imageAUTHOR

      Verlie Burroughs 

      6 years ago from Canada

      See nellianna, this is exactly what I'm talking about...and having a very good laugh with that story. So sorry about the being crushed part. Well, you are making up for it now!

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      6 years ago from TEXAS

      Oddly - I was always the youngster in my groups, being MUCH younger than my siblings and always about 2 years younger than my classmates and friends. I hardly conceived of age factors, really.

      You're not going to believe this, but my first serious effort at being published was when I was 12, almost 13 - and it was a short story for a 17 magazine contest! The rejection letter crushed my itty confidence. It began: "We can't all be champs. . . . " Young as I was, I didn't submit anything again to a 17 contest - or, to be honest - to anything, though a poem of mine was simply chosen to be published in the magazine of a honorary literary club at college to which I'd been invited to beome a member. The poem was titled, " Soliloquy", which was a fairly accurate description of most of my very private writing efforts thereafter - till now, in fact. I don't even have a copy of that poem -- or many of those I wrote at that time.

    • snakeslane profile imageAUTHOR

      Verlie Burroughs 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Thank you Makusr for those wise words. Yes it is a very emotional issue. There are so many needing care in this world.

    • makusr profile image

      Manoj Kumar Srivastava 

      6 years ago from India

      snakeslane, A very emotional story I must say. In India a very successful film was made on this very theme in famous 'Munnabhai' series. Elderly care needs to be in hands that are caring and sensitive. Rememeber, never torment or ridicule, child, elderly, sick or needy, because at some point of life we may be one of these. Voted up!

      With warm wishes,

      MAKUSR

    • snakeslane profile imageAUTHOR

      Verlie Burroughs 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Hey jhamann, thanks for reading and commenting so generously on my story, Nice to see you.

    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 

      6 years ago from Reno NV

      I like the relationship between Eliza and Mrs. U. God bless Eliza and everyone who takes time to build friendships with those who need friends. Snakeslane-you did a wonderful job telling this story and it was a joy to read. Thank you.

    • snakeslane profile imageAUTHOR

      Verlie Burroughs 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Hi Nellieanna, I know what you mean. I did this to myself for most of my life, maybe still doing it. I remember at 18 feeling like a failure because I had never published anything in 17 Magazine (which I loved) and by then I was too old because they would only take contributions from 17 and under.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      6 years ago from TEXAS

      Snakeslane - thank you. I only mention my age as a kind of antidote for a general perception and tendency to equate age - (even decades younger than mine) - with inevitable deterioration. I really believe that expectation plays a part in which way it goes and how fast. Just think. When I reach 100, Betty White will be 110, and probably debuting a new hit series! :-)

    • snakeslane profile imageAUTHOR

      Verlie Burroughs 

      6 years ago from Canada

      And you Fennelseed, I am so happy to see your comments and so sad to hear of what you went through with your dad in care. This is truly an issue that is not going to go away. And you are so right, it ain't pretty. Thank you so much for your encouraging words about the writing.

    • snakeslane profile imageAUTHOR

      Verlie Burroughs 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Oh Nellieanna thank you so much for reading and sharing your thoughts and amazing personal story. Your husband was a lucky man to have you to care for him at that difficult time of his life. I believe you will live to be 100 or longer than that even, your spirit is so youthful. I am amazed you are 80. I would never believe it from the energy and exuberance in your writings and poetry. You are clearly living in a healthy way that refreshes you and keeps you thriving. You are an inspiration. Thank you for appreciating this story.

    • snakeslane profile imageAUTHOR

      Verlie Burroughs 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Hey SusieQ42, really appreciate you reading and leaving such a nice comment. You don't know how a story will come across until a reader, such as yourself, gives some feedback. Thanks for taking the time.

    • snakeslane profile imageAUTHOR

      Verlie Burroughs 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Good morning mckbirdbks, thankyou so much for reading and commenting on this story. It is actually part of a much longer story I was working on about the life of a remarkable woman whose life had deteriorated to this. It was written when I was very much younger myself, and full of distress that a person's life could be so full and then become so empty. I was inspired by a song from John Prine "Angel from Montgomery" and I'm leaving a link to that here. It's a sweet sad song, as this story was meant to be had it been longer I might have got there too. Thanks again for always taking an interest mckbirdbks, I really appreciate that, especially coming from such a great story teller as yourself.

      http://youtu.be/tVZmSEpuJtg

    • snakeslane profile imageAUTHOR

      Verlie Burroughs 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Good morning anglnwu, it's a wild and stormy moment here on the west coast, so different from yesterday which was lovely, bright and sunny. I thank you again for commenting so kindly here on the writing. For me it is the writing that it's about as much as the story told.

    • Fennelseed profile image

      Annie Fenn 

      6 years ago from Australia

      You cannot side step reality, your story is about life and it isn't all a bed of roses. I watched my dear father go from a proud man to a helpless child living in a nursing home with many other dementia patients, devoid of dignity. My gratitude goes to the nurses and care workers and their dedication, but unfortunatley there are not of these beautiful, caring souls to go around due to never ending cuts in government health budgets in Australia and the eldery suffer terribly. I feel for Mrs U and Eliza. You have portrayed this sad situation so well with your exceptional writing skills. My votes to you Snakeslane.

    • snakeslane profile imageAUTHOR

      Verlie Burroughs 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Hello all, anglnwu, mckbirdbks, SusieQ42, nellieanna. Thanks so much for reading this disturbing fiction. I want to reply properly to each of your comments, but have been distracted today, so sorry I didn't get to this earlier, will be back tomorrow.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      6 years ago from TEXAS

      Snakeslane - that was painfully realistic. I cared for my George as his health deteriorated from briefly 'dying' during a heart attack which left his short-term memory damaged and deteriorating till he died 7 years later at age 86. But thank heaven he was never anything like this. He had some health issues from time to time and had his peccadillos, and the failing memory was extremely trying for us both. But his deposition was always pleasant and he was never untidy. He was always fun to talk to - so long as short-term memory wasn't required. Only the last few days was he unable to get around and losing his balance. That was 3 years ago.

      Now I'm only a couple of months from 80 and, thankfully completely able to manage by myself and see no indication of losing it any time soon. I don't even take meds. I intend to live to 100 at least and be in good health. But I think I'd much prefer missing that mark than becoming like Mrs. U., poor thing.

      There are choices to be made every moment of every day, some very difficult ones, both about living well and dying with dignity when living well is no longer a choice.

    • profile image

      SusieQ42 

      6 years ago

      Every detail of your story is so explicit. I can understand poor Eliza's plight! Thanks for sharing. This is as good as any book gets. Congrats for doing such a great job.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 

      6 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello snakeslane. I took me awhile to arrive here but I made it. This is so well written. As I age and watch those around me age I wonder who is going to be the lucky ones that end up taking care of us.

      Your writing of the story is very realistic, very visual, very disturbing.

    • anglnwu profile image

      anglnwu 

      6 years ago

      A real look into the lives of lonely elderly--how grim and true. You've painted such a sorry state with your beautifully crafted piece. It reminds me a little of the process of getting old in the book, "Tuesdays with Morrie." Lovely and rating it up.

    • snakeslane profile imageAUTHOR

      Verlie Burroughs 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Hi FloraBreenRobison, thank you so much for reading my story. I am so sorry about your grandmother. What a hard decision for anyone to have to make heh, really puts everyone's belief systems to the test. I really appreciate you sharing that. I don't understand how these kind of things are decided. I feel like I need to be better informed. Thanks again.

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 

      6 years ago

      Nursing homes are pretty bad too. In some cases, much worse because they can keep you alive by artificial means. My grandmother is in a nursing home and it is not dignified. She would have died when her her dementia was at a relatively early stage, but even when you have a living will some staff members choose to ignore it because of what they believe. So she is force fed.

    • snakeslane profile imageAUTHOR

      Verlie Burroughs 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Well milk and rice in Your mouth Vinaya Ghimire. You have a grand aunt who is 102! Wow! Thank you for such a fine compliment Vinaya. So good to see you.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 

      6 years ago from Nepal

      I don't know how does my 102 years old grand aunt behave with her care taker, but it must be something like this. I read your comment. Your powerful observation excites me. I can feel fleas biting, hear Mrs U calling...very descriptive.

      This story has every element that one of the judges of creative writing said in the interview. I hope to come back to this story to congratulate you.

    • snakeslane profile imageAUTHOR

      Verlie Burroughs 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Hi again Becky Katz, Thank you so much for reading this story and sharing some your own. I admire your strength. And I really feel for you, your husband and your whole family having to deal with the pain. I hope each of you finds the strength to help each other and can find ways to lighten the load somehow so you can find some joy in the day to day.

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 

      6 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      Such a depressing way to live. I have cared for my grandmother when she was getting old. I stayed with her for a couple of months after she was released from the hospital but her Dr. did not want her staying alone yet.

      I am also my husbands caregiver. He has a seizure disorder, arthritis, PTSD, diabetes, falls occasionally, and is having a hard time getting around. He is also going blind.

      It is not an easy job but it needs to be done.

    • profile image

      Sunnie Day 

      6 years ago

      I wanted to come back as I see you read mine..it is so funny we were on the same page tonight..I am linking you if you do not mind..There are two side for sure..Thank you snake.The best nurses to me as ones that were Certified nurses assistants..They understand how hard that work is and do not sit idlely by and let others work...most of the time..I hope..

      Love Sunnie

    • snakeslane profile imageAUTHOR

      Verlie Burroughs 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Thank you Sunnie Day for your great insight. And thank you for such a great comment, I'm so happy you see this for what it is. No, I don't work in this field. But about 25 years ago when this story was written I did some work with the elderly so had lots to work with for writing. I agree there is a big gap in care, it's pretty sad. So happy you can relate.

    • profile image

      Sunnie Day 

      6 years ago

      Oh Snake you have told a very true tale here..It is one of the many stories of the elderly out there in the commnunity. God bless the workers too that get paid here in Texas just minimum wage to do all that is required. It is not an easy job. Somehow something.. someone has failed this elderly lady..maybe no family no children..left alone..then the state comes in offering services but still not enough..the certified nurses assistant or nurse aid is left to carry such a load. You have written such a detailed and very accurate account of one life..I am working on a hub on my days as a nurse on night shift..Do you work in this field? Thank you for sharing..Wonderfully written and sadly the truth so many times.

      Love,

      Sunnie

    working

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