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If you have a moment, I'd like to introduce you to Glenn

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posted on Feb, 2 2014 @ 09:19 PM
I work at a nursing home. It's nothing fancy. It's small, humble and to be honest, we don't have the best decor. My job title isn't fancy either. I'm a dietary aide, which isn't even really a very apt name. I'm not a dietitian, nor am I an "aide" to anyone. It's the prestigious title given to dishwashers and dining room servers.

My job is fairly simple. Simple...and sometimes frustrating. Some days require a lot of motivation to pull myself out of bed to do a job that frankly, I didn't see myself having as a mid-20 something. No, it isn't the job title that makes me go in. It isn't the respect bestowed upon dishwashers everywhere, and it certainly isn't the pay. It's the people.

There's all different kinds of people. Some like to complain... like Tom. Tom is a mid 60 something man with a penchant for fine foods. And Tom tasks us with an impossible feat every morning...make the perfect egg. I've tried and I can't do it. He tells me he needs a chainsaw to cut through my eggs.

Some are demanding... like Ruby. Ruby is a small, spectacled woman who cannot possibly weigh more than 90 lbs (6.4 stone), yet I have sat and watched her eat four jelly sandwiches in a matter of minutes. Ruby will threaten you with a cane if you try to take them away before she's finished.

And others...well others are like Glenn. I met Glenn when he was 83. He had a special wheelchair, one that looked like it had been cobbled together out of a lawn chair and riding mower tires. He wore a "Respect a Vet" trucker hat and even at 5:30 AM, I never saw him without it. Glenn had served in the Army, and under his long sleeve sweatshirt you could see bits and pieces of faded military themed tattoos. He was quiet and never demanding.

It took a month to win him over. I would bring him an extra apple juice when I would see him running low, and sometimes I'd open the sugar packets for his cornflakes if a nurse hadn't gotten around to it yet. He responded with a simple "thank you" and that would be the end of it. This went on for a while until one day he responded differently. He reached up and took my hand and told me he was afraid of dying. That then became our routine. If I spoke to him and asked him how he was, or if he was having a good day, he would tell me he knew he was close to death and how scared that made him. I could never console him. If I started to he would wave his hand and tell me I didn't need to waste my time with a "crazy old man". Yet everyday this situation replayed itself.

When you're there almost daily, you notice who has family and who doesn't. Some have family that visit everyday, multiple times a day. Others that visit once a month. Others even less than that. They're probably busy with work, and kids and school. Maybe it's too hard on them to see a grandparent or parent in that kind of situation. Maybe they didn't have a great relationship and it's simply hard to see a parent at all. Either way, in the year I knew Glenn, he never had a single visitor. Not on Christmas or his birthday. Not on Memorial Day or 4th of July. Glenn was alone.

That is until he was taken from our facility for about a month. His family came to pick him up and they drove him to a medical treatment facility. I didn't know why or if I would even see him again. He had simply vanished. I did see him again, although now I almost wished I hadn't.

His family had moved him to a hospital with physicians that could facilitate in taking him off medications he needed for brain cancer. I don't know the reason for their removal, whether a financial burden they couldn't shoulder any longer, or whether it was ordered by his doctors, but Glenn deteriorated quickly after that.

I remember the first day he came back to the home. I took him an apple juice and was informed he was moved to a special dining time for assisted feeders. He could no longer drink his apple juice without a nurse. He stared at me blankly and I asked him if he was okay. He reply was "help me". Days turned into weeks, weeks into months and that was all he ever said. "Help me", he pleaded. Sometimes he got frustrated and screamed it. Other times he included colorful vocabulary as he spewed an angry "HELP ME G-- D--- it!" But the phrase was never altered too much.

Glenn died alone. We didn't make a courtesy cart with coffee and snacks for his family, because none of them attended his final days. His obituary, unlike the others that often include heart warming memories, or a fond look back at the deceased's life, was void of anything but fact. Facts like 'he is survived by a brother, two sons, a daughter and over 20 grandchildren'...none of whom ever visited in the year that I knew Glenn. His picture is not one taken at home, or by relatives. It was a picture of him, in that tractor like wheelchair under the fluorescent glow of nursing home lights.

Glenn was my friend, a friend that unfortunately I couldn't help when he asked. A friend that was afraid of dying. A friend that loved apple juice and chocolate milk and only liked cornflakes for dinner. He was a vet. Glenn was my friend and he was deserving of more remembrance than he was given in his obituary. Glenn is someone I was happy to have known and am happy to introduce to anyone that is willing to read.

posted on Feb, 2 2014 @ 09:26 PM
reply to post by jacktorrance

I worked at an old dears home and nearly cried reading your post.
I had a Glenn type chap also...such a shame he had no family at the end
but he had you and I can tell you felt proud of meeting him and helping him in his later life.
Good for you dude I hope other younger folk read your thread and If they are in a dead end job they could do much worse than helping the old folk..they have so much to tell you and boy they make you laugh.

posted on Feb, 2 2014 @ 09:34 PM
reply to post by jacktorrance

Im a Personal Support worker In a nursing home...

I feel ya... I've lost many people I've cared for over the years... mostly all of them were my friends, and I always miss them

Good thread S&F

posted on Feb, 2 2014 @ 09:36 PM
reply to post by boymonkey74

Thanks for the reply. If I let myself I could come to tears nearly every day due to something that happens there. Either tears of sadness or tears of laughter, because like you said, they can really make you laugh.

posted on Feb, 2 2014 @ 09:41 PM
reply to post by jacktorrance

I started reading this and had to finish it. You write in a very captivating way.

It's so sad to hear that there are people who are just forgotten by their families as they got older. It's always difficult to make accurate judgement as to why that's the case but regardless of the things they may have done in the past, sometimes you have to forgive and make peace.

As I get older I realise that life is too short to hold grudges. Especially when it comes to family.

Some people neglect their families with no justification. As you've said, work and lifestyle can get in the way leaving no time for the people who matter most. I just hope that Glenn is now receiving the respect he deserves, wherever he may be.

Thanks for sharing this story.
RIP Glenn.

posted on Feb, 2 2014 @ 09:51 PM
reply to post by jacktorrance

Oh my, that was so sad and even worse - not uncommon. Poor guy - afraid and alone. Can't think of a worse situation.

Good for you for doing what you could - mostly caring. And thanks for sharing and hopefully opening some eyes.

As someone earlier said - you do have a very compelling writing style as well.

posted on Feb, 2 2014 @ 09:55 PM
Well done! Thanks for introducing us to Glenn. He is immortal, even without this internet eternity.

One thing your story reminded me of was a movie called "Patch Adams", with Robin Williams. A character in the movie came to mind.

Glenn seemed scared of death and angry at those around him. In the movie Patch had a unique solution for that death quandary.

Heres a scene from the movie that doesn't quite capture the plot line…

"Making fun of death"

posted on Feb, 2 2014 @ 10:12 PM
reply to post by intrptr

Thank you for that clip. I've actually never watched that film but have always wanted to, and this makes me want to watch it even more. I appreciate the reply.

posted on Feb, 2 2014 @ 10:16 PM
reply to post by Maluhia

reply to post by heliopolis

Thank you both. I appreciate it, and I definitely appreciate you taking the time to read this.

posted on Feb, 2 2014 @ 10:18 PM
reply to post by Akragon

You have a very difficult job. I commend you for the work you do as I'm sure it's much more hands on than I get to be. Thanks for reading my thread.

posted on Feb, 2 2014 @ 10:25 PM
reply to post by jacktorrance

No problem. I enjoyed reading your experience. You have a writing talent there you know.

The movie is based on a real character. Highly recommended.

posted on Feb, 2 2014 @ 10:27 PM
reply to post by jacktorrance

Starred right off the bat for the work you do. Thank you for helping the people you help, making their lives better and bringing them comfort. Stand yourself up next to any jackass who got a Ferrari through fraud and BS any day, and the admiring eyes of the AWAKE people will always be on you, and every one else who does moral work for those most in need.

posted on Feb, 2 2014 @ 10:32 PM
I don't really know what to say, I'm glad I read...

posted on Feb, 2 2014 @ 10:42 PM
Angels dont always have wings and play harps. Sometimes they carry juice and open the sugar.

Glad to meet Glenn.. and YOU.

posted on Feb, 2 2014 @ 11:06 PM
I think that no matter what job you find yourself in, no matter what title, you will find some real valuable meaning.

Best story I've read in a long long while. Thank you for sharing this.

posted on Feb, 2 2014 @ 11:22 PM
reply to post by jacktorrance

Oh lord where do I start? I'm going to stand across the isle here and put my story out there of why some people don't go and see relatives that are in nursing homes. First I DO want to say that with your heart,you are an angel for the care and respect you show those people.Make no mistake I admire you for the job you do.Now on to my story.

My grandmother, boy was she a piece of work.My mom remembered during the depression when they're family dog was tied up outside and starving (since the method of feeding was to throw the dinner scraps to dogs). The family didn't have much to eat and guess what? The dog had even less. My grandma decided the dog wouldn't get a bite till it sat down and waited.She kept kicking the dog in the gut insisting it had to sit,with my mother crying and telling her he was starving and just throw the food down to him! But grandma knew no mercy. She had 4 kids in as many years and beat them all but the youngest with a switch till blood trickled down they're legs.She didn't treat the youngest that way because she gave her up to her sister and brother in law cause she couldn't feed another mouth.

They finally all moved up to the city and my mother had moved out after marrying a guy,grandma had demanded her youngest daughter back after all those years from her sister. Her sister had raised her from 3 months to 14 years.and now had to give her back. My grandma always got her way by bullying other family members till they fell in line. 2 years later the now 16 year old was dead. She was murdered by an ex boyfriend that was older than her. The family members that had raised her never got over it and punished themselves for giving her back.

My grandma continued to bully the rest of the family over the years, even going so far as to tell my mother that it should have been her that died instead of her sister.Most of her siblings would not even come to visit her with the way she was. But for whatever reason my mom and her brothers always came back for more. My grandma told my mom she would not do anything for me and hated me when my mom told her she was pregnant with me.My grandmother had wanted to take my older sister and use her as a replacement for her dead daughter.Now she would never get my mom to leave my dad so she could take control over my sister like she wanted.My dad would be in the way.

Once I was born true to her word she was crappy to me all the years I was growing up.She would lock me downstairs in the dark(sneaking upstairs when I was busy playing) and let me scream. I finally learned how to beat her at her game and would make my way up the steps quietly in the dark,then the game was over.She had to find another game to play instead. When I was 8 years old I told her if she laid another hand on my brother I was going to tell my dad she was ignoring my brother (she was supposed to be babysitting him) then picking him up and beating him. When I got home I told my mom I hated that bitch and to never leave me or my brother there again. (My father had taught me to tell people to kiss my a__ from the age of 4).

When I was 17 my grandma came over to make a big announcement, the issue was that we needed to kiss her ass in order to get anything from her will when she died.My mother didn't have it in her to tell grandma off,so lucky me at 17 got pulled in to say what needed to be said. So I waited till she made her big speech,then told her that it was like this "There is nothing you or the family has that is so important or worth anything that would make it worth it to bring about false feelings of love after all these years, the only thing we ever wanted from you was your love and you couldn't give that,instead you only wanted us to grovel at your feet. Take your money and shove it up your a__" .

After that we pretty much didn't have anything to do with her,no one had ever had the gall to stand up to her and tell her off.I had committed an unspeakable sin.But I knew I had nothing to lose with that relationship anyway. In time she ended up in a nursing home somewhere,we never went to see her. She died without ever seeing us again. The only thing I had to say to my mom was that I felt I should go to her grave and salt it so she can't rise.

I'm not going to say that this is the case for all of these people, some,the family is just to upset to see a loved one like that.Which in my book is really no excuse. Some truly have outlived they're families. But there are those,that are just plain evil and hateful.They have reaped what they have sown. I have watched a handful of people die over the years, and I can tell you,those that lived and loved were not afraid to go.But those that left hate and resentment in they're paths were afraid.They had reason to be I guess. What was the case for Glenn? No idea. I guess we'll never know really.But not all old people are innocent, some have left a horrible legacy that can't be forgotten. Peace out.

posted on Feb, 2 2014 @ 11:41 PM
reply to post by jacktorrance

I too have done that job, and I still volunteer. I could say a lot, but I think the main things to say to you is "Thank You".

And all in seems if anyone was his was you.

God Bless.

PS Along time ago, I was frustrated with a family's lack of care/concern over their loved one. Someone told me this, and Ive never forgotten it.
"Your family will hurt you faster than your friends will"... I thought about that, him, his death, his will...and that statement is true.

posted on Feb, 3 2014 @ 12:15 AM
Nicest thread written in quite some time so thanks to your hard work, so hard to know what to write, but being in a wheelchair myself, I hope that all his paths are all downhill.

posted on Feb, 3 2014 @ 12:56 AM
Yeah my mother used to work at a home like this. Put up with the horrible staff day in and day out so she made better friends with the resident's who'd been abandoned there. She had a similar job working in the kitchen washing dishes etc. She really would make an effort to communicate with them and some even started to treat her like a relative. So when they died it made it hard on her. She somehow stayed the same, she always was the strongest to deal with mental trauma like this.
Unfortunately she endured with their death's day after day and couldn't stand working close to the morgue in the basement(she had a fear of ghosts. She was superstitious and I cant blame her.)

If I were you I wouldn't try to think about it too much, or soon you'll find yourself cold-hearted, calculating and sad. Just be happy he isn't in pain anymore as bad as it sound's. Sorry.

posted on Feb, 3 2014 @ 02:07 AM
Glenn will be in my prayers's sad to see old folks alone ...for whatever reason....but Glenn seemed polite and normal...too bad the family decided to stop his medication.....

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