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Sun Apr 22, 2018, 09:06 AM

I'm burying a friend today

and I am so pissed off I can hardly speak. He didn't mean to kill himself, but he did just that, sure as sure. He had diabetes and concomitant neuropathy in his feet. He had sores on his feet and lower legs that would not heal. The last time he was at our house, I turned to face him to warn him of a step, and I saw that he was walking *on the side of his foot.* He had no feeling and no idea that that's what he was doing.

Predictably, he wound up in the hospital for a lower leg amputation. I used to work in a rehabilitation hospital, and I know lots of folks who had amputations--especially amputations that spared the knee, which is what my friend got--who went on to live full and happy lives. Those who had been athletic continued to be athletic. I knew a 90-year-old lady who had both legs amputated, and when social services tried to relocate her from her second-floor walkup to a ground-floor apartment, she would have none of it. And she did fine!

I encouraged my friend not to feel so bad about the amputation. He really didn't have a choice; the damn foot was going to kill him if he didn't have it cut off. I told him what was going to happen, that when his stump healed he'd be fitted with a temporary prosthesis to learn to walk with, then with a permanent one that he would live with, independent as he had been before.

While he was in the rehab hospital waiting for his stump to heal, he refused to get out of bed. He insisted on having his meals in bed because he didn't want to go to the dining room to eat with "all those old people.." Then a prosthesis appeared in his room--we visited him every weekend--but he said he couldn't use it. Why? He didn't want to go to PT. We talked to staff about getting him out of bed at least--he was still lying in bed! but because we were not family we had no rights to find out what was going on.

He was in that fucking hospital--in his bed--for over a year. His muscles wasted; his teeth fell out because his gums receded so much. He never would get up even to sit in his chair. We got staff to put him in his wheelchair and took him out for a day outside in the sunshine in the hospital's beautiful garden, and he loved it, but when we suggested doing it again, he refused. He wouldn't even get up to go to the toilet.

He just lay in that goddam bed, dying, until it was just too late. Even if he had wanted to participate in therapy, he was too far gone. He had a final, hellish month being shuttled back and forth from rehab to the regular hospital as his organs began to fail, and his last week was spent with a ventilator, and feeding tube and a urinary catheter. He finally agreed to go on hospice, and he died after two days.

He's being buried today, and I know I will cry, but my real feelings will be of genuine wrath. I want to ask his family where the fuck they were, why they didn't insist he get up and try months and months ago, but I will control myself and behave.

What a waste.

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Reply I'm burying a friend today (Original post)
cyclonefence Apr 2018 OP
TheMastersNemesis Apr 2018 #1
cyclonefence Apr 2018 #3
TheMastersNemesis Apr 2018 #2
InAbLuEsTaTe Apr 2018 #4
Civic Justice Apr 2018 #5
Fla Dem Apr 2018 #6
samplegirl Apr 2018 #7

Response to cyclonefence (Original post)

Sun Apr 22, 2018, 09:11 AM

1. I Suffered A Lower Leg Loss 4 Years Ago Due To Staph. Being Diabetic Did Not Help But Not The Cause

 

My legs and feet were just fine. Then I got gout that got infected. Being diabetic was not the direct cause of losing my foot, but diabetes made treatment more difficult. I might have saved it had I got treatment sooner.

Now on my 5th years doing what I want. Play golf to a 17 handicap and can still beat the average golfer easily. Eva though I cannot walk endlessly like I used to I still do pretty much what I want to. Sure I miss my left foot, but I still live a pretty full life.

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Response to TheMastersNemesis (Reply #1)

Sun Apr 22, 2018, 09:17 AM

3. I wish someone like you had been invited to visit my friend

He thanked me for telling him about amputees who went on to do whatever they had done before in life and said it helped, that it made him feel better, but if he had been willing to go to PT he probably would have met people who were doing just fine with their prostheses. It's one thing to be told that it's going to be OK, but quite another to see for yourself.

I'm so happy for you. Advances in prosthetics just in the 20 years since I worked in the field have been astonishing. Even back then, lower limb amputation was never the death sentence my friend turned it into.

Thank you for telling me your story.

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Response to cyclonefence (Original post)

Sun Apr 22, 2018, 09:12 AM

2. Sorry. See My Response.

 

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Response to cyclonefence (Original post)

Sun Apr 22, 2018, 09:22 AM

4. So sorry to hear _HUGZ_

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Response to cyclonefence (Original post)

Sun Apr 22, 2018, 09:25 AM

5. My sympathies to your and your friend.

 

As we age in this day and time, it is a different world... not like the older days when family not only lived close, they were close. Today people's lives are moving fast, especially the young.
I know of the type experience you speak.
It will not be of benefit to address the family with questions of their absence... it only will generate more contentions.

Long ago when I was a child, I'd watch the family not only keep direct and close contact with the sick or elderly, it was the whole of the community and the church family as well as community friends that continued their support. We have not seen those type of family connections in many communities in many decades. People move a lot, some only stay in a house for 3-5 yrs and move from neighborhood to neighborhood and some move from state to state; among the many things that make distance within family among family members as well as distances exist even with friendships as people move about.

Today, people barely know who their next door neighbor is, and certainly do not know the rest of the people living on the block. The whole of today's communities may see each other in passing, but not know each others nations, and barely wave when they see each other in the community as they drive past.

We live in a society that revels about youth and health... its about status and style and how economically fit they they feel, and if they can do the shopping for the latest attire or the newest gadgets.

In many communities family gathering are far and in-between and some only gather when there's a loss of someone.

Keep your memories of the better times, and be with grace and consolation that you were what is a "real friend" and invested time to maintain being so. That's the blessing that you gave.

Today, our media treats death as like a scene in a movies that flips to another scene and when people get older, their friends too get older and some without the mobility they once had in youth. There are many alone and many lonely older people today, and many are for more graceful toward others, than society may even be aware of, because people simply do not visit and share with family and even with friends in many instances when illness comes. Its the world of today, not like the communities of yesteryear's.

Remember the good that the friendship was built upon and the good that was shared.

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Response to cyclonefence (Original post)

Sun Apr 22, 2018, 09:41 AM

6. Sorry for your loss of a good friend. You did everything you could for him. You were there for him.

That's what friends are for. But it sounds like he made either a conscious or unconscious decision not to try and save himself.









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Response to cyclonefence (Original post)

Sun Apr 22, 2018, 09:50 AM

7. So sorry for your loss.

What a sad story.

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