My neighbor I have known for ten years… and grown fond of… is the same age as my mother. Her life was filled with hardships and abuse as a youth. It seems in her older years the hardships are not letting up. Pretty much confined to a wheelchair, she is now in need of a sit-to-stand lift.
Being that her husband was a war veteran I never expected to hear the cost of her lift would not be covered at all. Not by medicaid either. I know, I have spent many hours researching ways to get her the $4800 dollar piece of equipment they can not afford.
The situation became desperate when she came home from a rehab center in town. She stayed at the place almost two months. Once her social security was drained she was put in a room with a parking lot view, given drugs that literally made her lose her mind stopping her ability to do rehab exercises, and her diabetic wounds on her leg grew to the point they became infected. She told me they fed her bologna sandwiches for dinner every night. She dropped seventy-three pounds because she could not even stand the smell of another sandwich and refused to eat. At this point her husband had enough and got her admitted to the hospital where her diabetic sores were aggressively treated.
My neighbor is now home, recuperating. On Monday we helped her into her wheelchair and it took all we had to physically do it. She weighs around two-fifty. When she came home from her appointments we had to call the fire company for aide. Over the years, everyone knows who she is, especially if they are in the fire company. It is extremely obvious she needed the lift; a sit-to-stand where she could actually use it as a walker and get much needed exercise.
While my neighbor will have to pay out of pocket for the lift I did manage to find a used lift on craigslist for one-third the cost. Today we are traveling two hours in her van to get it. (Lifts on ebay were five to fifteen hours away.) The people were generous enough to accept five-hundred dollars less than the price, putting the lift within the budget without wiping out my friend’s savings account. It is going to be a long trip, but so worth it.
I really am astonished how our medical system is yet treating our senior citizens’ need for independence so poorly. Had my neighbor been able to acquire the lift in the first place she would have never been in the rehab center’s negligent claws. I wish I had taken a more active interest in her needs sooner. Life keeps me so busy, moving my family to the farm in this instance, I missed out on helping her sooner.
I was right about the trip being a long one. It rained the whole way. The elderly gentleman who sold us the lift was in the process of moving to a downstairs apartment. His wife had passed away and he no longer needed the larger space. Being in his eighties, he revealed without the lift we were now buying the care of his wife would have been impossible. The family was just showing up to help him begin the moving process. They seemed a happy brood and the gentleman was always smiling. Knowing the lift was going on to help another family was gratifying to the family.
Once the lift made it to its destination, and I saw the relief and smile on my friend’s face I shared the sentiment. Life is not about how much stuff you can pile into a house. It is not about how much money is in the bank. The true meaning of life is revealed when you give of yourself, without expecting anything in return. Jesus came to the Earth to teach us a simple truth, “There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.” Acts 20:35
When I see my neighbor out on the porch in her wheelchair enjoying a fresh dose of morning air it will lift my spirits to know I was a small part in giving my friend a much needed lift.
Helping others also encourages me to keep on pursuing the dream of seeing my books in the hands of a publishing company. To think of the changes success would bring to my whole family and to some of my friends is exciting. Can you imagine how excited they would all be if I were able to get them all together and flip on a demo tape and see an animation film of Major Ross Jackson ducking knives as Private Bucks loses her temper? or Jackson screaming as they ride off the cliff to land in a pool of water at the bottom to escape the evil General’s men? or when the squirrel steals Old Lent’s hat? or when Pearl, Bucks pet cougar, causes chaos? My friends have laughed so well at the book… well… envisioning the movie version in my mind’s eye with everyone I care about gathered to see it…what a motivating dream.
It was the dream of a four year-old to own a farm with horses; it was the dream of a seven year-old to drive a big truck; it was the dream of a sixteen-year old to write a book; it was the dream of a thirty-year old to bring mother, daughters and brothers together on the same farm; if these dreams can be made to come real than seeing The Major’s Renegade or Shelby become a movie should not be so impossible a dream for a forty-year old, do you think?