The NY Times this morning wrote about its shocking disclosure that more and more men are assuming the role of primary caregiver to their aging parents.
This is almost funny. It's not, though.
I took care of my mother's person and finances for a year, from early March 1991 until she died on February 28, 1992. My mother had squirreled money away–a great deal of it–but in plain sight. So I ran field through Medicaid by signing away ever dollar she had to the nursing home before she could qualify for her expenses being underwritten.
It was not particularly fun.
- I had no siblings for mutual support
- I spent half my days arguing with bureaucrats
- I went home and downed Ativans, three at a time, washed down with vodka, just to get myself straight.
- I lost total contact with my wife except to tell her, early in 1997, that I wanted out because my life had become a series of lies on top of addictions, and my marriage had become the biggest lie of them all.
When my mother died, Medicaid paid for her funeral because she'd set aside not a dime based on her oft-stated assumption that someone was going to rob her. Not exactly. But the nursing home worked it so it was legal.
Asking for help was not an option. My wife and my mother disliked one another, and rightly or not, I believed that my mother was my responsibility–solely mine–as well as my cross. No siblings, remember?
Upset? Me? I almost got into one fight with a very large security guard because I found Beth Israel/Passaic Hospital's treatment of me–totally ignoring me regarding my mother's condition after congestive heart failure–horribly wrong. It actually was. If I'd been a woman, would this have happened?
And I'd done nothing except work to ease my mother's passage from this place to the next.
My emotional collapse, when it came, was a doozy, as they say.
Still, I was one of the lucky ones. I got dragged out of the trench before it collapsed on me.
But the Times…the Times!…remains forever in the derriere guard of journalism and current information. They discover a trend that's not news anymore and expect everyone to be amazed. Sorry, Paper of Record, you got there 17 years too late this time.