IMG_2725 (Copy)My friend, Paul, fell and broke his hip. He is 88 years old and crawled from his garage into his house and called his housekeeper. She asked him if he needed 911 and he said “NO!”  He is a very determined person and didn’t want to go to the hospital.

He was trying to eat his first meal after three days in the hospital, when I visited with him yesterday. His coordination was such that he couldn’t control the spoon, nor his waxed carton of milk, so I fed him.  A helper came in and took his tray away which still held half of his food. She didn’t ask, would you like to keep your applesauce to snack on later? I think to myself, he could slowly starve if left alone and no one would even blink an eye. No candy striper to help him eat. The local hospital uses volunteer help in the gift shop and receiving area, but none on the wards.

They will be putting him in a rest home, but my experience with that is, they are understaffed and the same thing happens. They put food in front of a person, but not much gets to where it belongs. My friend Betty, was a case in point. I’d visit her regularly and feed her because she had difficulty chewing and would take a long time to eat. Unless I stopped them, they’d whisk her food away because “lunchtime” was over, or the food was cold.

The answer is, more staff. It is expensive and cuts into profits. Medical care should not be a for profit operation. One reason I bought my property in Oregon when I did was because they had right to die laws. They now have them in California, too. I’m determined to never spend time in a rest home.  And, I’ll stay away from hospitals if it is in any way possible. And, I’ll support progressive, social reforms.



Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “SLOW STARVATION.

  1. My biggest fear for “old age” is the inability to acquire, and have the facilities and ability to prepare, my own food.

    Virtual hugs,


    • 2gadabout

      I think we all fear the same thing. I’ve been gone for two days and I’m glad to report he is doing much,much better. I was irritated with staff for their casual and dismissive action, and for my friend Betty, it was slow starvation, without a doubt. But, Paul is a serious fighter and he is making progress quickly, so I’ve been told. Maybe that first meal that I hand fed him helped energize him.

  2. Was Betty coherent? Could she have asked them to leave the food? I think we older folks tend to be intimidated by “authorities”, so to speak. The few times I have been in the hospital, I have made it a point to order things that can be kept for after mealtimes, and snacked on later – like fresh fruit. But, of course, everything depends on one’s own abilities to chew. A carton of full-fat milk will stay drinkable all day, really, because of the high fat content, so if room temperature isn’t a problem, it can be drunk later on. Puddings and Jell-O can be held onto as well.

    The amount of food offered in one meal is usually way too vast for someone who is not moving around much, but can be needed later on – before the next meal arrives.

    Also, I’ve found it useful to ask for salt-free meals because they salt things way too heavily in an effort, I presume, to maintain viability long after normal food would rot away.

    I spent three weeks in a hospital room with my husband when he was having a transplant, and I ate mostly the hospital food during that time, supplementing with fresh greens from the cafeteria. My system suffered greatly, so if that is how it affects a healthy person . . . OMG . . . what is it like for someone who is debilitated???

    • 2gadabout

      Betty was suffering from Alzheimers and was fine one day and not the next. She would forget to eat, and was a slow eater by nature. She died in 2005. I guess that is current. I’m glad to report that Paul is recovering nicely and his coordination has returned to normal, which is nice. They’ve moved him to an a euphemistically named care center that doesn’t say Rest Home. Rest Home sounds so much like last resort, the place where you go to die, as it often is. I kind of shake my head, but I approve, its just that Rest Home was once the polite name for warehousing the sick and dying. And I’ve known several people who have gone into them and got out after a bit of rehabilitation and rest. Some of them are nice and decent. I haven’t visited his yet.

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