18 Year Old Girl Dances in Nursing Home with 90 Year Old Man.
An "investigative" report.
It is amazing what a good title will do for a piece people would not ordinarily look at.
Yes, there is something about an 18 year old girl dancing in a nursing home with a 90 year old man here. So keep reading.
But what this "investigative" piece is really about... is growing old in America.
I personally think the best investigations have to be by those who are forced to live the thing they are investigating.
I... am being forced to investigate... growing old in America.
In six days, I will be sixty.
This morning when I was returning from taking my 12 year old to school - yes, I got a late start in life - I looked over to the right and there was a guy going crazy in his car and looking at me angrily and waving at me to "step it up", evidently because he wanted to pull out and cross all the lanes, and I was going too slow for him. I looked at my speedometer and I was going 45... which I believe was the speed limit there.
But growing old in America has one advantage. You don't really care what other people think. And I don't really care if I was going too slow or not. If I was... shoot me, and put me out of my almost sixty misery.
This guy was in such a rush, when all he's going to do is eventually get where I am at - almost, if not already old - if he lives.
Just now I went to the mailbox, and there was another medical bill. Welcome to almost sixty.
On my email there was notification that I had just won a laptop - from the Netherlands no less - if I would just call them. Even the Netherlands somehow knows I am getting old and ripe for any and all cons in the book.
How did this happen?
Well, when you are young you are floating on your back way out at the edge of the whirlpool. It's pretty slow going, all the way through college. Then you get your first job, or two, and if they are bad, time slows down to a standstill.
It is only when you have a child, that they tie you to a rocket and light the fuse. From then on it is like the roadrunner cartoons - you flash across the sky doing everything that needs to be done for that child. Whatever it is. Until, like a sonic boom,
The child is an adult or almost an adult, and you are six days away from being sixty.
And you are going straight down the center of the whirlpool at warp neck speed tied to an inescapable rocket.
And you can almost hear the sound of a toilet flushing at the bottom.
I have a friend, a woman, whom I have known for twenty years at work. She has a daughter I have watched grow up, because she has been bringing her to work to let us see her ever since she was a few days old.
The girl is young and full of joy, and everytime she sees me she yells, "WILL!" and gives me a great big hug. Yesterday she was pulling into the parking lot and I swear when she saw me she let go of the steering wheel and threw out her arms to hug me while she said "WILL!" even though she was no where near enough to hug.
I think she may look at me as some kind of substitute father figure. And I am ok with that. Glad to help.
And yes, for those of you who have been waiting, she is 18 and does work in a nursing home.
And her mother tells me that there is an old man there, about 90, that was like a dead man, until her daughter started caring for him. And in short order, at a Christmas "dance" or something, she had him out on his feet, on the floor, and DANCING. No longer a vegetable. Happy once more.
Now I don't know if the "children" of a ninety year old want their dad out on the floor dancing. But I know if it were my ninety - I know I would want to be happy.
I was also told - during my investigation into getting old in America of course - that when the daughter left the nursing home for awhile, the other caretakers almost had a revolution on their hands.
One man was going down the aisle saying, "WHERE'S MY ANGEL?"
He was not the dancer. He was another. And there were many more she had jump-started a remaining spark of life in.
The last time I was in a nursing home, years ago, it was to deliver something. And from what I saw, I never wanted to, or want to now, go back.
With any luck, I won't have to. Heart attack runs in my family. My dad used to worry about the same thing, not wanting to go to the old soldiers home. He didn't. Although death dragged out it's work for several months... he didn't spend any time, in a nursing home.
My brother has had a heart attack as well, but he survived that one. He's happy it seems. And taking his medications.
I take mine as well. But if I saw I was going to a nursing home, I think I would throw them all away... and refuse any more, unless I knew for certain there was an angel there I could dance with.
In that case, I think I would throw the medications away anyway...
And die dancing.
Happy once more.
And one final good thing about growing old in America:
My wife listens to John Tesh and his insane good advice radio program all day long.
And I think if I were to accidently meet him, and not accidently choke him to death...
I could just laugh at the judge's prounouncement of life in prison.
Now there's a silver lining!
April 24, 2009.