Sick and Vulnerable

Sick and Vulnerable

My friend Donna, who lives across the way from me in Scottsdale, is a single senior, too. She recently broke up a three year relationship. She was feeling strong and in control of her life.

She had foot surgery last week and asked me to drive her to the outpatient facility and her son would pick her up. She had never had any major surgery and stayed up the night before and cleaned to keep her mind off it.

At 5:30 a.m. I drove her and waited until they called her back. I went back home and worried while doing errands. I finally saw her son’s car about 2 p.m. Donna was out of it. The doctor had planned on a local anesthetic but she was moving too much so Donna got a general.  Had I known that and its consequences, I would have planned to sleep over at her house. As it was I stayed the rest of the day but slept at my house with strict instructions for her to call me for anything. She was too nice to do that.

The next day she did not feel better. She had had a bad night and couldn’t get to the pain pills. It was impossible for her to walk her dog but I was glad to oblige. I hung out with Donna most of that day, too. I arranged for a neighbor’s child to walk the dog for the next week.

I had to call the medical supply company and get the compression/icing machine replaced twice in the next two days. I stayed with Donna as much as I could. Her sister and her children came to visit, but no one was taking primary responsibility.

That night she tried to get up in the middle of the night and fell. It took her quite a while and a lot of pain to get back up. I left to go back to Munds Park the next morning, feeling uneasy and guilty that I wasn’t going to be there to care for Donna.

When I talked to her later that day, she told me that she was in more pain and her air conditioning went out but she had gotten someone out right away to fix it.

She’s reconsidering the single life. She felt very vulnerable and a “burden” to others when she was incapacitated. She didn’t want to call people to help her, people who owed her plenty of favors for taking care of them. I think when she recovers, she’ll start dating to find someone she can trust and marry.

This has not made me reconsider my single status. When I was married, my friends had to take me to surgeries because both of my husbands had more important things to do. I vow next time someone asks me to take them to surgery to see the whole thing through and sleep over with them until they can fend for themselves.




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