Saturday, June 04, 2011

In continuation.........

In continuation with my previous post I wish to add an observation made by me in the past couple of days. A family friend let me call him Mr. T, came over to our place saying that he wanted to consult my husband and me on an important matter. We knew that he had shortlisted a few houses to be taken on rent and guessed that he was unable to decide on the one that would be appropriate to house him and his ailing wife for the next year or so. His wife is on dialysis following kidney failure and the two of them were staying with their daughter in Chennai since her residence was at walking distance from a well equipped hospital. The couples are now in a dilemma. The daughter is expecting a foreign assignment and is likely to take it up. It would be selfish of them to expect her to let the offer go. But finding a house in Jamshedpur in a week’s time is also a difficult proposition. They have three other children but none of them is able to take charge. The older son is in America and is funding the treatment. The younger son is posted in rural Tamilnadu and has a touring job. Medical facility is not the best in the area he lives. The second daughter living in Mumbai is willing to take responsibility but her house if very far from the hospital and commuting in a metro would be hard on the ailing wife. And to top it Mr. T is the main care giver since he is the only one free to attend to her with both daughters working. He naturally feels that Jamshedpur being a known town this would be the best place for him to shift.

It is really no one’s fault as one can see. The children have been doing their best for the past two years. With time a certain amount of frustration tends to set in. The older daughter feels that she is taking on more than her share of responsibility. But apart from letting them stay at her place she does little else. No, there is no cause for complaint. the demand of her job is such that she has very little time to spare. Her mother walks to the hospital on her own for her dialysis and it is only when she returns after 4 hours that she feels weak and needs to hire an auto-rickshaw and it is Mr. T that escorts her to the hospital and back. Whenever Mr. T comes over to Jamshedpur the younger daughter takes over. But he is expected to return within 10 days because she has to return to work.

But to manage a patient all by himself would not be easy at the age of 68 I said. I mean there could be an emergency and as mentioned in my last post connectivity to our town is not the best. He is looking for accommodation close to the hospital that his wife would check into for her tri weekly dialysis. That part of the town is not the very best since the national highway is part of the route they need to take to reach hospital. Apart from being very far from our house it is accident prone and driving two /three wheelers in the area is risky. I remembered the time when these children were studying and Mr. T was forced to retire by the organization he worked for. His wife stood in support by his side and saw to it that their education did not suffer. I only regret that now that the financially difficult phase of their lives has been eased out health problems have crept in The relaxation that one looks forward to in the twilight of his/her life was perhaps not in their destiny. If this is the situation when children are caring and concerned I dread to think of a situation when finance is a problem and children bicker on who the care giver ought to be.


Deepa said...

:( It is so unfortunate. I feel it is the duty of children to share responsibility of parents so that a single child need not bear the burden.
Would not the same children work around and cater towards their own kids if a need arises ?
And it is also the responsibility of the aging parents to be more flexible and positively contribute in whatever ways they can.

Ugich Konitari said...

HHG, You know I see this again and again. The inability of children to decide when money earning should be a secondary consideration. The days when people refused transfers and promotions because of family emergencies and commitments are gone. Instead of funding the treatment, the eldest fellow should actually try and find them a senior home type place where you can stay, be looked after, and they also give you whatever treatment you need (taking you there etc). It costs. But thats what children are there for. 2 kids overseas(1 already and 1 potential), and I think that's the least they can do. (I know there are places like that in Pune).

Its so easy to throw money and think your responsibilities are over. All quantity and no quality.

Swapna Raghu Sanand said...

I was deeply touched when I read your blog. Whatever the reason may be, children should take care of their parents at a time like this. I can't imagine how they can think of themselves during a phase like this. Parents spend their whole lives making sacrifices for kids, not wanting anything in return. Kids, once grown, should feel the same burning love towards their parents.

dr.antony said...

A person with kidney failure on dialysis will consume the whole resources and more of the family and can cripple the family.It is a lifelong process,unless a transplant is done.And then,the quality of life is poor too.

This is where we differ in our services.While I was in Germany,I had a relative woman who had end stage kidney disease and was on dialysis thrice a week.The ambulance would come from hospital,pick her up,and bring her back home after dialysis.She only had her husband with her.Everything was taken care of by the governmental health care.

As you rightly said,what if there was no money?It is usual to see requests on TV channels from ailing poor families,with some one on dialysis.Few can afford the prohibitive expenses.
What we need is a quality health care system.There is enough black money here to deliver this and more to the people.

Hip Grandma said...

Deepa:Yes it is unfortunate but very common these days.Regarding caring for one's children I feel that one feels that children are one's sole responsibility while parents are shared responsibility and that leads to friction in the family.

Suranga:These days a person saying no to a promotion or job switch for family commitments is considered a loser and a fool. Parents dare not expect it of children for fear of being called selfish by the world. Equations have changed that's it.

Swapna:If children realize that their parents need them or parent admit that they want them around there would be no problem. Parents too are unable to boldly say that they expect their children to make sacrifices for them. Open communication is lacking.

dr.antony:You ought to know the trauma a family endures on account of the expense incurred due to dialysis. It breaks one's back literally.

BTW I am unable to comment at your blog. Do I need an invite to access it?

noon said...

Hello HHG, I finally wrote the post on this topic - my view from the other side in some ways. But with an understanding of how it must feel for the other person also. What you have written about makes me sad and also makes me feel scared. I really dread old age in some ways.

Renu said...

This situation I see everywhere..I know an old women of 93 who has 5 children, but its only one son who himself is 63 who looks after her and been doing that for last 35 son has settled abroad and he doesnt even bother to support financially. Daughters are all above 60 and nobody wants her, not totally their fault even.sometimes the one who supports , his wife also feels itrritated with the responsibility at her age and continuous binding as they cant go anywhere, then she gets a bad name..but what is the solution?

Neers said...


p.s: how have you been? longg time. thought would drop by and say hello!

Hip Grandma said...

noon:went through your piece and it was nice to get your perspective. Keep them coming. i'd like to know views other than that of my generation.

Renu;There is a saying in Tamil which implies that those who do a service are bound to be criticized. those who don't have t easy. i've seen it happen so often,

neers:wow!nice hearing from you.I was going through some of my old posts and wondered where my initial readers had vanished.How are you doing?

Sangi said...

Commenting here so that I have the pertinent facts. Since one child (the son abroad) is funding, is getting a nurse not an option? From the post, it looks like all children are trying their best in a situation that's tough for all. As for calling on the phone and saying tight pursed, it's not in the post. Rudeness is not acceptable to me with elders but you have to be the first to admit that the elderly are not the easiest to deal with. When parents shout it out, children take it as a matter of fact. The one time a child's frustration takes over (let us remember these are adults with other pressures and their lives too!), it becomes a non-forgivable offence. I am not talking from personal experience - my mom and I have a different relationship, we both can be honest with each other without doubting intention, but have seen this time and again. Somehow it is unacceptable for a younger person to have emotion and to want to express them. Then suddenly it is respect that is missing - not just a case of communication.

What stops an adult man and husband from hiring a nurse after discussion with the children? In India, the one thing that still works is good and inexpensive labour (comparitively), esp, in smaller towns.

As Ugich suggests, finding an old age home will be something the elder son will be cursed for a lifetime by a whole society. Regardless of the quality of the retirement community or home.

Shall end my looooong comment now. We all need to be able to see reality and BE real, regardless of age.