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Angry Old Men

Why are old men always so grumpy? I remember asking this question many years ago, and now that I live in that world, I can offer an answer. However, I don’t believe there is a single, one size fits all answer. There may be as many reasons as there are grumpy old men, but I will offer a few with only one scenario.

Man number one worked hard his whole life, remained faithful to his wife, and raised three kids, putting two of them through college.  Needless to say, he is a very proud man.  Four months before he could retire with a full benefit package, life jumps up and slaps him square in the face.  One minute he is at work, on lunch break, and the next thing he knows, he is in an ambulance trying to tell some EMT kid to leave him alone. 

After a few days in the hospital, he is sent home to adjust to a life after stroke.  In this new life, he cannot walk and is forced to use a wheelchair but must be pushed everywhere because he also lost the use of one arm.   He can’t complain though, at least not so anyone can understand, because one side of his mouth droops and is, for the most part, useless for forming words.  The tongue muscles are also affected to further complicate successful communication as well as creating eating and swallowing difficulties, and choking realities.  Getting into or out of bed, dressing, undressing, bathing, toileting, and a number of other normal activities of daily living, can no longer be done independently.  In less than one second, he had gone from fiercely independent to meekly dependant.

His wife tries to take care of him, but their home is not designed for wheelchair use and some doors he cannot fit through—the bathroom being the most important one.  She continues trying, but alas, realizes she simply cannot do it alone and is forced to ask their children for help.  All three said basically the same thing; they could not afford miss work to physically help, but they would help financially. 

Rallying the family’s resources, they are able to hire a person to help with his daily living needs.  All goes well at first, but then she (the wife) starts missing things.  She thinks she is simply misplacing or forgetting where she put things, but eventuality, the truth surfaces.  Unfortunately, not before thousands of dollars worth of items are gone forever; some were irreplaceable family heirlooms.

Not one to give up easily, she hires another person, but this one does not show up for work regularly.  Determined to keep her beloved husband at home with her, she tries a third person.  This time she works with a home-health agency and pays a higher per-hour rate expecting to get a qualified person.  What she got was a middle-aged teenybopper with an alcohol problem.

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