I am boiling fucking mad this evening. I’m a regular viewer of Countdown with Keith Olbermann and was watching this evening when his guest host David Shuster validated and agreed with Pat Robertson’s assertion that Robertson’s caller should advise his friend that he should in fact divorce his wife who has Alzheimer’s disease because in a way she is already dead. (as long as he leaves her with custodial care) I expect this shit from jackasses like Pat Robertson but I do not expect it from liberal commentators. I especially don’t expect it from a show such as Countdown. A show whose regular host offered an eloquent special comment in 2008 on Prop 8. He said things like, “In a time of impermanence and fly by night relationships these people over here want the same chance @ permanence and happiness.” Keith also went on to say, “They want what you want, a chance to be a little less alone in the world.” He continued on, “Since slaves were property they could not be legally husband and wife nor mother and child. Their marriage vows were different not until death do you part but until death and distance do you part.”
How can a show with a host who speaks so eloquently about allowing all the opportunity to marry turn around and allow a guest host or perhaps actual writers from the show itself to validate the opinion that in sickness it’s fine to end the marriage? Does this mean that the show (and by association Keith) feels that we should fight only for healthy people to have a chance to be a little less alone in the world? If so this is the height of hypocrisy and he’s lost a viewer.
Now to talk more seriously about the topic for a moment. I spent Oct. 23-27 at Innova Health and Rehab to continue receiving IV antibiotic before finally ending my 17 days in the hospital/rehab. I’ve never written about my stay at the nursing home before. It was a horrible place. I don’t mean that it was dirty or that the nurses and aides were incompetent or unkind. I mean it is the kind of place that reeks of sorrow and loneliness and hopelessness. This was a nice facility and from my small space I saw no one mistreated but I also saw lonely old folks who either no longer had any family or who had families who just put them there to be out of the way. The nights are awful and long and lonely and terrifying. From my bed I could hear another patient moaning and crying out someone’s name. I had family members with me for as many hours as humanly possible and it was here I started to regain a little bit of myself and my independence but it was here that I saw people wander the halls lost, it was here I listened as a son-in-law told a mother-in-law that she was never going home again and it’s where I met Elmer for whom Innova was his final destination. He had no family and no more home of his own. His room at the end of the hall is now his permanent residence until they move him upstairs with the folks who are even sicker than he is. He doesn’t want to go up there because I think it is home to the folks who suffer from serious dementia and he was afraid to go there. Elmer doesn’t have dementia.
My grandmother had dementia. It started with her thinking people were coming to get her and progressed leaving her an empty shell. I didn’t visit her much at the home during those years because I was angry and hurt over an argument we’d had but between my parents, my uncle and my brother, nanny at least saw someone most days. I can’t imagine just dropping her off there and never going back. My nanny who’d refused to give up her pocketbook and fought so hard that she was still holding the straps when they ripped it out her her hand at age 70 was now small and afraid with empty eyes. It was awful.
David Shuster and Pat Robertson should both have to live through a 1 week stay in a nursing home, no visitors, no calls, no cell phones or computers, no contact with anyone. 1 week to think about what an endless number of days in there would feel like. And what it would be like to never see their constant companion ever again and not be able to understand why or where they went. I can’t imagine what that fear must feel like.
I’m sick, sick with anger at these two idiots.