Signing the divorce papers was most likely Charlie’s lowest level.  His spouse sitting by his facet, sometimes she would swat on the air at some invisible fly buzzing across the room.  There was no fly.  Simply the acrid scent of the nursing house, a horrifying mixture of sweat, shit, and desperation.  He tried to focus his aged eyes on the authorized papers because the tears swirled previous his nostril and shedding traction, fell onto his crusty sweater.  He had no intention of leaving his beloved’s facet.  Little interest in abandoning his life.  But when he was going to present the extent of care mandatory for the Alzheimer’s riddled mind of his partner, he needed to signal the divorce papers and declare her bankrupt.  Solely then would Medicaid pay.  That is what dying poor in America seems like.

He regretted not having the ability to take her house.  Probably not house, the four-bedroom within the tony suburbs during which their youngsters had grown up, however the small apartment he now inhabited by himself at night time when not camped on the nursing house.

They’d moved there a decade in the past when the foreclosures papers had been finalized.  Charlie winced, however then his face softened.  He was too outdated for such regrets.  Residence, he thought to himself, wasn’t even a spot anyway.  This comforted him as he grasped his beloveds hand tighter inducing an sudden moan.

Residence was sitting on this hell-bent establishment, ignoring the demented squalls that emanated loosely from confused lips,  holding one another.

When loss of life comes

Charlie’s well being deteriorated quickly after his spouse’s loss of life.  He used his sparing vitality to scrub out the tiny room the ghost of his greatest pal inhabited for the previous couple of years.  There have been no reminiscences right here.  His time spent within the rocking chair by the mattress, reliving nice reminiscences and whispering tales into the ear of 1 who may now not hear, was simply forgotten.

Any final bit of cash the divorce had spared his personal private funds was gone.  His physique weak.  His joints stiffened by 9 many years of trauma.  He obtained into mattress one night after consuming just a little an excessive amount of, and awoke too weak to raise himself up.

As a substitute, he gently rolled right down to the ground and crawled into the lavatory.  There could be no 911 calls.  He wouldn’t spend his final days in some godforsaken establishment like his spouse.

There could be nobody there to whisper in his ears and transport him from this hapless existence.

His days have been numbered, he was dying poor in America.

When the top comes

The physician let himself in with the important thing below the doormat.  Charlie had managed to wedge himself subsequent to the sofa and switch the TV on.  The physician, a former school soccer participant, was simply in a position to hoist him onto the sofa and begin the analysis.

Charlie’s coronary heart failure required quick hospitalization.  Which Charlie refused.

Then the physician pleaded with him to rent around-the-clock caregivers.  Charlie laughed.  He barely may hold his lights on and the water operating along with his measly social safety checks.

Ultimately, the choice of hospice was agreed upon.  The physician left the residence with nice apprehension.  The nurse would arrive the subsequent morning for analysis.  He glanced again one final time at Charlie as he left by the entrance door.

He was sitting along with his eyes staring blankly on the TV display.  The amount was turned off.  A small urinal was stationed on the ground subsequent to the sofa, and a tray with a couple of scraps of meals was being ignored at his facet.

Charlie joined his spouse someday that night time

He died alone on the sofa. Quietly, one assumes.  The hospice nurse found him the subsequent morning when she let herself into the apartment.  Stiff as a board.  His palms clutching at one thing vacantly by his facet.


We don’t speak about it usually.  We avert our eyes to the fact of ageing in America.

Perhaps it’s Charlie’s fault.  He may have saved extra.

Or is it the federal government.  We may have higher social security nets.

Perhaps our communities ought to rise as much as assist these in want.

The reply is sure.  Sure, sure, sure.

However for now, that is what we get.  Dying poor in America.  Alone.


“DocG” is a doctor who blogs at DiverseFI.

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