Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Rules is Rules

   Dorothy, age 83, lived with her husband, Louis, 93, in their fifth-wheel mobile home in a trailer park in the California mountains.  That was their world, 40 feet by 8 feet, except for the crank out living room, 12 feet wide.
   For years they had traveled contentedly, following the nice weather, Canada to Mexico. About ten years ago, they parked in the Sierra Nevadas, and stayed put. They settled down.
   Last month Louis fell and broke his hip.  They brought him to Merced where surgeons put pins in his hip, and put him in a nursing home.  Dorothy came with him, with just the clothes on her back.  Her family brought her to the old folks home where I live and moved her in, as is, come as you are.
   She misses Louis terribly, but can call when she wishes and can visit him when she can arrange transportation.  She anticipates moving him here with her as soon as possible.
   Without her permission, her grandchildren moved into the mobil home, and she feels pretty upset about that.  She is removed from her husband, plunked down into an institution, and her home is usurped.
   She is barely used to our routines here, has little time to consider the rules and routines. She is barely aware that there are assigned places in the dining room.
  Then this morning she had a dream that her husband had died.  She was scared and called him right away.  He said he was all right, but has pneumonia.  She came to breakfast pretty well shook up.
   I could see she was distraught, and I know she likes hugs so I said, "I need a hug."  We hugged.
   Her assigned table was empty, the residents having gone already.  I asked if she wanted to join me in Jim's empty chair.  He never comes to breakfast, and besides is gone to be with family for holidays.  She started to join me.
   Then the waitress came and said, "Oh, no, I have to seat her in her own seat. I'd be in trouble otherwise."  She led Dorothy, upset and distraught, to her empty table.
   Rules is rules.
   Well, not to me.  I rolled over and joined Dorothy.  They brought her breakfast, but she did not eat.  She was content just having a friend to talk to.  We  talked for some time, and finally she took a bite or two out of duty... being diabetic, she needs regular meals. She was certainly not feeling hungry.
   Made me wonder... are rules more important than compassion? 


garnett109 said...

you did right my friend, rules can be broken ,compassion is always first!

bamawmn46 said...

Poor Dorothy....   Her world has been turned upside down...  I hope Louis recovers and can come with you guys there.  They will both be happier.  I'm glad you broke the rules... She needed someone....

jckfrstross said...

compassion always comes first. you did the right thing:)


plieck30 said...

You are a caring person Chuck. Rules are made to be broken, especially in a case like this. Paula

herheadsnacloud said...

I am a health care worker for Hospice.............Thanks for the story.............that poor woman Dorothy........I wish that you could print that story and give it to that worker that would not let her sit with you................I sure she would feel really bad. Sometimes those of us that work with people have a tendency to get stuck in the rules and worry so much about the consequences of our actions as far as our jobs go ...............that the patients can take a back seat..........WHICH IS WRONG!!!!!I wish you would write more about this stuff....you have a real gift for it...........Please keep us updated on Dorothy.............Stick to your guns!!!! Hugs, Bambi

astaryth said...

You Go!! Rules are fine, but compassion should always come first!!

lacaza3 said...

No rules are not more important than compassion...Seems compassion isnt in this new generation
Donna In TEXAs

mavarin said...

Nothing I can add to what others already said.  Good for you,Chuck!  Keep us posted on Dorothy and Louis's situation. - Karen

elleme2 said...

It always astonishes me that people who are hired to work in places where compassion ought to be the order of the day are so often lacking in it.  I'm so glad you were there for Dorothy when she desparately needed a friend.  

valphish said...

Chuck, God bless you from the bottom of my heart.  Compassion is so important and I see less and less of it these days.  Give Dorothy a hug from me, too! xox

msecz said...

No rules are made to be broken. I am happy for her that you have showed her friendship and compassion. Sandra

magogos said...

Most rules are made to be broken, at leastr now and then. Shame on the waitress, and I am so glad you could be there for Dorothy. Your compassion blesses you both. Margo

onemoretina said...

Wish I could give Dorothy a hug. And you, too, for showing her some kindness and compassion when she needed it.  Tina  http://journals.aol.com/onemoretina/Ridealongwithme

ann7inflorida said...

You're a rebel. I like that :) And I agree with Tina.