An excerpt from my field journal


First a picture. I wore this to work today. And I put at least one hole in these tights, which were the only pair of light colored tights I owned, and shall be replaced forthwith.

And now the excerpt:

I have noticed that in semi-private rooms there is no space for hobby supplies. A bed, a chair, a wardrobe, and a nightstand fills the space. And then we wonder why our elderly lose interest in life. How hard would it really be to build places with only private rooms? Especially for long term care? It becomes a dignity issue when I think about it. How humiliating is it to know that your roommate knows all your bodily functions? How dehumanizing is it to reduce a person’s personal effects to their clothing and a few photographs? How would I feel today if that were done to me?

I’d be so angry. And then I would be crushed. And then I would want to turn my face to the wall and die. I am what I do. I am a reader. I am a knitter and spinner. And if I only had room for two books and the one ball of yarn I was knitting from….and if I had to wait for someone to bring me another ball of yarn from outside because I had lost my mobility and with it the ability to drive….SHUDDER.

Clearly, I need good health insurance, because I will not be able to rely on medicare to cover a room with privacy and space. And in the meantime, I have found a real advocacy issue. Maybe even a future practice plan.

And I haven’t even considered the implications of extreme introversion on this equation. Yeah, I met a couple of those today, too. People like me, who would rather gnaw off their own arm than have a stranger in their space 24/7. Yeah, advocacy issue. Because wealth should not determine whether or not one spends their final days feeling like a rat in an overcrowded cage. You know that rats will eat each other to escape that situation, right?