Chuck Senior – 30 October 2013

Posted: October 30, 2013 in Dialog, Prose
Tags: , , , , , , ,

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30 October 2013

Chuck Senior was in his wheel chair, at his usual corner. I stopped and asked, “How are you feeling, Chuck. You mentioned yesterday that your stomach was upset and you had diarrhea. Has that settled down?”

“Yeah, I mostly had a sore throat. I can’t take Halls because they’re too strong, but I got something at the drug store that’s smoother on my throat and has a crème center.  I also ate fish last night. I think that the oil in the fish helped my throat.

“I’ve had a lot of problems with my esophagus. I’ve had  a lot of gastroscopies. They left a permanent tube that goes from my esophagus to my stomach. The last time I had one the nurse said to me, ‘This might hurt a bit.’ I didn’t flinch. After she finished she said to me, ‘You’re the bravest patient I’ve ever had.’ I didn’t tell her about the plastic tube. I let her think what she wanted.

“I think I know how I got the sore throat. A lot of women stop to pat Taffy, then they give me a kiss.  I noticed that one woman had a hoarse voice. I think I got the sore throat from her.

“A lot of people don’t know it but Taffy is a medical response dog. She can detect when I’m about to have a seizure. She’ll growl, then I know to lie down, before I fall.”

As I was standing there, many people dropped change into Chuck’s up turned baseball cap and patted Taffy. She loved the attention.

“So, do a lot of women kiss you?”

“Yeah, dozens of them. I just wish I was younger and fitter so I could do something about it. I’ve got so many ailments. I’ve had kidney failure, that’s what I take the water pills for.  They cause me to get up four or five times a night to pee. Only a little dribble comes out each time. From the kidney problems I developed Hypokalemia. It means I have low potassium levels.  For that I take half a banana and a dose of liquid potassium chloride. I’ve been on that for ten years and I still haven’t gotten used to it. I eat the rest of the banana to kill the taste and clear my throat.

“I’ve had part of my colon removed. I’ve had so many heart attacks I can’t count them. I’ve officially died nine times. They put in a pacemaker to regulate my heartbeat. Before I go to bed I take nine pills. I’m on blood thinners. When I had my pacemaker put in they forgot to take me off the blood thinners. I knew that was wrong.  I developed internal bleeding. They had to operate to fix that. My blood pressure went way down.

 Then, there are my three puffers. I developed asthma from living in a basement apartment in Orleans. I didn’t know it until I moved out, but it was contaminated with black mold. I noticed it on the backs of shelves where I had stuff piled.  Behind furniture and under the carpet there was a thick layer of it. I can’t prove that it was the mold that caused the asthma, otherwise I’d sue the landlord.

“I hadn’t been feeling well for a long time. it just kept getting worse. I was weak, trembling, had dizzy spells. That’s when the seizures started. I couldn’t leave the house for days.

“I had a fight with my doctor. When the nurse tested my heart last, she went to get the doctor. From the look on his face I knew it was something bad, but he wouldn’t tell me what it was. I asked him to give me a written report. He refused, said, ‘I don’t have to give you a report.’ I said, It’s my heart.  I got a right to know what’s happening to it. He said, ‘No, you don’t.’ So , now I don’t know what to think.

“The doctor weighed me. I was one sixty-one.  He said, you’ve gained seven pounds since you were here last. I said, ‘I feel better with that extra weight. I don’t get sick as often. I don’t get as cold.’ He said, ‘You’re going to have to drop that weight.’ I said, ‘I will, as soon as you drop that fifty pounds you’ve got hanging from your gut.’ So, no more mashed potatoes with gravy, no more steak, no more apple pie and ice cream; all the things I love.”

I said, “I have to go to work now.”

“Work,” he said, “Is a four letter word.”

“Yes it is,.  I just can’t afford to retire.”

“I wish I was fit enough to work, then I wouldn’t have to do this.”

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Comments
  1. thevanbrown says:

    As he said:
    “I wish I was fit enough to work, then I wouldn’t have to do this.” –I believe him. The presumption that many who need help are just lazy and therefore worthless is such a sad thing, and it is delusional. It appears to be caused by a huge input of outrageous political rhetoric that supports the myth, compounded by the many heads turned away that do not wish to see, else the feel compelled to do something about it. But since my words here reflect an opinion, I suppose I could be wrong.

    Like

    • Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, there is no lobby group to speak for the homeless and disabled. They don’t have the money to donate to a political campaign. Since many of them don’t have addresses, they don’t appear on any voters list. They are of no value to the city, provincial or federal governments who base their decisions on being reelected. ~ Dennis

      Like

  2. cannopener says:

    Legally he has the right to give or withhold informed consent to any medical treatment, so if his doctor wants to do anything to treat him, he must legally say why. A lot of medical professionals don’t know this (Sowney & Barr, 2012).

    Like

    • That’s very helpful information. I’ll tell Chuck. I have had personal experience with many doctors who see themselves as omnipotent. They are sadly lacking in bedside manner. Sometimes, it takes a nurse to cut them down to size. I’ve seen that too. ~ Dennis

      Like

  3. stenoves says:

    Our lives are so different. I must learn to be more accepting and appreciate what I have. Thanks for your work and writing

    Like

  4. Heartbreaking. Keep talking to them and keep doing this blog. The world needs to understand that the homeless have a story to tell.

    Like

  5. Thanks for your kind words. Every time I come home to a warm house and a home cooked meal, I think of those who are without. ~ Dennis

    Like

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