I awoke this morning, well, I had been thinking of this last night:
Most of us can almost but not quite understand a crime of passion or rage. We have all been angry at someone – really, really, angry. Most of us shouted, screamed, cried – maybe even wanted to strike that person we were angry with. Someone may have even killed the person he/she was angry with. But what about a crime that is methodical, planned and carried out without emotion? What if a person slowly and with malice, withheld food and water from someone until that person died? What if that person sedated and over medicated the victim so that he could not relate what was happening to him, even giving the victim medicine (diet pills) that had not been prescribed? What if that person hid what she was doing from all those around her? What do you call that crime? What do you call that person?
That is what happened to my dad.
Dad had his eleven hour surgery in June. TH was hired in July. When I first visited my parents after TH was hired, it was difficult. I tried to be friendly and accepting. I tried to see the other person’s point of view. I tried to be helpful. I questioned TH about her experiences, offered to make her lunch, talked with her. The first thing she told me was that she had had a brain tumor. She then related how she had “died” during the surgery, which was interesting to me. I asked her if she would like to talk about the experience, but she declined. A little voice inside my head suggested that I ask to see her scar, but then I thought that might be intrusive. That one voice inside my head could have changed everything, if I had just listened to it. It would have suggested that this woman was a liar.
In that opening conversation, this woman learned something about me. Namely, I wasn’t like her, that I had a conscience, that I wouldn’t push someone to reveal something that they were hiding. But why did she tell me that she had similar surgery? To express her knowledge of what dad was experiencing? To cause me to trust her?
In the remaining 10 months, everything fell apart. No matter how much Christine and I did, no matter how hard we worked, we could not control the situation; we could not help our dad.
There were signs along the way, but we “trusted” this woman who was killing our father and hurting our mother. Even when we saw the signs, we couldn’t put them all together. Because I had made this woman “my friend” or so I thought. I played into her hands, as did Jeannie. As did the physicians who thought the woman knowledgeable and competent. No one could get past the “caregiver” title.
When a visiting nurse wrote her supervisors that she suspected abuse, nothing was done about it. No “heads up” was given to us. Not until another caregiver tried to quit because she couldn’t stand what was happening, did we know. And then we acted – but it was too late.
I had a clue which I failed to follow – several clues along the way. Why did I let myself be taken in by this person? Why did I not do something, anything other than what I did?