Wednesday, October 26, 2005

No Ativan This Night, He’s Home With Me

He did not need an Ativan last night.
He did not need restraint,
even redirection.
He was with me
here at home
sleeping comfortably
in his own bed.

Bessie Burton’s Alzheimer’s
unit is supposed to be one of the best
in the city. I beg your pardon.
I doubt if there is a best
in any city when speaking
of Alzheimer’s.
There is no differentiation
between high functioning, as Abe is,
and low functioning
where people take their clothes
off in the halls, need constant redirection
and restraint.

Is it not the psychotropic drugs
that psychiatrists and drug companies
push down our throats – and it is our throats,
all of ours –
to keep us out of danger
as they say,
that make Alzheimer’s patients
that way in the first place,
instead of calming them down,
as they’re supposed to do.

I could not leave him in that place of horror
where people are doped
up and warehoused
without concern
for individuality.

He didn’t need Ativan last night
and I doubt if he needed it in the hospital.
What he needs, of course:
lips on the forehead
a back massage
and the strength that I give him.

As I gave to my children
(even as a single parent)
and to my mother (or tried to).
And I can give it to him,
even more than I did then.
Because I am, believe it or not -
it is true - wiser
for the age
I have been given,
so far.

May age be for a blessing
instead of a curse.
Amen.

-Esther Altshul Helfgott

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Esther,
It sounds like it would be best to keep him with you right up until the end.
B.

margaret roncone said...

so much easier to enter the temple through your own gateway.......

ativan inforamtion said...

I never thought this would be prescribed to me. I thought I had heart problems because of my family history. Due to tremendous stress in my life each day I would experience these shortness of breath and tightness on my chest. Until I started to take it right after getting it from the pharmacy. It really works for me, I only take it as needed.