Friday, March 8, 2013

A Tale of Two Mobile Homes

If you looked over my Relativity of Ethics post you might be shaking an accusatory finger and saying things like Socialist, Commie, Unholy Church-Bashing Harpy. I beg to differ, but not with the Harpy part. I am proud to be a Church-Basher. The entire system of welfare, social management, national nutrition, finances, politics and health care is broken.  Not the little stick it in a splint and give it three months broken. 

“Welfare is not an occupation.” 

Working in hospice, I’ve spent an abundance of time in Trailer Parks and Section 8 housing, so here are my two mobile home stories.

Mobile Home Story Number One
I had a hospice lady, mid 80’s, who was living in a government subsidized trailer park.  Her daughter, on disability, was collecting mom’s social security check and, in theory, paying bills, picking up meds and buying groceries.  In reality she was drinking it all but mom didn’t want to make a fuss.  (If you aren’t in the know about such things, Adult Protective Services, protects in name only. If mom says there is no problem then they throw their hands up in the air and walk away.)

But don’t be too concerned because her grandson, also on disability, moved in along with his enormous television, gaming system and gun collection.  He was a boy with an entrepreneurial spirit and immediately began selling her narcotics.  Also, as an added bonus, he had three school age children who had not embraced the benefits of education. (And for those of you not in the know, Child Protective Services has a little more teeth but not much.)

So visits would go like this. Panicked call from the nurse.  Drug dealer’s cockroach friends are loitering in front of the house. Kids are playing x box in the middle of a school day. Hospice lady is out of narcotics and food and the electricity will be shut off by the end of the day. And guess what I could do to remedy the situation? Yep, call the police. And they would temporarily disperse the cockroaches, scold the dad about his kids, threaten him that next time there would be some serious consequences, ask the hospice lady if she was in any distress and then drive away.

Now there is a system to be proud of!
"The welfare state in not really about the welfare of the masses.  It is about the egos of the elites." Thomas Sowell

Mobile Home Story Number Two
Young, 30ish, Hispanic male (in the States legally) with end stage colon cancer and multiple complications including a great deal of unmanaged pain. For cultural reasons he refused most pain meds and did the stoic suffer in silence thing.  However, he was always extremely polite and gracious.  Every time we did a visit he insisted on getting us a drink from the kitchen.  The journey from mobile home “living room” to mobile home “kitchen” took him a good 15 minutes.  

Being in finical straights, there was no TV, no cell phone and no air conditioning. He also made a point of cleaning up as best he could. (I can’t count the number of absolutely filthy, refuse strewn places I’ve been to where a cluster of capable young adults sit outside in lawn chairs all day lighting up cigarettes and drinking beer.)

So here is the complication, as if dying of colon cancer isn’t tragic enough.  He had three young kids ages 3, 6 and 8. The kids were legal but his wife was not. So the arrangements were wife sits in Mexico trying to get a humanitarian visa to come up and be with her husband while he dies. (And by sits, I mean sits in between working two jobs because there is no other income.)  Kids are at a relative’s house, a five hour drive away from either parent so they can stay in school.

Every visit, he would ask, if it wasn’t too much trouble, would I please contact immigration and try to see what the status was. And every visit I called immigration and sat on the phone for a few hours and re-explained the situation and got passed around and made no progress what so ever. Finally I wrote a long, shame on you letter, had the doctor sign it and hand delivered it to the local immigration office. (I wish I would have thought of that earlier.)

We got the grudging, I guess she can come up agreement.  So kids and wife and hospice guy got two weeks to say goodbye and then wife went back to Mexico, kids went back to school and hospice guy was tossed into the indigent burial system.

Another all around, system wide success!

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