Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Independent Living

It is not a situation of polite discussion. As the man once was said to have rhetorically stated: "Have you ever had your 85-year-old mother wipe your a--?" Not too likely. Nor might any 85-year-old woman ever begin to imagine in her wildest thoughts that a child of hers in his mature years would feel compelled to call upon her to perform an act she once thought little of when she was 22 years young, a new mother, tending to her baby.

Marie Summers, formerly a special-education teacher and consultant, did respond when her 63-year-old son called to ask her to hurry over to his apartment after he had experienced a bowel accident. Bowel accidents for her son, Gordon Summers, would represent an unscheduled bowel movement. With no one present to wipe his nether regions, a dilemma presents itself for the man who cannot perform this simple function for himself.

Gordon Summers, 5 feet, 5 inches in height with a weight of 375 pounds. High blood pressure, blood clots and obviously poor mobility, he had suffered as well with hepatitis C, believing that he contracted that condition when he was still employed as a registered practical nurse. He had acquired his nursing diploma in 1970, and practised as a nurse for 17 or 18 years. Then came a motorcycle accident, and his professional career came to a halt. It was the aftermath of the crash leaving him with poor functioning on his right side that began his slide into physical ill health.

One day in 2013 while speaking with his personal health worker assigned to him by the Champlain Community Care Access Centre, he had sarcastically stated his bemusement that a dissatisfied client hadn't yet descended in the CCAC's Cornwall office "to shoot a couple of people". Gordon Summers was clearly one very dissatisfied client.
Gord Summers says the situation the Champlain Community Care Access Centre has put him in is disgraceful and has robbed him of his dignity. Bruno Schlumberger / Ottawa Citizen

His statement alarmed the personal support worker and she of course repeated what she had heard. It was at that juncture, he feels that the relationship he had, however unsatisfactory from his point of view, went very bad indeed for him. Understandably, the CCAC considered the man's statement to be a threat, and withdrew the services of the personal support worker assigned to him. For his part, he insisted that the statement was meant to be jocular, although he did make allusion to the murder spree embarked upon by Marc Lepine at the Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal.

Mr. Summers, though he barely managed to look after himself, had two dogs, Roxanne and Rex, companions that he doted on and in whose company he clearly took comfort. He is reputed to have taken them everywhere he went himself. This is a man with a dire need. He required a health care worker to be on call nearby whom he could contact when he needed to be cleaned up after a bowel movement. On those occasions when he was unable to clean himself and there was no one he could call upon to perform that function for him, bacterial infections would result, of a serious nature, impacting his health even further.

Mr. Summers had a running battle with the Champlain Comunity Care Access Centre which clearly has many priority calls on services they attempt to make available to a large patient constituency, people requiring the assistance of personal care workers. He became increasingly frustrated with the CCAC's lack of response to his continued requests for a a personal support worker to aid him whenever he had a bowel movement. With stretched resources, the CCAC was unable to assign an on-call personal support worker for this man.

At eleven in the late evening of April 2, Mr. Summers telephoned his mother for help. He had been unable to contact the woman whom his mother paid herself to help him on those occasions when he needed that kind of assistance. So his mother, as mothers often tend to do responded to his request that she come over to his apartment. It wasn't much of a distance between his mother's home and his own, and walking in the rain, his mother arrived 20 minutes later, to clean up her son. Who insisted he would drive his mother home.

After which, stopping at a gas station, Mr. Summers suffered a fatal heart attack, in his car. He wasn't alone, his dogs were with him. "I know he's out of his misery because he was sick for so long", his mother said afterward.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

()() Follow @rheytah Tweet