What the hell is wrong with some people?
by, 16th July 2012 at 09:00 PM (555 Views)
For once this isn't a blog with me ranting about Pokémon, anime or some other weird hobby of mine (no, I am not making a "collecting scarecrow panties" blog either). Rather, this is something I had the misfortune of witnessing today.
As some of you probably know, my 8 year old brother Luke has been in hospital for 4 weeks now due to a duplicated bowel and an infected cyst. He is on the mend and if he doesn't spike a fever, he might even be discharged tomorrow (*fingers crossed*). To say these last four weeks have been a nightmare is an understatement. Mum has been with Luke 24/7, leaving me in charge of the household and all the household affairs. This has been tiring and has severely cut into my writing time (I haven't written anything in the four weeks) and my job-searching time (still do it, but at a reduced rate than usual). That is the least of my concerns though.
Ever since Luke left intensive care, I have made sure that I visit him either every day or every other day (depending on buses and stuff). At £5.70 a bus ticket it is pretty financially draining, but I do manage with some careful budgeting (I'm a stingy bugger). My older brother lives in London and my 17 year old brother goes to college and works part time, so they can't always find the time to see Luke. I live at home and am a NEET, so I have none of those - so I've made sure to visit Luke as often as I do. Why? Because not only is the little guy my brother, but a few years ago I learned that in this world you can't expect someone to always be there for you when you need them and I learned how much it hurts to not have anyone there for you.
I also learned a very dark lesson from this experience. Luke's situation was bad - very bad and there were even points where Mum thought we were going to lose him, but we were not the worst there by a long shot. I saw a little girl who was a happy four year old before meningitis-like symptoms hit and she now has to be taught how to do everything again - even chewing. I heard of another patient who had to have their spleen removed following a head on collision between their car and a coach and today I saw a young boy, who must have been around 13-14 years of age with such severe special needs that he cannot talk and has to wear a nappy. And that leads into what is probably the worse thing I saw throughout this experience...
So the kid I just mentioned, who I shall call "R" (It's not like you'll be able to identify him from his first name, but initials just sound mysterious) was transferred into the bed next to Luke, with the two of them being the only children in this particular bay. R is due to have spinal surgery later today (and even non-medical people like myself know that spinal surgery = very serious). The poor kid cannot talk properly (he can only make noises that honestly, sound a bit like a whale) and is wheelchair bound. When he was arrived he was accompanied by a man and a woman who I can only assume to be his parents. The very second they were in the room, R's father made it very clear how he was not staying at the hospital at all (he apparently hates them. As if there are people who like them 9.9) and was going to leave as soon as possible - but not before grilling my Mum about Acorn House (the accommodation the hospital provides for parents of children on intensive care of high dependency) and whether or not the TV is free. During these erm...discussions, R made several attempts to try and grab the attention of the guy who I assume is his father...to which the reply was basically "Shut up". When asked by the hospital staff about entertainment, he also retorted that R will watch any crap the kids watch and wouldn't even mind watching DVDs with no sound on and made jokes about R's condition (like listing his hobbies as skipping and running despite him being wheelchair bound). Needless to say, me and Mum were very shocked to hear this. We sighed a sigh of relief when he departed, leaving R and his mother - however, she was no better. She commented on how she was only going to stay with him until Thursday (despite his hospital stay being expected to last around 10 days) and made similar silencing remarks whenever R tried to speak or get the attention of other people.
It became very clear that these "parents" merely saw their severely disabled son as nothing more than a burden to themselves. A part of me wants to try and rationalise their behaviour simply because I cannot begin to fathom how someone could come to that conclusion at all. Did life hand the three of them a really terrible card with R's various conditions? Yes. Perhaps they are disappointed and bitter at how they have been denied a "normal" family life? Quite possibly. Is any of that R's fault though? No. Does R deserve to be treated with any kind of scorn or disrespect? Fuck no. So then, why?
Throughout the four weeks Luke has been in hospital, Mum has been with him all the time (aside from sometimes when he falls asleep and she drop me home if I'm at the hospital, or has a shower). Yet R's mother wasn't willing to spend more than 3 days by her son's side. I've been visiting Luke every day - at £5.70 a day, despite my income being around £52 a week (although Mum has been helping me out financially during this past month, that really only accounts for another £30ish a week, so when you calculate bus price, food price etc, it's not much at all) and on days where I can't see Luke, I feel like absolute shite - yet R's dad can't be bothered simply because he doesn't like hospitals. Luke's been on the mend for about a week now and I still see him - but R is facing freakin' [is]spinal surgery[/i] and it has become pretty evident that his parents are only thinking on how it affects them. Needless to say, the moment R's parents left the room, Mum told a nurse and requested for Luke to be moved to another part of the ward - which he was.
Normally, I stay with Luke as long as I can - that is, either until the 6:45pm bus home (the last bus) or if someone is dropping me back, as late as 11pm. However, today I had to leave early (at around 5pm). Why? No, I had nothing else to do during the day - I just had to get out there. The first time R's parents spoke out of line, I was too shocked to think much about it. The second time I was very pissed off, but decided to contain it for the sake of the staff and the children on the ward...I didn't want to risk a third time. I knew I wouldn't have been able to hold it in and I would have said something that might have sparked something bigger. A part of me wishes I had though as I feel really bad for the poor kid and honestly, I do think his parents could do with a good ol' punch to the face and a good talking down to.
It baffles me even now - 10 hours after leaving the hospital, that there are parents out there who think like that. I mean, what the hell is wrong with some people?
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