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Friday, 27 July 2007

I Think I’m Going To Hell

By Matty of Running On Empty

I met Fred last year when I went to visit my mom at the long-term center. Fred is a nice-looking 85-year-old gentleman who no longer is capable of caring for himself, and therefore became a resident at the center.

To put it mildly, Fred likes the ladies - a lot - although most of the ladies don't feel the same way. Although Fred is weak in the legs, his libido is not! He drives around in his wheelchair all day serenading the ladies - a nice way of saying he's stalking them! Call it what you will, Fred has a one-track mind. He has one thing on his mind - and that's Eddy!

The first time I met Fred, he introduced himself to me. He said, "Hi, I'm Freddy, pleased to meet you." As I came to shake his hand, I noticed the gap in his p.j.'s was wide open and his privates were laid bare on his thigh for all the world to see. I was shocked.

Thinking he wasn't aware of it, I said, "Freddy, your er...pj's are open!" He said, "What?" I repeated myself louder. "YOUR PAJAMA'S are open and I can see your thingabob."

"Oh yes", he said, "that's my friend Eddy. Want to shake hands with Eddy?" I said, "NO, I DON'T and if you don't cover him up and put him away right now, I'm going to get the nurse and you'll get sent to your room!"

"Okay, okay" he shrugged, and tucked “Eddy” away. Good God, I thought to myself, he's 85, don't they ever quit?

One of the nurses told me that Fred was “super nice” to my mom and would kiss her on the cheek whenever he came into the dining room. "Well, it's a free world" I said, "nothing wrong with that if it makes them feel good. No harm in a little flirtation, eh? as long as Fred is not sneaking into her room at night?" "No," the nurse said, "he just likes to kiss the ladies on the cheek when they meet in the dining room".

Well, everyone needs a little romance in their lives. Maybe it helps brighten their day.

Later that week, I visited again. This time Ida, a resident who is 95 and sharp as a tack motioned me over and told me that the day before, Fred had come into the dining room, dropped his drawers and waved his pal Eddy - at half-mast - in front of all the ladies and gentlemen.

Well, I giggled (sorry, couldn't help myself) but still I thought it was kind of strange, Fred being 85 and all. I said, "I hope they're not putting Viagra in his food,” and we laughed it off.

Freddy seems mighty proud of Eddy and from what I've seen, Eddy is no shrinking violet. He's a strong, up-standing member of the one-eyed society.

The next week, when I walked in, the same lady told me that the night before Fred was caught in a lady's room (not my mom's) trying his best to share her single cot. The nurse ran Freddy to his room “pronto”, with Eddy's head hanging in shame.

Well, this went on for quite awhile, Freddy always showing up with Eddy and Eddy standing up to the occasion, And each time a nurse would catch him in flagrante delecto and Freddy and Eddy would be banished to their room for a “time out”.

But Freddy – er, Eddy had a mind (head) of his own. The minute the nurses would turn their back, Eddy – er, Freddy was up and about winking at the ladies. Most of the ladies were chair-bound and had no energy to discourage Freddy. After meal time, the seniors were left alone in the dining room in their Lazy Boy chairs to watch television or nap while the nurses and ward aides were busy with meds or having their lunch. And Freddy would make a nuisance of himself.

Cora is 87, wheelchair bound and has dementia. All day long she wheels around with Oscar a stuffed cat on her knee and every time you walk in, she will ask you to please pet Oscar because he likes it. So I always pet Oscar when I come in.

One day when I came in, Fred was in his wheelchair next to Cora and he took her hand and made her pet Eddy. Well, the poor lady didn't know the difference. I heard her say, “What a nice cat,” while Freddy purred - sorry, Eddy purred.

Well, that's it. I was fed up. I went to the nurse's desk and demanded action, right now, right this minute. I told the head nurse I’d had enough!! I said, "I've seen more dick here than at the police station! Enough is enough, you have to do something.” Although she giggled, she did agree with me. She came with me and we both brought Fred to his room.

I try to visit my mom at least three times a week and volunteer for Bingo games and Arts and Crafts. Fred does try to behave sometimes although he always has a hand on his pal Eddy. They are in cohoots together. But like I said, Eddy has a mind of his own, so Eddy is really the one to blame.

Two days later when I came to visit, Ida spotted me and motioned for me to get over to her pronto. "What's wrong, Ida?" I asked.

She looked around to make sure nobody was listening, and said, "You should have seen Fred last night after supper. He wheeled over to your mom and stuck his hand down her top and was groping her boobies. And your mom was sleeping." Hell No! I thought. This is just not right.

"That's it, Ida" I said, “I've had enough.” I went to the desk and spoke to the nurse and reported what Fred was doing. Would you believe it? She laughed. She actually laughed.
I said, "I really don't think it's funny. Can you not put saltpeter in his food or something? Maybe you think its' funny, but how would you like it if it was your mother?"

Well, she sobered up fast. She could see I didn't think it was amusing anymore. I said, "I want to make a report to the doctor and I want her to do something about Freddy right away, give him some sedatives, saltpeter, duct tape, whatever. But this has got to stop" She assured me she would.

The doctor did talk to me a few days after and explained to me that no, they couldn't give Fred sedatives. It wouldn't agree with his heart meds, and I told the doctor that the nurses were not taking me seriously and I wanted them to keep a closer eye on Freddy and Eddy. The doctor assured me she would talk to the nurses.

Well good, I thought. That problem is solved.

The next time I went to see my Mom it was on her birthday in May. Isn't it sad that the cutbacks are so severe in some hospitals that when seniors have a birthday, if they don't have family to bring them in a cake, the staff orders a slice of cake, (a slice!) from the cafeteria - whatever is on the menu - and they stick a candle in it and that's it?

Well, when I found that out, I brought in a cake for Mom and enough paper saucers that she could share her cake with the other seniors there.

That day when I walked in with Mom's cake and gifts, Ida called me over – again. What now? I thought.

"Come here, dear", she said. I bent over. "What, Ida?" I asked. "Fred is at it again", she said. “This morning after breakfast, he shoved his hand up your mom's top and pulled her hand on his lap and made her pet Eddy!"

Well, that was it! The final straw! This time I was ready for Freddy. My mom is so weak from so many heart failures and after three husbands and 11 kids thatshe doesn't need that kind of attention.

I served everyone a piece of cake and a cup of ginger ale, keeping Freddy for last. As I served him a big hunk of cake, I looked around. Yep, the coast was clear. No nurses - all at morning break.

I said, "See this, Freddy?" as I pulled my huge pair of sewing scissors from my purse. He said, "Oh yeah, that looks sharp." I said, "It is. It's very, very, very sharp and if you go near my mother again, you will lose Eddy. "Snip snip! Good-bye Freddy, good-bye Eddy!"

Snip-snip went the scissors. Freddy couldn't take his eyes off the scissors.

Holy Moly. I thought Freddy was going to have a heart attack. He went pale, really white, and Eddy faded or, should I say, shrank in the distance. Then I casually walked away with a big smile on my face and watched the seniors enjoy their cake.

A week later when I stopped to talk to the head nurse at the desk and ask her how things were going she said, "Well, I'm pleased to tell you that since we spoke to Freddy, he hasn't been bothering the ladies. It's amazing. What a change in him. He hasn't been acting up at all."

Hmmm! I wonder what came over Eddy – er, Freddy? Everytime I walk in, I always say hi to Freddy. "Snip, snip, Freddy," I greet him, but Freddy always seems to be in a hurry now.

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


This is a great story and one that is probably played out in a simmilar fashion in many nursing homes! I suspect there are many Freddy-Eddy's across the land! I love the way you handled it!

Ew. Elder or not, what a jerk!

Please, God, do not let me end up in a nursing home. If I am forced to go to one I shall remember to take a pair of sharp scissors.

Great story, Matty, and a great solution to a hard problem.

Great story and an ingenious solution! Thanks!

I enjoyed your story, Matty, and think you did exactly the right thing with Freddy.
More than likely he was also hitting on other ladies who were not fortunate enough to have a daughter like you to help them.
On their behalf, I would like to say Thank You!

I am sorry you, your Mom and others had this experience. Staff betrayed Freddy and facility patients.

Staff at that nursing home were extremely negligent for not taking effective action with Freddy after the first report they received. Family should then have gone to the facility administrator immediately to report Freddy and staff behavior and serve notice they expect action to be taken.

Any staff member who laughed and did not take the matter seriously should have been reprimanded as indiviual patients rights were being violated. If the facility doesn't take immediate action, contact the ombudsman.

If Freddy has not displayed behavior of this sort in his life before the nursing home, I would presume he has acquired some cognitive problems, possibly dementia associated, that impair his inhibitory functions, judgement.

We should all hope this doesn't happen to us, male or female. Unfortunately, it can happen to a few people who experience such unusual behavioral changes.

Brain changes can result in behaviors totally contrary to a person's prior personality i.e. cursing which they would never have done previously. Staff must make an effort, or family may have to hire private duty help to protect the offending patient's dignity and to keep them from bothering others. They aren't necessarily "dirty old men."

Well said, Joared.

The other option is to go to the facility Administrator or Director of Nursing with the complaint. Line staff in a skilled facility don't always feel empowered to problem solve these issues.

Freddy gives new meaning to the phrase "dirty old man." Do keep those snippers handy !! :-)

That was an interesting tale. Unfortunatly from what I hear about nursing homes, it is not an unusual problem.

I think the nurse laughed because it was not an unusual situation, that was not the first time that had happened. There are a lot of Freds and Eddies around.

Joard made a very good point, brain changes take place and people do things they never would have done in the past.

It's a hard problem to handle!

Thanks for sharing this story.

In my opinion, bith Freddie and Eddie should have been banished and transfered to another hursing home.

Keep the scissors handy. Or better yet take a pair of garden shears if there is a next time.

Your Mom is fortunate to have a daughter like you looking out for her.

I thank all of you for your thoughtful comments. I wrote this post because I was quite upset with Freddy and his shenanigans. The nurses or staff didn't take me seriously as I think they deal with this quite often. I think people thought it was funny because of the way I wrote it..but nobody thinks its funny if their mother gets molested. The staff don't seem to be overly concerned..which makes me think that this goes on everywhere. I happen to visit quite often and befriend the ladies there..so I get to know what's going on. No nurse or staff member ever told me this was going on. I have every intention to speak to the administration next week., and will ask them point blank what they intend to do about it. It's no longer funny!

Yes, it's possible that Freddy suffers from personality changes due to brain dysfunction, BUT it's also quite possible that he's always been a lewd and crude man. How else to explain his suddenly good behaviour after your "intervention"?

Just because someone is old, doesn't make them cute, funny, and not culpable for inappropriate behaviour. You're right to follow up and protect your mother.

This is an amazing story. I'm going to read it to Olive. Mike

Wow, cool story! :)

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