Monday, August 29, 2005

Live free or die!

New Hampshire's motto also qualifies as the mantra of a good friend of mine, Miss Mattie Waters.

She's 100-years-old, and the only reason I disclose that is my knowledge Miss Mattie doesn't have access to the blogosphere. She's very discreet about outlasting a century (something I would boast about incessantly, were I to defy death that long). She still hears relatively well, communicates clearly and moves without the aid of a walker.

Until last Thursday, when Miss Mattie fell and broke her hip in the home where she lives, alone, with an old baseball bat providing her only protection. The woman's independence is an inspriation; I've received more than a few dirty looks from her whenever I've attempted to help guide her down some stairs or hold open a door.

While inspiring, it's also sad to see Miss Mattie fight off the nurses and orderlies in her hospital room. (Just yesterday she leveled a fierce backhand into the chest of the fey orderly attempting to hoist her into bed). Twice she's removed her IV, trying to get home. She's doing all she can to avoid verticality, sitting up whenever possible.

While it hasn't been discussed with her (Miss Mattie has no family, to speak of), I have little doubt she's aware of the options that likely await. At best, she'll probably require live-in assistance. At worst, she'll have to relocate to a nursing home.

Miss Mattie has lived in the same (rough) neighborhood (two blocks away from Turner Field in downtown Atlanta) for more than 80 years. She no doubt wants to die there. I pray she gets her wish, but not anytime soon: I've still got plenty to learn from this most formidable of spirits.

No comments:

Post a Comment