Monday, February 20, 2012

A Sobering Incident

I had an unsettling experience earlier today. I was out taking comparable photos for an appraisal I'm currently working on. I saw three people tussling with each other in a driveway next to their car. There was a woman perhaps in her 40s, a much older man, probably 80+ and another woman of about his age. I realized that the man and younger woman were apparently wrestling with the older woman, and then I heard her start to scream.

This is one of those moments: Do I turn away and drive on down the road or do I stop and "get involved." Of course there are a lot of reasons to do the former, but I didn't heed my inner coward and did in fact stop.

I opened my door and asked if I could be of help. The younger woman desparately nodded yes, and I got out and approached them. The younger woman, the older couple's daughter I was to learn, and her father were trying with little success to get the older woman to go into the house. She was repeately screaming "No! No! No!" The old fellow was about out of steam, and he nearly fell. I took the old woman's arm and motioned for her hubby let go.

The frightened woman screamed "I know what you're going to do with me when you get me in there." She nearly spat at her husband and turned to me saying that "He wants to get rid of me."

She saw my car with the door left open and tried to make for it. Her daughter and I restrained her and tried to get her to walk to the house, but she was having none of it. Then suddenly she just kind of deflated and moaned "My arms. Oh, my arms." They were no doubt really hurting from being held and her resistance. I felt so bad for her. She was truly frightened, but at last resigned to her what she apparenly believed was to be her fate.

The daughter and I slowly walked her into the home; her father had gone ahead and opened the door. We escorted her inside and steered her to the couch where she finally crumpled and began to cry. I cried myself. She was so utterly defeated.

Of course, she was/is suffering from Alzheimers, or so her daughter told me. She seemed to have quieted down, so I excused myself leaving with the daughter's thanks. I never got their names nor offered them mine.

This encounter shook me up. I'm 65 myself.  Alzheimers is the scourge of the elderly, and in some cases, the not so elderly. It's scary. That woman's frightened eyes and tear stained face are still with me.



... Zoe ~ said...

I want to thank you for helping Terry and I don't even know them. It's amazing the strength a determined and frightened 80+ woman can have. The scary thing is, if anyone saw any marks or bruises on this woman, her husband and daughter could be accused of elder abuse, even though the marks are from trying to restrain her. :-(

Terry S said...

All kinds of thoughts occurred to me both during and after the incident including what you suggested. Hell, at 65 I bruise rather easily, I can imagine what her arms may well look like now. It even occurred to me that maybe they WERE going to "get rid of her." I seriously doubt that, but much more bizarre things happen in this world.

My former sister in-law's father had alzheimers. He was a fairly big fellow and the story has it that at the nursing home he was living in, he often became enraged and more than once literally picked up nurses or aides and threw them across the room.

I accept your thanks graciously, but, as I noted, there is at least a small price to be paid via the memory of that woman's face.