At a Crossroad

In all of our lives there are crossroads and only those traveling on their own paths decide which way to go. The decision process is an individual one and others can’t make the decisions for us. Others can advise, feel empathy for the decision process, remorse for bad decisions, but it is the individual that ultimately decides.

For the last a month and a half, I have been involved in the case I have previously written about of the US Citizen who had a stroke. This has been and continues to be a very stressful case.

My personal goal was to stabilize the situation and provide the individual the time to understand what he was up against, without the stress of worrying about the small details.

I feel that we have made progress, but there is much to be done. Most of the “to be done” falls to the individual and the healing process.

Tom McCormack provided the hospital bed and a very good wheelchair. I repaired the bed’s electric plug, and it is functioning as it should. The patient can raise and lower the bed. This is huge compared to his condition in his old bed.

The landlady has been fully reimbursed for her payment of the hospital bill and wheelchair rental. Medicine has been purchased, rent paid and phone and electric bills have been paid.

Therapy has been obtained at a reasonable price and personal care is being provided on a 24 hour basis. At the present time, this is as good a situation as I could hope for.

Yesterday, I received a major setback. I have been working with the stroke victim’s bank to obtain the ability for me to withdraw funds from his account so that his bills could be paid. A POA had been drawn up and his authorization had been notarized.

I was notified yesterday that the POA was insufficient and a new POA and other documents would need to be provided allowing my name to be added to the account. I am not willing to take on that responsibility, so I will talk to the bank about a different solution on Monday.

It appears that this case is at a crossroad. I have a good handle on what all of the issues are and it is time that I begin extracting myself, because I am not a long-term solution. That being the case, I wrote the following email to the appropriate family member to relinquish the solution planing.

(Name Witheld),

I am forwarding you a letter I just received from the Embassy. Let me back up and give you some background.

I got involved with (Name withheld)’s case at the request of the U.S. Embassy. Seeing the condition he was in and with him having no family or friends in Panama, I have done more than is typical in a case such as this. Normally the U.S. Embassy contacts the family and turns the problem over to the family to decided what to do.

In this case there was no family member that was able to take over that responsibility immediately and doing nothing would have not gone well for (Name Withheld).

To assist (Name Withheld), I created a post on my blog and explained that there was a U.S. citizen in David that had a stroke and was in need of financial assistance until he was physically able to take over. That blog post brought in $2,517.50 in donations. We have now run out of donations and his expenses to date have been $2,967.45. I have used my funds to pay the overage of $449.95.

We are approaching a new month and his running expenses are $200 for rent and electricity, $60/week for therapy, $300/month caretaker, plus additional for medical supplies, diapers etc. Come August, I will not have the funds to keep supporting him and I see no more donations coming in.

The email, that is attached from the Embassy, was the bank’s reply from my providing a Power of Attorney (granted by (Name withheld)) granting me the ability to withdraw money for (Name withheld) to pay his bills. Unfortunately, the bank will only allow money to be withdrawn by a person who has a signature on the account. The email specified what a new POA would have to provide. I am not willing to have my name on (Name withheld)’s account. You are a better candidate to take on that responsibility.

You are his next of kin. You are the only one that can make decisions on his behalf. I believe (Name withheld) has enough monthly income to take care of himself, but at present he has no way to access it. I am writing you so that you will understand the situation.

In my opinion, it would be in (Name withheld)’s best interest if he were to return to the U.S. and get medical treatment there. Stroke victims are very susceptible to having more strokes and his care here is minimal. If you were here, you might be able to facilitate his return or advise him.

Please reply with your thoughts.

I am hoping I will receive a reasonable response. One way or another the crossroad had been reached and it is time that I bow out. It would have been better if the bank had responded in a more timely manner to my initial request. However, things never move very fast in Panama.

3 thoughts on “At a Crossroad

  1. Don, you are a very sweet and caring person and I hope you receive the deep appreciation you deserve from this man’s family. You have gone above and beyond what a majority of people would have done. Hope you get the appropriate response from his family and that the patient continues to improve.

  2. Seems like it would be best to have a living will and make it in Spanish so that it might be legal in Panama. Make prior arrangements with folks just in case you are incapacitated. I don’t have a friend anywhere, it the states or Panama, who would help like you have. My sons would not and could not help. That is all the family.

  3. I am also in total situation that my husband is in either Alzheimers (Start) or alcoholism (I know the 2nd), but he has fallen so many times but, now I got in touch with our insurance company and I want to commit him to a hospital here BUT, HE IS A RETIRED STATE POLICEMAN, insurance covered, BUT, the US will NOT pay for hospital bills from the Hospital OUTSIDE THE US, unless we are in the US AND WE HAVE TO PAY UP FRONT…I Don’t understand why not… ….DUH… .Didn’t know that until now and problems.. I can’t get him help and I can’t move him to the US because of his drinking, not being able to walk unless he shuffles from Bedroom to Kitchen to drink constantly…I can’t stop him. I am sure you are aware of the other problems with yelling, cursing, drinking, etc. I am sure I am not alone here in Panama but can’t get information..I just can’t tell you of all other problems or you will eliminate me from your site for EXCESSIVE POSTS. God help us all and I don’t want to get into your bank account and you can’t get into ours for -0- there.

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