It’s great to be alive

When I visited the stroke victim on Monday, he was really down. He said we needed to talk. I said, “what about?”

He said he wanted to check out of here. I said, you want to leave this apartment and go to an assisted living facility?

He said, “no, I want to check out.”

After a few more exchanges, I realized he was telling me he wanted to die. I said, “and what is your plan for that?”

He said, give me a pill.

I said, “Sorry, there is no assisted suicide in Panama and I won’t participate in that.”

It was about that time he moved his right arm to his chest. It was the first time I had seen him move the right side of his body.

I pointed out to him that he was making progress and said I wasn’t giving up on him and didn’t want him giving up on himself.

I then thought about him being in one room for a solid month. No TV. No music. No connection with the outside world.

His TV was in another room and he couldn’t get there. I asked what he thought about me getting another TV set up in his room. He decided it would be a good idea.

Yesterday, I went by MultiMax and bought a Selectron 32 inch LED TV and voltage protector. Only $200 for the TV and a fantastic picture. I went to Novey and bought 50 feet of RG6 TV cable. I had a cable splitter and another short RG6 cable section from previous projects.

Lilliam and I went to his apartment around 10 AM yesterday and I reran his cable from the old location to his bedroom and moved the cable box to his bedroom.

Then I split the output from the cable box and ran the purchased cable back to the other TV. Now both TVs are powered by the cable box. If he is sleeping the caretaker can watch TV in the other room and not bother him.

I am hoping this improves his day. He has US news, not that would brighten anyone’s day, movies, music and he can control what is on. I think he was impressed with the quality of the TV picture. He seemed pleased. He had me put on some jazz music and I learned that he used to play the trumpet.

Thank goodness for hanging ceilings. It only took me about 2 hours. Would have been 30 minutes for someone younger, but Lilliam, the caretaker and I got it done.

I need to give thanks to Juli Alexander. She has experience dealing with the problems my stroke victim is going through. Juli and her husband came by so that she could visit with him. She is a special person.

As large a problem as any in these sort of cases is the feeling of helplessness, feeling like you are alone and you have no control and no one cares. I think Juli’s visit was beneficial and I want to recognize her for offering her support.

Juli had several ideas of other things that will help. I have placed them on my list of “todos”.

This morning the caretaker had a 7am eye appointment. I am writing this, and filling in for her, while she is at her doctor’s appointment. I will get it posted when I return home.

It was hard motivating my body to get out of bed at 5:45 AM. However, the sun is coming up. The air is fresh. I hear chickens clucking across the street and it looks like it is going to be a beautiful day.

I hope wherever you are, at this moment, you realize how lucky you are. If your health is good, don’t take it for granted. If you have children and family that care for you, don’t take them for granted. If you have friends that care for you, don’t take them for granted.

And don’t forget to tell those you love how much they mean to you.

13 thoughts on “It’s great to be alive

  1. I just wanted to say that you are a Special person Don Ray and will be blessed in this life and beyond for the kindness you show to others.

  2. Thank you so much Don for all you and Lilliam are doing to assist this individual. You have made a great impact on Connie and I in many ways. We have definitely made plans in case anything happens to either of us. I wish we could more, but we do pray daily for him and you.

  3. The stroke victim is very privileged to have you looking out for his interests. Your writing is so very true. My wife just went thru a year of fighting one health problem after another with several hospitalizations, 2 surgeries, and an air ambulance ride.

    We are lucky to have children that were a very big help during those difficult times. Words can never express my gratitude for their help. I am also very grateful for all the medical and rehabilitation care and for those who provided it.

    Believe me my priorities have now changed and things I thought were very important before don’t matter much anymore.

  4. God Bless you both Lilliam & Don Rey for the job well done, God must have you both in the book of life all ready, so my best wishes for the two of you and an the entire community of David, Boquete for making the life of this mam livable, love you all, Macias family.
    Cuban Joe

  5. I have found that every good deed comes back to you in spades. God Bless you each and every day. Every day above ground is a blessing.

  6. Outstanding Don Ray! Hopefully, in the not so distant future, I’ll be able to help you out on some of those details. Take care and Be Blessed!

  7. Bless you for your caring help and support to this poor individual. There is an old
    saying that “virtue is its own reward” and in your case I think you believe that. I just
    know that in the ledger of life, you have many more positives than negatives. Roy

  8. You really have not only saved his life, you are empowering him to get better. When Nick was down to living his days in a hospital bed, I moved it out of the bedroom and into the living room/den. Here he could not only watch TV and listen to music, but he felt he was a part of the house again, not delegated to one room. When people came to visit him, they could sit with him comfortably and this gave him some dignity. He also was not alone, as I was always near by.

    Just a thought.

  9. Don,

    Your help with this stroke victim is admirable. As a person who is in West Texas helping a relative with multiple strokes, I can appreciate your help and your value to the patient.

    As a physician, I commend you for your concern.

    As a potential Chiriqui resident, I want you to know that you make an excellent unofficial leader for the US expats.

    Bruce, MD, MBA, FAAFP

  10. Juli and Jim are exceptional people that truly care about others. As they have their own challenges to deal with, they still are helping others. We call them friends and are very happy they chose to be a part of our lives. They have helped me to be less desperate and hopeless in a confusing situation.
    Friends and Family and the support others can offer is the key to a better quality of life. Don you have been a blessing to this man and it seems that Juli has also added more light to his life.
    Many good things will come to all of you.


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