#FF — read the fine print

The fog has rolled in. Forever summer has ended. I watch sunset through calcified memories captured in a warped globe of fragility.

Martha!”

I am shaken from reverie. There is an urgency to Fred’s voice that makes me hurry my slipper-padded steps to the back bedroom.

Fred has fallen. There’s visible swelling on his forehead and his arm is turned at a funny angle. His crooked smile is weary. Morphine shows herself to be an angel. I dial the hospice nurse and leave voicemail. Surely they won’t deny Fred an ambulance ride?

His head in my lap, we wait.

[100 words]

Rochelle Wisoff-Fields is the summery host of Friday Fictioneers.

50 Comments Add yours

  1. Sadje says:

    Suspenseful story

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Sadje.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sadje says:

        You’re most welcome

        Liked by 1 person

  2. neilmacdon says:

    This is tender and tragic

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Neil.

      Like

  3. Vartika says:

    Hope Fred will feel better. Well written story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Vartika, thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Why would they deny him an ambulance. Does that reference mean it is possibl.e?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      YES. Once you sign your loved one onto hospice, they are the gatekeepers of care. Any costs not approved by them comes out of your pocket. Although hospice has been painted as the loving caretakers for those at end of life, there is a very dark side nobody wants to talk about.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Danny.

      Like

  5. James McEwan says:

    Falls in old age are too common. I fear for Fred.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      James, I do also. Thank you for reading and your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Michael Humphris says:

    You painted the frailty of age so well, and a thoughtful story I hope

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Michael, thank you.

      Like

  7. memadtwo says:

    Medical care in the US is so messed up. Poignant and true. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Kerfe.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Pretty bleak but probably all too common story that describes the reality of many elderly folks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you very much, Christian, and yes it is 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Tannille says:

    If they’re in Australia, they’ll be waiting a long time for an ambulance. Our system is overloaded and crashing. Sad but tender story, L.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Tannille, so sorry to hear about the shortage. Here it’s all about money.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. seanatbogie says:

    the aged and their carers, both wearied. you tell this all to common story well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Sean, thank you very much. I lost my mom in June, and a friend of a friend is currently struggling in the hospice realm. Today’s story is partially/theoretically based on what transpired with both.

      Like

  11. Such a touching tale, Lisa. When my mother fell, we waited over an hour for an ambulance, many wait longer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Oh Keith, your poor mother. So sorry to hear it. In the cases I’m basing this on, the ambulances will come quickly once the green light is given. It’s the gatekeeper of who pays that stands in the way. Both situations are unacceptable and cause unnecessary suffering. I’m sure that some have died waiting that could have been saved 😦

      Like

  12. Dear Lisa,

    Your opening lines are achingly, beautifully touching. “Calcified memories” Having read your replies, I gasp at the dark side of hospice. Poignant, through provoking story.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Rochelle, thank you very much. I sincerely hope to educate and forewarn with my story. There are a zillion hospice providers out there, some better than others, I’m sure. People need to be *very* careful about which one they choose, understand hospice *takes*over* from your family doctor and any other health care services. They also need to research *when* to choose hospice.
      Shalom,
      Lisa

      Like

  13. Irene says:

    There is so much content packed into this short story; relationships, aging, health care systems, all neatly wrapped in 100 words.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Irene, thank you ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Dale says:

    Oh, this could be my mother and her now late, beau. The number of times she had to sit on the floor, cradling his head until the ambulance arrived.
    Beautifully written.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Dale, I’m glad but sad that you can relate to the story. Thank you very much.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dale says:

        Ah well… it is all part of life you know. I am thankful those days are over. My mother misses him but we make sure we see her very often.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. Bill says:

    Well told, Lisa. Much too real. “Thou shalt not fall.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thanks much, Bill. Indeed. My mom had a fall in March, where she bumped her head in a parking lot of a store. The store called an ambulance and expected her to wait — but did not try to stop her when she got back in her car and drove away. She got home ok but then fell from the porch and hit her head hard. Between then and when she passed in June has been a living nightmare. It will take a long time to process everything surrounding it. I don’t expect to get all of the answers ever to all of what has transpired.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Bill says:

        We never know. We get few answers. So sorry to hear about your loss. Lisa. My condolences.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. msjadeli says:

          Thank you, Bill. So much of life is mystery.

          Liked by 1 person

  16. granonine says:

    Maybe ambulances don’t answer calls from hospice? I don’t know, just wondering why there’s any doubt. Such a sad situation, no matter what.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      The procedure here is you call hospice (which tells you they are available 24/7 before you sign up) who is supposed to (answer?) but ends up calling you back, to get the details of what’s going on. Once the rep gets the details, they contact the hospice physician, who lets the rep know whether or not they will approve the ambulance coming. If the ambulance is called without approval from hospice physician, the patient/client is billed 100% of the cost of the ambulance ride and any thing after that for the incident. If hospice physician approves the ambulance, the client (or loved one of the client) calls the ambulance and it gets covered.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. granonine says:

        Kind of convoluted, but I guess there have to be some safeguards to keep people from calling for an ambulance every time there’s a small change. I have no experience with hospice here in PA. I suppose the guidelines are different everywhere.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. msjadeli says:

          Linda, agreed on convoluted. You bring up a good point that guidelines are different everywhere. My takeaway for readers: do your research. Your loved one’s well-being depends on it. Thank you for reading and your thoughtful comment. ❤

          Liked by 1 person

  17. You’ve described the horror of aging – Falls.
    I never used to watch my stpe much. Now, baby steps. LOL
    I enjoyed reading this. Hope Fred gets the help he needs.
    Isadora 😎

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Isadora, I am not that old (in my 60s) in my mind at least, but I’m still scared to fall and break something. I broke my ankle in 2008 (long story) and it took years to walk right again! Thank you for reading, my friend. Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Owwwy … yes, I fell on the bathrrom floor getting out of the tub. Fractured two vertebra. Painful and slow healing. You never forget a fall. Well, maybe, when you’re 3. LOL

        Liked by 1 person

  18. That sounds like a nasty fall

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      yes, especially for someone that fragile

      Like

  19. lilacmage says:

    Oh no! Never thought such a peaceful picture could elicit such stress! I’m sure Fred will be okay.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      I think Fred will be ok also, one way or another, even if it means they are paying the bill off for the rest of their lives… Thank you for reading and your comment.

      Like

  20. Laurie Bell says:

    Oh this is a hard read. A terrible fall. And a horrid wait. The wait I think is the worst

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Laurie, I agree. Thanks for reading.

      Like

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