Much press is given aging Baby Boomers who send their children to
college and in many cases, take care of their aging parents at the
In my own case, my mother died after a stroke after a two month decline
in 1987. I just graduated from my Nurse Practitioner program and came
home on Father's Day.
This was the same day my mother had her stroke.
My father's gradual decline spanned over thirteen years. He had
Alzheimer's Disease and was in and out of consciousness for most of that time.
I dealt with Nursing Home administrators, and had to move him from one
nursing home to another when he "ran out of money."
These kinds of experiences where you feel powerless to help the one person
whom you love deeply from earliest memory, can teach lessons of surrender
and a giving up of all past memory for a simple acceptance of that
which is seen and unseen in this very moment.
My dad died seven years ago. I am reconciled with everything
that ever happened between us, and all members of my family.
Enter Marybeth Kuznik, Executive Director of Vote Pa. She is
dedicated to bringing voting (machine) reform to the state of Pennsylvania.
She was one of the people who went to Ohio for the final vote count in Ohio
in the 2004 election.
She verified what I have known since that time: G.W. Bush stole that election.
Marybeth and I met at the State Democratic Committee Meeting where
our group, Progressives For Pennsylvania, held our health care reform conference
in order to educate the State Democratic Party about HB 1660 and SB 300: The best
state single payer plan in the country, at this time.
The conference was a success! People are excited by the Bill. As Michael
Moore said in a recent conference call I was privileged to attend, the people
are ready for it. Getting it through the legislative process is the challenge.
We were collecting health care delivery nightmare stories, and Marybeth gave
us the most wrenching story I have ever heard, one that will soon be on You Tube
and on our website, Progressives 4 Pennsylvania, as well as our P4P blog.
Merle Kuznik, Marybeth's 89 year old mother, broke her right hip after
suffering a major stroke on her left side. The nursing home she was in, Wood
Haven Care Center in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, insisted that Merle Kuznik
apply for Medicaid to pay for expenses not paid by Medicare.
When the paperwork was not completed in a timely fashion, local Constables
showed up to her nursing home room, with guns visible but in their holsters,
and told her she would have to go to jail for 3 days, if she did not pay.
Marybeth, the savvy person that she is, went to KDKA TV and told the story,
which you all can view at the following link:
Our bill, HB 1660 and SB 300 pays for long term care.
If our bill was in place NOW, Marybeth and Merle wouldn't be going through
this degrading experience.
The question is, how many other of our elderly are experiencing similar
experiences that are the worst kind of abuses in what we know is NOT a civil
society until we get a single payer system instituted in our country?
How many suffer silently because, like Merle Kuznic, they cannot speak, or move
because they are paralyzed? or worse, because they are mentally incapacitated?
This story underscores the reason why I fight tirelessly for a single payer
health care delivery system.
Kate Loving Shenk
Nursing Career Transformation