Don’t let it be said her life is boring

Columnist Claudette Sandecki doesn't let repetitive tasks get the best of her

Cutine repetitive tasks never bore me. As a kid I spent hours ironing, washing dishes, or my favourite, shivering in the chilly root cellar cutting shrivelled potatoes into bite size pieces for the cows, filling several five gallon pails every afternoon until the bin was empty. Random enlivening thoughts flit through my mind like a CNN crawl. I may review the day’s news, even ponder criminals’ baffling behaviours such as the Alberta thief who made off across frozen fields on a monster John Deere tractor pursued by a Mountie hitching a ride on a snowmobile until he tipped the tractor over on a hillside.

This morning for 20 minutes I threw heavy blocks of firewood into the basement. Twenty minutes at a time is my limit. On a job rife with so many physical hazards I try to focus my attention on the work at hand.

I must remember – don’t step back and trip over the pup who sits Sphinx-like at my heels waiting for me to play with her; don’t mash my hands between an off-target wood block and the concrete foundation; don’t drop or dislodge a chunk on a toe or finger.

For all my concentration, in the back of my mind topics skitter: Oscar Pistorius testifying for the second day in his own defence. Why would he have a lock on his toilet door? My understanding is his toilet is a cubby separate from the main bathroom. Not the way the average Canadian bathroom is built. Perhaps Pistorius is extra shy, doesn’t want even the woman he is sleeping with to catch him with his pants down.

I move to the 94-year-old Toronto woman who was defrauded out of her $25,000 life savings by a housekeeper who gradually encroached on her life from cleaning, to cooking, to handling her accounts, until one day the young woman invited herself to move in with her husband and two kids. They allegedly stole her jewellery, disposed of most of her furniture, and confined her to a small bedroom until a pharmacy delivery man who had been dropping off her prescription medicine for 10 years felt something was amiss when the husband – not the senior – opened the door.

He asked to see the senior. She acted strange, wouldn’t look at him. He reported his suspicions to the pharmacist who called police. The couple was arrested. Strangers donated $70,000 to replace the senior’s life savings.

Common indicators of abuse include: helplessness, depression, hesitation to talk openly, fear, denial and agitation.

The 94-year-old has only one living relative, a sister in Montreal. But relatives, too, can be abusers.

Mickey Rooney, the 93-year-old Hollywood movie star who died April 6, testified last year before a U.S. congressional committee on ageing that he had been emotionally and financially abused by relatives. Rooney revealed a stepson had deprived him of food and medicine, prevented him from leaving the house, and meddled in his financial affairs. Rooney won a lawsuit against his stepson for return of $2.8 million … which he may never collect. The stepson is bankrupt. His insurance company refuses to pay.

Two other cases of elder abuse – both by doctors – niggle my mind. One Edmonton senior sought help from her family doctor for her emotional problems. He told her all she needed was a man. And an Alberta surgeon, upset that the surgical procedure had taken four hours longer than he had allotted, blamed his patient for the operation running into overtime.

The unprofessional behaviour of both doctors is disturbing. If I had learned of these two incidents from a less reliable source, I wouldn’t believe any qualified medical practitioner might behave this way.

Bored by repetitive tasks? Not me.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COLUMN | Waste carts

Columnist Andre Carrel talks about garbage collection in Terrace

Officials for Mills Memorial Hospital replacement project named

Project is estimated to cost $450 million

Letter to the editor: I stand with them

Hazelton resident shares his perspective on why he supports the Wet’suwet’en

Terrace cab stolen, found destroyed along Hwy 16 riverbank at rest stop

Driver was sent to Prince Rupert hospital after stealing the running vehicle from company lot

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs call for end of police patrols

Temporary closure of field office not enough to meet demands

VIDEO: Wet’suwet’en supporters vow to keep protesting at B.C. legislature

Supporters say they will continue ongoing action to hold government accountable

VIDEO: Province promotes ‘lifting each other up’ on 13th annual Pink Shirt Day

Students, MLAs, community members gathered at B.C. Parliament Buildings Wednesday

Prepare for new coronavirus like an emergency, health minister advises

About 81,000 people around the world have now become ill with COVID-19

B.C. residents in Wet’suwet’en territory have right to police presence: Public Safety Minister

Nevertheless, Bill Blair said officials remain ‘very anxious’ for the barricades to come down

Winnipeg police investigating graffiti on RCMP and other buildings

Manitoba Justice Minister Cliff Cullen denounced the vandalism

B.C. seniors’ watchdog calls for better oversight after recent problems at Retirement Concepts care homes

‘There is no financial incentive right now to be a good operator’ - Isobel Mackenzie

Trucking company fined $175K for Kootenay creek fuel spill

Decision handed down last Friday in Nelson court

B.C. city rebrands with new logo, cheeky slogan

‘Langford, where it all happens’ is the City’s new slogan

B.C. Liberals call for ban on foreign funds to pipeline protesters

Sierra Club, Wilderness Committee back Coastal GasLink blockades

Most Read