Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Death "In The Family"

In the past, I've jokingly called Florida God's Waiting Room and as such, Buttonwood Bay would be positioned very near the door. Given that there are about 1800 seniors in here, the sad fact is that hardly a week goes by without one of that number exiting that door.

The internal roads don't have a bike lane....they have an ambulance lane !

Lets put it this way: when you are told that so and so has gone North for good, it doesn't necessarily mean they've left the park and returned to Michigan or Canada !

Sometimes it does though and so sometimes that news can be ambiguous.

Great is the pull of grandkids and great grandkids upon the emotions of this community. Many residents do leave as they miss their families so much and that is very understandable despite the use of email, Skype and cell phones to keep in touch. None of those can make up for missing out on precious moments with little Mitt, Bubba or Newt !

I know of some friends here who are leaving as soon as their houses sell as they just miss their grandkids so much and more to the point, vice versa.

Of course human nature being what it is, we all expect them to be back down again once those same grandkids have driven them to distraction. The idea of seniors being with kids is often a lot different from them actually BEING with kids. After a few years of being here playing cards, baking cakes and taking gentle strolls alongside the lake, it's a bit of a shock to have screaming grandkids in your face day in, day out.

So anyway, those people ARE leaving the park to go North and are doing so under their own steam, so to speak.

But I currently know of a couple of residents who are really making the journey North for the last time. One will be in an urn and I'm not sure about the other one yet.

When someone you know suddenly drops dead, it tends to put many things into perspective. It's certainly a much bigger incentive to go on that diet or step up the exercise than having a big crystal ball drop in Times Square. I've never been one for making New Year Resolutions as it's always been someone or something that has caused me to 'do something different' in my life. Certainly not a calendar date.

And I have a few extra issues to worry about if it happened to me here. I'm a stranger in a strange land, remember. What to do with my body ? Who to inform and how ? Have I insurance cover to pay for everything on this side of the pond ? What are my wishes ?

Actually that last one is easy. I don't want to die. Ever. Ok ?

And despite having hospitals and medical centres up the ying yang here in Sebring, it seems that anyone with a condition other than a cough gets airlifted to Tampa at a cost of $10k. Far be it for me to suggest that this is down to the US medical system but I find it hard to understand that a town with a population of over 10,000 (which increases dramatically in winter when we "snowbirds" arrive), 28% of whom are 65 and over, hasn't got the medical facilities to deal with the after effects of something as common as a heart attack !!

But wait. We have a helicopter service that will whisk such patients to Tampa....for $10k thank you very much.

So what can we learn from all these barely related and mostly depressing facts ?

1) If you feel a heart attack coming on in Sebring, drive like crazy to Tampa.

2) Make sure someone knows what to do with your body if you don't make it.

3) Never use the expression "they've gone North for good" in this park.

4) Grandkids and Skype were made for each other.

5) Mitt, Bubba and Newt are just silly names.

Right, I'm off out for a Bigmac, large fries and coke. But with the Sebring chopper probably hovering over McDonald's, I'll order a diet coke and no pickle on the burger.

And hold the urn !

1 comment:

Jay at The Depp Effect said...

Wow .. yes, that must be disconcerting. I'm so sorry to hear you've lost someone, whether an acquaintance or a friend, it's tough.

But you've learned some useful lessons - like driving like hell for Tampa! And it's always good to have someone know what to do with you in the event of being landed with your lifeless corpse.

Perhaps write it down, put it in an envelope and leave it under the kettle, labelled 'To whom it may concern'?

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