Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Update on Ruth - The Old Lady Neighbor

As an update on my old lady neighbor, Ruth....

Last Friday night (7/11 - no, I didn't get my free Slurpee) I arrived home from work around 6pm to find Ruth sitting outside, once again yelling for help. My girlfriend was having a party with some friends and family over so rather than each of them have to tend to Ruth, I strolled on over to see what Ruth needed. Her nurse, Joy, had apparently not stopped by (or stopped by but then left, not sure) and Ruth needed to get home because this wasn't her house. Sigh. I did the usual explanations of who I am, where we are, etc and brought her some fruit and a diet coke.

About an hour later (7pm ish), I saw Joy, the nurse, pull up in her van so I ran over to intercept her and let her know what has been going on. Joy assures me that she thinks Ruth belongs in a home or needs 24/7 care. I asked Joy if she worked for a company or was a private CHHA (Certified Home Health Aid I guess it's called) and all she told me is that she was with Home Health Aids - I should have asked for a phone number/supervisor's name but Ruth was screaming profanities at this point because I was keeping Joy from getting to her so I let her off easy and got back to my company. As a new side story (are you keeping up with these?) - Joy had a big ol' doberman-type looking dog in the back of her van, which she left in the van, in the heat, for at least the hour she was with Ruth. As a dog lover, I'd say Joy seems a bit irresponsible with dogs, never mind human life - I'll be keeping an eye on the dog situation as well now (call me a nosey prick or dog fanatic here if you want).

Saturday I had to make a trip to Delaware so before I left, I stopped by to chat with Ruth and bring her some breakfast. I told her that I wouldn't be home all day but I would check on her tomorrow (Sunday), and off I went. (side note! On my way home - a SWEET Mercedes McLaren F1 SLR sped by me doing about 120 or so on I-195 near Great Adventure - what an AWESOME car -I NEED one...)

Sunday I left my house early in the morning and didn't see Ruth outside so I thought nothing of it and went about my day. When I got back home around 7pm Sunday, Ruth walked to my driveway (again) to tell me that she has been trying to get a hold of her friend who lives here (me) because he's missing (no I'm not, you're not so lucky to get rid of me!) and she's hungry. She had apparently attracted some other neighbors Saturday while screaming for me.

I made two phone calls Monday to her son Keith's car dealership ( 732-922-1500 if you want to inquire about a Volkswagen, i wouldn't give out the number for any other reason) and both times I was told he's "in a meeting". Uhh-huh. I left messages with the receptionist and did not receive a call back, imagine that.

Lunch was quiet on Monday - I saw Joy's van outside, but when I got home from work, I ate my dinner and as I was putting my sneakers on to walk my puppy, I saw Ruth getting out of another neighbor's truck.... IN FRONT OF MY HOUSE!

I went outside to figure out 1) How she got in the truck, 2) Why she was getting out in front of my house - and the other neighbor told me she was in the middle of the street so he stopped and she insisted that she needed to come to my house because she lives there. I did the usual explanation but this time she refused to believe me and wouldn't walk home. She insisted that she lived in my house and she saw her mom and dad go in the house "before".

With little choices left and no return calls from her son, I asked my girlfriend to call the police department - at which point Ruth was willing to walk home - I'd almost swear that she is perfectly healthy and in perfect mental stability but just looking for attention as she seems to recognize when she's gone too far, but the sane part of me understands that she's just lost her mind.

When we got back to HER HOUSE - she insisted this was the wrong house, she has two of them - and her clothes and food weren't here. In case anyone cares - somewhere along the lines Ruth told me that she was a Republican and the Democrats in government took her things when they moved her. Right or wrong, I had to laugh, to which she asked me if I was "coo-coo" and told me I was crazy like the rest of "them". She might be right, who knows.

A Long Branch Patrolman came by to check out the scene - chatted with my GF and two other neighbors who came out to see what the problem was and then came over to Ruth and I who had managed our way back to her porch. The patrolman had been to the house a few times before (although not recently - I guess my efforts over the past few months have eased their work a little bit?) but basically said that all he can do is file a report and if the situation becomes an on-going problem, he can take her to the Crisis center.

After about an hour and half, the Patrolman was finally able to get away and I left with the officer. He ended up making a second stop when Ruth had managed to walk into the street about an hour later - then claiming she lost her cane - so she was using an old broom for balance - the officer and my GF tried to find the cane but could not locate it so they left to her screaming for her cane. My apologies to anyone who was a victim of a real crime last night - i didn't mean to take a law officer away from real police work to baby sit Ruth, I was hoping an officer could have done something more immediate about the problem.

I placed phone calls to both the Long Branch Senior Center to inquire about Meals on Wheels (Thanks for the tip Marge!) and to her son's car dealership again. No call backs from her son, still, but an Anne from the Senior Center called me back and suggested calling Protective Services for the Elderly. Anne says she can get Ruth setup on a meals on wheels program, but that she thought such a thing would be a band-aid more than any kind of solution to the street crossing/etc. I then placed a call to an "Intake Worker" named Nicole at Protective Services who said the situation and names sounded familiar and then verified that someone else had called about a week ago and that they would be sending a case worker out shortly. I suppose one of my other neighbors made that phone call as I was trying to give Ruth, and her son, some time before I got "the government" involved - must be the Libertarian in me.

Anyhow - I'll post updates as I'm sure that when I get home for lunch, or after work, there will be some more (non)excitement. In the meantime, as I said, any readers looking to buy a VW might contact her son, Keith Lawson, at 732-922-1500. I recommend calling often as he seems to be busy and I recommending making multiple calls, even if you get him on the line as I hear that he'll give better deals the more often you call him. Of course, you SHOULD NOT bother Keith about his lack of care for his own mother or the burden of caring for her that has become the responsibility of us concerned neighbors, that just wouldn't be the right thing to do and I wouldn't ask people to make such a call, nor would I endorse such pestering actions. If I don't hear back from Keith and/or Protective Services soon - I might just have to take Ruth for a car ride one morning and bring her over to her son's dealership - sometimes she tells me she wants to go there so I'd just be helping a neighbor right?

Maybe our friends Radiohead said it best in their hit song Karma Police:

Karma police, Ive given all I can, its not enough

Ive given all I can, but were still on the payroll

This is what you get, this is what you get

This is what you get, when you mess with us

And for a minute there, I lost myself, I lost myself

And for a minute there, I lost myself, I lost myself
For a minute there, I lost myself, I lost myself

Off to lunch... wish me luck!

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