CROSSROADS TO SOMEWHERE: Why Not Launch a Discussion on Displacement?



Frightened by the sound of ominous footsteps, he scurried over the searing hot sidewalk in the mid-day heat. Despite the impending danger, he stopped. So did I. He cocked his head, turning slightly to peer over his left shoulder (assuming he has one), in seeming defiance. The pause caused a momentary flashback to a country childhood filled with lizards, doodle bugs, dragonflies and bumblebees. And a sad reminder you seldom even see a butterfly or ladybug these days. Time stood still. But not for long. The pending arrival of the other human being interrupted my reverie.

Leaning over – a dangerous move these days – I frantically began waving both hands to hasten an escape to the safety of nearby brush. Did I see a nod of acknowledgment? A gesture of thanks? The passing human probably thought I was just another doddering old-timer, in the process of losing it. Can’t blame her. What else would one think seeing an old geezer bent over trying to sweep the sidewalk with his hands at high noon!? In passing she nodded her head, more in sympathy than friendship. That’s okay, shinpai-nashi. Little did she know I had saved Geiko to live another day.

= * =

The art of communication is very important. Going back to Adam and Eve, Archie and Edith. Think about Greece, where there seems to be no chance of public agreement or bailout, threatening the future of European Union. Or Iran, where history may mark as the launching point of WWIII if nuclear negotiations fail. Here at home, we have free speech and Donald Trump. In a move to seek safer ground, let’s delve into something we know something about: Keiro Retirement Home.

Embroiled in the debate concerning the future of Keiro Senior HealthCare — where a lack of communication appears to be the root of community unrest — KRH, which will be the least impacted of all the facilities, is suffering unwarranted negative fallout.

By all means of inquiry (except Facebook and Twitter) I am constantly asked about what it’s like living in an uh, pardon-me-for-asking, you know, one of those (dreaded) retirement places. And inquirers aren’t all aging Nisei. There are also the Sansei on the cusp of joining the leisure class wondering what it’s like here.

Let’s see what can be done to explain and clarify.

During my caregiving years, I became acquainted with a wide variety of facilities, visiting many concerned with spousal care. To use a sports analogy, they were like Major League Baseball teams, ranging from very good to very bad, with costs to match. Quite honestly, this experience made me more anti- than supportive.

When circumstances deemed Ole CR2S was destined to live alone, I certainly didn’t contemplate moving, least of all into “One of Those Places”; you know, where people go to rest [which explains why the term “rest home” is seldom used nowadays]. A Selfie, if a bit short of being a picture of health, I nonetheless was still capable of cooking and other requisite survival skills. So why waste precious time contemplating an eventual move to OOTP!?

Well you know what, the thought persisted like a chronic backache, especially when eating alone, watching TV without an exchange partner, the day’s highlight being the plop of the daily newspaper being delivered at 4:30 a.m. Eventually, without a whole lot of enthusiasm, I put my WTH on the waiting list of Keiro Retirement Home. [My reason for making “the move” wouldn’t coincide with yours, but reasons matter not. Deciding to initiate the process is the most important factor.]

When notified of an opening (after two+ years), I demurred; a fancy way of saying, “Ain’t ready.” A later follow-up call enticed me to take a look-see. On the third occasion, after discussions with my guys, it became “what the heck” time. I decided to try five days at KRH and a return to the comfy confines of home on weekends to get an idea of what it would be like (no long-term commitments are required). It became apparent this arrangement made no sense at all, so it was s…-or-get-off-the-pot time: 325 S. Boyle became a permanent address.

It will be four years on the first of August! Wowzus, how time doth rapidly goeth! Any regrets or shortcomings? Since transparency is the byword these days, let’s just say it’s not been a perfect landing, but then, what is?

Darn and damn, haven’t discussed specific doubts or pleasures and am running out of space and time. Was also planning to touch on the problem family members confront when the challenge of a parent requiring care comes to pass. Since CR2S has experience on both counts and people seem to shy from open and honest discussion, I guess that makes me an ideal conduit if not an authority.

Let’s chalk this up as introduction to Family Debate on Relocation II, seventy years after #1. To be continued . . .

W.T. Wimpy Hiroto can be reached at [email protected] Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.



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