Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Burden

Jack came into my office the other day to get his new hearing aids.  He'd misplaced his old ones.  Couldn't find them anywhere.  His wife is in the nursing home and he was beside himself.  

Jack's been a customer of mine for over ten years.  He never leaves the office without a hug.  If I'm busy, he'll wait on his hug. 

Jack's not doing so well. 

"So you brought your buddy with you," I said... referring to the oxygen tank he carried and placed by his side as he sat down in the chair in my office.

We talked and laughed for a few minutes, then he started to cry.  "I hate being a burden to my kids," he said.  He was waiting for his daughter to park the car and come in.  

"Jack, I'm sure your kids don't see you as a burden.  You're they're dad... they love you." 

 Just then his daughter bolted in.  "He's never been happy with his hearing aids!" she says.  

Jack looked embarassed.  "Yes I have," he said.  "I've always liked my hearing aids."  

My guess is that she didn't want to spend the money.

"No, you haven't," she argued. 

 I could tell he was uneasy.  I looked her straight in the eyes, smiled at her and said... 
 "You look just like your mom!" 
 And she did.  

"I might look like her, but I'm not 
nice like her," she said.

She did softened then, and the mood changed.  

Maybe Jack's daughter was looking out for his best interest and maybe she thought I was taking advantage of him.  Whatever the case...  I got the idea that he was a burden to her.  

"I love your Dad!"  I said as she rolled her eyes.  "Well he better keep track of these hearing aids!"

He gave me a heartfelt hug and took 
his buddy and left.

I'm not sure if the daughter knew how lucky she was to still have her mom and dad in her life. 

 I sure do miss mine.


  1. Some adult "children" DO think of their aging parents as a burden. I am sure Jack looked for his hearing aids and said a prayer to find them, so as not to have to bother his daughter. I feel his pain and fully understand.

  2. hugs to you for being so caring with patients like Jack. poor Jack! I feel for him thinking he was a burden. So sad!


  3. I am like you--I really enjoy our older patients that come into our office. And also like you I never thought for a moment that either of my parents were a burden--I so miss them, and envy this daughter being able to take her dad around...

  4. heart breaks for Jack.His daughter should be ashamed if she is making him feel that way.What a blessing you were to have given him compassion.

  5. Bobbi, what a sweet post. You are a very kind soul.
    My Dad (94 years)needs a hearing aid but he will not entertain the idea. I bet if you saw him he would change his mind. Any ideas as to how to convince him he needs them?
    He also thinks he's a burden to his 'kids'. Must be something older folk go through when they start losing their independence.

  6. Jim, he may feel he's 'too old' to take care of his hearing. I just fit a lady who was 102 with a new hearing aid a few months back. Also, there is a lot of negative chatter out there about hearing aids and he might be going by someone elses experience with them. Many hearing aid specialists are high-pressure sales people and that's not the way it should be... it scares people away. The first step is to find out why he doesn't want them, then you can go from there. Wow, 94. Does he still drive? How lucky you are!!! (tell him hearing aids are for your benefit, so that you can communicate with him better).

  7. What a sad thing! My VERY patient father is taking care of his 87 yo mother. She had a hemorragic stroke back in September. He always speaks so loving to her! It melts my heart to see my strong Dad so gentle with her. Since I am in the medical field too, I hear such sad stories and I want to look at these children and say "I sure am glad that your parents didn't feel that way about you when they had to feed you, change your diaper, etc". The rolls eventually reverse and I will NOT feel that my aging parents are a burden.


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