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Helping man with Parkinson's

August 19, 2014 | 02:51 PM
Dear W.C.,

Please excuse my poor handwriting. I have Parkinson’s disease and bad eyesight. The combination makes it almost impossible to read what I have written. My utilities are behind, and I truly need new glasses. My doctor told me to contact your charity for possible help. I would be so grateful.

Can you please call me or stop by to talk? It would be so much easier to speak to you in person.

Dear Readers,

I called this letter writer to let him know I would be paying him a visit. The senior gentleman invited me over.

I arrived at a senior, low-income housing complex and found his apartment.

After knocking on the door, I heard a voice from inside telling me to come in. I opened the door, calling out, “It’s W.C. from The Time Is Now to Help.” I saw the man sitting in a chair in the sparsely furnished apartment. When he waved me over, I noticed the tremor in his hand and saw signs of the Parkinson’s disease he had mentioned in his letter. His voice shook as he said, “Please, come on in.” I walked over and grasped his hand in both of mine, introducing myself.

I sat down in a chair across from him so we could talk.

The senior man shared his recent troubles with me and some of his past problems as well. He had been married almost 50 years when his wife passed away several years ago. He had one son that he confessed had been in and out of trouble his whole life. I asked if the son ever came by to help or to drive him to the doctor. I could see he was saddened at this question as he said, “I wouldn’t trust him to drive me anywhere anyway, since he would never offer to do anything for anyone other than himself.” I could see the father and son did not have a good relationship. The son would not be someone I could count on to help his father. After this revelation I started thinking about which volunteers would be a good match to deliver food and possibly drive this senior with disabilities to his medical appointments.

I asked the man what he had eaten for dinner as it was 8 p.m. He shared all he had eaten that day was a can of peaches for breakfast and a can of soup of dinner. The man said, “I was lucky today that I managed to open the cans because that is all I had to eat in the apartment. Some days I can’t open cans because of my hands and eyes.”

I thought to myself how sad it must be to not even be able to open the only can of food you have in the house. And to only have two cans of food in the house to eat. I asked the man if I could take a look around his small efficiency apartment. He told me to go ahead while apologizing for the mess. I looked around the apartment and saw the lack of food for myself. What I also did not see was a mess.

When I said to the gentleman that his apartment was very clean he said, “Well, I used to be able to do more. But what else do I have to do with my time? I can’t watch TV all that well, and the news is too depressing to listen to all the time. I try really hard to take care of myself.” I saw the two washed bowls and a small pot on the sink drainer and again felt sadness for this man’s lonely struggle, aware that if he had let us know of his dilemma earlier we could have been easing his pains of poverty before he got to this point.

We talked about his Parkinson’s disease and what therapies he was using.

He discussed the various prescription medications he had tried and the one he was presently using that finally brought some relief of his symptoms. The problem was he could not use the generic form and the name brand drug was expensive.

The medication was the reason for his recent financial shortfall. We then discussed his vision problems and need for new glasses.

He said, “My eyes keep getting worse and changing, but I can’t afford new glasses each time they do.” He handed me a sheet from his eye doctor along with a quote for his new glasses.

They were beyond his financial capabilities.

I told him how The Time Is Now to Help sometimes provides glasses to those in need. He was surprised.

I told him how we come together to change our fellow creations lives for the better we don’t want to just put a Band-Aid on the situation, we want to change their lives significantly. The gentleman said, “By all of you providing me with the blessing of a new pair of glasses, which would change my life significantly.

There is so much more I could do for myself if I could see clearly again.

I could get outside for walks again because my doctor said it is important I get exercise. Maybe I could even read again.

That was always so relaxing for me.” When he told me this I thought his Parkinson’s had affected his speech because his voice was shaking, but it was because he was starting to cry over his gratitude over receiving a new pair of glasses.

Just then there was a knock on the door and he looked surprised. I told him how I had contacted one of our volunteers while I was looking around his apartment and noted the lack of food, to pick him up a hot meal and enough food for the next few days.

He was shocked we would do such a thing for him. I told him how I used to go hungry as a child and remembered the pain of it all too well. He had tears in his eyes as he smelled the delicious meal set before him.

I watched as he thoroughly enjoyed his simple meal of chicken and potatoes. When he was finished he said with a twinkle in his eye,

“Either I haven’t eaten for a while or that was the best dinner I’ve had in ages.

Well, probably both.” We both smiled at his sense of humor that contained more than a little truth to it.

We finished going over his expenses and other necessities he would need to continue to live independently. I asked him what his plans were for his future and he told me how he hoped to live on his own as long as he possibly could.

I told him how we would help him to achieve that dream. We brought his utilities and rent up to date. We bought him his much needed and appreciated glasses. We also made sure he had some volunteers to check on him regularly, drop off food when needed and drive him places if his neighbor that drove was not available.

My last visit found the senior gentleman outside for a walk, doing much better with both his vision due to the glasses and his Parkinson’s symptoms.

He was able to get the much needed exercise and his better nutrition had both played a part in his improvement. His neighbor had been able to drive him to his doctor’s appointments and even a support group meeting when we offered to help pay for his gas.

The neighbor confessed to him that they would have gladly driven him before, but they were on a very tight budget of their own and had been too embarrassed to share that with him. That confession opened them up to a better friendship they now shared. The gentleman had a new network of friends and volunteers to keep him healthy and independent.

God Bless all of you for being there with support to make our good deeds a reality for helping our fellow creations.

Please consider a donation at this time, knowing every dollar you donate will not only be used 100 percent to help the poverty stricken but will also be matched by the Fox Charities Summer 2014 $25,000 matching grant.

Health and happiness, God bless everyone, W.C./Sal

Please help: There are many coming to us in desperation. Our good fellow creations need our compassion. Together we make a big difference. Make checks payable to: The Time Is Now to Help, P.O. Box 1, Lake Geneva, WI 53147. The Time Is Now to Help is a federally recognized 501(c)3 charitable organization licensed in Wisconsin and Illinois. You will receive a tax deductible, itemized thank-you receipt showing how your donation provided assistance for the poverty stricken.

A very special thank you: Fox Charities, Clarence and Marilyn Schawk, James and Lynne Newman, Geneva Wells Motel, Martin Group, John Stensland and family, Carolyn J. Gable Expect A Miracle Foundation, White River Cycle Club, Dick and Jean Honeyager, Lake Geneva Area Realty, James Borden, Amazon Smile Foundation, Charles and Kathleen Heinz, Steve and Padget Flowers, Robert and Patricia Davis, Walter and Mary York, Charles Koerner, Michael and Sally Anne Chier, David and Janice Busscher, David and Sylvia Linton, Harry and Patricia Buchert Jr., Shirley Abell, Ernest and Dorothy Winters, Carolyn Essel, David Altwies, JoAnne Killackey, Gregory Swanson, William Davit, W.C. Family Resource Center/Food Pantry volunteers and all the God-loving volunteers of the pantries, all of you who support The Time Is Now to Help donation boxes, and the businesses that allow our donation boxes. Anyone who would like a Time Is Now donation box in your business, please call (262) 249-7000.

Honoraries: Al and Geri Hinton in honor of their 57th wedding anniversary.

Memorials: Ronald and Carolyn Bloch in memory of Jack Fletcher, a Lake Como pal. Carla Matz in memory of Harry Bublitz and Heidi Danner. Margaret and Michael Lynch and Mechelle Moe in memory of Maureen Shaughnessy.

Furniture Donations: Please contact Love Inc. for all your furniture, clothing and household item donations. Call (262) 763-2743 or (262) 763-6226 to schedule a pickup.

Please visit: www.timeisnowtohelp.org.


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