Well, Fran is still alive. The total summary of this trip is that before Christine and Debbie got there, Fran was pretty much written off by the doctors at Shands Hospital of Jacksonville. They left him to die. Christine and Debbie got him the help he needed, and by Tuesday, he was up and (sort of) walking again. We have him going to a nursing home via Hospice until he gets healthy enough to travel, or ... well, dies. Shands was no place for him, or anyone to stay. The place is dirty, unkempt, and has a roach problem because they can't afford enough cleaning staff. I can't honestly say that everyone who works at Shands are shabby doctors and uncaring nurses, but I can safely say that most of them are, without a doubt, useless warm bodies who have these "dead end medical careers" to earn money and nothing else. I met all kinds of staff, most of them who wouldn't give us eye contact, and I think the only decent people I had met was his physical therapist, most of the orderlies (some who were a Godsend), and maybe a nurse or two who answered our questions without making an excuse to vanish. I know they left him to die, because they saw he had a failing liver, no local family, and no insurance, and so they blew their nose into the Hippocratic Oath, and left it in God's hands.
In God's hands.
That brings me to another beef at how, for a city so embroiled in religion and rightious attitude (5 cable channels for religion alone), how they truly use God as an excuse not to give a flying fuck. This last week has shown me just how low the self-rightious religious truly are. Cowardly people who don't want to lift a finger unless it makes them look good. These are the asswipes Jesus got angry about. Fran's sister Cheryl stopped by, prayed a lot, said she'd help out by letting Fran live with her and helping him recover, and then she just left. Left. Left it in God's hands, which made us have to stay an extra two days to make sure Fran got the help he really needed, got in contact with social services, got disability, and all that. Cheryl just left, abandoning her promises, ignoring her brother's pleas to help, tucked her tail between her legs, and left. She was the one who tried to convert Fran to "the ways of God," but left him bitter an disillusioned.
We started back late Tuesday, and had to drive through a pouring rain all through Georgia. We stayed overnight in a place on the North/South Carolina border called, "South of the Border," which was really, really tacky. Incredibly insulting Mexican stereotypes are everywhere. Judging from the tourism in South Carolinia, they don't have much going for them. It seems all they have is "Myrtle Beach" and SOB, if you were gauge from their scant tourist maps. We then drove through North Carolina, which was only slightly more interesting, although their billboard would have you believe all they sold were lots of fireworks and discount cigarettes. Since I know they have The Outer Banks, I am hoping South Carolina also has similar hidden treasures, just poorly advertised. Maybe just the stretch of I-95 is dull. I dunno. I guess I expected more from American roadsigns.
We got back late tonight, and I have spent a lot of time removing the broken bedframe, and setting our mattress and box springs on the floor. From the damage, I think the metal frame just sagged with fatigue until the center support just sheared off.
In the end, Fran doesn't have much longer to live in the best of circumstances. Best estimates are six months. But now we have official contacts (Debbie/Christine), he's on social security, out of the terrible living conditions he was living in, and if he gets better in the short term, he's moving back home to West Virginia, where he'll spend the last of his days with his family. Debbie's already finding him public housing to live in, and getting Hospice set up out there as well. Fran is truly lucky to have those two sisters. They really busted ass, and showed him he was loved, even from afar.
I think all day tomorrow, we're just going to sleep. We've been doing a lot of 12-hour days at the dirty hospital, driving impossibly long car trips, sleeping in cheap hotels (of which, to save money, I slept on the floor), and eating all kinds of bad food. We're tired. We're sucked clean of energy.
I hope to never visit that place again. It was everything I was told it was and worse.
This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000439.html