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Caring for Your Parents

Chapter 5: Ricardo, Nelly and Raul [7:29]

"Getting back the years."

His divorced parents now live in nursing homes, but caring for them still puts a strain on Ricardo - and on his marriage.

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Transcript  

Chapter 5: Ricardo, Nelly & Raul "Getting back the years."

COUNCIL WOMAN:

Counselor Delahaus? 

COUNCIL DELAHAUS:

Present. 

COUNCIL WOMAN:

Counselor Albot? 

COUNCIL ALBOT:

Present. 

COUNCIL WOMAN:

Counselor Gale? 

COUNCIL GALE:

Present. 

COUNCIL WOMAN:

Counselor Benson? 

COUNCIL BENSON:

Present. 

COUNCIL WOMAN:

Counselor Patino? 

RICARDO:  

Present.  

Item number five is a motion by Councilman Albee and second.. 

NARRATOR:

FOR SOME, EVEN MOVING MOM OR DAD TO A NURSING HOME DOESN'T REMOVE THE CHALLENGES OF CARE GIVING...THAT'S RICARDO PATINO'S STORY... 

RICARDO SERVES AS A CITY COUNCILOR IN WORKING CLASS CENTRAL FALLS... 

RICARDO:  

...all in favor? 

COUNSEL:  

Aye.

NARRATOR:

HE ALSO WORKS FULL TIME AS AN ENVIRONMENTAL TESTER FOR THE CITY OF PROVIDENCE.  

RICARDO:  

We are going to visit my mother.  It's only five minutes from my work. That is basically the things that I do almost everyday after work.

NARRATOR:

FOR YEARS RICARDO'S MOTHER NELLIE LIVED WITH HIM...THEN HER ALZHEIMER'S BECAME INTOLERABLE...SHE BECAME A DANGER TO HERSELF...AND IMPOSSIBLE TO HAVE AT HOME.  

RICARDO:  

Hola!  

NELLIE:  

Como estas? 

NARRATOR:

NOW SHE LIVES HERE. 

RICARDO:  

Como estas? 

NELLIE:  

Bien, y tu? 

RICARDO:  

She doesn't think that I'm her son, she thinks I'm her brother. But it's fine with me, I learned how to live with that. 

NELLIE:  

Y ti, como te ha hido? 

RICARDO:  

Bien, trabajando. 

NARRATOR:

WHEN NELLIE LIVED WITH RICARDO...MUCH OF THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR HER CARE FELL TO HIS WIFE DIOSA... 

DIOSA (SUBTITLE):

She lived with us for almost four years. My role was to take care of all her personal needs. And be with her all the time because my husband was very involved in the community and his political life. So I have to take care of her.  

NARRATOR:

AS THE YEARS PASSED...NELLIE BEGAN TO WANDER...THEY TRIED ALARMING THE DOORS...BUT IT JUST DIDN'T HELP. DIOSA BECAME DESPERATELY  WORRIED ABOUT HER MOTHER-IN-LAW'S SAFETY...AND THEN...THE EVENT THAT CHANGED EVERYTHING...

DIOSA (SUBTITLE):  

She opened the door and she left. And when we get up around 7:00 we notice that she wasn't in the house.  

So we went crazy looking for her every place. Nobody could say where she was if they had saw her. So we call the police and the police get involved. They even have a helicopter looking for her in the air. Was like a movie thing. 

NARRATOR:

THEY FOUND NELLIE STANDING ALONE IN A LAKE... 

DIOSA (SUBTITLE):

So at that point, I say to Ricardo, "You know what? I can't take it anymore. "I can't live this life." 

RICARDO:  

I didn't spend enough time with my wife. We didn't have a life--private life because my mother was always here. 

DIOSA (SUBTITLE)

Even though we went out and did things together...we did it without joy. Like I feel very...the relationship became sour, a little bit, because I wasn't in the mood for anything. I was tired and I was angry sometimes.  Even though I did it because I want to and I was trying to support him I feel very angry, most of the time. So when he approached me, or he want to have, you know, be intimate and all that I couldn't because I was angry, I was tired , I feel overwhelmed all the time.  I think at that point when he realized and I say, "if you don't do something about it I am going to leave the marriage."  I was clear. I think that he was able to understand it and he did something about it.

NARRATOR:

RICARDO RELUCTANTLY PUT HIS MOTHER IN A NURSING HOME... 

RICARDO:  

God. The first day when I left her there and I came back here, home, my wife and me, I think we sit here and we start to cry ...we were crying just looking at us and crying because we didn't know what to say to each other.  I was saying to myself "why I did it, why I did it?"  But I knew, I knew if I did want to keep my marriage I did have to do that.  

NARRATOR:

BUT RICARDO'S DAILY VISIT TO A NURSING HOME ISN'T OVER WHEN HE LEAVES HIS MOTHER...HIS FATHER LIVES IN ANOTHER FACILITY CLOSER TO WHERE RICARDO LIVES...BECAUSE HIS PARENTS ARE DIVORCED. 

RICARDO:  

This is my neighborhood.  

NARRATOR:

RICARDO'S FATHER WAS DIAGNOSED WITH TERMINAL PROSTATE CANCER.  HE HAD ALSO LIVED WITH RICARDO AND DIOSA FOR A WHILE...BUT RICARDO WAS ENCOURAGED TO MOVE HIM INTO A NURSING HOME...

RICARDO  

When he was ready to coming out of the hospital, I spoke with the nurses and they told me the best idea was to move him to a nursing home because it was probably nicer for my marriage to have somebody to take care of them instead of putting that burden on my wife.  I mean, she was very nice for many years and did it, but she did more than she was supposed to do.

Qubo! Como esta? 

RAUL:  

Bien, bien. 

RICARDO (SUBTITLE):

Why'd you put that sweatshirt on in this heat? 

RAUL (SUBTITLE):

Because it was very cool over there. 

RICARDO (SUBTITLE):

But take off that sweatshirt. It's so hot, you're going to burn up. 

RAUL (SUBTITLE)

If it weren't cool, I wouldn't wear it. 

NARRATOR:

RICARDO AND HIS FAMILY ARE FROM COLOMBIA.  HIS MOTHER CAME TO THE UNITED STATES FIRST...THEN HIS FATHER JOINED HER WHEN RICARDO WAS ELEVEN...HE SPENT HIS TEENAGE YEARS IN COLOMBIA WITH HIS GRANDPARENTS...

RICARDO:  

When I came to live in this country, I never really have a close relationship with my father.  

I was very close with my mother all my life, but not with my father.

But these years, and the time that he's living right now gives me back those days.  Now we are more close, we discuss, we talk about everything very openly, and I think we are getting back the years that we didn't enjoy when I was younger.

The sad part with him is I feel more guilty leaving him than leaving my mother. 

Because he knows everything. My mother doesn't really remember anything, she's in her own world.  He doesn't. So, sometimes I feel like sad when I leave him.