Love Poems and Sad Stories - Solitaire
What is Solitaire?
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What is "Aging with Dignity?"
- Aging With Dignity
Aging with Dignity is a national non-profit organization with a mission to affirm and safeguard the human dignity of individuals as they age and to promote better care for those near the end of life. The life and work of Mother Teresa of Calcutta ser
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Now, he wakes up early each morning and can't go back to sleep, so he sits in the dark at the computer thinking and playing solitaire.
This true story is taken from the autobiographical book "Love Poems and Sad Stories" by rjsadowski.
The alarm clock showed 3:56 AM. As usual, he had fallen asleep in his recliner watching television. He really didn’t want to get up so early, but he had to pee and he knew that he would not be able to fall asleep again. Already, the sharp pain in his back was nagging him and he needed to take some aspirin to tame it down.
He really should see a doctor and find out what was causing it, but he couldn’t afford the inevitable series of testing that his doctor always required. After food, living expenses and his wife’s medical bills, there was nothing left from his social security and moderate pension. "Maybe it will eventually go away", he thought.
He put on a strong pot of coffee and began taking his blood pressure and diabetes medicines. He found that he could significantly reduce the cost of his medications by buying the brand name ones in Canada. While he did have Medicare Part D, the insurance company charged such large deductibles and copays for name brands that he was better off to pay cash and order them from Canada.
His wife and daughter were still sleeping, so he left the lights off and turned on the muted computer. He would look through his e-mails, mostly spam, and check his bank balance to see how much was left before the next check arrived. He also needed to look up his insurance and his wife’s insurance.
Once he turned 65, his former employer had dropped him from their insurance and gave him a flat $1800 a year to pay for his medical and dental bills. Unfortunately, his bills always came to 2-3 times that much. His wife was much younger so she still had company paid insurance, but each year their deductibles and copayments got larger and larger. Last year alone his out-of-pocket medical bills averaged well over $600 per month. This along with his insurance premiums added up to nearly $12,000 per year.
He quickly finished his daily routine and it was still almost two hours before his wife would wake up. Instinctively, he clicked the icon, which opened the free, on-line solitaire game. Red queen on black king, black jack on red queen, he mindlessly proceeded to play the game. About two thirds of the time he ran out of moves before he was able to win. It wasn’t very challenging, but it kept him from thinking about anything else.
Recently, he had gotten a card from the daughter of his oldest friend thanking him for his Christmas card and informing him that his friend had died in October. The next day he got a similar card from the son of the wife of one of his old wine-drinking buddies who had passed away several years ago. Now she was gone too, along with most of the other members of his old wine-drinking club. All of his aunts and uncles and all of his siblings except one older sister were also dead. Soon he would be all alone except for his wife and two grown up daughters.
No use thinking about all of his friends and relatives who were no longer around. It was best to live in the present and not the past. He remembered visiting his father after his mother had died. His father had insisted on living alone after his wife had died because "he had been on his own for too many years to let someone else start telling him what to do now". The high point of each of his father’s days was the arrival of the local newspaper. Instead of the headlines or the sports page he would always start out with the obituaries to see if any of his friends had died.
After supper, his father often fell asleep in his rocking chair while watching television. When the evening news was over, his father went to bed. Once, when he had come downstairs in the morning, he had found his father sitting at the kitchen table playing solitaire with a dog-eared deck of playing cards. His father had claimed that he couldn’t sleep at night, and playing solitaire helped him to pass the time until it got light in the morning. He really hadn’t understood it then. It seemed like such a mindless, boring thing to do. He realized now, that that was exactly why he also did it. It helped to pass the time and he didn’t have to think about all of his friends and loved ones that were dead.
His father had started doing it shortly after his wife had passed away six years before him, and he no longer had her to take care of. Since the time that he was a small boy and his father and older brother had died of diphtheria, his father had always had someone to look out for. First it was his mother and younger brothers and later it was his wife and children. When his wife had broken her hip and was confined to a wheel chair or a walker, he had cooked and taken care of her. After she had died, his father had had too much time to sit and think.
Red queen on black king, black jack on red queen – he had become just like his father, only now he used a computer.
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