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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Portney’s Complaint

Portneys Complaint
Portney’s Complaint

Since October, my grandfather Hal has been jumping through bureaucratic hoops to try and obtain a handicapped sticker for his car. For the past several years, he has been taking care of my grandmother Ida who is stricken with advanced Alzheimer’s Disease. Although the brain is the only mechanism in the body to succumb to Alzheimer’s, it soon loses the ability to send commands to internal organs and external limbs of the body.

Ida is now in a wheelchair because her brain can no longer operate her legs. An extremely tenacious and sharply intelligent man, Hal refuses to have my grandmother live anywhere but home. He takes care of her every day and uses minimal assistance from a visiting nurse. But even the smartest and strongest 88-year old still is 88. It is no easy feat transporting someone who can’t use her legs, and is not capable of understanding what you are trying to do, from a car to a wheelchair and back again.

Cooking is not possible, and my grandmother cannot be left alone in the house while my grandfather picks up food. So the only feasible option is to go out to eat. In comes the necessity of a handicapped sticker.

The first step was to go to the DMV and request a sticker. Upon arrival, and after waiting an exorbitant amount of time, Hal made it to the front of the line to be told that my grandmother would need to be examined by DMV doctors. Documentation from the specialists and caregivers that have worked with her for years wasn’t sufficient, and looking at her weakened, wheelchair-confined figure, babbling to no one apparently couldn’t convince them either.

Hal took Ida to the DMV doctors, who literally took a two-second look at her and agreed that she was eligible for a handicapped license. I understand that the DMV can’t give out handicapped licenses like candy, but surely someone could use common sense, and, um, THEIR EYES to make certain decisions that are time sensitive.

Now that the doctor’s confirmation was taken care of, Hal returned to the DMV with the proper medical documentation. After again waiting in line for several hours, he made it up to the desk and was then told he would need Ida’s Social Security card as well. Why this information couldn’t have been given to him when he was there the first time is beyond me. Yes, the DMV is “Satan’s representative company on Earth” (other than Halliburton), but is it necessary to force an 88-year-old man and his disable wife to run around like crazy in order to obtain a license that shows just how difficult if not impossible it is for them to do that running?

Hal requested a Social Security card from City Hall, and was told he would receive it in two weeks. Last Wednesday, a few days after the two weeks had expired, Hal got a phone call saying that he needed to fill out and send in a form in order to receive the requested Social Security card. So that brings us up to date.

As a college student, I can relate my grandfather as to the way he is being treated. College students and senior citizens are treated callously or altogether disregarded by people of authority because those people think we won’t stand up for ourselves. Seniors are thought of as meek or docile, and therefore their needs (however urgent) can be delayed or simply written off and forgotten.

Our grandparents have lived through hardships we can’t possibly fathom: The Depression, World War II, Reagan’s presidency. And their beautiful later years will be filled with the feeling of a country polarized by political and religious beliefs. Our grandparents and all senior citizens deserve the utmost respect and support. It’s shameful how my grandfather has been treated when all he is trying to do is take the necessary steps to take better care of his ailing wife. The process started in October, it’s now February, and Hal’s still waiting. Not right, not right at all.

About the Contributor
Devon Portney served as the managing editor for The Mass Media the following years: Spring 2006; 2006-2007;