THE CHALLENGES OF TRYING TO HELP FROM AFAR

Not to startle or try to inspire pity or any other emotions, just to give friends an idea of what our life’s been like lately.

The Peru situation has been crazy, time and money consuming, nerve-racking on Isabel and on me by extension, because I’m so closely involved in everything.

Here’s a bullet list– –As you know, Paco passed away and with all that led up to that… all the tension and running around and fear really freaked Pepe out and sent the Father don Jose into deep depression
–Pepe already had serious PTSD from 4 encounters in his life with people putting guns to his head and threatening to kill him, as well as going through a bad case of being burned as a child and abject poverty and hunger for a number of years
–He seems to be one of those people who have survived COVID only to have to deal with all kinds of ‘long haul’ after effects…which are significant and bothersome. His main problem is not being able to rest and recuperate as is advised.
–Communication is hard because he is not tech savvy at all … is afraid of it and thinks he can’t learn… he also suffers from low self-esteem
–We are providing ALL financial support now (with Quilla and pulling some from Juana’s emergency savings) (not hyperbole–in Peru they have no income at all (don Jose has no social security or pension) since Pepe can’t leave house to work)  with minimal to zero $ from other siblings and only negative meddling by them.  Our contribution has ramped up to be the only thing sustaining  the household, covering all medicine, doctors, nurses, medical equipment, transportation,  all utilities and property taxes, eyeglasses, dental repair, food, cleaning supplies, domestic attendant during these times– just made a big purchase of kitchen utensils, dishes, bed linen, towels, clothes, shoes,  etc…. Common necessary things they don’t have.
–Pepe has debilitating panic attacks because of all this, and the fact that he cannot sleep because he is in the same room beside his father who wakes up numerous times during the night and Pepe has to care for him and clean up after him so …
–sleep deprivation has now become a major problem and as Isabel is trying to go over important things with Pepe on the phone in the evening he falls asleep right while we’re talking to him. He’s also not retaining things that are important for him to know that he needs to do,  he’s panicked so he calls the doctors and nurses incessantly, to the point that now they do not want to respond to him. This all  complicates the father’s care who is still bed-bound and getting twice daily nurse visits and intravenous liquids and nutrients
–We have been going round and round about the finance process of making purchases in Peru, going back and forth with banks etc so they’ll accept our making the purchases so that Pepe can just go and pick things up.
–He has a lot of old, goofy ideas that are not beneficial to him. Two that come to mind are that vitamins will make him fat.  This idea is harmful because he actually needs vitamin supplements because he’s not eating right. –He also believes that he should not take any sort of antidepressant /anxiety medication despite his obviously needing it. Thankfully, we were able to convince him of the benefits of his talking to a therapist, but he’s been unable to do that throughout the pandemic, when he needs it most.
–Pepe has a computer but does not know how to use it… can’t do email which has been an obstacle on numerous occasions. He can manage a telephone somewhat and uses WhatsApp… that is how we communicate… but often is out and does not hear the sounds… So at important times when we need to communicate urgently there’s often this breakdown. We can’t check his phone settings obviously from here and there’s no one else there who can either.
All of this is exhausting and frustrating and we just  have to content ourselves with small successes.
There is a whole lot other of other stuff that I can’t even go into because it would confuse and tire you out as much as it does us. Suffice it to say that sometimes helping people is  challenging beyond imagination. All of this makes me count our own significant blessings every single day.

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