Stunning Betty is coming up. But first let me fill you in on her.
She and her husband Jim are dealing with Jim’s sudden lung cancer. That’s hard enough but keep in mind this is West Virginia. Not much paid work but lots of unpaid work to be done just to stay alive. Betty’s job is as a home health care aide. Hard work. Long hours. Her “care” often includes doing yard work and major house cleaning.
They were already struggling financially. Now it’s even worse since not only have they lost Jim’s income, they have huge extra expenses including travel daily to the hospital an hour away. To pay for gas so Jim can get to radiation/chemo treatments every day they recycled a truck full of aluminum cans collected from the trash cans at the local parks and freeway rest stops.
There’s more. Betty and Jim heat their house with wood – Betty hauls it in, piles it up then keeps the fire going and cleans out the ashes when she’s not at work.
Last weekend Jim had an episode that landed him in Intensive Care. Betty was up all night with him in the emergency room, caught a few hours sleep and then went back. He’s still in the hospital. She leaves for the hospital at 5AM, visits with Jim from 6-6:30, heads home to start the fire to warm her house, then takes care of home patients then heads back to the hospital for the 6-6:30 at night visiting hours. She gets home around 8 PM to a cold, dark house.
What is she eating, I wondered? When does she even have time to cook? I know they don’t have extra money for take-out food. I worried she wasn’t eating. I thought I’d bring some meals over then considered the neighbors. Maybe they’d already filled her refrigerator with meals. I called her to find out.
“Betty,” I asked when she answered, “Do you have any meals?” “No,” she said, “But I can make some. Who needs the help?”
She’s a stunner isn’t she?