Darla in Day by Day

  • July 10, 2020, 10:30 p.m.
  • |
  • Public

I’ve known Darla for over 20 years. She struggles to survive. When I first met her and her husband, we bonded because they were from the Boston area and because their son was in the church nursery, where I volunteered on Sundays.

Their son was a laid-back kind of kid. When Nick would join me in the nursery, their son would play with him. Nick would put him in a cardboard box and “fly” him around the room.

The family moved away when the husband was diagnosed with liver disease. As he worsened, he asked me to help his wife and son if I could. When Darla and her son moved back after his death, they had difficulty finding a job.

The son was not used to our Florida heat and humidity but took a job at a car wash. Darla, who is extremely obese, along with other health issues, finally landed a job in a call center. They could not find a place to live (because of three dogs, one of whom was pregnant) and moved into a cheap motel. Then the son’s girlfriend got pregnant. They gave up the child but not the dogs. All 3 smoke like chimneys.

They’ve turned to the church numerous times because they were laid off due to COVID. The church gave her food gift cards and gas gift cards and paid her motel bill.

There is a person who works at the church and supports the work our non-profit does. She also knows my commitment to Darla’s husband, so when Darla asked again, she called me. I paid their motel bill. Then her son applied for aid through the non-profit, so we helped a third time.

Usually, we do not help in back to back months in order to prevent “toxic charity”, when recipients take aid and then spend their money on drugs, booze, and cigarettes. We do not want to create a dependency. We also have a duty to spend donation dollars very carefully. We’ve been able to loosen the rules a bit because COVID has turned the world upside down.

All of them went back to work when the state reopened.

Now Darla is in the hospital, on a ventilator, and in a coma. No one can visit. No one holds her hand. You see, Darla had to continue to go to the call center because she didn’t have a cell phone (we found this out when her son called to tell us she’d been hospitalized … if she had only told me, I would have bought the phone). She was one of several who could not work from home.

I know it’s partly her fault. She should not have moved with three dogs. She should have spayed her dogs to prevent pregnancy. All three smell like ashtrays. I don’t know what brand they smoke and I’m pretty tolerant of smokers, but they reek. Other people have commented on it as well.

But it’s partly not her fault. She’s disabled. Her husband died. They were never financially stable. They can’t afford healthcare and if they enroll through Obama care, they must pay taxes on those payments and families like Darla don’t have that “luxury” because they have low paying jobs. Darla had no choice but to go to the only work she could get.

Whenever I see someone questioning, or even worse, using bogus data to support their resistance to wearing a mask, I think of Darla. In a coma. On a ventilator. And I can’t even hold her hand.

So, yeah, any reference of not wearing a mask is going to get a BIG reaction from me. Count on it.

GypsyWynd July 10, 2020

But you can't fix stupid. Or selfish. Or Trump-ish.

MageB GypsyWynd ⋅ July 18, 2020

That's it.

Deleted user July 10, 2020

Oh this is so sad! Of course, it’s their fault, but even then. it’s a terrible desease. My sisters daughter lives like that. Few money but two big dogs to feed and smoking and buying things they could miss. People who survive from covid after coma need almost one year to recover completely. My niece left the hospital after 5 weeks, her lungs are not yet okay and the doctor the tiredness may last six months or even longer. She cannot start to work yet.

ConnieK Deleted user ⋅ July 11, 2020

Some people make continually bad choices. Part of me understands. We are bombarded with the message that in order to be truly happy, we must have it all and live like rock stars. We forget that it's perfectly fine to live an ordinary life. Our parents generation did not buy anything until they could pay cash for it. Maybe we should bring that back. Outside forces, like credit card debt, just keep people like Darla enslaved.

Deleted user ConnieK ⋅ July 11, 2020

So true...I fully agree with you.

Shattered July 11, 2020

Sending many hugs your way.

ConnieK Shattered ⋅ July 11, 2020

Thanks. I'm kind of numb to death right now.

Wit' or witout July 11, 2020

You are so kind. It's hard to know how much to help or if the receiver is doing what they can to pull themselves up. Prayers now - it's all there is.

ConnieK Wit' or witout ⋅ July 11, 2020

People think it's kindness. I'm not so sure. I think it is my way of fighting for the poor among us. Instead of condemnation, we should be lifting up.

Her odds of survival are lower than her son understands, I think.

Ferret Mom ConnieK ⋅ July 13, 2020

Oh, if that's the case her son is probably going to be in for quite a shock.

ConnieK Ferret Mom ⋅ July 13, 2020

I can't tell. He's hard to read.

Marg July 11, 2020

I’m so sorry Connie - that’s hard for all involved. So do they think she got it from the call centre? It’s ironic she had to work in a place crammed with phones for the lack of one herself!

ConnieK Marg ⋅ July 11, 2020

No idea. Her son gives me answers via text and even that is yes/no/I don't know. The hospital can only tell her status to non-family.

Marg ConnieK ⋅ July 14, 2020

That's frustrating!

a mote, floating July 12, 2020

Hugs. I'm so sorry.
That whole situation just sucks.

ConnieK a mote, floating ⋅ July 12, 2020

Thanks. It isn't surprising, but still so sad.

Reading_Blankie 📚 July 12, 2020

Oh mercy! I feel so sad for Darla. Sadly, there are MANY STUPID people out there, who are definatly enabled now to show their colors, due to Trump. The virus is REAL. Wear the damn mask. There are so many people here in ARIZONA who are being so completely DUMB and still going out to parties, out in sunny areas to swim and so forth.

Anyone who has health issues in general is just screwed with the insurance. With insurance, you feel penalized because you have to pay so much each month. And then there are those like Darla, who can't afford it.

ConnieK Reading_Blankie 📚 ⋅ July 13, 2020

I'm on Social Security, so I get Medicare & supplemental insurance. Full coverage costs me about $300 a month. Before I was old enough for Medicare, private insurance cost our family $1000 per month. Socialized medicine is a good idea. Insurance companies don't cover enough and they charge too much.

Kristi1971 July 13, 2020

Goodness that is just so sad all the way around. Big Hugs.

Oswego July 14, 2020

This is a very tragic story and all too common. Darla and her son certainly tried, but she has so much going against her. This is yet one more reason why we need universal single-payer healthcare.

ConnieK Oswego ⋅ July 14, 2020


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