Jim Berry, 1951-2016
Jim and I worked together for many years at Haynes Generating Station, making electricity. We both retired in 1998; me because they “made me an offer I couldn’t refuse,” Jim because he had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and he was forced to leave on a disability retirement.
Over the next dozen years, Jim’s condition slowly deteriorated. When he could no longer drive, I tried to get over and see him every month or so. We would go out to eat or to a movie. Larry often joined us, and sometimes Camille. Sometimes Jim would call me if an appliance gave out. I would do what he needed. He wanted to pay me, but I wasn’t there yet.
In December 2010, he called. He had fallen and been on the floor for three days, in a lot of pain. I took him to the emergency room, and he was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia and a possible fracture in a vertebrae.
He was in the hospital for a couple of weeks, and then in a convalescent facility for several more. No one thought he could go back to living independently. I looked for an alternative and got him into an assisted living. Since he couldn’t afford both places. I broke up his apartment, selling or giving away most of his stuff. It was so sad, but it had to be done.
Time enough at last
THE JIM FILESJim's suffering is over. All praise to California for enacting the compassionate end of life law, and to Kaiser for being on the cutting edge of implementation. Everyone has been wonderful. Two months ago we were flailing in the morass of despair, Jim...