To tell the truth

Those of you who are regular readers of Tango Chamuyo know about Alito through my stories and photos.  A few of you know him personally.  I’ve looked after him for the past four years.

When he was in the hospital two years ago, I needed someone I could trust to assume the role of power of attorney, since I didn’t have residency or citizenship at the time.   A power of attorney is responsible for a person’s well-being and withdraws monthly social security payments from the bank.  I asked milonguera Amanda Lucero if she would be his power of attorney until I got my DNI for citizenship.  She agreed to handle the bank transaction each month and give me the money.  It didn’t take long to realize that Amanda had her own agenda for his money.  She has known Alito for over 50 years, but that doesn’t mean they’re friends.  I’ve haven’t seen one cent of Alito’s money in two years.

I investigated a small geriatric home in Caballito that had a bed available for Alito.  He has been there since February 8, 2012, sharing a room with Gerardo.  Amanda has no time to visit Alito at the geriatric since she lives in the provincia, a two-hour bus ride away.  She always says how busy she is.  Her role as power of attorney is at the bottom of her priorities.

Five months ago, the doctor of the geriatric informed me that Alito needed an eyelid operation.  Amanda couldn’t be bothered to take him for an eye exam, so I did.  Doctors examined Alito’s eyes and ordered preliminary tests to see if he could handle the operation with local anesthesia.  I got the EKG and blood tests done, and the first of three surgeries he needs was scheduled for February 13.  I asked the staff not to tell Amanda about the surgery so she wouldn’t get involved.  They did.  She will do nothing on his behalf, but plays her role as concerned power of attorney very well.  The surgery was cancelled on February 12 because the lenses for cataract surgery patients were not delivered.   The first surgery finally took place on February 26.  After a visit to the eye doctor the next morning, Alito came to my apartment for the first good breakfast he’s had in two years.  He gets hot milk and white bread at the geriatric.

Alito after cataract surgery in right eye

It’s been a challenge for me learning my way in the Argentine health system for retired people and the social security system.  You can’t do anything without a DNI, healthcare registration card, and monthly retirement bank receipts.  The paperwork is endless.

Amanda Lucero is keeping tight control.  She is ruthless in her pursuit of his money.  Last year she processed the paperwork for his retirement without a word to me and opened another bank account as his power of attorney.  She holds the debit cards for both of his accounts and has complete access.  A temporary employee at the geriatric told me in December that Amanda was planning to marry Alito soon.  Why? As his wife she could receive his social security payments for the rest of her life.  I let her know I heard about her scheme and promised to tell the world.  She has no shame about what she’s doing, as if she is entitled to his money for all she is doing for him.  Alito, who has dementia, is completely unaware of what’s going on.  I’m trying to locate his daughter.  These are only a few details of the complicated story that has played out over the past two years.  I believe in karma.

I visit Alito three times a week for a couple of hours.  He’s moved about in wheel chair because he loses his balance walking alone.  I massage his legs and feet to keep the joints working.  We walk and dance on the terrace, weather permitting. I keep him supplied with tango magazines. It’s a joy taking care of Alito and just being with him.  There is no shortage of hugs and kisses from Alito.

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