July 31, 2010 in Features

Home service call reveals hoarder

Kathy Mitchell/Marcy Sugar
 

Dear Annie: You have mentioned hoarders in the past, but I never truly understood what it meant. Recently, I had to make a service call to a customer who refused to let me in. When I finally convinced him to open the door, I immediately regretted it.

This man had every living area filled with stuff all the way to the ceiling. The halls were littered with trash and old food as high as my knees. It was a fire hazard and highly unsanitary. I am sure no one had set foot in his house for decades. There was no air conditioner in this hot weather, and to make matters worse, the man was breathing oxygen through a plastic tube.

Annie, I felt sorry for him and reported the situation to our local Adult Protective Services. These people are in serious need of help. – Appreciate it Now

Dear Now: Compulsive hoarding is a psychiatric problem. There was a recent case in Chicago of an elderly couple whose home was so filled with trash that they became trapped beneath fallen towers of garbage. Fortunately, neighbors called the police and fire crews rescued the couple before they died of starvation.

Dear Annie: I’m writing about “Texas,” who is struggling with childhood abuse from a bipolar mother and absent father.

He mentioned having dreams and reliving childhood moments in the middle of the night. It would not be surprising if his early experiences left him with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. There are some very effective treatments available now that may help him with some of the more intense symptoms. He should specifically look into EMDR – Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprogramming. He can find practitioners in his area through this website: emdria.org/index.cfm. – Chaplain Susan Keppy

Dear Chaplain Keppy: Thank you for the suggestion. We hope “Texas” will see his doctor for a complete evaluation.

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