A brief litany of the past three months…
In January, I had surgery on my left leg to remove some hardware from an accident I had about five years ago. There was intense nausea the first day, but all was well in spite of that. Had to get off the pain meds faster than the doc may have wanted because Mom K. had a stroke and I needed to be able to drive back and forth to rehab and to Dad’s apartment to keep tabs on him. My yearly mammogram showed a suspicious lump, and I had to go back for more tests (all is well!) and Mike had emergency eye surgery to prevent his retina from being detached.
Early in March, on my way to see Mom in rehab, my mind in other places I got off the highway and didn't slow down fast enough. The result was that I was pulled over by the police. Fair enough. I explained to officer what was up, gave him my info and waited. Recall that in September, Mom was also in ER and rehab. That's when my insurance was due, and while we paid the insurance, I did not put the certificate in the car. I got a verbal warning for speeding and a ticket for not having proof of insurance in the car.
There’s also my job, a few trips to ER for Mom and Dad, and other smaller crises, and you get the idea. Elder care is not for the faint of heart or organizationally challenged.
The latest crisis-du-jour seems to be dealing with assisted living facilities. During the lull before the latest storm, my sister-in-law, brother-in-law and I visited different homes with a specific list of questions about companion suites where Mom and Dad could stay together. After narrowing down the search and speaking to different directors, we put down a sizeable and non-refundable deposit to hold a space for my in-laws in a place not too far from my house.
My sister-in-law has been able to visit from out of state to help out with looking after Dad, and during her latest visit went to the place to check on availability on the chance we may be moving the folks when Mom is released from rehab. She was told that, contrary to what we'd been assured before, they can’t live together. They are sure we weren't misled, and of course you can’t get your deposit back. The former director, the one who assured us that this was the place we were looking for, is no longer there. Isn't that special?
The situation is ongoing, and yet to be resolved. I'm not sure if we’ll be taking legal action or if the administrators of this place will work with us for a better resolution. That remains to be seen. But it does seem that legislative work needs to be done in the area of elder care so that families can be free to care for their loved ones without running through a series of hurdles and financial obstacles to get them the care and help that they need.
Donna Kemper put aside her art career to care for a mother she hadn't seen in over a decade. For seven years she followed her mother's journey into dementia, caring for her and putting forgiveness into action.