It’s been a while since I’ve written anything on LJ. Not that there hasn’t been anything going on in my life; I guess I just haven’t felt the need to process it through writing – at least not on LJ. I’ve written plenty of lengthy comments in other online forums, most notably xoJane and Facebook. Those sites seem to have become my online “social life” in the past few years. …And now that I’ve admitted it in writing, it seems ridiculous and sad. Ah well, best not to dwell on my social deficiencies at the moment. Trying to pretend they don’t exist has practically become a full time job. Heh.
Anyway, the point of this post is to put down in writing some updates on my crazy family situation. Which, after all the craziness in 2011-2012, has settled down into near stasis and stability until December 2013. Not that stasis is a bad thing – especially for my mom who needed some lack of movement and stability after all the stuff that went down in 2012. Things had settled down quite well at the convalescent facility where my mom was staying. She was used to her routines, which mostly consisted of sleeping a lot, with weekly visits from her state guardian and the woman he employs to check in on my mom, bring her dog Teddy in for visits, etc. The family house was sold in early 2013 and the profits divided between my mom and her former housemate L’s accounts. According to my mom’s state guardian, $100,000 of my mom’s money from the house sale was already owed to the convalescent facility, leaving her with approximately $250,000 to live on for the rest of her life. She also gets some monthly remuneration from her retirement fund and disability claim from a back injury that happened during her last year of work. But it’s not a whole lot to live on, considering the expense of my mom’s care.
All of which means that, at the end of all this, there probably won’t be any money left over for me. A selfish thought, I know. But considering the amount of student loan debt I owe (which I accrued thanks to my mom, after she agreed to help me pay for grad school and then changed her mind when I was done), I’d hoped there might be some money left over to help me pay it off. And who knows? There may still be, depending on how my mom’s health progresses. But if I assess the situation honestly, the likelihood of that happening is slim to none.
I haven’t even begun to process the anger I feel about this potential loss of money, largely because I don’t like what a selfish, money-grubbing asshole it makes me seem. Also because I can’t be certain of the outcome, even if I try to maintain a sense of rationality with my honest assessment. No one ever knows exactly how things will work out until they do, so it seems kind of pointless to cling to a negative prediction. So I remain at a crossroads of rational honest assessment and what feels like Pollyanna-ish hopefulness that “one never knows how things will work out.” The old glass half empty or half full argument.
None of this is really the POINT of this post, however, which is to share that my mom has now been moved out of the convalescent facility to a “board and care” home as of December 27, 2013. Her state guardian found the board and care location, which is, essentially, someone’s residential home where they care for several patients who need 24-hour care. The person who owns this board and care home owns several others in town and is an experienced care provider.
There are 5 other patients at this home besides my mom. The home is in a very quiet part of my mom’s hometown, up on a hill not too far from our old neighborhood. There are peaceful hills around her, and my mom’s bedroom, which she shares with one other patient, looks out on a small patio where she can sit in the sun and bring her dog Teddy when he comes to visit, if she chooses. She’ll have 24-hour care and weekly visits from a nursing agency that does home visits. My mom will also be expected to join the other patients in the dining room for meal times, which will hopefully help keep her more active and social. Knowing my mom, though, and how much she hates to deal with any kind of physical pain, not to mention dealing with anyone whose opinions differ from her own, I don’t know if my mom will be able to meet the house expectation of communal dining.
The convalescent facility always allowed my mom to take her meals in bed and didn’t require that she move to her wheelchair and wheel herself into the facility dining room. Since any movement causes my mom physical pain, she preferred to remain as still as possible in bed for most of the day, even though the doctor and nurses counseled her that doing a little physical movement every day would help alleviate the pain. My mom has never pushed herself to do what she doesn’t want to do, especially when it comes to physical pain. With that in mind, I’m not sure if the people who run the board and care home will be very successful in convincing my mom to engage in more movement, to come out for meal times and engage with the other patients. If that’s a requirement for allowing my mom to stay there, she may eventually have to return to the convalescent hospital.
My hope is that my mom is able to make it work and perhaps the caregivers at the board and care home will have a little tolerance and allow her to take some meals in bed. I went to visit my mom on December 25 at the convalescent facility, two days before her move, and made a trip to the board and care home while I was in town, just to get a brief idea of what it’s like. I was happy with what I saw. I like the fact that it’s a residential home, much quieter than the more hospital-like atmosphere of the convalescent facility. And according to my mom’s state guardian, it costs less per month than the convalescent facility. I like the idea of saving a little money.
So the move to the board and care home on December 27 was another brief upheaval in my mom’s situation. But I hope she will settle in comfortably, get good medical care, and become happier with her new circumstances. My mom seems to look more frail every time I see her. Where she once seemed larger than life (although she’s almost my exact height) and one of the most implacable, powerful and sometimes frightening people I knew, she’s now a frail old woman with growing dementia and thinning hair. At 90, she still has all her teeth and good eyesight; like her older brother who’s still in good physical condition, aside from some issues with his knees and a few other joints, they seem to have inherited good genes, are made from hardy stock, so to speak. But age hasn’t left every part of her body and mind untouched and I notice it catching up with her more every time I see her.
So 2014 begins.