Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Where Do We Go From Here?

As mentioned many times over the years, Jane did not take care of herself. Many of her issues would be minor annoyances for the average person, but for her, they were out of her control. Knowing what I know now, I chalk a lot of it up to her cognitive deficits that my mother in law hid from everyone, as well as the fact that Jane was babied to a great extent for most of her life.

In the 15 months since my Mother in law passed away, these deficits have come to a head on more than a few occasions. It got to the point that anything Jane told me, I'd go back and verify, because it didn't sound right.

Last week, she asked for her hospital bed, as the nursing home has her in a crank style bed that cannot be adjusted by the patient. A few weeks ago, a guy came to the door of our house looking for Jane. I'd told him she didn't live here, that she'd moved and gave him the address. His parting question "Does she still have the hospital bed?" confused me.

So I asked her about it-was she renting the bed? The response I got was that Medicare bought her the bed because she has congestive heart failure. I had my doubts. The other day, in trying to locate necessary paperwork for her Medicaid application, I found a statement. It listed 18 months of 'patient responsibility' that had not been paid. Yep, that bed was being subsidized by Medicare, but it WAS a rental.

Today, Ed and I spent the day in her apartment, sorting and pitching. Unlike the past two moves, this time, I really went through the paperwork and discovered that we moved a lot of crap that dated back to 1972. The sales receipt for her new 1973 Beetle. Pay stubs from her first job. Receipts and itineraries from every Disney trip she ever took.

I did find stuff we needed, but it was among a lot of stuff that wasn't. The thing that was irritating is that she spent so much money on Disney shit. Much of it is statuary, and to find dozens of collectibles that went for $50, $75 or even $100 when purchased reduced down to items that could not be repaired was just frustrating.

Then, there were a lot of puzzlers. Why keep an RF connector to a Sega Genesis when she never even owned one? What was up with the SEVEN blood glucose meters,especially when she didn't bother to check herself 95% of the time? Why does she own 7 of the same Pirates of the Carribean watch, all still in the original packaging? How is it that she had Ed's high school tassel?

Frustration isn't the only emotion Ed's feeling right how. I can understand his sense of helplessness at this situation, but only to an extent. Both of my parents died and I've moved through the stages. He's still going through the process of accepting the fact that his mom has died when he's faced with his sister in the final stages of her life. Pretty soon, he will be the only one left of a family of five.

It was all the more apparent when we got the call from the friends who would be notarizing and witnessing the Power of Attorney paperwork for us. They were just finishing up dinner and could meet with us at the nursing home. We hurried over to Jane's to make sure she was awake and alert and ready to go.

As is more and more common, she was asleep and barely coherent when we did get her up. I tried the Panera routine on her and Ed worked on getting her alert while I ran and got the requested soup. For some reason, she was insisting she needed to get dressed to go out, even after we told her that our friends were coming.

Then, once we got everyone in one place, she said to Ed 'is this man buying the van?' even after saying she understood that we were doing the PoA. She drifts in and out. Once done, she again expressed the desire to get dressed because she wanted to take them out to Red Lobster for dinner to thank them for helping us.

She can't move around in bed without assistance. She needs two nurses or CNAs to spend a half hour with her to get her situated to use the bathroom. Leaving the safety of the facility is NOT happening anytime soon. Really, it won't happen again, but she's still reeling from the fact that she's unable to go home. We gently tell her we can't take her out until she can get up and walk a few steps by herself.

She cried.

This is not the time to remind her of all the things the doctors told her she had to do, but didn't. Nor is it the time to give her false hope that everything is just fine and she'll be going home next week, either. So we walk a tightrope, telling her that when she can get herself into and out of the van herself, she can leave the building. Ed even told her he'd take her anywhere she wanted to go as long as she could do that.

She kept crying.

The bad part of it is that these are not tears of anger, the kind that signify that she's mad as hell and is going to do anything to prove us wrong. Instead, they are tears of defeat. Tears of "I can't, this is too hard" when we really wish they were "I'm going to beat this, no matter what the doctors are telling you."

My refrain for the past five years is that I can tell her what I see, but if she doesn't believe it herself, she won't succeed. She's pretty much bedridden and is accepting that fate instead of overcoming it.

When that's what you see every time you visit a loved one, the only thing you begin to wonder is how long until the inevitable?




1 People talked back:

betty said...

It takes a lot of patience at this stage. I have gone through this. Please call and we can discuss some of the things you need to do.
betty