Krissie: What I’m Doing For Me

Alex is coming over today, not yesterday (Erin had the days mixed up) so I’m sitting here bouncing up and down with excitement. I’ve decided I’ll just be happy and loving and see what happens. Try to read the signs, especially after this visit.
On the mother front: Thank god for all of you (and Susan, who sent me a private email). Otherwise I would have caved and be heading to bring my mother home. They did start in with the subtle guilt trips. Aaargh. There are no beds available. Anywhere. I remained adamant. She can’t come home. So we’re playing a game of chicken to see who’ll blink first. My niece offered to come and help me battle but I figure I’ll need her more when my mother gets to her permanent placement, which probably won’t be right off.
I got her financial papers sorted out (I’d been throwing them in a bin) and filled out the Medicaid work, with all the copies of paperwork like the POA, I filled out admissions forms for the local assisted living and nursing home. So I’ve done what I can do at this point. I’ll give the nursing home a call as well (I already called assisted living).
But here’s an example of the shit you get. I hadn’t spoken to a doctor yet. I asked to speak to one. He came in, checked her breathing, ankles, and stuff, and said in a quieter voice (that she couldn’t hear) “this is a perfect example of someone who should be in a nursing home.” Okay, cool. So I went in to talk to him, and he began trying to bully me, saying “How often does she have these panic attacks?” because if she only fell screaming apart every six months then supposedly I could deal with it. What? Then he said most people who went to a nursing home deteriorated rapidly and died. I tried to explain gently that I had no strong attachment to her, given the mental health history we’d discussed, and he snapped “You have to get over that.” Grrrr. Then he said she wouldn’t get anywhere near the kind care she was getting at the hospital in a local nursing home. Dead wrong. My MIL was in the nursing home for 7 years and they were wonderful. Same for the assisted living. Vermont has a lot of very caring workers. Everyone is much much kinder than they were at the rehab in NJ my mother was in.
Then he said sooner or later they were going to have to kick her out. I said where will she go? Stalemate. Quelle asshole. He also said that nursing homes will look at her psych history and pretend to put her on the list but then never have room because they won’t want her. Jesus.
Deep breath. I will let go. That’s the latest — I’ll go see her today and remain firm.
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Krissie: Observations

So a lot of thoughts are going through my mind, lots of things to do today.
Most important, Alex is coming over!!! It’s been almost four weeks since I’ve seen him. I don’t know why, and I suppose I’m going to have to take the bull by the horns and talk to Erin about it, about whether she’s wanting to pull away, but maybe I’ll let it pass for today. So much going on.
In the meantime, I have to find the Power of Attorney papers and all Ma’s financial info and start filling out forms. The Medicaid form — she doesn’t have money for assisted living or a nursing home. Applications for the assisted living place and the nursing home. Which is going to be massive.
You guys helped me gird my loins yesterday. (Sounds like doing something to steak). She said when she comes home she’s going to have to go out with me a lot more, and go down to the day programs at the nursing home. That’s more driving, more things I have to do. The idea makes me want to scream.
Deep breath.
And I haven’t even talked with the doctor and social worker about my mother’s mental health issues. About the various mental hospital confines. About the massive number of shock treatments she went through. Which is behind all this.
I’m past the point where I think anyone will blame me, and I’ve had nothing but support from my niece and my cousin (the only two relatives left who might have a say in things). So we’ll see.
So great joy (Alex) and a big-ass hassle (financial forms) and more time in the car (the hospital is 20 miles away). And being strong, and sticking with the knowledge that she really should not come home again.
Crap crap crap.
Deep breath. One thing at a time. Bird by bird.
First thing: ask for an extension on my deadline.
Second thing: start filling out forms.
I can do all this.
In the meantime, God bless Nora Ephron and all she meant for all of us, women in particular. A woman of wit and grace.