After my brother’s visit to pack up the apartment, I got a text from him indicating he’d forgotten to take Mom’s walker. I told him I’d get it. I also wanted to see where we were at.
I got to the apartment and there were three large bags marked “Clothes For Donation.” Okay, they’d done that much, but they couldn’t put the puck in the net. Oh well, Bob can toss these in donation bins once he’s done helping the kids with the furniture. Don’t agitate, delegate.
The drawers and closets had been emptied of clothes and shoes. Hangers, furniture, sundries and bric-a-brac remained. Not bad. My niece would take a lot of it.
On Wednesday evening, the kids arrived: our niece, her boyfriend and his identical twin brother. My niece confided that the brother didn’t have too many opportunities for fun. He’d just finished his Masters degree and didn’t have much money. She asked his help with the move and offered him the “royal treatment” at our place as a perk.
I don’t know if the boys find the hot tub quite as appealing as the girls do, but the opportunity to drink beer, soak and hang out with a beautiful girl in a bikini can’t be too hard to take. It was a really nice evening with a clear sky and a beautiful star scape.
My plans for the next day included a business meeting in New Brunswick and a morning meeting of a more personal nature, so I got up early, made two pots of coffee and tended to my morning tasks. I figured it would be best if I headed to the apartment first while Bob and the kids picked up the moving truck.
I bagged up the linens and towels, disassembled the mirror from the dresser, grabbed a few odds and ends and called Bob. They were 15 minutes away. I had to go to my first appointment.
Once at the business meeting, I heard from my niece. Everything went smoothly and they were on their way to her old apartment to empty that place. She was thrilled with the furniture and promised to send pictures when everything was set up.
I took one last look the following Sunday, the last day of the month. I took a few items I had left for my niece. I left some dishes and cups for the next tenant. My work there was done.
Now, to deal with the bills for all of Mom’s medications and treatments. Every place she went, a month’s worth of drugs were ordered, whether she stayed a week or a day. The “co-pays” are murder. Without insurance, it would be Armageddon.
And I still haven’t gotten a cent back from Mom’s long term care since April. She’s moved around so much, they haven’t been able to nail down the documentation they need to approve the claim. I keep calling and following up.
Meanwhile, Mom’s unhappy and wants to “go home.” I seek the advice of the pros, and I am told that the best thing to do is redirect her. Change the subject. Bring her food she likes. Lipstick. Perfume. Photos. Remember, you’re dealing with someone who is child-like, not the person they used to be. Don’t succumb to guilt. Guilt? Really? After everything I’ve done, is it possible to feel guilty? Apparently, it’s a recessive Semitic trait.
I visited Mom and brought her toothbrushes, some good, fresh food and a jar of decaf. She’s been thinking. She liked the other place better. She wants to go back.
You can’t go back Mom. They gave your apartment to someone else. They can’t care for you. You kept trying to run away.
“No I didn’t. I was just trying to look around outside.”
“Look, you’ve only been here three weeks. Give it a chance.”
“I’ve been here for months!”
“No, you haven’t. You moved in Monday, July 11th. Today is Tuesday, August 2. Yesterday was three weeks.”
“No way. You made that up.”
“We went sailing Saturday. Want to see?”
I showed her some video I shot on my iPhone.
“Oh, that looks beautiful.”
I showed her a few more pictures and she was satisfied. She suggested I had other places to go. There’s the Jewish mother I know!
I told her if she needed anything, she could have one of the ladies call me for her. I assured her it was OK to call me, and I would see that whatever she needed was provided. I promised to bring her a notebook and pens so she could write stuff down. And she’ll lose them and blame someone else. The dance continues. I have nothing to feel guilty about.
The problem I have is, as psychotic as Mom may be, she’s still more lucid than any of the other residents. And she’s still enough like her old self to tug at my heartstrings and make me feel like I put her in this place prematurely. But what choice do I have? Move her to another place, roll up the score with another 20 grand down the drain and find she hates the next place too? Or start getting the crazed phone calls again, that she’s acting out and needs restraints or more hands-on care? If I continue to be reactive to her demands, I’ll have plowed through all of the money before the 5 year look back period elapses. Then what?
My husband, who has had a hard time with this right along with me, assured me today that I’ve done the right thing and can’t keep moving her. My brother told me he thought so too earlier in the week. I still want professional opinions. Seeing her surrounded by full-time full-blown psychotics is hard for me to watch. It’s really got to suck for Mom. But will I be moved to move her yet again?