Tuesday, November 13, 2018

This Place

I had hoped to never come
To this place.
I didn't want you to come either,
Here we are.

This place,
of hard questions
with no good answers.

This place
of confusion,
Where the light is on
Darkness fills the edge spaces,
and seeps in,
staring, mocking.

This place
of dying,
yet not,
of longing unrequited.

This place
I want to run from.
To pretend it is not what it seems,
hard, painful, unrelenting.

I hoped to never come to this place.
I didn't want you to come either,
Here we are.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Life at the Mercy of Medicare

Throughout many of our family upheavals I've kept sort of a diary here.  I don't know how many times since I started this blog that I've come back here to look for some information I needed or wanted and couldn't quite place.  For whatever reason, I haven't really wanted to write about the place we're in. Just living it is taking up all the air in the room. One day though, I might feel differently.

We've been here in this awfulness so many times now between Kaye, Glenda , Jimi and Daddy, if you want to go way on back, you would think I couldn't be surprised or traumatized by bureaucracy with our healthcare system any more than I already have been, but hope springs eternal doesn't it?
So, I'm sure I have some of this whirlwind wrong, but I'll lay it down as best I can with my sore from sitting back and weary mind and broken heart.

Mom has been in a decline for years.  At the time of Glenda's departure she was mostly sitting in her comfy chair for the most part of the day.  She might wander into the kitchen now and again, but that was about it.  On a good day, we could talk her into going out for something she loved- lobster, or coming to our house for a special occasion, but she wasn't content out of that chair for long.
The one thing my mom could not abide was to be alone, or to give up her cigarettes.

So, since we still work all day, it became an issue of there simply not being enough money or warm bodies to go around. Aunt Tish looked under every rock. So the first trauma for her was moving her into an assisted living apartment. We set it up as near to being a replica of comfy chair environment in a sunny window, with her favorite television evangelist crooning or preaching and all things favorite to enjoy as possible. A boost was being literally being steps from the nurse's station with endless opportunities for socializing. There was not a single day these three plus years that someone additional hasn't been there. I was her bath lady and pedicurist and only one two week vacation and the flu kept me away. She sadly, more firmly planted her self in that chair.  While as you might guess, there is a no smoking policy, we had the technology of e-cigs, so the staff turned their head, and her number one job was to smoke the paint off of them.

I tell you people these are trying times.  In my Mom's day, cigarettes were actually prescribed by doctors as a tonic for "nerves" and my mother bought that hook, line and sinker.  She held onto the belief that them causing all sorts of diabolical health issues was baloney.  Well, she is 90 after all. Still, her kidneys were in decline and she had COPD.  So UTI's and pneumonia were constant.
Still, always blessings big and small, like finding a lady, Terri, who was willing to come whenever we called these past three and a half years.

Which brings us to six weeks ago when Mom started acting strange, the first indicator of a UTI.  The primary health person sent an antibiotic, but this was round two of Klebsillia, which I knew from Kaye is hard to treat the second time around and it was completely ineffective.  That was around her big birthday bash.  Every time the primary treats it once, we are required to go to the specialist who prescribed an antibiotic that I knew from past experience would not work.  It didn't.  This all sounds simple, doesn't it?  It isn't. Just this, two antibiotics, was endless phone calls for Aunt Tish.  So, she wound up in the hospital with two more antibiotics, then sent home with still another one, so we're on number five now.  UTI's in the elderly result in confusion and disorientation and she slipped out of her bed a couple of times. Not allowed, even if you are sick.  Perhaps I'm wrong, but it seems to me that they are watching for any opportunity at assisted living to find a reason for their clients to be shipped to the nursing home, skilled care facility.  These changes were directly related to her infection, but in order to keep her in her apartment, we again started twenty four hour watch.  In addition to the UTI running rampant, pneumonia was back, as well now as a very painful bedsore due to her inactivity.  So last Friday, when breathing was becoming labored, she asked to go to the hospital that she hates about more than anything in her current world.  We had decided that we would let her call the shots, so when she did, Aunt Tish took her.
Things went down hill all day until they called us in and said she was in a downhill spiral to the end.  Ahem, they don't know my mother very well. After several hours of her begging Jesus to come and get her, prayers and all her favorite hymns, she turned the corner, well, her stats became stable.
We reached out to all our sources- a nurse friend of Aunt Tish, a doctor friend of mine and a compassionate heart specialist who all told us to advise the powers that be to comfort her in all respects and otherwise leave her alone.
It would take me all day to write the kind of craziness, heartache, miscommunication, questioning, and fearing that has been in our hearts and heads this past week as we've stood over her, 24/7 trying to make sense of the nonsense of healthcare.  My sister's job of many years has been management, so she knows what she is doing and she does it tenaciously. This current system is not manageable. Even when you've said no to their precious dollars being used to continue to treat her, it doesn't make any difference. So for days Aunt Tish called, demanded, pleaded, okay begged for some grace.
We were told on Thursday, the words we longed to hear, that they would keep her at the hospital till the end. The person said she promised.
Meanwhile, they mostly had her comfortable, at least until the angina attacks, which by all accounts were horrible for her and those watching.

I took next week off work because I am at the point that I do not believe one thing they say and decided if they kicked her out, I would bring her home.
From Thursday morning till Friday, they did a complete about face and said she had to go.  Of course, we couldn't take her back to her apartment because she'd been given her exit papers.  I was advised that only God knew when she'd be getting her flight plan and it may be way longer than we were originally told.  I had been busy trying to find some affordable and reliable help for my work hours when I needed to go back to work and had failed.  So, we go to the only place open to us.  A room at the end of long hall where there are no other patients and my mother unable to even press a call button.
My mother worked like a dog all her life and had a decent retirement, in addition to Veteran's benefits.  A skilled nursing facility- interesting term- absorbs all but $90 a month of her income.
So, that's where we are.  The seventh circle of Hell, and that is where I'll be spending my days this next week. After that, I do not know.  Hope still exists in some very tiny place, hope that this facility will surprise me with attentive care.  I guess we're about to find out. Lord help.

Sunday, November 4, 2018


For a time, Handy Man and I said we ran an old age home for chickens.  That changed when we lost our dog and the predators came out in force before we got SamWise.  The only little ol' hen that was able to escape was our Easter Egger- Cheeky.

I named her that because she was the first to sprout those awesome cheek feathers and she was nine and a half years old.

Handy Man alerted me that she wasn't acting like her spritely self.  Then the news she'd tucked her tiny chick head into her feathers and then she was gone.   Don't you wish the going could be so easy for all of creation.
That is on my mind as we thought we were in hours of losing Mom on Friday evening.  The very worst thing they ever did was take away your primary doctor's ability to direct your care.  We ( 99 % Aunt Tish) have been on the awfullest merry-go-round in trying to manage her care.  They delayed too long in treating a UTI that sent us on a downhill spiral and now, here we are, 7 antibiotics later, and her knocking on Heaven's door ( both physically and her begging in prayer).  After many hours, for reasons unknown to  us, she turned the corner.  She turned the corner, but this past month has weakened her past being able to care for herself in most ways.  So, just color me heartbroken.  
I am a fixer by nature.  This makes my day job harder than it seems for some people because I'm ever looking for another book or article to make a non reader a reader, a poor number sense a better one, a fear of speaking to finding it not so scary.  When there are no good answers it grieves me to my very bones. 
So, I have so many cute pictures of these past weeks, but this last episode with Mom has overtaken all my good sense.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Pre Granny Wandy Festivities

I wanted to hurry and get pictures posted of Mom's birthday since there cousins and friends wanting to see them.
So, I missed some other events between my birthday and Mom's.

This little June Bugg and Giddy-Up became good friends during the wood's camp I had this summer. She often comes to Playdate on Fridays.  We were preparing for a big Saturday of parties on this Friday Playdate. 
I started the morning early with a haircut. I had not had a haircut in soooo long, since all summer I mostly wore it up.  When school started it was ridiculous, to my waist when wet.  My hairdresser was busy and so was I, so I just whacked off like ten inches.  So, I needed some shaping and trimming. I don't bother trying to smooth it straight in this Ohio Valley humidity and heat, but I love when she does and for a few days I can run my fingers through the my hair.
This Saturday was our anniversary,-39 years.  Rae, planned a Hobbit Party for her party loving boy, in honor of Bilbo's September 22 birthday. I went to this party as LOTR's Radagast's ( the nature wizard- imagine) wife.  
It was all so cute and fun and delicious.  

 Rae corned her own beef. Who knew?  So I tried it and will cook it today.

 Well fed and satisfied is always time for rest and a good book.
 Giddy-Up needed to wear my tiara.

Missy Buttercup is now in the double digits and loves Percy Jackson, so with her Mama, threw a great Greek God/ Goddess  Party.  Party goers were to come dressed appropriately.  Since I had my new dress from Noella, I found it perfect to be Demeter.  In Percy's words, she was the carbohydrate Goddess- well, a perfect fit.  Buttercup requested coconut cream pies as well, so I provided.

 Gardner E. also had a birthday, so I invited her to dinner.  I didn't have correct candles, so we set her back a few years.

So, my first weekend of break was an exceptionally busy one. 
Last Saturday, Rae and Michael went on a tenth anniversary trip and left the littles with me.  We had a wild a crazy week of fun. I'll save that for another day.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Wow, 90 Years Old

Today we celebrated Mom's birthday.  Sue brought her dress a few weeks ago and she was so excited to get to wear it today.  She so loved seeing everyone.  I want to put the pictures here for all who want to see, but some of them of Mom aren't the best.  She can no longer tell who you are until you are a few inches from her face. In half the pictures she looks surprised, and in others frightened. She wasn't scared, just so you know.
Aunt Tish brought a bucket of beautiful flowers from her yard, so we put together lots of pretty bouquets that Mom loves. Tish, Suzi-Q and I had it quite dolled up, with Stephen being our right hand.
And here is the Queen Bee.

Mom, as well as the rest of us, have been blessed with the tender care of Mom's helper.  She's there most ever day to help her with anything she needs.

Sweet cousins came from near and far.

 This a  friend of hers who comes most every day and sings hymns with her.
 Another cousin.

I love this. I asked the blessing and she hopped on the end to pray for everyone too. 
When she lived with Glenda, Glenda would tuck her in and they would pray together each evening.  I never leave that she doesn't pray me home.  She's been many things, but praying ranks right up there at the top of the legacy of love she's shared these many years. 

 Aunt Suzi-Q and about a quarter of her people.
 These were the first four grands.  Now we don't even know how many there are.
 Pete wasn't quite up to the festivities, but his little group was here.
 Miss Danita, our sweet friend of many years.

 Saying, "Hello," to a sweet little great, great grandbaby.

Our sweet Teresa and Maria.  Teresa comes to the apartment to cut Mom's hair. Bless her heart. 

 The surprise of the day, a beloved nephew from Idaho.  This is my Uncle Hobart's boy Bill.  She was so surprised and thrilled.

 More loving friends.
 Gee whiz, we are sure a lot in a small space. But my, we are cute!
 We've been blessed with dear ministers and their helpers and children.
 Teresa's crew, with a little sick chicken.
Tim's crew.  Happy Birthday Sophia!

I'm glad she had this day. She was not feeling well early in the week, so I didn't know how it would go.  It is funny how full these events can be, but still holey.  We missed those that couldn't be there and those who've moved onto another life that is beyond us just now.  But one day. What a glad reunion that will be.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Flora and Fauna at the Zoo

More of Bean's Snaps
This might have been my favorite.

I don't know why, but this makes me laugh every time I see it.  "Yes, can  I help you."

I see you handsome.