yup, still here

Mom has been in her new rehab facility for nearly a week and it's SUCH an improvement over the rehab hospital. The staff is friendly and they've really bent over backward to make us all feel like part of the process. Mom is ready to be shut of all healthcare institutions, so that's hard, but she's where she needs to be right now. We'll be having a meeting in a week and a half to review her progress and see what our discharge goals are. In the meanwhile, I'm as tired as I've ever been and when I drop both boys back to their regularly scheduled, NON-vacation-week schools, I will likely cry me a river of relief. Mommy's tired, people.

exhausted but worth it

I have run an emotional marathon the past five days but it has all worked out OK. I visited Mom today at the new skilled nursing facility — she has her own room (!) with a reclining chair (!) and flat-screen TV that is “too small” so I'll bring her the one from her room @ home tomorrow. The staff I spoke with were lovely and conscientious. The admissions director said that she'd heard other complaints that the hospital where Mom had been was quick to call VNA and discharge people to home when they're not ready to go home. “They're understaffed,” I said. “Yes, but even so, we're talking about people, here,” the director of admissions of the Good Place said.

This has been a HUGE education in the importance of vocal and unceasing advocacy for those who are ill and need care. I'm one of the first of my friends to be going through this process and, you know what? It's only going to get more difficult as the boomers gray and become more frail, and skilled nursing (and medicare/medicaid) demand outstrips availability. [Of course, you don't need a whole lot of education to become a Certified Nursing Assistant. “In an accelerated format, CNA training can be completed in as little as four weeks,” according to eHow.com, which might count for why the old-boy senators are working to crush all jobs and loans for people who want to go to or teach at a college or university…]

Long story short (too late), when a health facility is telling you things that don't add up, call them on it. Don't be cowed because they should know more and make better recommendations than you ever could. Don't be soothed by their soothing social-worker voices. They are playing chicken with you and you need to play chicken right back: Be polite but be firm and know that you have your elder's best interest at heart.

Sure, my mom would rather be home, but she knows she's better off where she is now, for now, and has a hell of a lot better chance of improving and coming home safely, sooner. But I still want you to pray for all of us, because I'm selfish like that. Thanks from the bottom of my expatriated-to-Massachusetts heart.

Sweet Jesus I am so thankful for the support of my family, my church, my friends. And I know pride is a sin but I'm really pretty proud of myself for digging in my heels and fighting the good fight.

I'm going to go burn some energy with my Wii Fit Free Step now (ok, in an hour when Biggest Loser starts).

Thanks to you all.


Mom is, at this moment, being transferred to my #1 skilled-nursing-facility choice. Thanks all for your support/prayers/good thoughts. It just goes to show that you CAN fight the system if you're a squeaky enough wheel.

continuous saga

Mom's “real” case worker is supposed to be back from vacation today, so I left her a voicemail at 7:50 saying that Nancy was going to make some calls but left work w/o updating me yesterday, and so I'd like to find out where we're at in the process of getting her transferred to the skilled nursing facility closer to my house. Please pray. I'm pretty shaky today.

OK, now it's time to take BK to the pediatrician because he's complaining that his “ear hurts.” Just in time — Lex finished a 10-day course of amoxicillin last night. Oh pink stuff, haunting my refrigerator, begone!


Wouldn't you know it, the filling-in-for-Mom's-usual-case-worker case worker managed to leave for the day without calling me. Mom's nurse knows nothing about a transfer for Mom tomorrow. Guess I'll be back on the case tomorrow morning. Thanks to all who have commented/emailed with support. Keep praying if you don't mind, we're not out of the thick of it yet. xoxo

unsticking my craw

All weekend I've been puzzling over the inherent contradiction in these two statements: “Your mother will not improve in a skilled-nursing facility” and “We'll recommend her for five-day-a-week physical therapy at home.” After an excellent conversation with my Geriatric Care Manager, Jim Ferry, my suspicions were confirmed: the facility doesn't have the staff to chase down rehab hospitals for discharge so instead, they decided it would be easiest for them to push her on to me.

So, I just called and spoke with the vacation-fill-in case manager (because, apparently, people don't work today. Huh?), and firmly stated my disbelief in those contradictory statements, or pretty much anything they told me on Friday, and that I want her sent to a skilled-nursing facility close to my house where one of the women from my church works.

Keep you posted. I cannot properly care for my mother 24-hours a day while also tending/finding marketing/pr/writing/script development clients and, oh yeah, mothering my 5- and 2-year-old sons. I'm sure as hell not going to take the facility's idea of an easy way out!

Thanks for anyone who might have prayed between the time of my post of 20 minutes ago and now.

general plea for help

As it stands right now, my mom is coming home from the rehab hospital tomorrow and will require 24-hour supervision. This, of course, has me freaking out. We will have visiting nurses coming in for PT/OT/Home health (showering assistance), but that will be about 5 hours/week. We will get some homecare nurses in but at $20/hour, we can't afford anywhere near full-time help (it'll probably be 4 hours/day in the mornings, maybe 4-5 days/week).

IF you are interested in improving your Karma and IF you would be willing to, I don't know, make us a dinner or go shopping for us or take one or both of the boys out for an outing or PRAY FOR US or even sit with my mom/kids for an hour so I can go outside for a run that will help to shrink my expanding stress level and ass size, please contact me via comments, via email, or via phone.

A debilitated mom, a five year old, and a two year old. Sweet Jesus, please help me. xoxoxo

nowhere to run to, baby

I am itching to get out to the path but even though the snow is melting you just wouldn't believe the icepack it's left behind. Clear and glossy and slick as hell. I've done 90 minutes of Wii Fit Free Step the past couple of days but that only converts to three miles and I want to be moving more than that. Any suggestions?