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.