Monday, June 02, 2008

The elevator was full of competing colognes...

I got into the elevator at work this morning with four men and one woman. Four men who wore four different colognes and wore them loudly. And then the ascent began. We stopped on three, then four, then five and finally I was alone in the elevator for the trip from five to six. Alone with the eau de cologne. I need to practice holding my breath.

In other dad is dieing. He's eighty and led a full life. Apparently he was in the hospital about two months ago. Don't you just love parents who have poor communication skills? At that time, Arnold weighted in at about 145. When I last saw him, March 2007, I think he was about 180 and that was thin enough to see his bony knees as his jeans draped over his crossed legs.

Last week, he was readmitted to the hospital and he informed the staff that he would not be returning home. Whether he died there or they sent him to a nursing home or hospice was up to them. His weight upon admission was 122. The doctor decided to do an MRI to see if there was anything new going on. I don't know if my dad had had one previously, not that I can recall hearing about, but there is that ongoing communication issue.

My mom went to see what was up with my dad, how he was doing, and when she showed up, he told her she didn't need to see him right then and she had better leave. He was having to drink barium at that moment and feared he would be sick and that is what she didn't have to see. I hope that long before I am eighty, I don't give a shit about such things.

so my mom is out at the nurse's station and one of the nurses comments that she is surprised to see her that day, what with Arnold going home tomorrow and everything. My mom went into full blown panic at hearing that because she had finally accepted that my dad is right about her no longer being able to care for him. And here he was getting an MRI. Who knows what would be found that might require a longer hospital stay.

Well, what was found was a brain tumor. Apparently a big one. Inopperable, not that my dad would consent to surgery anyway. Based on his recent rate of decline (I think), the doc estimates 3-5 weeks. "And you know how they pad those figures to comfort the family," added my mother.

It's such a dilemma, this long distance assisting. There is a lot of crap I can help my mom do, if she will let me. I think I am most worried that I will discover she really shouldn't be living alone. That leaves a few unsavory options. I have to be the bad guy and commit her to a facility of some sort. The likes of that covered be medicaid. Where she lives, that might be the worst option. I think here in Houston, the state facilities likely have a wait list. And the private facilities are too costly. The only other option I see is the bad dream I have had a time or two. Oh my god, what if she had to come live with us?

We would figure it out, I am sure, but let's just hope for now that it isn't the issue at hand when I go north. I could go tomorrow if I had to, but what is the wisdom of going sooner to have to turn around in 3-5 weeks and go again? Yes, I would see my dad again before he dies, but he doesn't want to be seen. I feel that if I go sooner, it is more to be company for my mom and see what I can help her negotiate.

I know when I go for the funeral(such that it will be, likely more a memorial service) I will have to stay for a couple of weeks. Then I think I will have to go back again for a couple of weeks subsequently.

Too many what ifs to even begin to wrap my brain around, yet I am thinking I will be going. Maybe on a buddy pass. Maybe next week. Maybe...


chapin said...

I'm sorry to hear this Maxine. Please know I'm sending good thoughts your way.
Peace my friend.

the only daughter said...

My mom informed me recently that *I* will be her guardian (in a more official capacity than this only daughter deal) luckily we are both in the same state, same town even, still...logistics.

I'm sorry to hear the news about your dad. I too send good thoughts.

and Peace.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry Maxine.

SassyFemme said...

Oh dammit, Maxine, I'm SO sorry. My heart hurts for you, and your family.

Maybe you could go now, be able to spend a little more quality time with your dad before he gets worse? It might also give you a little time to assess how your mom is really doing, and what her needs are or are going to be in the near future. Your dad might also be able to tell you what he thinks your mom will really need when he's gone.

Assisted living, if income (or $$$ from a sale of a house)allows, is a wonderful option for seniors that need a little help but can still manage some things on their own. It's also FAR cheaper than skilled nursing care. I know Houston has many of the same chains as SA. If you were to move your mom to Houston look at Merrill Gardens. My mom was at the one in SA and I can't recommend it highly enough. Also, if the time comes for a nursing home, look at the Regent Care Center group. They are amazing in the quality of care.

I know the road you have ahead of you. My thoughts and prayers are with you. {{{{ }}}}

weese said...