December 10, 2008
Kay is back from Oregon to help me move Mom to assisted living. We have seven days to decide on a place, go through her stuff (again!), buy new furniture, put together said new furniture, move, and get rid of the old stuff. Add to that quite a bit of rainy weather, an old dog, and visiting Mom once a day and voila! good times.
I'm not a big fan of December. I hate Christmas and all it's fake cheery BS. I will spare you the soapbox on this, but suffice it to say, I'm glad when it's over for the year. My sister on the other hand, is a huge fan of Christmas, not the religious part, but the decorating, parties, presents part. Which is honest...oh wait I said no soapbox. Sorry.
So I do my best to Christmas up the guest room with a couple of things sent to me by Susan G. (her and Jesus share the same [alleged] "birthday", so they're close :-).
Kay in turn gives me a sheep that poops jelly beans - BAA Humbug! I love it.
The doctor said decisions are difficult to negotiate for someone with vascular dementia (or any kind). So the less there are the better - exactly the opposite of what we thought was best for her. She didn't participate at Emerald Pond because it was too overwhelming, it was safer to stay in her room. They need a schedule and less choice. Think small children; sometimes two choices is one too many.
So, using that as a guide, we decide on Wynwood, the assisted living facility close to my house. She can have Mookie; it's a smaller room, but she's on the ground floor, right across from the courtyard and just down the hall from her dining room. Instead of one big overwhelming dining room, they have several small ones on each floor, with four tables for four in each. Much less intimidating. There's a small living room space on each floor as well. And even I have to confess, it's decorated really well and it smells great. Very welcoming. The sales manager is great, sweet and helpful.
The day before Mom is released from Hillcrest, we have to take her to the orthopedic doctor over at Duke to check her compression fracture. This turns out to be a HUGE time suck on our moving time. Hours out of the last day we have to put together four pieces of furniture and we still have some piddly small stuff to move over. Ben and Allison helped a lot (Ben has a pick up), but now it's just us.
After the ten minute long part of actually being with the doctor, we're making her next appointment and Mom says she's going to go sit down. She was out of sight maybe a minute; when we walk out to the waiting area (which you can see from the appointment making area) - she's not in there! Holy crap, we've lost our mother in Duke Hospital! She's using a walker for Pete's sake - how fast can she go?! (Apparently fast enough.) We dash around and recruit others to dash around for several minutes, then poof - there she is wandering out from some office - eating candy and looking very pleased with herself. Oh. my. gosh.
We take her to lunch where Mom and I get in a wrestling match over a sugar packet. Funny now. Not so much then. My ever patient sister (Saint Kay) is horrified I'm making a big deal over Mom putting sugar in her iced tea. Well okay, it was a little controlling on my part. I'm thinking of it as payback.
Then, after dropping Mom off at Hillcrest, on the way to pick up another load of things from Emerald Pond we get a phone call from Wynwood to tell us the final pricing for Mom's rent. It's even more than I expected and I can't even speak, just start crying and hand the phone to Kay. Kay and I then proceed to have a melt down, our only one actually, which is amazing considering we're both stressed beyond belief. So we have a little cool down period where I sit in the car and set up Mom's cable service and she sits in the lobby of Emerald Pond. Meanwhile, Kay's boyfriend Brad back in Oregon is dealing with a spell of gout, a very sick horse (who ends up having to be put down), and the worst snowfall in ten years.