Sep 9, 2011

Just when you think you've stabilized...

...some crazy people in your family cannot handle stasis.

My sister, who thinks she has "Medical Power of Attorney" for our mother, emailed today to see if I was leaning toward putting mom back in a nursing home. This after telling me the tremendous angst she feels for putting our parents in a home two years ago - she still owes it $20,000 because she didn't understand the costs at the time; didn't understand that Medicare/Medicaid would not pick up the tab.

Sis does not have medical power of attorney in my state - you actually have to live in this state to be eligible to serve a person who lives here - she doesn't even live in the USA.

So, in plain terms, I outlined my cash outlay every month for care of our mother, including the other benefits: the value of the Medicare-funded Home Health Nurse biweekly visits, as well as the value of the Medicare-funded Aide, two hours a day, provided by the Alzheimer organization; it comes to roughly $4,500 a month total, but a nursing home here, capable of caring for a quadriplegic, costs at least $12,000 a month.

Our mother has no assets. She is not eligible for funding that would pay for a nursing home until our dad has been dead three years (he passed away 18 months ago). I'm it. I am her only offspring with the physical, emotional, mental and financial wherewithal to support her.

It has taken me the last 18 months to figure it all out to where we have a routine, a nice home where an elderly-wheelchair quadriplegic can be comfortable and well-cared for, have normalcy, safety, decent aides for physical care, volunteers for a social life, and family, while maintaining my own job and responsibilities to my nearly-grown-up children.

I left my husband to accomplish all this because he did not want mom in our home - so I bought my own house, using my retirement assets and leaving him in the process.

In other words, I met the challenge. I think my dad would be proud of me, pleased that his choice of me to take care was the right one. He didn't willingly leave my mother, his life-long wife - it was always his plan to outlive her. Had he not taken such good care of this MS patient, his plan may have worked out. In my estimation, his faith in me was well placed.

I think all this is to say that I feel a bit angry tonight. How dare my sister broach the subject of change now! Now, when I feel like I can breathe easier, that I can look around and say, I can sustain this, I'm hanging in there, I have good support, I have learned a lot about how to negotiate the circumstances; mom is happy and comfortable.

How dare she attempt to make a change?

I am not buying into it. I am expressing the knowledge that she has no power, no legal standing. No doctor would allow our mother to be moved away from here now - she is too frail and this home is too good for her.

I acknowledge that I have allowed my siblings to use me to care for our mother at the end of our father's life - that none of them "came up to snuff," "could cut the mustard." Fact is, our dad chose me. Suck it up, Buttercup. Go mess with someone else's day - I'm happy and mom is happy.

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