Wednesday, February 16, 2011

45 Days...

"Nothing happens before 45 days."  This was the comment I was given more than once on Monday by the DHS caseworker who will sign off on my grandmother's admission to the Assisted Living Facility (ALF).  She added quickly... "It won't be 45 days until 2-16."  Today is 2-16. 

I phoned the caseworker on Monday to make sure that there was nothing else we needed to do on our end to expedite this approval.  She would not give me a chance to ask my question directly, but when I told her that my grandmother has decided that she has done something to create a holdup, the woman said, "NO! That's not it... we're just behind and working as fast as we can."  There were other excuses, but the bottom line is, we are still waiting, and I am sure that there is something "magical" about 45 days.  I guess if you work faster than that timeline, people might come to expect quick service.

Meanwhile, Valentine's Day has come and gone.  I mailed my grandmother a Valentine.  On Valentine's Day, I took her homemade stew, and I refilled her medicine compartments.  She was busy doing laundry and setting out lunch for herself and her friend Ruby.  A neighbor had brought beef stew, and Mam-ma was adding some food from her Meals on Wheels lunch to it and, basically, feeding both of them with "loaves and fishes."  I told Mam-ma that I was on my way to straighten my booth at a local antique store, and I left.

That evening, my sister called, and Mam-ma told her, "You are the only one who has called me today to wish me a Happy Valentine's Day."  I told my sister I had been there, and she said, "Yes... she told me you brought stew and fixed her medicine, but she said that you were too busy trying to get to the antique store to see about your stuff to sit down and visit with her."  Oh, and my mom called on Valentine's Day - and she mailed Mam-ma a Valentine - from California!  I have to admit... most days, I'm a little irritated by such comments, but I forget about them fairly quickly.  But in light of the amount of time and energy I have expended with my grandmother in the last six weeks, this remark really stung.  As many in my boat know, it truly never will be enough with her.

Mam-ma continues to be "down" with me when we talk on the phone... she is growing increasingly impatient about this move.  And when she knows it is time for me to call, I get a very whiny voice as she musters enough breath to say, "Hello?"  However, if I call unexpectedly at another time of day... I get a very strong, energetic voice... or even a "Good Morning," if she thinks the caller is my mom! 

Last night Mam-ma phoned about 9:00 and said, very strongly, "I cannot get my front door to lock."  I tried to talk her through it, but she said the door would not lock.  I suggested she lock her storm door and the extra safety latch on her main door... she had done both, but "I like for my door to be locked."  I agreed, but I told her I felt she would be fine for one night.  She said, "Well, I want Greg to come look at it tomorrow."  I told her I was not sure what my husband had planned, but someone would try to come and see about it.  I am going... she will not be happy - in her mind, I know nothing about "man stuff" and will not be able to rectify this situation. 

Monday, I also took Mam-ma another 6-pack of Cokes, and she said, "Well, what I really need is cookies!"  I told her I would bring some next time I came.  As I left, she said, "And I need bread."  I told her I was not going to the store (probably what prompted her irritation about my supposedly brief visit), and I asked if she was completely out of bread.  She was not.  I added it to her grocery list for beauty shop day.

I did go to see about the door. When I arrived, Mam-ma grinned and said, "Well... what are YOU doing out today?"  I told her, "You said your door won't lock, so I came to see about it."  "Well, that's right," she said, "It won't lock - but do you think YOU can fix it?"  "I'm certainly going to try," I told her.  The door locks fine... you just have to push on it to make it latch properly.  This did NOT go over well.  For one thing, Mam-ma did not believe I could actually fix it, and she was less than pleased to learn it was not broken! 

We also had quite a conversation about a doorbell that kept ringing.  I would get up and look to see who was at the door - no one.  Finally Mam-ma showed me a wireless contraption plugged into an electrical receptacle that made a doorbell noise every time you walked across the floor just so.  Mam-ma had tucked a folded envelope between this device and the wall to steady it in the receptacle.  I told her that this arrangement had to go... that it was a fire hazard.  She screamed at me, "No it's not!"  "Yes, it IS," I replied.  She insisted it was fine, and finally I said, "Okay, Mam-ma...whatever... just leave it then.  It's totally up to you."  A few minutes later, when the bell rang again, she said, "I guess I'll take that paper out."

After several frustrating minutes and conversations that went nowhere, I left, feeling like I had caused more trouble by even stopping by to try and see about the door.  I pulled into the Wal-Mart parking lot, and before going inside, I said a little prayer.  I asked myself, "What advice would you give someone in a similar situation?"  My answer was that this is not me... it's her.  I am doing the best I can, and I just have to hang on and get through this.  I felt better, and once inside, I met an old friend and had a good conversation, and my mood was immediately elevated.  Thank you, God, for continually blessing me!

Late this afternoon, the administrator at Southridge called.  She has the care plan from the Medicaid nurse.  She had already e-mailed the DHS case worker and was submitting a form requesting a move-in date.  She asked, "When would you like for Ms. Polly to move in?"  I replied, "Honey, as soon as possible!"  Then I told her that we could be ready as early as tomorrow.  She said, "Okay, I'll give the case worker a move-in date of somewhere within the next few days.  If she doesn't respond by Friday, I will call her." She said she would phone me when she knew the move-in date for certain.  I hung up, elated, but not ready to tell Mam-ma until we know a date.

A few minutes later, Mam-ma phoned - "We're having company!" she announced.  It seems that cousins from Oklahoma are passing through on Friday and plan to take my grandmother out to dinner.  She said, "So I've made their bed!"  (This is the bed we are taking to Southridge for her. I had entertained the thought of moving it and getting things in place ahead of her physical move.)  "Are you sure they are spending the night?" I asked.  "Well, I've made their bed!"  she answered.  "Yes, but are you sure they are spending the night, or did you do that in anticipation?"  "Well... anticipation, I guess... but they are staying all weekend."  "Really?  All weekend?"  "Well... maybe they are going home Saturday... I really don't know."  Neither do I... and if we get THE CALL to move, they may have her house to themselves! 

We may just have a little light at the end of this tunnel.  Time will tell... and I'm still praying!

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