Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Caught in the Rye

My mother is the Holden Caulfield of nursing homes. She seems almost determined to get kicked out. Last night's conversation omitted a little detail that was being considered for my mother: A room that had a door she could close, but which she would still be sharing with another resident. For the low, low price of $10 more per day. That is $240 more than we had to pay per month just to move her downstairs.

And how long has it been since they wanted to move her and increase her rates? Not long enough.

Today I told her, "You go ahead and get yourself kicked out of every nursing home we put you in, and I'll make sure that every subsequent one is cheaper and shittier."

So, I called Matt and we talked about it. I am calling tomorrow to tender our 30 days notice. I have already been looking for nursing homes in Provo or Orem. For one thing, even having her just 40 minutes away is a huge pain in the ass. today, I had to go and get her for an appointment with her pain doctor. Tomorrow, I have to go and get her for an eye doctor appointment.

Speaking of eye doctors, my dad and I both got our new eyeglasses today. I didn't even realize how much my eyes were straining and how much my left eye was throbbing until it wasn't anymore. I had gotten this plastic pair just for fun, to be a spare pair, because they were cheap. But after trying on glasses again today, thinking I'd get a "real" pair with clip-on sunglasses, I just ordered a pair of prescription sunglasses with the same frames as the glasses I picked up today and called it good.

Before I forget, I had been away for so long this afternoon by the time my mom's appointment was done and I had taken her over to have her "straightened" at her chiropractic place she used to go to all the time, that I called my dad. I offered to stop by so they could see each other, and invited him to go back up to the nursing home with us. To my surprise, he agreed. But considering that he said this morning, when we were returning home from the eye doctor, "Back to prison," I guess it shouldn't have. When we had dropped my mom off and we were returning to Provo, I said,

"Hey, can you see a lot better now with your new glasses?"

"I am wearing my old glasses. I didn't want your mother to know I got new glasses."

(I wore my new glasses. She did not notice).

Today was exhausting. In addition to getting to fire the physical therapist today (he made it easy for me by calling me first), I was overjoyed to find that I can retract everything I said about her being clearer and nicer with lower meds. She is exactly the same. She always works herself into a state before seeing a doctor (in hopes of getting more pain meds, thinking they will mistake crazy for 'in pain'), so she was in 100% attack mode. It was just as much fun as some of those early days out here before we moved her out.

I was so mad at her by the time we left the nursing home that I said, "You know, she keeps saying that she wishes she could trade places with you, and I just want to say, 'EVERYBODY DOES.'"

"Ohhhh, noooo," my dad said, drawing out the syllables in [vain] hopes of making me see reason.

"Oh, yes I do. I wish she was dying. When she had chest pains last week, I got so excited because I thought, 'Could we really get off so easily?'"

"Oh, Jennifer, no you don't. You just have to learn to ignore her."

"Well, we need to figure out our longterm plans for both you and Mom."

"We don't need to figure out anything for me-- my care is free."

"Dad, I'm talking about Matt and I coming out here to take care of you. You are doing really well right now. And I can have the kids out here with me this summer. But in August? I have to go home. So you and Mom are going to be moved either to Missouri or Carbondale."

"Well, it probably won't be Carbondale."

"I don't know. Maybe we should just move you both now while you are still doing so well."

"But we still have the house to worry about."

"Dad. It's paid off. We just shut off the power and leave it."

We traveled in silence until my dad told me I better change lanes so I could exit, 20 minutes later.

I remember having a conversation in Iowa, almost exactly a year ago, with my dear friend John's parents. I was talking about my parents' refusal to move to Missouri when we asked them to and wondering what to do about it. John's father looked at me and said, "Well. You are still asking."

I didn't know what he meant. What was I going to do? How could I tell my parents what to do?

I made scrambled eggs with milk and cheese and cranberry/orange muffins for dinner. I had suggested that I could make stir-fry or we could go out, in addition to breakfast for dinner, but he wanted the comfort food.

So did I.

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