warts and all….
Over the last few weeks, seems more like years to me, I have written concerning my difficulties with finding myself as caretaker to my Mom. Many of you have given me your advise and support and it has really been a source of strength for me.
Being faced with the sole responsibility of making life changing decisions for Mom has got me in a constant state of doubt and at times has made me sound and feel totally self-centered. My purpose in writing of my experiences was to vent my own frustrations and maybe to find that some of the ‘feelings’ I have had along the way are shared by others who have been jerked out of their own life to find themselves in charge of someone else’s. Suddenly little things like taking a shower is next to impossible.
The good news is that all Mom’s treatments are behind her and the cancer, at least for now, is less threatening, although not gone. The bad news is the toll it has taken on her. She took a fall on Friday of last week. Although, not injured, she suddenly became frightened to be alone. Right after that she got markedly weaker and refused to eat or drink enough to keep her body functioning. Last Sunday I came to stay with her 24/7 because she cannot walk alone or take care of her personal necessities by herself. She told us that she is ready to go someplace where they take care of old people. Understandably, she can’t bring herself to say the dreaded words, nursing home. She told us to sell her car and make arrangements for her care.
We had no idea what that would entail but believe me it is not simple. Turns out Mom’s small pension along with her social security has placed her income slightly above the maximum allowable for Medicaid assistance but below what is needed to pay privately for care at the nursing home. What we thought would take only a couple of days has turned into possibly months. There is an option for getting her qualified for Medicaid through something called a Miller Trust. Basically it allows all of her income save $60/month to go toward her care with Medicaid picking up the remainder. We had to retain an attorney, not cheap, to guide us though the process. If we are successful Mom will be at the nursing home by the 31st. If not, it will be another 30 days before it can happen. It is possible that we would become responsible for the nursing home bill for the first month in addition to the attorney fee. Since we are dealing with a government agency the likely hood of this happening without a glitch is slim to none. We are getting a fast and expensive education in the process.
One should never get to this point in life with less than a million dollars or else be totally destitute. If you fall in the middle somewhere, the options aren’t fun and they sure aren’t easy.
If we get this all done there is no turning back. If Mom gets stronger and changes her mind we could be in a lot of hot water because she will have nothing left and no home to go back to. If we don’t do it, I could be a full-time caregiver for who knows how long. Neither option is good and committing to one or the other is scary.
Thankfully, I have my DH who is taking care of all the legal and financial issues while I am consumed with feeding, bathing, clothing and taking Mom to the bathroom. It feels like all the joy has been sucked out of our lives and we are both exhausted.
Grace and Mercy to all who find themselves dealing with hard decisions to ‘let go and let God’….