Kicked out

So, I’m sitting at my desk at work, trying to concentrate on a news release that should already be done. I’m not doing half bad at sticking to it so I can finish it off before the end of the day. It’s about 11 a.m. My phone rings. It’s Noah, the administrator from Mom’s facility. Do I have a minute? I have butterflies. A call from Noah is not a good thing at this stage of Mom’s transition.

I wish I had recorded the things he said. Obviously I’m calling about your Mom. It’s not working out. She had a bad night again last night (her second bad night; the first was her very first night). She hit a staff member. (Was she hurt? I asked. No, she’s OK.) She approached a door again. I talked to the chief of nursing, and the feeling is that no change after two weeks means she is not going to change. (I wish I had said: Did you talk to a single floor nurse? She has changed quite a bit since her first day, according to nurse Stephanie). I think you should probably look into a secure Alzheimer’s unit for her. She’s always agitated when I see her or try to talk to her. (I wish I had said: She probably knows you better than any of us and hates you, you asshole.) So, there is no willingness to try some medication to affect her mood, I ask. No, I also talked to the doctor and he doesn’t want to medicate her any further. OK, well, my first try will be to the Columbus Alzheimer Care Center, where I have attended support groups a few times. All Alzheimer’s all the time. They will know what they’re doing there. (I didn’t say that last part out loud.). Well, Noah says, you might want to consider one of our other facilities – we are part of a chain. We have a secure unit in our facility in Grove City. It’s really nice, recently renovated. I was the administrator there before I came here. That would be three strikes against it: Noah ran the place, it’s in Grove fucking City, and it’s part of the same rotten corporation currently removing my mother from a facility. I don’t think so. My dad and brother both immediately said: isn’t that a conflict, for him to recommend another facility in the same corporation? Could he have had an agenda all along? Is this not even possibly illegal? Crazy with the drama of it all, I hadn’t even thought of that. (And interestingly, I asked the social worker with Mom’s neurologist to recommend any places and offer her insight about this facility Noah mentioned. She did not recommend his former facility, she said.) And finally: How soon do you think you could make arrangements for your Mom to move? Well, I will do the best I can because I want her to get the hell away from you, I thought. Out loud: I should be flexible so I can devote time to it right away.

So then I cried and called Patrick. It didn’t take long for a new emotion to emerge: Move on. Mom will be better off. Get to it now. Get her out of there. Take her Medicaid dollars away from them as soon as possible.

I called the Columbus Alzheimer Care Center and scheduled a tour for later this afternoon. The place is bright, has wide open spaces, has fake wood floors to foster cleanliness (A lot of the male residents think they can go to the bathroom just anywhere, my tour guide noted). The rooms are bigger. The residents can roam and wander as much as they want. They are expected to. There are activities that residents are guided to. Staff have worked there four, seven, 10, 14 years. It was founded by the man who still serves as the medical director, a former chief of neurology at Ohio State. I got a good feeling and filled out some paperwork. There are two beds open and the competition can be fierce. The sooner Mom’s facility could fax over some information, the sooner I’d be in the running for one of those beds. I called the social worker at Mom’s place and asked her to send the fax. I said I was in a competition so time was of the essence. I can only hope she followed through, that she has more of a conscience than her administrator and wouldn’t, you know, drag her feet to reduce my chances of getting Mom placed there. She did not make small talk, didn’t acknowledge this unfortunate turn of events. Fine. I am looking at a couple of other places, but am really hopeful about this center. They want to fill their beds, so an eager family might be just the ticket.

I also left a voice mail for the admissions staffer at Mom’s place, asking her to fax me a copy of the admission papers I signed. I should have gotten a copy the day I admitted her but I am dumb that way. I just said matter of factly that I need those papers, either by fax or by a copy left for me at the desk, tomorrow. I hope she wonders why I’m asking. I just want to know Mom’s rights. But I also hope to make everyone squirm if I can. I at some point will remind them that I spent Mom’s life savings and two years of her small income, probably about $80,000, at their assisted living facility, and the thanks we get is a push out the door after an arbitrary two-week deadline for her to adjust. I also did not visit Mom today. I figured I would not be in good shape to discuss anything with any staff I might see, nice or not so nice. But I also thought: You don’t like her? Well, you’re going to get an extra large dose of her because I am now too busy to visit her and take her off of your hands. Not necessarily good for Mom if she is suffering, but I can’t truly alleviate her suffering until I can take her out of there permanently. Also not exactly taking the high road, but I think I deserve to unload a little bit on these people.

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3 comments so far

  1. sandy on

    momsbrain, reading about this transition is just heartbreaking! 2 weeks seems like an awfully short amount of time for them to decide it’s not working out, especially since she has been there for so long. Fingers crossed for you all!

  2. Tom on

    I’m so sorry to hear about this, but I like your “move on” mindset. I think you’re right; in the end it will be better than dealing with the daily worry that a slightly off day might tip the scales. Glad to hear that you liked the other facility. Thinking of you.

  3. momsbrain on

    Thanks, Sandy and Tom. I agree, Sandy – what if Mom needs two weeks and two days to settle? Not good enough? Tom: Exactly. I talked to someone today who calmed me a bit but I do think she’s just not longed for this place, especially with Noah at the helm. I won’t be sorry to not work with him anymore.


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