So far, so good

I saw Mom today, for the first time since Monday when I was there to fill out paperwork. My neighbor, the hospice social worker, came over Tuesday evening to say she had seen Mom that day and that Mom seemed friendly and at ease. She had dog/cat with her, and a male resident came up to Mom with his hand tucked into his sleeve and joked that dog/cat had bitten his hand off. It took him two tries before Mom got it, but she got it. My neighbor said anytime she is at the Alz center, she will try to check on Mom if she can. What a gift that is. I told her I’d do all I could not to abuse that offer of hers.

Mom was in the big program area in the wing populated by generally more mobile patients. She was sitting at a table with three other women. They weren’t really conversing or anything. Mom had a funny ensemble on: white and blue striped pants, a black blouse with red roses on it, and her Navajo patterned fleece jacket. With Halloween themed socks and her pink Crocs. I think staff might let her do some choosing of her own clothes based on that outfit… I walked up to her and gently patted her arm so I wouldn’t scare her. She seemed glad to see me but she didn’t say “Hallelujah” or “It’s a miracle.” She just smiled and I sat with her for awhile. She said the kids had been there earlier – the kids from the on-site daycare. Those events that the kids participate in will always be the highlight of her day, I’m sure. We walked to her room. I picked up her laundry. We sat in the lobby for a little while. I pointed out there would be a bingo game this afternoon in the program area, which is down a long hallway from Mom’s dining room. I was thinking out loud about how she’ll know about bingo and a passing nurse said that Mom heads to the program area immediately after she eats her meals. So she is figuring the place out. She said things are fine. She looked good. I think it’s safe to say all is well with these new arrangements. I think I will sleep all day Sunday and Monday, the Labor Day holiday, to celebrate that fact.

Meanwhile, Monday I got an e-mail from Noah the administrator at the previous nursing home. No subject line. This is what he wrote:

Hello Emily. I know that Bonnie moved on Friday to Columbus Alzheimer’s and I just wanted to touch base and see how she was doing in her new surroundings. I do apologize that Whetstone was not a good fit for her, and I sincerely hope her new surroundings at Columbus Alzheimer’s put her more at ease. Please let me know if there is anything else we can do.


I wrote back an inoffensive message that she is fine and feeling at home in her new location. I closed with: It seems best for everyone in the long run – but what a week for everyone, too!

Even though I generally loathe him, I appreciate any gesture like this. It’s an effort to make amends, I am guessing. Perhaps his coworkers gave him some idea of how hard I was taking this news that Mom was kicked out. Now that the crisis is behind me, I am not interested in doing any of the things I wanted to do last week, like writing a letter to Noah telling him just how terrible his manner is with families, or writing a letter to his boss complaining about how we were treated. Sadly, I’m pretty sure, based on what I have heard from staff, that he represents the wishes of his corporate leaders. I am not in full forgiveness mode, but I do prefer to move on. Not waste the energy. Stay on the high road. And just hope that other families with loved ones with dementia have a better experience than we did.

7 comments so far

  1. Jeff on

    Wow! That seems like such a transformation for less than a week – that she’d go out and seek the company of others and willingly head for the Program space. I imagine it’s easier to be in a place where there isn’t a lounge of patients in wheelchairs right outside your door. THAT was always a depressing sight. Em, I liked your choice to not actively berate Noah, nor waste that time and energy addressing those issues (at least for now). One thing I got from Landmark that might be useful now is the idea: It’s not important to always be right, even when you know you are right. If Noah is representing the best interests of his superiors there probably isn’t much to say to him that would have any impact.

  2. Jenny on

    Hallelujah! It’s a miracle!

  3. momsbrain on

    Ha, Jenny, good one! And Jeff, it’s so true – I don’t have to prove my “right”-ness to anyone at Whetstone. It’s over, and the resolution worked strongly in our favor as well as theirs. I’m happy to leave it at that. But I did get a bill from Whetstone today. I haven’t opened it yet. The Alz center business manager told me to let the Medicaid caseworker decide how much we pay Whetstone and how much we pay the Alz center until the Medicaid is approved.

  4. june on

    I just found your blog today and am really loving your voice and plan to come back again and again. I’m trying to find my way with caretaking my mother in-law who is in the early stages of Alz… so glad to see there are other people writing about it. I hope your mom finds a sense of place and home in her new program and that you feel peace.

  5. momsbrain on

    Welcome, june! Thanks for visiting. Mom seems to be doing great – thank you! I am working on the peace part.

  6. sandy on

    I took a week’s vacation out of town and am glad to read that everything has worked out so well. I hope you had a nice holiday weekend.

  7. momsbrain on

    Thanks, Sandy. I did almost nothing over the weekend, which was just what I hoped for. Glad to know you got a vacation, too – that’s important for everyone in the family!!

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