February 1st, 2017

On Wedesday morning I arrived at the SNF early (8am), while mom was at breakfast. After making sure she was in the dining room, I packed her belongings, and loaded them into the car, in three trips, my heart beating at 120 the entire time. When she strolled down the hall and saw me, she greeted me with, “You’re here early! What’s up?” I suggested we sit down in the common room so I could let her know what was up. Her eyes lit up when I told her I was ‘busting her out of the joint,’ but then turned stormy when I described what was happening next: A trip off Island to stay at my daughter’s community while we waited for the EEG.

Mom was unclear on the following:
* Why can’t I stay at home until the EEG? I reminded her for the 35th time.
* Why do I have to leave the Island? I spelled this out for her… Including expense, facility programming, increased opportunities for independence and recreation, and an enormous upgrade in lifestyle over skilled nursing.
* Why didn’t you tell me about this? “I did tell you about this… This conversation has been taking place since you arrived at the SNF, you just don’t remember.”
* I must go out to the house, NOW! I had to remind her for the 84th time why she can’t go to the house, and who said so, AND that I will not act against her doctor’s orders (the order that is actually in her chart). By the second time she rounded on this, it was too late to get to the house and back before we had to arrive at the ferry line. I used timing as an excuse for her second attempt at this ploy.
Mom was flabbergasted at the cost of the SNF, and that her insurance didn’t cover any of it (she didn’t have the required length of hospital stay to invoke Medicare). She, of course, didn’t recall the conversation about cost, or insurance qualification, that took place in the hospital.
I had three main potential points of failure in getting mom off the Island. One was getting her into the car, the next was getting onto the boat, the last was getting her off the boat. Thankfully, we broached all three without challenge. My heartrate steadily declined as we passed each of these markers.
The drive down… 
I got mom talking about her mom’s upbringing, mostly to distract her, but also to understand more about my mom and grandmother’s relationship. I’ll be able to empathize with my grandmother, in a way I hope to catch mom up in, when she starts bashing her mom. We shall see…
Mom complained bitterly about having her medications ‘passed’ to her, saying she’s been flawlessly handling her meds for years. Pointing out times and places where we have been seriously concerned about the self-handling of her medications, of course, was a mistake, and just made her defensive. She had no recollection of any medication mishandling episodes.
Mom also thinks there’s a plot afoot that when someone hits 80+ years old, ‘this industry’ exists to take away seniors’ independence in order to rob them of their money. When I didn’t instantly respond to her, she got angrily insistent with me. I disagreed with her, saying, for some, the medical need for skilled nursing and assisted living exists, and actually helps people lead more fulfilling lives than when they live alone in isolation, with little social contact and/or outside interests. I left words like ‘dementia’ and ‘like you’ out of my sentence. She had no comeback to my statement.
Mom spent a lot of the rest of the ride flinging oft used one-liners at me, the subsequent question/statement never having anything to do with the prior one. It was actually exhausting answering her as there was little, if any, logical train of thought behind her questions/statements, other than hostility. It reminded me of Billy from Family Circus… His mother asks him to take the garbage out, and Billy runs all over the neighborhood, in loops, before finally throwing the bag into the trash can.
We made it intact to my daughter’s assisted living community…

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