November 24, 2009

Adventures in Familyland

I spent most of the morning on the phone with health/aging/illness folks in Ohio. Both of my parents were sick last month, and because they still lived on their own, on the island, they had trouble managing the cooking. Now they're at my brother's house. A hospice person met with them last week but neither of them qualifies for hospice care now. Which is fine with everybody but doesn't eliminate the need for additional help. They're at Douglas's, but he works full time and gives flying lessons in the evenings; so mostly he's only home at night.

When asked, "Have you eaten?" they answer yes. That might mean they've eaten real food. It could be they've eaten nothing but think they have. It could be Mother ate a cookie. It could be they think it's nobody's damned business but their own. All of which are accurate, and yet everybody, including them, prefers they get nourishing food.

I talked to Hospice/Palliative Care, and the lovely person there gave me four or five phone numbers. You know how when things start to go down the tubes, you need to limit the amount of stimulation coming in? That's me. I didn't need four phone numbers. I needed one, so I picked out the most likely: the Medina County Office on Aging. Pay dirt! Somebody will be scheduling an appointment to do an evaluation next week.

Used to be it wouldn't have taken as long, but with budget cutbacks the social work staff was cut from 5 to 3, and the receptionist position was cut. All of this at a time when the miscreants are in full flower, taking advantage in any way they can. The miscreants aren't only the Bernie Madoffs and finance profiteers. They're also the jerks on the local level eager to profiteer. And so elder abuse is on the increase, whether that be financial, emotional, physical abuse or purely neglect.

My new best friend at the Office on Aging, though, is a champ. You can hear it when you're speaking to the right person at last. The combination of knowledge, information, kindness, willingness, and ability all shine across the phone line when you've found the right person in the right agency. Meanwhile, Daddy was back at the Cleveland Clinic getting 2 more units of blood this morning. He got 2 units last week, 4 the week before, and 4 the month before that. We're hoping some of the problem is that he was feeling poorly (probably with the flu) for several weeks and eating poorly; three squares a day might help the situation.

I'm totally in the swing of things emotionally, by which I mean at any given moment I may be asleep with the covers over my head; swearing at some mo-fo'ing idiot (albeit in my head rather than out loud); weeping (whatcha gonna do? it comes and goes); and wishing I had a sledge hammer so I could smash something/anything. I've also tracked down the information on Mother's medications and talked to enough of the wrong people to have located, finally, the right person to facilitate support. Otherwise, I'm making seasonal greeting cards to ship off to Holiday for Heroes. The deadline is in early December, so now is the time to participate if you're interested. Soon I'll be posting some of the cards I've made; but store-bought cards are equally welcome. Click on the icon on the top right side of the screen for the guidelines and restrictions, as well as the address to which cards are to be mailed.

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