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An Update on Mom

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I can’t tell you how grateful I am for the community here, and for each one of you who has messaged me or left a comment here or elsewhere about my mom and what she’s going through. THANK YOU. I’m going to copy an email I sent to some of my family about what’s been going on and update everyone on my mom’s progress.

In three days I’ve visited seven nursing homes, one of them being a rehabilitation hospital. I’ve scoured the internet, Medicare reviews, personal stories, and US News & World Report’s analysis of individual nursing homes and their breakdown of health code violations, care issues, nursing staff, and number of minutes spent with each individual patient. It’s left me saddened for the state of overall care for the elderly but it has also empowered both me and hopefully Dad as well to take charge. As the baby of the family, it feels foreign to me to step up and take a leadership role of any kind. Aren’t family of origin roles funny? It’s uncomfortable, like a pair of jeans that are too tight, so you squat down in ’em a few times to stretch them out.

I’ve had a fast and furious education in how nursing homes, rehabilitation hospitals, and skilled nursing facilities operate. We had to give our social worker the first choice, followed by a suitable second choice, which was maybe the hardest part. The first choice was crazy ideal. But coming up with the backup was proving to be tricky.

My mom is undoubtedly the pickiest person I have EVER met (and I say that with all the love in my heart – haha). If you know my mom, you know that she would give you the shirt right off her back and she loves my dad fiercely and protectively. So I approached it from that perspective: if the shoe were on the other foot, and it were my dad needing to go somewhere, she would find the absolute best spot in town that she could. My mantra the last few days has been: WWGD (What Would Glenda Do). And I know not only from my own previous hospital experiences as well as her own wiring that if we didn’t get something truly stellar, she was going to bolt right on out of there. So I visited place after place, viewing it through her detail-oriented lens. We did finally manage to land on a suitable backup option, but frankly it wasn’t nearly as great as the first option. I have been in prayer nonstop that God would work on our behalf, advocate for us and for my parents and open doors where we wouldn’t be able to ourselves.

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Then Dad called me as I was flying down the highway after school that the admissions counselor from our first choice was on her way to evaluate Mom. I flew into panic mode, and my mother in law came to watch the kids so I could rush down to the hospital to be with them. But before I could get there, Dad called and said that she was IN. I nearly cried. I felt like a huge burden had been lifted. God opened the doors and made a way. I felt a major victory, almost like getting that awesome college acceptance letter that you’re waiting for (remember those days? OMG). I am hopeful that it’s going to be a great choice for her for the next 20ish days.

Dad sounded lighter and happier than I’ve heard him sound in a long time. He said he felt bad for being so happy about Mom’s acceptance to a nursing home, but I told him not to think about it like that, that instead it means that she’s going to get high quality of care and that we will be so much closer to be able to better help both of them.

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So we carry on, don’t we? Right now it’s one day at a time. Mom gets moved over to the new facility today, and I’m excited to take this next step together.

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  • Penny Sampler

    Rachel….My prayers are with you. Sadly, when the time comes, it is a fast lesson in a territory that most of us aren’t familiar with. We just went thru this with my grandfather. It is stressful and emotional from so many angles. I know how happy you are to have been accepted to your 1st choice! Praise God! I know that makes such a difficult time just a little bit better. Be sure to take care of your OWN body while taking care of your sweet momma. xo Penny Sampler

  • I’m so glad everything worked out the way it did. That’s great of you to evaluate the facilities from your mom’s perspective. I’m sure that means a lot to her and your dad. It’s incredibly hard to see parents in ill-health. My stepdad has had numerous health issues and long-term hospitalizations in the past 5+ years, and I’ve often had to step in and advocate for him because my mom has been too emotional or overwhelmed to do so. My dad had a TIA last week and, thankfully, my younger half sister was able to be with him because I couldn’t drop everything and travel the 4 hours to be there. Caring for our aging parents can be such a stressful thing because we’re so used to them being the caregivers. Wishing your mom a fast recovery!