Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy

Where did April go? We put Nephew on a plane to Air Force Basic Training on March 30th and spent the month waiting for letters (we got 2, one of which was a form letter). I have to admit the letter he wrote was impressive. It was a page and a half long, had no mis-spellings, remembered both our names, and the names of all the animals. He sounded great and it looks like we found a place where he can thrive and mature. We go for graduation on the Wednesday before Memorial Day. I am looking forward to San Antonio as I've never been.

I brought my 75 year-old father from Oregon to Kansas this week. He's been gradually slowing down but resisting any type of assistance. Two phone calls, one from his brother and one from the family that lives next door to him made it clear to me that he's no longer able to live alone safely. I've been dreading this day imagining the fight to get him to agree he needs help and that it's best done close to my home. I can't keep flying off to another state every time he has some sort of crisis.

Surprisingly, he's been very agreeable. When his brother first posed the idea that he needed to go into Assisted Living, Dad asked his brother to look into facilities near him (in southern California). I talked to Dad about his reasons for not wanting to come to Kansas and was able to shoot them all down.

    Dad: I don't want to live in snow anymore.
    Me: (thinks to self---how many more winters are you really gonna see, Dad?) Well Dad, how much time exactly do you spend outdoors each day? And I don't know if you got the memo or not, but Kansas got electricity last year and we now have air conditioning that keeps us warm or cool depending upon the season.
    Dad: You have a point.
    Me: Next reason?
    Dad: My brother and his wife can visit me in SoCal.
    Me: You're talking about the people that travel 10 months of each year?
    Dad: You have a point.
    And what about me? How often can I visit you in SoCal?
    Dad: You have a point
    Me: Next reason?
    Dad: Well all my friends live there.
    Me: Dad. Honestly. Not to be morbid or anything, but how many of them are still alive (none)?
    Dad: You have a point.
    Me: So what do you want me to do Dad?
    Dad: Look around and tell me what you've got there for me.

So I suppressed my knee-jerk reaction to hop on a plane. I knew the neighbors would continue to look in on him and either send him to a hospital or get someone to come in the home and care for him until I could get there. I took the time to tour all the facilities in my area and then I went to Oregon. For the first two days I suppressed my instinct to help with every little thing and just observed. That gave me good idea of what he can and can't do for himself. We filled any needed prescriptions, visited a doctor for a specific problem he's having and got the green light to travel to Kansas.

Today we toured some of the places I found acceptable and tomorrow we'll tour more. Friday we have an appointment with an attorney that specializes in Geriatrics and we'll see what sort of money assistance he's eligible for so we can determine what he can afford.

I'm a little stressed, but without the tooth and nail fight I was expecting over this, it's going easier than I could have hoped.

I'd also like to take this time to thank Senator Chris Dodd and President Bill Clinton for the FMLA. Pleased I don't have to worry about losing my job.