My mother arrived at her new nursing home residence here in town on Feb. 19. Two of my siblings and one in-law accompanied her on the trip, returning home after a couple of days. Initially, she had a room in the short-term/rehab part of the facility – the part Medicare pays for. But Medicare only pays the first 100 days, or until the patient stops making progress in therapy, whichever comes first. On March 9, Mom moved to her long-term room.
It has been a non-stop flurry of activity for me, with two settling in periods in short order. Along the way I’ve been unpacking the boxes of her possessions that were deposited in my house, and taking along what I thought she’d need. I’ve opened a new bank account for her, helped her get changes made in Social Security and insurance, had many discussions with nurses and aides about eye-drops, labeled clothing, and on and on. I’m managing to visit my mother about five days out of seven. And every time, there’s something else to take care of – bringing forms for her to sign, setting up her digital picture frame, tracking down her laundry (I don’t have time to do it myself, I really don’t).
For almost my entire adult life, my mom and I have lived in different towns. We’ve never been closer, geographically, than a two-hour drive. I was looking forward to having her in town, so we could see each other often and make up for lost time. But, until today, none of my visits had afforded an opportunity for the two of us simply to chill together. I had high hopes for earlier in the week. I went Tuesday afternoon, only to show up in time for a tornado drill. Ten minutes after my arrival on Wednesday, the fire alarm went off. It turns out a resident saw something on the wall that said “Pull.” So she followed instructions.
Today, I finally got my time to go and simply hang out. Recalling one of Mom’s well-liked shows from my childhood years, I took a DVD of The Waltons. We managed to watch an entire episode, while chuckling about the Baldwin sisters’ secret recipe and how Grandmother Walton always called her husband “Old Man.” Ahhh…quality time.