Medicaid Room at Last

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Just when it looked like we might have to move my mom to any place that had a Medicaid opening, no matter how close or far or bad or good, a bed came open for her in the facility where she already lived. I was seriously losing sleep over not knowing what we were going to do. I even bought a lottery ticket – an unusual move for me – because it was my one idea.

I’d read about people in places like New York, where housing is scarce, scanning the obituaries to try to get the first jump on newly vacant apartments. I always felt grateful not to have to resort to such measures, not to have to wish someone dead so I could have a place to live. Yeah, well, I went there. I knew the most likely way for Mom to get a Medicaid bed was for the current occupant to pass on. I’d find myself thinking “Please, please, let something open today.” Then I’d try to salve my conscience by amending the thought – “Um, because somebody’s kid got a job transfer and is moving their parent to the new city as well.” or “If it’s by someone dying, let it be somebody who is 100 or older.”

Then on a Monday a couple of weeks ago, the social worker called and said they had a room. I needed to come over the next day and facilitate the move. What a long day that was. I work a split shift on Tuesday. So I drove my son to school, worked 9-1,  drove over and moved my mother to another wing of the building, went back and picked up my son from school, delivered him to home and went back in to work from 5-9 p.m. But yay! My wishes fulfilled!

Even moving to a new wing is an adjustment of course. I think anything is at age 89. There’s a new roommate, a different set of nurses, a different dining room and meal companions. But the activities are the same and my mom knows the building pretty well. And it’s so much better than having to move to a completely different facility, or even a different town, which was a real possibility. My mom has questioned me a few times about why she’s in a different room. Once she said, “Was this my idea or their’s?” I explain it to her again, but I’m not sure she gets it completely. Well, who does get Medicaid rules completely? Not I.

There was a lot of paperwork and many phone calls involved in the switch, and I’m still afraid I’m about to curse it all by posting this. There’s a part of me that’s afraid I’m going to get  a call saying it was a mistake and she has to move out after all. Meantime, I’m working my way to the point where I breathe again. I haven’t seen the actual Medicaid approval yet. I think I’ll finally exhale when I get that.

I’ve developed a sort of obsession about my own finances and the desire not to go through the same things in my elder years. But I know there’s a lot you can’t control in life. My mom worked harder than anyone I’ve ever known, and was honest and spent her life helping others. But that seems to mean little in our society when it comes to getting the care you need in your old age. It’s more about how much money you have. I try to stay away from politics on this blog, but I will end this post by saying universal single-payer health care sure would make life better.

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