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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Informed decisions If you're "just tuning in" this post may leave you wondering what the heck I am rambling about, I hope you take the time to go back and review my earlier posts so you can catch up with our story. I very much appreciate your thoughts and comments.
For anyone who has been along for the whole wild ride - Thank you!

Informed decisions.....

I spent several hours researching Skilled Nursing Facilities so I could shut my mind down; get some sleep; and hopefully be prepared to make an informed decision – the right decision.  The only part I accomplished was the researching, which was extremely depressing.  I finally gave the research up for some socializing.  No, I didn't go out!

I spent some time chatting with a group of several friends that I had talked daily since shortly after becoming a caregiver for mom; online friends who have listened to my woes, been there when I needed to talk and probably saved my sanity at times.  With differences in our time zones, it was rare that at least one of them was not online.  It’s unfortunate that I will likely never have the pleasure of meeting some of the best friends I have ever had. 

It was also unfortunate that I couldn't shut my mind down; I didn't get any sleep; and I still didn't know what I was going to do.  My eyes were gritty when I arrived at the hospital.  I wondered if I looked as bad or as scared as I felt.

I had spent most of the night staring at my computer screen; searching for the best place for mom to rehab.  I was afraid, in her current condition, mom would no longer meet the criteria necessary to qualify for the inpatient rehabilitation; nobody told me that, I just let my mind conjure up the worst possible scenario and had run with it.  After hours of research and piles of notes, I was no closer than I had been the night before to making a decision.

This hadn't been the first time I had been charged with the task of looking for a rehab facility for mom; the last time hadn't worked out so well.  This time we were in a bigger city and there were a LOT more choices.  More choices didn't necessarily mean better choices; it just made things harder when it came to the research. This wasn't the first time I had spent endless hours researching numerous websites including (but certainly not limited to):, which in my opinion were less than helpful.

I knew I still needed to tour and investigate any facility I was considering; I didn't know how much time I had and I didn't feel any better about making the decision this time as I did last time.  I felt tears welling in my eyes as I stepped off the elevator and headed down the hall towards moms’ room.

I stopped at the ladies room to blow my nose and dry my eyes before continuing on to see mom.  I didn't want her to know how stressed I was feeling.  When I thought I could hold my emotions together, I screwed a smile on my face and walked around the corner in to moms’ room.  I stopped short when I saw the empty bed, freshly made and the housekeeper mopping the floor; my knees nearly buckled.

“You’re mom’s in the gym” the housekeeper smiled brilliantly and called me by name when she asked (as she always did), “How are you doing”?  At that second my brain registered that all of moms’ stuff was still in the room; obviously they hadn't shipped her off some place and most probably the bursitis had eased if mom was in therapy.  I thanked the housekeeper and went to find mom in the gym.

The gym was full when I went in and I scanned the room for mom.  She was across the room laying on a hot pack and attempting leg lifts; mom was doing much better with her “bad” leg than the good one.  Mom smiled and waved when she saw me walking towards her.  As I leaned down; gave her a kiss and said hello, I told mom I was surprised she was able to do therapy with as bad as she had been hurting the night before.

“Well, it still hurts but I can’t just lie around” mom started explaining, “it is not good for my lungs and I need to exercise my leg”.  I told mom I was aware of all that, I was just surprised, and pleased she was doing so well.  Mom smiled brightly, accepting the praise graciously.  The awesome therapist that had been working with mom piled on some more accolades as mom beamed.  “And, how are you doing” mom wanted to know.

“I’m really tired”, I admitted, “I hardly slept last night”.  Mom knew I was an insomniac, so she didn't ask why I hadn't slept; she just told me she was sorry.  “I was afraid they were going to boot you out of here and I spent most the night trying to figure out what we were going to do”  I was at the corner of irrationalization and irritation.

“We wouldn't do that!” the therapist almost giggled, “Why would you think that”?  Why had I jumped to that conclusion?  It only took a minute for me to remember;  The first time mom had been in rehab in our home town, I had been told when mom had entered the inpatient rehabilitation program that if “at any time” mom was unable to participate in the required amount of therapy (3 hours per day) for more than a day or two she would no longer be eligible and would have to be moved to a SNF.

The therapist assured me they would never "boot her out"; they knew how hard mom always worked.  “Even today, it was her choice” the therapist told me she had offered mom a free pass due to the bursitis; mom had insisted on going to therapy and promised to take it easy on the affected hip.  Mom looked at me like she was afraid I was going to rat her out about something.

The truth was I didn't need to rat mom out.  Anybody who knows her very well knows mom will push herself to her absolute limits (and sometimes beyond) to accomplish her goals; she’s a fighter.

Some of the other goals mom had set: getting back to Church; driving her car; being able to walk; etc., would come in time.  However, moms’ immediate goal was dangling like a carrot in front of a starving rabbit; she wanted to go home YESTERDAY!


“Hopefully we’ll be home by the end of the month”, “It could be sooner, maybe I can rehab at home”, “I don’t want to be gone any longer than we have to”, Mom had been quite vocal and very adamant the past couple of weeks about being home by the end of July.  There was no doubt in my mind that mom would push herself as much as she could to accomplish that goal; if it was at all possible, we would be home by the end of the month!

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