Yesterday we went to see my aunt and uncle again and this time she was much more coherent and could speak, she even understood who we were when we told her (but she didn’t without our having to tell her). Worse, her short term memory was horribly compromised. She’d forget who we were within a few minutes and have to ask us again.
Finally she got a little more lucid toward the end when she asked my mother to move back out to California to be with them. It makes me wonder how much her medications were affecting her, because clearly there was marked improvement over the 24 hours between our two visits.
Conversely, Uncle Mac didn’t seem as cognizant today as he was yesterday. He didn’t recognize me yesterday (which broke my heart), and he seemed overly concerned with things like his catheter bag (which he didn’t seem to understand why it was attached to his body).
It was extremely sad.
Timothy took his guitar because he had promised my uncle, who used to play, that he would play for him. He played for both of them and they seemed to really enjoy it.
And oddly, though I held so much resentment in my heart for a very very long time over things that my aunt had done – this trip has been cathartic in that I’ve been able to release all that negative stuff and feel nothing but compassion and love for her.
It’s impossible to hate someone who is that degenerated and feeble and vulnerable. There’s almost the instant instinct to protect them and care for them.
It just goes to show that you’re never too old to learn new things about yourself.
Tim has been so fantastic – so patient and loving and helpful – I’m going to reward him with a trip to Hollywood on Tuesday. He wants to check out Kat Von D’s tattoo shop. We can’t afford an actual tattoo (there’s a $200 minimum) but he can get a t-shirt or something (I’m getting a shot glass).
I’ve never walked the Walk of Fame or gone to Mann’s Chinese Theater, so it’ll be cool to check out all the weird wonderful spectacle of Hollywood with my kiddo. Hopefully we can hook up with my LA friends that night and just have a day away from the craziness to decompress.
Tomorrow is going to be some nuts and bolts business with the grandkids who got in late yesterday. We need to sit down with the doctors and find out what’s what and what needs to be done to help protect my aunt and uncle’s interests (like paying their bills etc), and how we’re going to actually pay for all the care they’re receiving.
One thing is certain – it’s a good thing for “socialized” medicine. If someone gets to be that old in that condition they can be cared for by the state/Medicare for their care if they are destitute and cannot pay for their care.
At $170 a day (per person), very few of us can.
Why we as Americans fight against this safety net becoming more universal for folks before they get to this point is BEYOND me.
I’m learning a lot from all this and I will pass these lessons along. Lesson Number One: Don’t wait till your family gets into this situation to have a plan in place.
Talk to your family about your wishes as well as understand what theirs are. Get it out there, take the time to get legal precautions in place like Power of Attorney while you’re still lucid enough to make these choices.
Otherwise they get made for you.
Lesson Two: Go see your relatives if they’re in a care facility. It’s pretty sad when there were only about fifteen signatures between where I signed us in on Friday and where I signed us in on Saturday.
Those folks are so lonely it’ll break your heart.
Off now to do some laundry and meet up with one of my mother’s friends in South Bay for dinner. Then another visit with my aunt and uncle.