Friday, July 21, 2017

Too Many Regrets #FridayReflections

In some ways, my mother in law's life could be called "the one that got away".  But, in her case, it was the sum of some decisions that, with hindsight, weren't all that good, along with some "no one can look into the future, can they?"

For example, choosing not to get a survivors benefit on her husband's pension so that he could draw more money when he was alive.  He died two weeks after retiring.  Who could have predicted?  Well, he wasn't in the best of health, and retired for that reason to begin with.  His downhill slide was apparent.  Why did he leave his wife with no survivor's benefit?

Redecorating her house instead of saving her money for the future.  When her future came, she found she had spent money on the wrong things, things buyers had no interest in. And, sad but true, no one wanted her belongings. (That is true for many seniors in our society here in the United States, by the way.)

While she had health and money, deciding she was going to stay in her house, no matter what.  She waited too long and had to move away from her friends and many of her family members.  Fortunately, we live in an area much cheaper to live in.

But, worst of all, she didn't take heed of the future of her autistic son.  She made no plans for his future.  She refused to have him move into supported housing (placements were offered several times).    She didn't even discuss her wishes for him with her other children.   She just "assumed."

Now, her son is at the mercy of budget cuts and the good will of his siblings.

Did she not realize that her other children were not mind readers?

No, it wasn't just one thing that got away.  It was many things.  Her health (which she did try to preserve).  Her mobility (and she was far from a lazy person).  And now, in the end, her quality of life has suffered.  Her children, including her autistic son, worry about her.


I'm sure this future was the last thing she wanted.  Her future was the person who haunted her, the one that got away.

Join Sanch and other bloggers in #FridayReflections.  The prompt for this week is “Then I wondered if everybody has that person that haunts them, the one that got away.” ― Marlon James, A Brief History of Seven Killings. You can use the entire quote in your post or else as a theme for your post.


Friday, July 14, 2017

The Worry Plate

Have you ever heard of the Worry Plate?

We've been caregivers for my elderly mother in law.  Family members do shopping, taking to appointments, help her with her banking, and provide a lot of other help.

But now, my mother in law has fallen once too often.  It appears her days of independent living are nearly at an end.  On top of this, "Bil", my brother in law with autism (who has lived with her all his life), is apparently near the top of a housing list.  When his name reaches the top, he must take the placement, or lose his opportunity all together.

Bil must leave, but it is obvious that he is worrying about his mother's ability to be alone.  He's been skipping going to his day program recently, and it has been noticed.

At a meeting earlier in the week regarding Bil's progress in a program he attends twice a week and in another program he participates in, we were introduced to the concept of the "worry plate". Bil expressed concerns about cuts proposed by the government that will affect him.  "You can worry about your Mom", the director said.  "It is OK for that to be on your worry plate.  And you can worry about what living in a supported apartment will be like.  It is OK for that to be on your worry plate.  But you should not worry about the budget cuts.  There are people whose jobs are to worry about that. Get that off your worry plate."

I love the concept of the worry plate.

My mother in law is very much on our worry plates, which, right now, seem to be overflowing.

We are trying to educate ourselves regarding how to get the care we need and how to pay for it.  I know that in some countries, an elderly parent just moves in with children but in the United States, it is more complex than that.  We do not have extended families to help us out, either.

We are about to embark on a new stage of caregiving.  It has its own vocabulary, its own experts, its own practices.  We are embarking on a steep learning curve.

We've taken the first few steps.  We feel like we are drowning in air with all the information, and all the research and document gathering we will have to do.

We are like fish out of water.

"Fish out of water" - today's prompt for #FridayReflections.

Today I am joining Sanch Vee and other bloggers in #FridayReflections.  I hope you will, too.

One final note:  For several months I have been keeping a "once a week, Fridays" blogging schedule.  Due to time being taken because of this new turn in our lives, I may suspend writing posts for this blog, or post on an irregular schedule.

Wish us luck.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Mom Have You Eaten? #FridayReflectons

For Bil, my autistic brother in law, his mother, and us, it has not been the best 10 days.

My mother in law, Bil's mother, fell and hit her side and then her head.  Bil pulled the emergency cord in her apartment for her, but she wouldn't let the paramedics take her to the ER.  She didn't want Bil left alone because thunderstorms were threatening.

We ended up taking her, and Bil was so bored because he could not control the TV in the waiting room.  And, finally, he decided he wanted to be home after all.

A CT scan of mil's head was negative.  A stroke of luck.  It could have been so much worse.

When they asked my mother in law if she had hurt anything else, she said only "I am old. I hurt everywhere."  It turns out, after a second trip to the ER after she couldn't stand the pain any more, that she had broken her tailbone.  There was nothing to be done, only pain management.

But our mother in law has two other sons besides Bil, and both are very much in her life.  Another stroke of luck.

The next day was the Fourth of July, and Bil wanted to be at our house, where we were entertaining several other family members.  The plan was to have a BBQ and bring the leftovers (we made sure there were plenty of leftovers) to my mother in law's house.

When we took Bil home, Bil's first words to his mother were "have you eaten?"

Many people believe autistic people don't care about others in their lives. They are wrong.  We are lucky in another aspect - Bil is verbal, and is a great help to his mother.  How lucky.

But this is only a small part of the story.  There's a lot more, but I will blog about it more next week.

Wish us luck.

Linking with Sanch Vee and #FridayReflections.  Today's prompt:  Lucky.