Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A new dance

I have a suspicion that I'll be retiring this blog this year. No, it's not that I expect my mother's journey to end, but rather, it seems my fulltime caregiving will transition to a different relationship as I've decided to find a facility into which Barbs can be moved.

This choice is not made easily, rather, it's made upon reflection on my life. It is clear to me that I'm getting all the help I'm going to from my sibling, leaving me toting some heavy bags. It is also clear to me that my needs, professional, personal and medical are getting very short shrift in this set up. This is not unusual in this setting but I don't like it and have determined that I have to stop it. (Of course, going to the doctor and hearing that my unmanaged condition needs to be managed, might have helped with that particular epiphany.) And finally, I've realized that there is no way for me to go back to work any time soon while giving care of any kind. It simply isn't possible. I've tried it and ended up experiencing severe dizzy spells within two weeks of starting the job. Not good.

Having finally realized these things (you would think I'd have figured some of this stuff sooner), my new plan of action is to put myself first. I finally got the memo that no one else would. It's time for me to be emancipated. The last thing I want or need, is to be sacrificed on the altar of caregiving. There is no coming back from being a sacrificial lamb, not so far as I know at any rate. If there is, I don't know what it is and I'd rather not find out later that there really isn't a way back. Who knows what will apply 'later'? Will I be physically well enough to work at the level that I want to work at? Will I be mentally agile enough to work at the level I prefer to work at? The time is now. I'm fresh, I'm able, I'm healthy, I'm making a move.

One other thing: my housing advisor, the young woman who is providing us with housing options to review, was quite surprised when I advised her that Barbs had an LTC plan. We had already talked about her age, so Katie (the advisor), knew that Mummy is in her upper 70s. It's fairly rare for someone that age to have such a policy. I know. I've seen the uptake rates on LTC policies and they ain't good generally (less than 3%). So once again I say, beating my old drum, go get you some LTC coverage. Yes, the policies have lifetime maximums; yes, the older you are the more expensive the premium; yes, it's possible that you'll pay for the policy and never need it, but there's also a possibility that you will. If you do take that fall, you want there to be something to cushion your landing. Trust me on that. In Mummy's case, the premium was less than $200 per month. The coverage pays just shy of $200 A DAY for residential care. You do the math. That policy, makes it possible for me to make the decision to get Mummy into care and get myself back into the mainstream of life. That LTC policy is my 'Get out of Jail Free' card.

So there you have it. I'll write and report on the quest for acceptable digs for Mummy. I have to say that when this year started, this is NOT where I expected it to go, but when the music changes, you either change your dance steps or get run over on the dance floor.

It's time for a new dance my friends. Time for a new dance.


  1. I don't have the opportunity to read all your blog entries, but when I do, I am moved as I am drawn into your world. This one in particular was especially powerful and I felt the salty tears as they streamed down my cheek. This walk is not an easy one, but may God carry you through to the end of this journey and beyond.