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May 5, 2013: Working as a Team

All the while, I’ve been extremely careful, trying hard not to say anything that will result in my mother or me getting in a row. I’m very good at punching the wrong buttons – I have been doing it all my life. And like most people, I like to do what I do so well. But I am trying to change my ways because I know what the long term consequence might be, that is, my living a life of regret once mother passes.

At the same time, I don’t want mom to die while on my watch. Yes, she’s physically very strong – like ox – but well, her seizures previously came out of the blue, and could happen again. And maybe, just maybe, I really do care

about her. It’s hard to say. No time for introspection here. Time, again to deal.

Now, this time, a visit, we thought, from a Providence Hospital social worker. We were all nervous, because we weren’t sure what the reason for this visit might be. We suspected that this woman was going to attempt to determine if mother should stay where she was, or be moved to an assisted living facility.

So there we three sat, in the Basilica lobby, waiting for the first visitor to the new place. Finally, a woman appeared at the door. She had a Providence Hospital tag, so we knew it was her. I opened the door, let her in. We then all introduced ourselves to Andrea, who as it turned out is a Providence Hospital nurse.

Andrea, wearing a white short sleeved shirt, and dress slacks, appeared to me to be a bit gaunt – looked like she could use a good meal. She appeared to me in her mid-thirties—she had frown lines at the corner of her mouth that disappeared when she smiled.

I had previously told Mom to remain as quiet as possible – this, I said, is the best thing to do in such instances, adding that “the more you say, the more they have on you. And the more they have on you, the more reason they have to do things that you want to don’t to do, like recommend that you be relocated.”

We went upstairs – Andrea, Eleanor, and I sat on the sofa. And Mom sat across from Andrea, on the chair. Andrea then took out her computer and began asking Mom home safety and medical questions. El, who was sitting next to her, resumed sorting medications into a new pill box. I sat on the outskirts, listening.

I at first, admittedly, was on the defensive. However, as the “conversation” continued, I began to think that this wasn’t an interrogation, but rather, a visit in which Andrea was attempting to determine what services Providence Hospital might provide to mom.

I say “began to think” because I never did fully become convinced of this. For, quite obviously, if Andrea saw that something was radically amiss, she would blow the whistle. Eleanor, I think, felt the same way. Mother was just eager to provide the right information.

Mom and El worked well as a team. They had their paper work in order, and provided detailed information about mom’s condition, prior to and after her being admitted to the hospital. Some of this information was in a manila folder that was on the coffee table.

Mom had what I thought was one particularly damning statement – she said that at her last doctor visit, which was the end of the day, that the doctor was eager to get the visit over with. Hearing this, I put my finger to my lips, indicating to mom that she should remain quiet. Too late, Andrea typed something into her computer, and moved on.

The visit culminated with Andrea saying that she was going to recommend that mom have occupational and physical therapists pay her a visit – this in the next few weeks. It was then that I realized something very important. This was that Providence Hospital was offering services that in the long run will better enable mom to live on her own, and as well, make for less work for Eleanor. It was for this reason that after the visit, I was very upbeat and positive about all this. And I was – I mean, how cool is this? That if you have Medicare and Medicaid, that in your later years, you can receive free and much-needed health services.

I was also pleased with the fact that in this instance, mother and daughters worked well as a team. My role, I determined (at least in this instance), was to simply put a positive spin on things. And this is what I did. Amazingly, for the first time ever, I felt like we were family.

Next: 126: 5/6/13: Homeward Bound