On Tuesday afternoon I spoke to mom and she was in a terrific mood. She and Connie had spent the day with Aunt Peppy (my mothers twin) and her daughter. I expected it would be difficult for the twins to see each other in a state of fragility, but they were just happy to be alive and together. On Wednesday morning mom seemed cheerful and was looking forward to a lunch with her companion Connie, my cousin Rosalie and her grandchildren. On Wednesday afternoon I received a hysterical phone call from mom informing me that Connie had packed her bags and left. I should mention that on Tueday morning at about 6:30, Connie called and left a message to say I needed to get my mother out of the kitchen. I am in NY, mom is in NJ, so it was unlikely that I would get there in time to be useful for whatever Connie needed. By the time I got the message it was 9:00am and when I returned the call my cousin Rosalie was already at my mothers and cleaning up a cooking mess. Mom had tried to make a cheese and noodle kugel but the dish was too heavy and she dropped it while taking it out of the oven. There were noodles, cheese and corn flakes covering the kitchen floor to ceiling and wall to wall. Rosalie assured me everything was fine and I need not get on a bus.
Flash to later on Tuesday when Connie called to report that her job was very difficult and she hoped I knew that. I did not tell her that watching TV, eating and driving mom to the doctors and hairdresser seemed to me to be no heavy lifting but I listened and was sympathetic. Flash back to the hysterical phone call on Wednesday afternoon. It seemed that when they were driving home from Rosalie’s, mom told Connie to take a left turn instead of a right turn. Yes, I would agree that is a criminal offense, so Connie flipped out. By the time they got home Connie was in a huff and mom went into the den to watch TV. Connie did not join her so mom went to look for her and saw that she was outside packing her car. Mom did not go outside to inquire about what Connie was doing and went back to the TV. About 10 minutes later mom went back outside and saw that Connie was gone. She just left. No goodbye, no nothing. Mom was incredibly shook up and I offered to come to NJ, but she insisted she would be alright. I told her not to worry I would be out first thing on Thursday and we would find someone who wasn’t a lunatic to be her companion. As it happened about 10 minutes after mom called, I got a call from a woman who I had wanted to hire early in the process but at that time she was committed to another person—not institutionalized. Now she was free.
I got to my mothers early on Thursday. She was still pretty shook up but managed to cook a pot of chicken soup the size of Miami. I saw that Connie had taken everything she owned but a hairdryer and two hairbrushes, which she better not be back for. In fact, she had made a flan on Tuesday (mom calls it a flam) and she took that as well. I thought a little distraction was in order so I took her for a ride to a car wash where you sit in the car while it is washing. During the vacuum part of the program, I told mom that I had found a wonderful new companion for her, she was not excited but was relieved. But I am only somewhat relieved. The idea of finding person after person is almost as appalling to me as it is to my mother. Part of the problem is that for all the years she needed help to take care of our house or my dad (who was totally disabled for 25 years before he died), she hired one person and they stayed with her. This has certainly been different.
As is often the case, I was blobbing vocally to the Claymeister or as we have called him on the blob, the Keywester, and he had some interesting ideas about the steps I should take if this au pair didn’t work out. I thought I might share them on the blob just in case anyone else needs some ideas. Here is what he said:
There are a number of Possible Solutions to Impossible Situations brought on by Unexpected Events
Your mother has enjoyed a very long life and has somewhat fulfilled her destiny. Now instead of resting on her laurels she is forced to rest on her ass. She walks with a cane, she cannot cook like she used too, she can’t drive, and has an addiction to watching Matlock and Judge Judy. Her medications have to be taken with a rigid discipline, which she tries to follow but sometimes forgets. Someone needs to monitor that as well as drive, cook, and clean. The list of responsibilities goes on and on.. What do you do? What should you do? What will you do?
The obvious remedies ie; hiring an au pair, two pair or even three pair never works out. Trying to convince her to voluntarily enter a constant care facility is impossible. Moving her into your house will probably cause your David to leave and yes no matter what he says it will come down to a simple "It's her or me?" So maybe it time to start "thinking out of the box."
Here are some suggestions, Start making anonymous phone calls to the local police station to report that she is involved with selling her prescription drugs to underage kids. Hire some kids to confess it's true and hopefully the courts will place her in the county jail. She will have a place to live, meals cooked for her and no worry about transportation.It may not be for a long time but it will give you some relief for a while and she will be more acceptable to moving into a nice cozy senior center once she gets out.
Move all her assets into your accounts. You never want her to have any money so you must slowly but constantly remind her that she is going broke and she never did have as much money as she thought she did.
In addition you can have her bank inform her that you have been embezzling her money and she shouldn't trust you anymore. That could create a situation where she might tell you that she does’'t want to see or hear from you again. That would be her choice you won't have any guilty feelings about cutting and running.
Light a Virtual Vigil Light and place it outside her balcony. That should have every homeless person in the area knocking on her door looking for a handout or a place to sleep. That might convince her it would be much safer in a senior home.
As a last resort you can have your husband inform her that you have suddenly passed away and he is moving out of state. Change your phone number and she will never know the difference. Contact the proper authorities of this situation and inform them she cannot be left alone, then it's up to them to figure out what to do with her. You’re off the hook.
Thinking out of the box might not be the last resort but I have a feeling that the saga will continue. We’re just sayin…