Another new reality

And another very hard, exhausting day. We had to say goodbye to our wonderful goddess Sharolyn this morning, the top-notch CNA (nurse’s aide) who has been taking care of The Commander every day of her hospital stay. They had become the best of buddies over those five days. This morning when I got down there a little after seven, the Commander’s door was shut. It turned out that The Comm had conspired with Sharolyn to get showered before I got there. Well, not quite, but you have to admire her for trying. I know I did!

We said goodbye because The Commander was discharged from the horspittal today and moved to a rehab facility. There are two excellent facilities to choose from and it was an excruciatingly hard decision. Both of them house rehab patients as well as long-term residents. One of them is a little bigger and fancier and is only a couple blocks from The Commander’s house. And the rehab patients have a wing more or less to themselves. The problem with that rehab facility is that The Commander has some difficult memories of it. Grandroobly stayed there for a few weeks after the folks down at the HF Hoosegow pieced his crushed pelvis back together. His rehabilitation was not successful. I have a slightly different take on that whole thing than The Commander, which is that my dad had pretty much given up and didn’t participate in the rehab process. I think that The Commander would be a successful rehab patient there. But she is of sound mind and I have to respect her wishes.

The other rehab facility is a part of our horspittal itself. It also houses both rehab patients and long-term residents but everyone is mixed together. It was a little scary for me to think about my highly intelligent, intellectually inquisitive mother eating dinner side by side with someone spitting their ice cream out (like a great aunt of mine would do when she reached the age of 100 or so). On the other hand, this rehab facility uses the same excellent team of therapists who worked with The Commander in the horspittal itself. Why go through a whole new evaluation? And it is only temporary, roight?

I felt so alone making that decision. Then the mean old grunchie old Grinch came along. We had planned a coffee date but I snagged him to tour the horspittal rehab with me. Heck, somebody besides me has to experience the concept of horspittal time, roight? I needed to make sure I was making, if not a perfect decision, at least something we could live with. Sharolyn herself took us over there and introduced us and the effervescent goddess Kathy toured us around (she even detected the Grinch’s profession, I’ll let you guess how ;-)). This wasn’t the poor old Grinch’s decision to make but I greatly appreciated having him *with* me, listening to me fuss around about it. Love you, you grunchy old cuzzint.

I decided the horspittal rehab would be okay and after talking to The Commander about it, I confirmed (with the goddess Alice) that we wanted the open bed there. The Grinch and I went to get our coffee and, when I got back, The Commander and Sharolyn had already gotten her packed up. And so we went. After we arrived, Joe and Kathy were orienting us to the facility and, when they explained that one of The Comm’s roommates is a silent wanderer who will sometimes wheel over and touch people on the leg to “check on them”, a light bulb came on. I have yet to meet this roommate but she has probably cared for children and grandchildren and others and maybe she is still a caretaker somewhere inside there. My heart kind of melted right then. The wanderers and the mumblers and the droolers and the ice-cream spitters are *people* that the world has kind of left behind. They deserve our kindness, compassion, and respect. I think that my mother will rise to the challenge of living with people who have bigger challenges than she has.

Nevertheless, I had to absolutely *fight* back tears all the way home. Make no mistake. This is not an easy journey and I am not particularly prepared for it. I don’t think there is an instruction manual for this. It can be helpful to hear of others’ experiences but I am going to guarantee you that there is no one on earth quite like The Commander. Or your mother, for that matter.

P.S. Beach walk in the late afternoon followed by an excellent dinner at Jeep and Pan’s. I needed that, as well as talk about their grandchildren. A new generation! Thanks, you guys! Love you.

3 Responses to “Another new reality”

  1. Uncly Uncle Says:

    Great bolg. There are indeed people in there somewhere.

  2. Margaret Says:

    This post made me weepy. Beautiful and heartful. *sniff* There are no easy decisions in any of this; we just do the best we can for those we love.

  3. l4827 Says:

    My moom and Dad moved into long care. He made some hard choices to do that. It was a very hard and an appropriate decision. I wish that I had been as supportive of him (and my moom) back then as you are now. There are a lot of us out here that relate to you.

    One nice thing is that the *bo-ats* still go up and down. Mouse-ears are my moom favorites, though, mid stack, Cliff’s Victory, is her all time favorite.

    We hoist one for The Comm, her family, and UP friends…….

    One long and two short.

    Maybe sometime this summer some, ‘hatins, Gin, a beach fire and a boat or two, eh?

    -West B.P_ers.