A couple of weeks after a heart-to-heart with my niece about how frustrated we both are with the current Mom-care situation, my sister called and left a message on my cell phone -- I only just noticed the light flashing as the call went to voicemail.
She sounded horrible, and told me that we really needed to get together and talk about the situation with Mom. My stomach tightened up, so I grabbed some stuff (water bottle, pad, pen, plush doggie, phone), dumped them in the conference room, went to the bathroom, came back and returned her call.
Oh. My. God.
My sister, niece and I are pretty much all on the same page about this. We're sick of it. My niece has watched my mother be royally obnoxious to my sister and my brother. I've watched my mother basically wait around to die while having us attend her. She's not doing her vocal exercises. She's not wearing her Life Alert necklace, which should be on her person at all times -- it can even be worn in the shower. She sits and watches TV, cooks a little, does laundy and occasionally goes shopping. That's it.
There's a little place in Chinatown/the International District that does daycare for people much less able than my mother. They have a tea service, teach Tai-Chi, have workshops for various hobbies, do fieldtrips both in and out of town. Shit, both my sister and I agreed that we'd like to go. My mother went once, a few weekends ago and said that she'd liked it, that they'd been very nice. So, my sister was working to sign her up for a year's membership, getting it set so that the Access bus would come and pick her up. This would take some of the strain off my brother, who is now complaining about tonsil problems (evidentally, nobody wants to yank them out of an adult). Once our mother figured out what my sister was planning, she damn near rushed her. My sister actually thought our mother was planning to hit her, she came at my sister so fast. All of the sudden, she started ranting about how nosey these people were, how they wouldn't leave her alone. She pulled a 180 within about four mintues of having said that she'd liked the place. My sister was livid for the rest of the weekend, and our mother hid near my niece for the rest of the time.
There's been other stuff, but she's bascially being a stubborn little bitch about this. Fortunately for her, she raised a couple of stubborn bitches and put us in charge of her care. Now, thankfully, we have pretty much full immediate family support for plotting against our mother. We're going to try to make her get well, whether she wants to or not. The plan, sketchilly:
- I'll be given a copy of the document which says that I have main Power of Attorney, so that maybe I'll actually get a response from Mom's doctor when I next call to ask about her progress.
- My sister found a woman whose mother does home care for people who need it. If we can get her sit with Mom for even four hours a day for a couple of days out of the week, we can switch off with the Chinatown place and take care of the majority of her care during the day.
- Our brother can visit daily, a few hours out of each day, to do additional stuff for Mom. This wil free him up to be able to go to the gym and see his friends. There's also talk of seeing if he's willing to move in with Mom (free rent vs. living with a harpy. hmm) once his housing situation ends.
- My niece and I can drop by in the evenings after work for a couple of hours, switching off nights like we currently do. However, we won't sleep over, and I won't have to drag a suitcase along with me on the bus.
- My sister will continue to pick Mom up on Friday and keep her through Saturday night, but will take back Sunday as her day to prepare for work.
- Mom will just have to suck it up, wear the Life Alert necklace, do her exercises and go where we tell her. If she gets mad, maybe she'll learn to type or something so that she'll actually work towards the independence she claims to want.
I'm hoping that all of this is taken care of and tidy before I go to California in May. Mom's going to go ballistic, but ... well, maybe that'll get her off her ass.