Posts Tagged ‘Dealing with older parental issues’

My Story – Part 1

20 years ago, I moved back to my childhood home. I had great career in Denver at the time but when my nana, the matriarch of our family, called me one afternoon saying the doctors were discussing placing dad in a nursing home she told me to come home immediately – and I went. I took a leave of absence for the summer, packed up my belongings and began the long trip south. It was about 3:00 AM the Sunday morning of Memorial Day weekend in 1992 when I pulled into the driveway and as I turned off the car, it dawned on me that I would not be leaving at the end of the summer or for a very long time. I was 29-years-old with a 12-year-old daughter, two college degrees, and one very sick father.

Mother, Dad, and Me – 1982

My parents were both widowed when they met and married. He was 21 years older than her and I was 3-years-old. Dad adopted me when I was old enough to ask him to but he was always my dad. He and his first wife couldn’t have children and when she passed away, he thought he would go through life childless. Then he met my mom and me – I became the apple of his eye in true southern daddy/daughter style. Dad had already established himself in his career and even though it wasn’t the norm at the time, so had my mom. Both had careers and I would be their only child. I was blessed with horses, dance lessons, private schools, and music – voice and instrument lessons. We lived on a ranch with a farm about 100 miles away so I had lots of chores too. Those taught me responsibility and obligation. When I came home, it was with the feeling that dad had taken me in when he didn’t have to offering me a life I would have never known otherwise and I wanted to repay that kindness by taking care of him in his time of need.

I had been home a few months earlier and I completely ignored the fact that dad was in declining health and things were falling apart at the house. Mom was still working at a career she loved and I just kept my blinders on convincing myself that I had just come home at a difficult time and things would be just fine. Of course it wasn’t and it just got worse. Dad had several mini-strokes called trans ischemic attacks. His gait was becoming very unsteady and not long after I returned home, he became pretty much bedfast. Dad had always taken care of everything financially and physically around the house so when his health declined mom didn’t know what to do so she basically ignored it. By the time I got there, things were pretty rough all the way around.

Dad had Medicare and private insurance but after several long hospital stays, a few surgeries, and monthly medications and physician visits, his retirement was fairly depleted. The first week I was home, a bill came to the house from the hospital for his last 16 day stay. When I opened the bill, my eyes scanned down to the part that read: your portion of the bill is. I thought there was a typo or mistake or something! I had to sit down. I had to think. How in the hell was this bill going to get paid? My parent’s portion of the bill far exceeded the cash in the bank. So, I called and asked for a detailed bill so I could analyze it myself. Two weeks later, a box arrived that was 9 inches high and 12 inches wide. It was full. I read every single line of that bill and there was no mistake, the billing was correct and so was the payment from Medicare and private insurance.

When mom got home from work, I brought up the subject of the bill and how we might pay it. Mother starred at me a moment and glibly said, “Well, I can’t worry about that now”. And that was that. She went into the bedroom to visit with dad before dinner. When she came out, I told her we could not ignore this bill and we had to make a plan to which she replied that I was welcome to do whatever I wanted but she was not going to deal with it. This was my first glimpse of mom as a person and not just my mom.

**Not My Mom***

In my next post, I will tell you what I did to get that bill paid – exactly two months before he went into the hospital again. Until next time, thank you for reading….Kellidd

%d bloggers like this: