Posts Tagged ‘Mom and dad need help’

My Story – Part 5

Fast forward to February of 1999 when I had moved to Norman because of a promotion within the agency. My daughter would begin attending the University in the fall so by me living there; she was able to live at home. But currently, she was living with my mom to finish out high school. I received a frantic call from her one night saying that mom was lying in bed, barely breathing and her lips were blue! She was refusing to go to the hospital so I called a friend who lived nearby and told her to go over there and carry mom out if she had to, but to get her to the hospital. That is exactly what she had to do. The ER doctor called me hours later and said that when she arrived mom was near death and that her lungs had been permanently scarred from some yet-unknown interloper.

I made the two hour drive early the next morning and as I walked to her assigned room, a man in a trench coat stood outside her room. He identified himself and said he was a field marshal from the FBI. He then asked if we could speak for a moment since mom seemed to be out of it. Well, of course we could! **I don’t mind telling you I was scared to death** He asked me several questions about mom and said they had been watching the Pick-n-Pack for some time as it was a front for drug making business that seemed to set up every night and then be a regular store each day. They had done a background check on mother and found her to be an upstanding citizen somehow mixed up with these really bad people. He asked for some kind of information I knew mom would have in her purse so I went to get it and opened it up. There, in her purse, was a handgun. A handgun! Dad was the only shooter in our house – what the hell was she doing with a handgun?!?! He didn’t let me touch it and he took it away. He promised to meet me back at the hospital at 9:00 AM the next day with some news but to not let on to Shirley or anyone connected to them that anything was wrong. I cannot tell you how ridiculous I felt with all this high drama going on and I was helpless to stop it.

During my morning shower, the electricity went off. I looked out the back window and saw an electric person shutting it off. I thought it was for non-payment. When I offered to pay the bill, she said they had been notified by the owner that squatters had been living in the home and wanted to get them out by shutting off power. I told her that my father, who was dead, had built the home himself in 1958 and that was a helluva long distance phone call if he called them because mom was unconscious in the hospital. As we were talking the water guy drove up with the same story. Quickly, I figured out something was wrong and called the FBI man who told me this was most likely some kind of warning for mom and to leave the house right then.

I never learned what was up with the handgun, but whatever it was got them all three arrested with the sons going down for good in a 3 times your out count, but Shirley was let go because it was her first offense – the drug charges, not anything having to do with mom for she gave her money willingly. Although, they apparently WERE making crack or crank or something in the back that compromised mom’s health and so they considered her a victim. Another plus is that mom was a silent partner so her name wasn’t on anything………nothing she owned was seized and since she was the only one who owned anything of value, I am sure it would have all been taken and sold at FBI auction.

A certified letter came from the finance company saying they were going to take possession of the property if mom didn’t make some balloon payment in 60 days. I made a few calls to contacts I have in Norman, packed up what I could and when mom left the hospital, she came to subsidized senior apartments near my home. My daughter and I sold everything that wasn’t nailed down in the house and I made the two hour drive one more time several months later just in time to see my childhood home be auctioned off to the highest bidder. That was in 2000 and although she moved up here, she didn’t speak to me for months “because I couldn’t fix it”.

In 2004 the IRS man came calling. Seems mom didn’t pay any taxes on that $150,000 she gave to Shirley and they wanted their money with penalties and interest. While I was visiting her, she dropped the letter in my lap and said, if you can’t do anything, I guess I’ll just go to jail……..now we know where I got that martyr thing from, huh? I could have gotten an attorney, but I read all the material and they have advocates within the IRS who will assist you for free. Mom was still pretending like Shirley had done this to her and she was some nit-wit who didn’t understand what was happening. So, I made her sit down and write out exactly what had happened and when she got selective memory, I made her rewrite that portion. They agreed to a settlement of $800 which was much less than 10% of what was owed. I paid it. In the end, mom had no tax bill and a black and white version of her own participation in financially ruining her own life and although it WAS wrong of them to do it, mother is a college graduate and at some point should have listened to someone besides Shirley.

By 2010, mom was settled with a new life, daughter had a Master’s degree, a good job and a fiancé’ and I, after 21 years of being divorced, remarried and had my own new life. And then the STATE tax man came calling. 10 years after the fact. I’m sure you can imagine what the interest and penalties would have been on that bill. When I saw the letter, I just started crying. After all these years, I just wanted it to be over. My husband, who knew the fantastical story from beginning to end, said I had 2 weeks to work on it and then he was giving it back to mom and she could deal with it alone. I got an attorney, paid him $1,000 and applied for abatement for her, which she received. As far as I know, it is finally and mercifully over.

For those of you who have paid caregivers – this story and many others like it – are the exact reason in-home caregivers should not be treated as family. They are an employee and should be treated very well, but still treated as an employee. Once you begin depending on them, it gives them the power in the relationship. Sometimes that works great, but sometimes – as in our case – it does not.
So, my knowledge has come through education but also through practical experience. When a family member calls our office and complains that a paid caregiver from one of our contracted companies has violated the ethical standards set out for them when they were hired, I do a small investigation and if there is any truth at all to the accusation, I turn it over to the Inspector General’s office for thorough investigation. On the other hand, you will find no bigger champion in our state of the in-home caregiver. I have done everything within my power to ensure a livable wage for them even conducting a conference each year so they can learn new skills. There is even a Personal Care Assistant of the Year award with cash prizes. We made a professional video a year ago and put it on the internet so people could see and hear what they do and for how little they do it, but they should never cross the line…….

That’s the end and we will now return to our regularly scheduled programming — Just thought you would want to know where I learned what I learned. But, as an added bonus, please take a look at my new eBook that will be published within the next 24 hours at Amazon! I am very excited about it. This book is chock full of the nearly 20 years of experience I have and will help any person who doesn’t know the first thing to do when it comes time to begin Taking Care of Mom and Dad.

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