Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Latest From Columbus, Georgia and My Mother

Please forgive me, my friends, for my long absence from cyberspace.  I try to catch up on all your wonderful blogs, partly as a way to stay grounded and less depressed in this difficult time, and because I miss everyone so much.  St. Francis Hospital has wi-fi but, it seemed as soon as I settled down for a moment to read or write while my mom dozed, a nurse would come in and need my help with something or it would be time to try to feed her again.

Mary Frances McGee Quinlan is better, I can say that.  On Friday, she was actually discharged from the intermediate cardiac care unit at St. Francis and her physicians deemed her fit enough to be driven to her assisted living and rehab facility near my brother's home in Atlanta.  When Charley arrived she knew that he was her son but she didn't remember her name.  Alternately during her hospitalization, she could identify that I was her daughter but she seldom knew my name.  During the drive, Charley reported that she was very quiet, asking on occasion, who he was and were they going home.  Once at Gwinnett Extended Care, she was so exhausted, she was just put to bed.  She is legally blind from macular degeneration so things, at best, are a little confusing for her. 

The facility, for this type of place, is actually very good.  My sister-in-law, who is also an R.N., used to work next door in the hospital, another reason we chose it.  With her medical problems, it is good to have acute care so close.  Also, she will have P.T. and speech therapy.  It isn't cheap - $6000/month.  For the first 90 days, Medicare pays, then she must exhaust all her own funds ( there go the CDs she put aside for my brother and I and her grandsons ), then Medicaid will cover.  The law now is that any assets must have been disposed of five years prior to admission to such a facility if you wish your heirs to have them.  My understanding is that this is the same in each state.  My mother was so upset about this when we discussed financial issues a year ago.  She wanted to take her CDs out then and give them to all the people involved but I explained that the state would come back to each person and demand the money back if she were admitted to a nursing home or extended care within the five year time frame.  She was despondent over this.  I guess it behooves us to be more aware of state laws regarding these issues.  The money is irrelative to us but it made my mother furious.

I have the task of clearing out her apartment and disposing of everything.  Fortunately, over the last few years, my mom has given us all her things of real value so it isn't so hard.  My two youngest sons, Alex and his fiancee, Laura, ( who is wearing my mother's diamond engagement ring as hers ) and Jeremy, and his girlfriend, Katie, will fly into Atlanta on Friday morning.  I'll pick them up at the airport and we'll visit mom and then drive to Columbus.  The boys wanted their ladies to see where they spent so many happy times and to visit my friends,
Beth and Luther, and to go out for catfish and hushpuppies one last time.  Saturday morning, my brother will drive down with a truck and the two hefty jocks will help their uncle load up any furniture he might want. 

The rest of the weekend, we'll spend visiting mother at the extended care and they'll see a little of Atlanta.  They fly back to San Francisco Sunday PM but I'll stay in Atlanta till March 10th.  I will be able to visit several times a  day with mother and spend time with my brother and his wife in their new home.   I am just so relieved that they moved back from their eight year sojourn in Florida this past December.  I have really had most of the responsibility mom's care since that time since Susan, my sister-in-law, has had to come to Atlanta once a month to oversee her own mother's care ( she was in a nursing home the whole time they lived in Florida! ). 

Another bright spot on the horizon is that I will see a friend of 51 years who was at boarding school with me in the 9th grade in Cullman, Alabama.  She lives in the Atlanta area and I haven't seen her since she and her husband came to the West Coast a few years ago to cruise the Pacific Northwest with us.  After the last ten days, I relish any bright spot.

I miss all of you and please continue your prayers for my mother and me.


  1. I wish you all the best, Carmen, many thanks for updating your blog to let us know the latest news.

  2. this is good news.......i heard it a few months ago that Obama is implementing some new medical insurance laws...i heard they were pretty helpful.....are they implemented by now?????

    it's great that you sons with their fiance and wifey are coming to help you.... :)

    it always great to meet friends...i haven't been to my home for almost a year....and my friends are always calling to come up for the festivals ......tomorrow is Holi here......festivals of colors in of my fav festivals damn .....i'm not with friends and family for it......on top of that....the state i live in right ..they don't celebrate it.....i don't even have a day off on tomorrow..... :(

    good thing..i don't have sit at home and miss my friends and family...i go office and engross my self in work......

    Happy Holi to you..... :)

  3. Hello Carmen, i see your mom is doing better and is moving into the extended care. i was wondering how she was doing..and how you are doing?

    sounds like you are getting along o.k.

    know you and your mom are in my thoughts and prayers

    sending love and support, my friend


  4. Oh man. I just e-mailed you with this ??? but I should have come here first. This is so hard for you. I am really sorry it is so difficult. It sounds like your Mom is aware enough of her surroundings to be unhappy and that must make it even harder on you.

    Is there anything I can do to help?

    You have my prayers and warm wishes.

    Could I send you some books or magazines?

    These times are so hard to get through.

    Keep your chin up!

    You are a wonderful daughter and an amazing person.

  5. Oh, Carmen, you and your mom have prayers from me. God's blessings to your family.

  6. Hope Mom continues to do well. You're right about people needing to realize that any assets will be going to care unless disposed of before time runs out. That is so important.
    I worked in Cullman for many years. Interesting that you were there once too.

  7. Carmen, I am glad she is better and that she is getting the care she needs. I'm also happy the boys are flying out there as well. You need them now. If there's anything I can do let me know and I look forward to you coming home. xoxo Jo

  8. My prayers go out to you and your Mom. I know this is a very difficult time in life for you, but I know you will keep your chin up!

  9. What a life this is when we are taking care of our beloved ones...
    be well dear Carmen-- and as patient as you are being now... Good you can take advantage of all this somehow and visit old friends...


  10. Anonymous3:06 PM

    Oh Carmen, this is heart breaking story. It reminds me of my old mother and her future!

    I'll keep the prayer going, and hope you're taking care of yourself..Miss you!

  11. Sending you much love and keeping you and your family in my heart and prayers.....:-) Hugs

  12. Take care of yourself Carm, I am glad that your Mom is our of the hospital and will be getting much needed therapy. I am sending up prayers for your ya, Elaine

  13. I took care of an elderly woman with dementia this week. Her son left as I was coming in the room to get her settled in. She looked up at me with confusion written on her face and asked, "Tell me, did I have a good day today?" When I responded yes, her next question was, "Did my son come to visit?" Oh how it broke my heart. And she's not even my mother. I'm sorry you're in the middle of all of this. I suppose it's inevitable. My mother in law cared for the older folks in the family over a period of about 30 years until the last one finally passed away at 100 years old. I fully expect that I will be her caretaker when it is her turn to need help.

    Care centers are ridiculously expensive :(. No two ways about that, but obviously there isn't a good alternative in this case. I will pray that she settles in easily and receives the care that she needs.

  14. Hello Carmen. I wish you all the best.
    My younger sister needs care.
    We must overcome various things.

  15. fullet -
    I so appreciate your good wishes. I tried to catch up on your blog which I have so much missed during this difficult time caring for my mom.

    hitesh rawat -
    I think it will be awhile before Obama accomplishes any real medical reform. Things are so chaotic in that regard. I am just glad my mother had the wherewithal to get the best care - though she will exhaust all her savings that she had intended for her children and grandchildren...we don't care about that as long as she is in a place that sees about her true
    comfort and well being.

    I will be so happy to see my two youngest, even for just two days and, even though my mom won't really recognize them, I appreciate their wanting to see her and have their special girls meet her, too. It means a lot to me, personally.

    My Farmhouse Kitchen -
    I can't wait for our rendevous on the Central will be good to see you and Chris and my forensic nursing buddies. I feel happy that my brother is really stepping up to the plate and that mother is in a good place.

    Jenny -
    Thanks for being such a dear. I couldn't concentrate on books right now. It's nice that I have dinner every night with my high school friend of 50 years - and his wife - and a couple who are their friends. Helps take my mind off things. Days are filled packing things up, going to Good Will, etc.

    Enchanted Oak -
    Now we have another catastrophic earthquake in Chile so my own problems seem insignificant in the scheme of things. We will all plod along with God's help.

    Margie -
    What did you do in Cullman? I spent a year only at Sacred Heart. Went there as a high school freshman on a scholarship, and also worked but, after the first year, it was just too expensive for me to stay. My dorm mate, who slept in the bed next to me was from Tuscaloosa, and I went home with her often. We have been friends for over 50 years and I still see her from time to time...she has lived in Atlanta most of our adult lives.

    Poetic Shutterbug -
    I miss you tons, Jo. When I get back, we must have breakfast, lunch, dinner or all three. Alex, Jeremy, Laura, and Katie arrive at 7:30AM Friday for two days. I am so happy they are mother won't recognize them, I don't think, but it means so much to mean that they'll be here. My friends here ( two couples ) love the Sony CD I gave each of them!

    Travelingjoan -
    It is a relief to have mom settled in a really good place but I feel very sad knowing that she may never recognize me or my brother again.

    Dulce -
    My friends, Beth and Luther, and their friends, Dale and Tommey ( now my friends, too ) have been so much help and support to me throughout this difficult time. I treasure them. We see each other every night for dinner.

  16. cy BC -
    I have just another week left till I return to CA. My two youngest sons and their girlfriends arrive Friday and I'll finally get to see mom in her new setting. We'll be here in Columbus overnight Friday, then at my brother's on Saturday...I'll stay there till I fly home on the 10th of March.

    Bernie -
    I need that love and many prayers still...keep it up, my friend.

    gleammartin -
    Hello, dear friend. It's hard being in the South and not getting to enjoy it...though I have eaten catfish several times, thanks to Beth and Luther. I miss my mom - haven't seen her now in almost a week..will pick Alex and Jeremy up Fri AM at the airport and go directly to Gwinnett Extended Care. Charley says she hasn't known him at all.

    Nurse Heidi -
    Well, you are certainly in a different health care setting than previously. How is all that going? It really is hard dealing with the elderly who cannot remember who their loved ones are. My brother says our mother is talking to HER mother who died when she was only 12! That is so sad since she seldom spoke to me about her mother. They were sharecroppers in rural Mississippi, with 13 children!!

    ruma2008 -
    It is probably even more difficult when dealing with younger ones who need care! One expects the elderly to be debilitated but it feels very sad when younger people face obstacles!

  17. Been there, done all that. I don't mean to be flip, only that I understand some of what is happening in your life now. Hang in there.