living the life of riley

Mom’s not quite ready for hospice yet; it is, apparently, especially tricky to predict how much time a person with emphysema might have left. I checked the doctors’ notes in her chart (I’m now legally her agent for health care, and I’ve got financial power of attorney as well) and every doctor confirms that she is now in end-stage emphysema with related heart complications. And there’s no question that she needs 24-hour nursing care which means, in other words, a nursing home.

But here’s where the GOOD news comes in: Thursday I moved her to St. Therese Care Center in New Hope, which is about a 5-10 minute drive from our house!!!! She loves it there already. Yesterday morning, when the social worker called to give me mom’s new phone number, she mentioned that mom was at rosary and fitting in on the unit very well. And today on the phone, my mom was gloating about going to Happy Hour yesterday afternoon–which turned out to include wine (between the availability of wine and the rosary in the morning, you’ve probably guessed the place is run by Catholics–Benedictines, to be specific) and a sing-along, two of my mom’s favorite things. Apparently she is living the life of Riley now, and reveling in every minute.

And as for me, although I’m still worried about her diagnosis, I’m so relieved she’s out of that other nursing home–the one where they took her into breakfast without hooking up her oxygen (oh, did I do some yelling when I found out about that). I really worried about the level of care she was getting there. And there was really no mental or social stimulation at the place.

St. Therese appears to be exactly the opposite. I know they have a stellar reputation, and what still amazes me is that they happened to have an opening and that they actually take Medical Assistance, Yay!!!! I didn’t dare hope I could find such a nice place for her to stay long-term. They also have a terrific Palliative/Hospice Care Unit, but please God, not for a while yet…

I’m hoping to make it to Happy Hour next Friday myself! (Family IS invited!)

I’m now the keeper of all our family photos, and I found a portrait of my mom when she was in her mid-twenties. Wasn’t she a looker?

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2 thoughts on “living the life of riley

  1. What a beautiful picture of a beautiful young woman! Yes, take care of the details for those “final things.” Best to do that when your mom is able to let you know her preferences.And then, let go of that and let your mom live her life for as long as God gives her. In a new and more hospitable environment, she may live longer than anyone, including the doctors, expect. Just the small change you are seeing in her enthusiasm ought to tell you that we live, and die, when it is our time for each. May her days remaining, however long or short, be happy ones, and may you be blessed with the knowledge that you have made her last leg of her journey so much better for her.Prayers for you both.Jane

  2. Barb, I’m so happy your Mom is in a place where you both feel comfortable. That is a great picture of her. Also that was a neat post about the holocaust and your dad. Thanks for posting the pictures. I check in here from time to time and I’m glad to see you’ve been posting more lately. :)Missy

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