Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What money can't buy

Today, my father-in-law is supposed to be discharged from the hospital.  He is going to a nursing home where he will have a private room.  None of us, including the doctors and social worker, think that he should come home.  This is reality, but it is still difficult.

Yesterday, we put together clothes for him.  The clothes included the new ones that he got for Christmas.  It was just a little over a month ago that he was here, opening his presents, having a good meal, and sharing Christmas with us.  He seemed happy.  We added his new robe to the pile of clothes--the one that he got for his birthday on January 15.  Something happened between the time we gave him these things and now.

I talked to a lady after the meeting last night.  She said that her father went crazy after recent surgery, hitting his son, spitting on her, screaming and throwing things.  He is now in restraints and is wearing a face mask at a local hospital.  She said, "This isn't my dad. What happened?".  I don't know really.  What I think is that parts of the brain are dying, and the circuitry that is left isn't really enough to sustain what used to be a sociable person.

I have learned that money talks in all of this. It is all about money.  The nursing home manager wanted to know whether there was enough money for him to have a private room and for his wife to have her 24 hour a day caregivers at home.  Is this something that is any of her business?  I don't know.  I simply said "Yes.".  She was sure there was a great room for him then.

The bank manager was suspicious of my wife when she went to inquire about how much her dad had withdrawn when he escaped with the car the other afternoon.  She was told that he did not want her to have access to any of his accounts.  C. said she felt like a criminal but bravely produced the durable POA.  The bank manager then asked her a lot of questions about what happened and how he seemed so nice the other afternoon, just before he came home and went crazy.  None of her business, but C. answered as best she could: "I don't know really. He just went berserk. Maybe dementia or Alzheimer's. We don't know."

We left the bank knowing that we had to find the money he withdrew and deposit it back in the bank.  Eventually, we found it--a fat stack of $100 dollar bills.  What was he planning to do with it?  It was enough to pay for one month in the nursing home or go on a nice cruise to the Mediterranean.  I don't know.

There is so much that we don't know right now.  What we do know is that he will be in a safe place, have a nice room, be well taken care of, have clothes and food.  But he won't be with his family.  Money can't buy that.


  1. Oh god, Syd. I don't want to live that long.

  2. Syd, My love and prayers are with you. Make a little "book" of memories to replay of all the wonderful things you and your wife have provided for your in-laws. Life changes but we sometimes feel guilty that we can't provide perfection. This is the best for your father-in-law now. Because he sounds miserable may not mean he is miserable. He may never be the same person he was. Celebrate his good times.

  3. Ugh, so sad. I am so sorry you are going through all of this. I have a woman who rolled up hundred dollar bills and stuck them in her socks, her underwear, her bra. When I undressed her for her shower all of this money fell out from everywhere. Who knows what they are equals security for a lot of people. I am praying for you and C and the papa too.

  4. Your FIL can't be with his family, but his family can come and be with him (in manageable doses). It is sad, though, isn't it?

    It does sound like something went wrong with the brain - maybe a TIA (mini-stroke)? I hope you find some answers, but even if you don't, your wife and you are doing the things necessary to look after her dad.

    Wishing you patience and good humour - they will get a person through a lot in life.

  5. This experience has to be draining on all of you. God bless you and your strength.

  6. Sounds like a very difficult situation for your wife and you. Glad you both have the program to be there for you during these times.

    Recently when going to the Dr. they wanted to know information about finances that I left blank on the questionnaire. Alanon teaches me the 2 second rule I don't have to answer right away.

  7. hard decisions man but hopefully he can get the care he needs...def remember the good times...

  8. I can sense your grief, Syd - - - the grief of watching someone very elderly gradually lose his lucidity and sensitivity. He is not the same man you once knew, I'm sure.

    All the proper things seem to have been done; however, a family can never feel good about such a final decision - as to exclude an individual from the family unit - even if it is for security for him and for all concerned.

    The guilt may rise - - - but if you can remember to 'screw guilt' the outcome may be a bit more acceptable. My opinion of all this is that you all have loved this old gentleman enough to overlook his seeming dementia with the raging, and do for him what he is not able to do for himself, or for his wife.

    He's safe, clean, warm, cared for, and worrying only means that there is not enough prayer; when one prays, one needs not to worry. All the footwork has been done. Now, it's time for God to step in and assist the professionals caring for him.

    My heart aches for you and for C. I have placed all of you in my God box, and include you in my evening prayers.

    Anonumous #1

  9. Oh Syd, my heart breaks for you and your family. I had a very difficult time with my mother, and can relate so much to what you are sharing. Do your best to take care of yourself. I also hope that C. can find a way to find some comfort. Sending only good thoughts to the both of you.

  10. Hi Syd,

    I think you just stated the most probable explanation for what your father in law is experiencing. I know that nursing homes are sad places no matter how nice they are. I am glad to hear that C has a durable power of attorney. You all did just the right things. You are once again powerless over this situation.

  11. Syd, my heart is breaking for C. and for you. I think I can feel some of your pain. My father has asked me to dissociate myself from my brother in order to keep a relationship with him. This doesn't sound like my father, at all. But there you have it. My heart breaks.

  12. My Aunts mother-in-law lived to be 99 the last few months she did some crazy stuff. After she died we found out they had mixed two medication together that had a reaction.

    Just a thought.

    I feel for you. It is good he will be cared for and you will be there to check on him.

  13. Visit often. (I know you will) Even the best of nursing homes sometimes "forget" to check on people, give meds, etc

    As for the question from the nurse, they do an assessment of a person's social support. That would include his wife, and all family. Just another form they have to fill out really. Now the bank manager..I don't know what his excuse was!

    Take care, Syd. I hope you can get out to your boat soon.

  14. Take care Syd. Sounds like a difficult time for all.

  15. Syd,
    My mother went to live in a nursing home 3 years ago and has almost never been happier. When she was at home with us she was extremely unhappy and anxious, sometimes frightened and disoriented. We would have saved a lot of money by keeping her at home, but we couldn't give her what she gets at the nursing home - being with her peer group and almost always having someone to talk to and something to do. It's not the best place to be, but it's not the worst. Perhaps in time you will be able to take your father-in-law out for visits. Also, if there is any chance that your in-laws will spend down all of their money, consult with an attorney now about applying for medical assistance to protect your liability.
    God bless, Syd. I've enjoyed reading your blog and it has been very helpful over the past few years. I hope that things improve with your father-in-law.

  16. Wow... it really does sound like something big just suddenly went wrong in his brain. It is so hard to keep acting lovingly to someone who is NOT being loving or responsive to you. (HEY!... that sounds a lot like loving a practicing alcoholic! ;)
    Hang in there!
    Much love to you & C.

  17. My heart goes out to you and C. That has to be so difficult.

    It helps me to visualize the person I love, wrap them in a blanket, and hand them over to their Higher Power.

    Keeping you and your family in my prayers.

  18. Syd, I can't imagine what you are all gong through. Every situation is so different. Just please know that you are precious to me and many others.

  19. I have learned to love someone who suffers from a cunning, baffling and powerful disease...and this situation is equal to addiction. You are loving someone who is suffering from something neither of you has power over. Bless you both for doing the next right thing.

  20. '... a part of the brain dying...'
    sometimes we do turn sudden corners that may not be able to be undone...
    However keep in today, with prayers and turning it over- Thanks for sharing.

  21. The one thing I have learned from people in your families situation Syd is that you have to just accept things as they are now and not as they were when everything was OK.

    My wife works in an ALF and to me it seems that is all they care for is the money, draining it all and then moving your loved one to a medicare facility.

    I do have one suggestion for you though, watch the caregiver s and see how they interact with other cients when they think you are not looking. that is how they will be interacting with you FiL. That and leave nothing of any value with him...the place my works at is very reputable but lately some rigs and watches and other valuables have been coming up missing including one poor woman's wedding band off her finger while she slept.

    Tough times for you and C but you have learned how to be tough when you have to be. His primary care taker is still you two.

  22. I just want you to know that you're loved, my friend. I'm praying for you and C, for her parents and for the caregivers hadnling your situation.

    I hate this for you, but at the same time I know you can handle this and help C and her folks. God is with you all, never forget that.

    Be well...

  23. My good thoughts are w/ you and your family. This is never ever easy for anyone...never. You've hit the nail on the head though, He is safe and taken care of. This is the best for now. Blessings.

  24. Syd, I am so sad to hear this news. My Memaw passed away last Friday from complications from Alzheimer's Disease. She had remained static for years and then, BAM! She started hitting and kicking and cussing. This person was not my dignified ladylike Memaw. You and your family will be in my prayers.



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