The meeting with my wife's agency went well. Again, no need for details - the short version is that we'll be able to manage his finances and stay well within the ethical guidelines. Beyond that, there was a measure of human feeling - genuine compassion - that was refreshing, maybe because there was so little compassion to be found in the private sector. Over there it was supervisors you'd thought of as friends suddenly telling you not to communicate so much about your father's situation because "you're really just advertising your lack of availability." Here, by contrast, there was a recognition that something really awful is going on, and the important thing is to help. Just something to keep in mind the next time someone tells you about evil faceless government bureaucrats, and why the private sector is the only solution to all the world's problems.
Coming out of the meeting, I suddenly realized that the last barrier had been removed, and I was now free and clear to go ahead with the nursing home application.
My reaction was to fall into a state of paralyzed depression and stay there for nearly a week.
I should have seen it coming but didn't. It seems obvious in retrospect that for months, the whole nursing home project has been an abstraction. True, there were a lot of tasks - research and meetings and nursing home visits and such - but I wasn't committed to anything. I could have backed out at any point, because I wasn't actually sending him to a nursing home.
Now I am.
Of course, you know how it goes. There's the moment of sheer overwhelmedness, and then you start the first task, and suddenly it's not overwhelming, it's just a series of tasks and you do them in order and it gets done. I'm trying to get to that stage. Monday I contacted the Maryland elderlawyer to sort ot a couple of questions about how the accounts need to be arranged. I managed to drag that out into Tuesday.
Wednesday I went to the Nursing Home 4 website and printed out their application form and filled it out. It's not very long or elaborate - the more difficult things, like the medical review, happen on the back end. But I managed to stretch out the work through the day - with a couple of extra elderlawyer questions thrown in for good measure.
Today, the application is in its envelope. It's not going to the nursing home yet - it needs to go to the lawyer for review. But at least it'll be in the mail.
Then there's the matter of his cats. I need to place them, and I'm not sure where, and I'm not happy about placing them, because when I do that, it really means breaking up the family. I've mentioned this before but I've really been in denial about it. Today, finally, I sent a picture of one of them - my favorite - to a friend who lives nearby, in the hope that he and his fiancee can take her. My next move will be to the shelter in New York to see if they can set up a placement, either in New York or Washington. Washington would be best, because then I can take them over for visits occasionally, assuming someone is willing to agree to an open adoption...
At least it's a start.
I admit I'm moving too slowly. And it's possible the process will bog down, and it'll take months to get all this accomplished. But I don't think it's going to play out that way. I keep coming back to the piece of intelligence I got from D, the Maryland care manager, to the effect that Nursing Home 4 has vacancies, and is taking Medicaid patients right out of the gate. If so, then what's going to happen is this: I'll send the application over, probably next week, and they'll ask me what day I want to show up, and I'll pick a date, and then I'll get sucked into this enormous get-him-to-the-nursing-home-and-shut-down-the-apartment vortex. If so, these are my last few moments of (uneasy) calm.
But at least I'm shifting a couple of inches closer to the edge.
However inefficient it's been so far, I get the sense that I'm coming out of my paralysis. I can even admit that, yes, now it's real. If so, that means more frequent updates, soon. Stay in touch.