Sunday, December 31, 2023

Death of a Loved One: Crossroads & Lifelong Scar

So many have come and gone since the deaths of my husband and then my mother as I look at a calendar. 

Husband in January 2011 and mother in January 2014.  

Moving into this "holiday time" with memories of loss of loved ones brings tears and laughter.

Changes, differences, accomplishments and achievements, positive and negative... it's life as it was becoming, life as it was lived before, and eventually years after, both were no longer living and with our family.

My Blog has captured a thimblefull of the waterfall of life experiences and many challenges that seemed to be insurmountable.

We faced each one, my daughter and I, rowing the life-boat through one wave after another that started small and grew to  tsunami size.

I recall last Summer, early one morning, daughter left for a day on a local river. Ever the mother, no matter what her age, I find words to express a little concern and a lot of love -- typical Mom stuff -- as she makes time to enjoy this special opportunity to be with friends. 

Swimming pools were not everywhere when I was young and so I never really learned to swim. I tried and made sure our three had swimming lessons and shared time with friends "on the water" and we took trips to beaches.

I "learned" to be around and sometimes in, but never really "took to" swimming pools, lakes and even the ocean. 

They can be beautiful, they can be treacherous, I love to look, admire and put a foot into, but an avid swimmer I have no interest in being.

Events we experienced along the way, during and afterward; many are still fresh and even influential in our life choices while others seem so far away, so distant and almost surreal.

How long has it been?  Really......? Or, That  Long ?!?  Family funeral on my husband's side and I'm surprised but then realize everyone's life takes different paths and only occassionally do we meet at a crossroads, like a family funeral.

Perspective. Compare it to if you're playing the music or listening -- most people don't pay attention to the individual notes, the notations written by the composer or even the exact nuances provided in the interpretation by the conductor. 

Those who participate in the action of the moment while it's happening, those who are most connected to the event, usually are the most influenced and affected.

Why is the death of a loved one like a lifelong scar?  It hurts when it happens, in the healing process there's concern for how long it will take, if it will ever heal completely and if it will someday be "unnoticeable".

The scar is a reminder. We choose how to see it and it will vary in appearance many ways many times as we move forward continuing our journey.  

Some will change their lives completely and the scar will minimize or even seem to disappear. 

Others will carry it and it will grow more prominent as the days, months and years pass.  

Finding the balance in life with this time and what follows is the key to continuing moving towards carrying, shifting the load and moving positively onward.

The "shock" of discovery, of finding 'hidden agendas" and "planned deception" and realizing it was like a puzzle where pieces were around you but not seen.

You look around and spend time while your loved one is in the hospital with Doctors and staff.

You attend "meetings" where the advice is -- "He needs to gain weight. He needs to eat more." It was a "continuous chant" by his attending staff including several Doctors.

They knew the truth. They created the problem They tried to hide it by creating a notation in the "patient record" stating a male Doctor who was not in attendance made an incision. "HE" was a "SHE" and not a Doctor.

The "scar" appears when your loved one leaves you -- it's there to remind you, invisible though it may be -- a precious life was lost and Hell on Earth was created by a voice on the phone directing a procedure without having the ability to see the physical area and who should never have asked someone who did not have surgical training to "cut into".

It took days and weeks spent in a special hospital area spending time that should have been spent alongside my husband but instead had to be spent in front of a computer picking away, line by line, paragraph after paragraph, hundreds, if not thousands of pages, for a hospital stay of 100 days.

It just did not add up. Why was my husband not getting better? Gain weight! That was the constant "mantra".

Medical Records tend to be challenging to comprehend. A lot of medical jargon and the continuity is lacking. It's not like reading a book or a magazine. It jumps around as each person "attending" each "incident" or "action" happens.

Then there's the "medical language" which requires a medical dictionary or sometimes interpretation.

The most alarming part is when you stumble across an entry where you were present for what happened and you see . . . 

A FALSE, MISLEADING AND DECEPTIVE STATEMENT

You should have sued many have said. 

Why did they falsify information, I was asked.

When crisis after crisis is happening and you're trying to find some way to understand what's going on, discover a link to a procedure which was totally wrong, done by a "woman" and NOT a "man" as was stated in the record.

NOT done by a Doctor, maybe not even a Nurse, or at least not one with any form of knowledge concerning the history or condition of the Patient she was told to "cut into" 

Or ...the knife slipped and instead of "lancing" it became cutting 

...Maybe, because of the status of the medical situation, she was not medically capable or trained specifically at the level needed for the procedure mandated by the Dr on the phone call and "she" was not medically capable enough to do anything other than FOLLOW ORDERS GIVEN BY PHONE 

. . . Question came to mind: how many "procedures" in ER's are directed by a Doctor on a phone call to someone in the ER and what qualifications are mandated by medical procedures for someone besides a Doctor to perform in an ER?

...Dr was not available in the Emergency Room at the time and "she" called one who made a decision without seeing the "patient" or "examining" him.

NOTE:  For those of you who are wondering why we did not sue the Dr or the Hospital -- death, financial challenges just hanging on, no one advising us to take that step, a friend who was a Doctor at the Hospital we thought '"had our back" .

The complications of responsibility of living as a family unit with my Mother who was experiencing more physical, medical and emotional needs and so we moved forward in a different way.

The addition of my husband's older brother being admitted to the same ER a few "doors" away with serious medical concerns and finding out his oldest daughter was taking her father "home" as she said,"to die". 

Aging Mom with medical challenges, brother-in-law in same hospital with complications of a daughter wanting to "get it over with" with her father.

Calling my second son to tell him about his father's advancing condition being told he was walking in his father-in-law's funeral procession.

We hadn't talked for a few days and the news was like a knife cutting through as I looked down at my husband, my son's wife's father-in-law, with rising concern for another life -- old wive's tale about death coming in three's when it comes in twos.

Today, I somewhat regret not pursuing what I feel was a major medical mistake. And, that they carried it farther and put my husband through a "procedure" where they "explored" the area which had to escalate and cause the extended stay, complications, and I added to his traumatic death.

They at least had the decency not to provide us with a bill commensurate with his stay but we had so many other costs and losses.

A Lifelong Scar I carry with me. 

One that will possibly never completely heal.

Friday, December 29, 2023

Emergency Room Nightmare Leading to Death

TRUST. it's the basis of our Medical System in the U.S.

Over our lifetimes, from birth to death, we encounter a "system" of "care giving" -- it's not just limited to the aging.

We entrust our health and well being to people who supposedly take an oath to "do no harm" and who, we are told and taught, are knowledgeable to provide a level of caregiving, in person or indirectly, as specialized, certified, trained, educated medical knowledge practitioners.

Supervision isn't always available. Experience levels can vary.

We depend on and entrust these individuals and systems with our lives.

Through "Social Media", including non associated rating systems, we research choices made from where we go to eat to where we entrust our medical health.

We trust the credentials achieved reflect specific insights and responsibilities. 

We trust associations with "well known" Hospitals as a reflection of their capability. 

Truth is, mistakes are a part of the medical system and it's in their financial system when a report is falsified or writin to "cover up" errors ommissions and substitutions as we experienced.

While in the ER, a female attended my husband. She didn't introduce herself.  She was NOT a Doctor; a blue, not white as is traditional and no name to identify, no stethoscope which I've always seen around Dr's neck, they're a personal item not shared.

There was no one else who entered the room.

These are important facts when I discuss having read through hundreds, if not thousands of pages generated from this point through my husband's stay because actions taken led to his eventual death.

What do you do when you discover a "cover up" in a medical facility -- when you've been and still are struggling day to day to care for a loved one with multiple medical challenges and another family member aging into their ninth decade of life -- both needing assistance, care taking and advancing with unknown medical problems complicating their lives and yours.

How many hospital personnel knew the truth? The "male" who wrote the report was most probably the "person" who was called to advise, determine action(s) to be taken and should have realized an ability "NOT to see" what was being described COULD cause more harm than good. 

We witnessed the "lancing" by a woman in the ER who was directed to do so by someone on the phone. Why didn't SHE write about the procedure? 

Who was she? No idea. Not a Doctor as one would not have had to "consult" to do a simple procedure like she was told -- lance a quarter sized "pus filled" abdominal area. 

She covered up her "cut" with a large "patch". 

My husband was admitted. 

I was told to go home and get some sleep. 

Dutifully, believing my husband was in "the best hands", I left.

When I was called to come the next day, there were three doctors, including one we'd know for many years, a friend, a neighbor, standing around my husband. 

They wanted permission to open him up. They thought there was something causing the "hole" -- we gave permission not knowing that decision would start our last journey together.

Days turned into weeks that turned into months mostly inside Critical Intensive Care. A total of 100 days.

Day after day, week after week, all we were told was my husband needed to "gain weight". 

Reality is even in 2010 short staffing was a part of the system.

Have you ever tried to fill a bottle when there's a hole in it?

My husband at first had a small opening his front abdomen. 

ONE BAG . . . TWO . . . then more skin broke open and THREE  were needed .... trying to secure plastic bags onto skin that's breaking apart . . .four bags needing constant change, emptying, reattaching, replacing . . . 

I was not able to work . . . trying to keep daughter in college -- her taking out loans (some of which she still has to repay (in 2023) and the INTEREST RATE KEPT RISING . . . 

...we two joined together, walking into the future, had arrived. . . it wasn't what we wanted, planned or expected.

Coping with also trying to provide a life for my Mom and running into brick walls of costs, time, assistance and those who told me she should just be sent to LTC.

Grateful for what we had been able to do . . .

We'd assisted our two sons in providing money so they could complete college but the reality was the first ten years of this century were financially unstable and challenging for many.

We'd used savings to help them and they were actually finished with schooling and well into their careers when their father became so sick -- but what they didn't realize is he was probably having health issues for many years as his type of "medical condition" was one that grew more challenging with every passing year.

Neighbors, friends, members of groups and organizations we belonged to -- 

THEY were all around us but seldom actually with us . . . as we struggled to understand, to cope, to provide as always, for our family, our loved ones.  

THEY  didn't offer to help, provide or in any way come alongside

 IT'S HARDEST WHEN IT'S ONE OF YOUR GROWN KIDS ...

The year was 2010, late Summer; my husband came out of Rehab the end of January after 100 days, almost all of it in Intensive Care, going through crisis after crisis . . . 

NEVER KNOWING WHAT WAS HAPPENING, WHY AND WHERE WE WERE HEADED ...and it had been many months trying to cope, to believe there was a "better tomorrow" --

THEY kept telling me -- THE BAGS WERE TEMPORARY -- HE JUST NEEDS TIME TO HEAL -- 

as more time passed and no "closure" was effected, we adapted by continuing to believe. . . 

 "tomorrow" or "next week" and then "next month" will be the turnaround, the beginning of a better time.....

When someone you deeply love is struggling and fighting to survive, you share in their pain and suffering.

We'd had very high AC bills trying to keep at least the temperature comfortable -- we knew Winter would come soon

I'd walk outside, around the house and see more "boards" of the housing material, on there since we built the home many years before, cracking and pieces dropping off.  

The "painted cedar siding" was gorgeous when we built the house. We didn't realize the high cost of maintaining. Some things you have to live and learn.

Walking outside one day, to try to assess what needed to be done, I found several "boards" with pieces removed and later would find "little creatures" had made their homes above our heads and in the sides our home.

I finally got up the courage to ask our oldest son, who'd "invested" in a couple of Rental Properties and had a very good job in Tech, if he could help us get financing to replace the siding.

HIS ANSWER:  Why didn't you do that before this happened? 

He always thought we had "lots of money" when in fact we were often stretching what we had. 

This son always felt "entitled' -- a "second hand car" wasn't what he "expected", it was to take him and his brother to school and activities but he never seemed to "be able"

Granted, it was half way across the country from where he lived but his Dad had several "episodes" during his hospital stay and oldest son just seemed to write them off.

Reality was not what he wanted to hear -- he'd benefited from our using the money we had for his education (and in fairness for his brother and his sister) but . . . HIS MONEY. . . well, that was not going to happen ... and didn't.

YOU SEE:  "WE" and really, "I/me" did everything wrong and always had. 

Not exactly what you'd expect in a time of extreme need.

HAD HE BEEN TO VISIT HIS FATHER?  

NOT SINCE HIS FATHER HAD SPENT 100 CONSECUTIVE DAYS IN THE HOSPITAL, almost all in Critical Intensive Care ... and 40+ days in Rehab.

We always moved heaven and earth to accommodate his wants, needs, dreams  . . . but this wasn't "for" HIM . 

No medical needs in his immediate family we knew of and all I'd asked for was co-signing for his father and use his properties for security -- Winter was coming and it was predicted to be very challenging.

Seeing this "strong, independent, man, at an age when you usually look forward to retirement, struggle just to maintain dignity. . . 

Having your "son", who you'd sacrificed and given to and who had demonstrated previously he really was only "out for himself"  turn his back on his father, his family . . . 

These are the "life pictures" we never expect when we're getting those "great funny shots" at Weddings and Anniversaries, Birthdays and Graduations.

We'd had financial challenges -- as did many -- with the socio economic severe dives -- we didn't lose our home but we weren't able to make repairs and replace siding, windows and other "critical life supports of a house". 

It was 2009, a year of financial challenges throughout the economic system.

Looking back, people thought they had at least a "silver" if not a "golden" parachute for severe medical conditions . . .

Some still believe that's the case today -- it isn't.

We had "the house" and didn't qualify for Medicaid or any other "benefits" yet the bills kept coming, the amounts kept climbing and I saw my husband . . . slipping away painfully

I was desparate. . . we had our car, with a few payments remaining . . . but there were no "medical loans" using a car with some payments remaining as security.

Memories of a telephone conversation with oldest son, one of only a few. . . Listening to his tirades had become too much for his father laying in a hospital bed in our home while I provided 24/7 caregiving.  

"I" had never done anything right as far as "oldest son" was concerned and now "I" was "asking for help"? 

His voice said it all and so did his words. "We" were the problem he'd always had in "his" life -- and I was the target, THE PROBLEM. 

So righteous. So "entitled'. So self-centered.                                                         In reality, he had not changed. 

People say parents "create" this type of person. I believe they create themselves. 

Entitled? On the surface, perhaps, but each of our "children" were given the same and each were seen as being able to use those "opportunities and possibilities" as they were modeled -- for others and not just for themselves.

If you have grown children and if you don't have at least one who sees "you" as the problem, not his/her decisions, actions, chosen way of living . . . you have achieved an amazing "parental feat".

I understand the warnings and the revelations are many most do not want to confront or face. 

It leads to life challenges and even confrontations with people, ideas, practices and procedures.                                                                            

Simply "not hearing" and "not listening" is far easier.

Facing the problems, challenges, concerns takes time and "time" is the one remaining valuable personal asset we often retain when others have been removed.

Years have passed. One after another. It's a Milestone.

It often felt like running in place, often falling backward and sometimes a beam of light would cut through the severe darkness lightening our load and cutting an opening on the path.

It's a Marker. It's a Dividing Line. It's a Journey.

In late 2013, the time just months before Mom passed and about two years after my husband had passed, daughter and I were continuing to struggle and fight for survival. 

Suddenly, or so It seems, a dozen years have moved our lives into the future and out of "that past". 

Each day, from the beginning of this Journey we did not plan, went on without a map or guidebook, no itinerary or idea where, when, how and why ...

We had no compass, no clock and few people along the way with the ability or interest to guide or extend a helping hand.

You live in a nice home, you should have more than enough and after all, you'll get married again and your daughter will move on with her life . . . . said about me right after my husband's death in January, 2011.

Never really said directly to my face but my daughter heard the "talk of the town".

People can be so self centered . . .  Or is it a form of self survival, believing all will be well, if just ...when ... if only?

OK. . . TAKE A BREATH . . . RELAX . . . .LET IT GO. . .  

You and your daughter are survivors. You and your daughter aren't dependent on others. It's the 21st Century. Neither of you need "someone" to hold you up, to help you out, to "provide" -- 

WE MADE IT THIS FAR. 

WE ARE GOING TO CONTINUE. 

MORE IMPORTANTLY                                                                                                                             We understand it's the time that follows, how you think and act, what decisions you make each time you're confronted with a life question or challenge, that move your life along the path of days, weeks, months and, yes, years in positive directions even during the most negative of times.

IT IS NOT EASY . . . 

IT IS OFTEN SO CHALLENGING. . . YOU WANT TO GIVE UP

You...Know...You. . . Like No One Else Knows You

There comes a time when you need to set aside the "free advice" and the "family members and friends who know best". 

Nod your head..... A small smile can help.             

Thank them, then run as fast as you can to seek and find 

the people, the placesthe ways and means . . . . . 

YOU need, YOU want, YOU deserve

Live Your Life -- Not Someone Else's -- Not "Theirs"

KEEP LOOKING AHEAD WHILE GLANCING BACKWARD.

YOU'VE MADE IT PAST THE FUTURE YOU DIDN'T SEE --

Into a World that provides challenges, opportunities & above all

 YOU HAVE CREATED A LIFTIME OF MEMORIES.

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Sharing & Caring Builds Awareness & Action

I want to share my shock/surprise when I returned from my last trip in September to learn more about Senior Living and Senior Life Challenges and saw a number for visitors I thought I misread.

Surely that was 2,000 -- not 20,000? And climbing! 

Thank You. Please continue to read and pass along!

Look at the diversity, the inclusion, the wide and wonderful world!

United States, Germany, Canada, United Kingdom, Finland, Singapore, South Korea, France, Czechia, Brazil, Netherlands, Vietnam, Australia, Cambodia, India, Hong Kong, Israel, Sweden, Indonesia, and even a category marked "other"!

I wrote to "let it out" as the grief over not being able to see what was purposely hidden by the system throughout our country called "Senior Support" and "Long Term Care" is destructive and demeaning.

. . . and being told by one particular close family member I was harming people I loved, valued and respected, who lived on the other side of the country and rarely took time to connect or visit.

I'd start writing an entry and sometimes it would be days or weeks before I returned to add or complete one to publish or hold for the future. It wasn't an "easy write".

Last I'd seen, there were a few hundred "hits". Admittedly, I didn't check frequently, it was a "diary" of sorts yet hoping others would see the truth and the challenges needing to be changed.

After the trip, it was over 20,000 "visits".                                                                              I thought I'd read the number wrong.    

LBD, Lewy Body Dementia, had become more "visible" possibly because some well known celebrities disclosed they had this form of Dementia. Whatever woke us up as a society, it was a call to change.

It was so amazing to know someone, somewhere saw the light I was trying to move through the darkness of family life living with LBD.

My words reach around the world. . .  I am not alone!

My courage to walk onto this space, to share times that were life disruptive for our family.  To include my "self"; show how vulnerable, uniformed and lost I was; but the return could be others who didn't have to walk through the pain and suffering.

Trying to find a way to survive, to show "what's behind the curtain" of aging. Expose people who wear masks; harmful actions taken in trusted places.

We were and continue to be a family changed forever. . .                             

Thank You for giving me the courage to share and to continue to work toward more enlightenment.                                                                     

To change the desperation and darkness created by others, to hope for a better today, tomorrow and the future

For all ages and stages, everywhere a voice can reach, through the written word translated and understood.                                    

We face the unknown together sharing what we learn, bringing light into darkness and hope replacing despair.

Sunday, December 24, 2023

WHY JULIA? Your Actions Abusing Mom Speak Volumes PART 1

Readers: Read and learn some of the "tricks of the trade" of ELDER ABUSERS we endured from a "Church Lady" we knew but didn't "KNOW".

Learn from my wanting, needing to trust. 

My husband had just returned home after over 100 days in the hospital, almost all the time spent in Critical Intensive Care -- constantly in and out so much it seemed like that was his hospital room.

Mom would accompany daughter and I to the Hospital as we struggled day after day believing what we were told. 

The internet wasn't the resource it is today. 

We trusted the Doctors. One, although not attending as he was a Pediatrician, was a neighbor across the street we'd known for decades. A friend.

We'd lived together as a MultiGenerational Family since 1971 -- it was 2010.

Husband went to an "interim" facility; not the one I hoped for but hoping he would get "rehab". I had no idea and no one ever told me the true extent of the physical damage and the physical challenges we really faced.

He came home. We'd rented a Hospital bed knowing he couldn't return to "the upstairs" where our bedroom was located.

I'd briefly been shown the two bags on his abdomen. Can't recall why it was such a shock except I think it was because the one time he and/or a Doctor showed me, there was only one.



The first full day he was home a call came from a woman who said she was asked to call us and offer to have a meal delivered each day for the entire month.

I felt so 


WHY, JULIA?  If you believed there was abuse, why did you go off on trips and not make contact with Mom for days and even weeks on end. 

Psychology teaches you can build "dependency" with closeness alternating with removing yourself from a relationship.

There were no regular visits and there were even times with very lengthy absences as evidenced by the many emails we exchanged.

The first "six months" were "infrequent contact".
The second "six months" were more involved.

When you managed to get the State of Missouri to believe your false, misleading and deceptive claims about "abuse" by a "registered reporter", you had "scored another mark on your wall of elder abuse".

 WHY, JULIA? As evidenced by emails we exchanged, did you always want to take Mom to Dr’s appointments? 

I asked for a referral to a different eye Dr from you because you worked with the elderly and took them to Dr’s apts. 

You chose to make the apt at a time and on a date for your convenience not mine and then asked me to give you Mom’s Social Security number and her birthdate to provide to the office.

I didn't give it to you. WHY DID YOU ASK?  
Mom was competent. 
When she went with me to Dr's she checked in. 
She didn't need "assistance".

WHY, JULIA?  Did you ask so many personal questions (and why was I such a fool and shared so much with you)?

You asked if I had Guardianship of Mom. 
What difference did that make when you weren’t a care giver, had no responsibilities and simply taking her out for a couple of hours and only going within a five mile radius of our home? 

Now that I’m past the challenges of 24/7 care giving for her and my husband I can think more clearly about these things.

WHY, JULIA?  

Was it so important you kept asking to spend time with her “alone” in our home? 

Tell us we could go out and you’d “visit” with her?  

Want to help her “organize” or “do things” in “her room”? 

Always wanted to take Mom to her room when you returned with her from one of your “outings” which we finally found out was simply sitting, usually at Steak n Shake, & talking.

WHAT EVIDENCE DID YOU PROVIDE WHEN YOU MADE THE ELDER ABUSE HOTLINE CALL, JULIA?  

Did you use the “Required Reporter” status of being a Registered Nurse?

That’s what you claimed to Mom. 
You told Mom you “had” to report me. 

FOR WHAT?  For what you needed her to believe and what you worked so hard to convince her was truth?

It was distorted truth for personal gain, Julia.

You let your license lapse in 2009 and renewed it back again early in 2010. 

Maybe the State of Missouri should investigate exactly when you really did reapply; they reinstate as of the first of the year retroactive but we both know it was well after that you reapplied.

Did you tell the State of Missouri you’d been working as a caregiver for elderly people with Dementia and Alzheimer’s, most in very advanced stages, giving medications and other nursing duties even though your license was expired?

You mentioned to me in Fall 2009 you worked for private pay, no insurance, as an individual, and offered to care for Mom when my husband went into the hospital in the early months.

Did not feel comfortable with the idea of having anyone but our daughter stay with Mom and she was capable of going with me so I took her along and we both visited.

You said you could give Mom meds and do anything else she needed to provide nursing care. 

Naturally, I thought you were fully licensed; it wasn’t until I started checking with the State I realized it had expired.

Legally, I believe, you shouldn’t have been providing those services with an expired license.

Julia H: A Public Plea To The Woman We Believe Used Undue Influence and Abused My Mom To Cease & Desist – Part III

WHY, JULIA?  Did you return my Mom to an environment that you believed was so emotionally and financially abusive when you "took her out"?   

WHY, JULIA?  WHY ENDANGER A VERY ELDERLY WOMAN in that way? Why not seek immediate removal?  

For that matter, why did the State of Missouri DHSS return Mom to an environment reported to be abusive?  

Why didn’t the State of Missouri DHSS get an immediate court order based on the fact you were a professional making an Elder Abuse Hotline Call on a very elderly Missouri resident get her removed immediately?  WHY, JULIA?  WHY, MODHSS?

WHY, JULIA?  When you took her out and were advised her Geriatric Specialist recommended using a wheelchair did you decide it “wasn’t necessary” cause you weren’t “going that far”. 

You’re a Registered Nurse, graduated from an excellent Nursing School, practiced Eldercare Professionally with Dementia and Alzheimer’s clients, I trusted you when you told Mom she could use a walker and then when you told her she could just use a cane, AND LEAN ON YOU IF SHE FELT WEAK OR LIKE SHE WAS GOING TO FALL.

Manipulation and Control. Confuse the elderly and their family.

You built a dependency; you fostered trust; you consoled Mom through touch and because you weren’t the primary caregiver and came and went when you wanted and how you wanted, you were “perfect” and “caring” and I became the “uncaring” and “imperfect” one.

WHEN, JULIA?  WHEN DID YOU DETERMINE MY MOM WAS FINANCIALLY AND EMOTIONALLY ABUSED?  When did you make the call; what day, date and time?  I have records of when you took Mom out with you, how long you spent and would really like to know how much additional “abuse” you felt no problem with subjecting a very elderly woman to since you were so concerned, as the law is written, MOM WAS IN IMMINENT DANGER AND NEEDED THE STATE TO INTERVENE.

That’s the job of Adult Protective Workers at the DHSS; intervention to ensure the safety and well being of Missouri’s Seniors. (Another entry will examine the meager qualifications of this position and why we believe there are others who have been abused by the DHSS system of hiring and promoting individuals with little or no experience, training, formal education (not necessary to have a Masters in Social Work OR be a Licensed Clinical Social Worker to get this well paying job).
.
DID YOU WORK WITH THE DHSS OR WAS IT YOUR IDEA AND INDIVIDUAL ACTION?

DID YOU INFLUENCE THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES TO WORK WITH YOU TO REMOVE MY POWER OF ATTORNEY without benefit of a Judge’s order? 

You were very good at what you did, Julia, finding out so much about our lives; you asked if I had guardianship of my Mom, feigning concern for her “welfare” but actually determining how vulnerable we were. I told you I had a POA but really didn’t use it. Mom seemed competent but you knew she wasn’t; you’d spend hours with her sitting and talking, just sitting and talking.

JULIA, You’re a Registered Nurse; you’ve specialized in working with the elderly; specialized in Dementia and Alzheimer’s care.  You’ve been trained in psychological methods to gain trust and confidence.


WHY, JULIA? Did you have my mom take money out of our home, take her to the bank, open a safety deposit box, put your name and her name on it and YOU KEEP BOTH OF THE KEYS AND NOT TELL ANYONE, NO FAMILY MEMBER, about what you’d done?

I have three adult "children"; one who lives in the same house and two who live across the country. Why didn't you accuse my daughter who lived with us as well as me?  Or did you?

WHY, JULIA? Why didn't you act responsibly and contact my second son, who made trips to visit his Grandmother when he could, and voice your concerns? 

WHEN did these concerns cause you to contact the Elder Abuse Hotline?  You'd entered our home with the Church our family had been a member of for decades "managing" the evening meal deliveries to help us through my husband's return to our home, a medical bed and three wounds constantly draining.

BY THE WAY, you saw how challenging his wounds were but never once, as an RN, offered any assistance, to connect with HIS doctor and to help with HIS care.

WHY, JULIA?  Why did you get Mom to remove my Power of Attorney?  Hoping she’d give it to you? Believing mom had more money “stuffed away” if she’d managed to save so much in so little time?

WHY, JULIA?  Is Mom’s Social Security money, the money she received each month, the cash she insisted on keeping and from which she only used about $100 each month leaving over $600 to accumulate from about October, 2009 through July, 2010, MISSING; GONE; DISAPPEARED?  It took me several months to realize this fact; my husband’s serious medical conditions and eventual death consumed my focus for many months.

WHY, JULIA?  Do you continue to emotionally abuse my Mom visiting her in her Skilled Nursing Facility taking and returning items (testing her memory?) and creating stories she believes about someone re-entering her life who is going to “take her away” from the place she really doesn’t want to be, to “live happily ever after”?

WHY, JULIA? Do you continue to work, as you did before you came into our lives and wrecked such havoc, continue to work with the elderly, with those suffering from advanced Dementia, especially Alzheimer’s, on a private pay basis, for sons and daughters who live far enough away not to be able to take care of them personally? 

I asked you why you called the Elder Abuse Hotline; your answer:  
“You can’t prove it.”

Daughter asked you why you stole her grandmother's money, your answer:
"You can't prove it."


Thanks, Gail King, Host of CBS Morning Show, For A Positive Aging Comment

WRITTEN MAY 26, 2019 --  (revisiting Dec 19, 2023)

"Older people have a lot to contribute"
said Gail King on a recent CBS This Morning
after a brief report about a 76 year old man who drives kids to college that don't have the monetary ability to provide transportation.

Active in the Senior Community, I know men and women who own businesses, actively work to support Charitable causes, provide rides for those who cannot drive to shop, attend a meeting, visit a Doctor or just get out to walk in a nearby Park.

The gentleman Gail mentioned is one of the "fortunate" Seniors but at any moment he could suffer a stroke, heart attack, fall and break a leg and find himself in Long Term Care. A facility where staff are trained to "talk down" to Elders and not to inform, instead to "pacify".

Ms King certainly doesn't project the age she is, 64 (now, in 2023, 68) and neither do many of "her generation" THE BOOMERS!

 Like many contemporaries and those of us "out in the field", her age and older, actively involved in work and community, it's only our ability to reference decades ago as personal experience that shines a light on where we've been and where we are in life.

As long as we can be seen as contributing, having value perceived by society as "marketable", we receive approval -- at least as long as our ratings are good -- right, Gail

Ratings. Evaluations. Ranking. 
Statistics drive what we do, where and how we do it. 

And in today's world, they're much easier to collect, analyze and make decisions about who has "value" and who should be replaced, moved aside, "put away". Value measured as "perceived" not "received".

People have become commodities as I've written about since 2012 with my concern about those with Dementia, especially Lewy Body Dementia, still under discussed and barely recognized 

Who are "older people"?  

That's a "point of view" and often where YOU are in life.

It also depends on where you are in the age cycle, 
who you know and their "perceived or real condition" 
and what you want to know and see.

Ask a five year old and they'll point to a teen or college age person or a new High School graduate or they may talk about someone who's in their Thirties -- and often their parents or their siblings. 

It's an "age group" reference point -- where you are and who you're referring to. The more years between, the more distance in having connectivity on a regular basis usually and so it continues until we, you and I, recognize in our society if we do not value what has come before, who has added to where we are today, we disvalue civilization.

Flash forward to that thirty something mark's evaluation of "age" and they look a little farther thinking of their parents usually aged 55+ -- the AARP plus five years age group. 

Yes, AARP is now for people in their 50's! Not retired, but still added to the list of "aging" through association!

Looking at those "newbie" AARPers, they think of their parents, aged 70+; ask the 70+ and they think about people in their late 80's, 90's and beyond.

Let's value the person, their knowledge, experience and abilities. 

Age is simply a number achieved moving down the road of life.

If you're fortunate, you ride the road into those higher numbers.
When you have the misfortune to lose a loved one "before their time" you realize and recognize ---

AGE is simply a "placeholder number"
It shifts and changes
Adding Value Instead of Subtracting Worth
We Prosper and Become A Better World

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Long Term Care -- Prisons in Disguise?

When you no longer have the ability or the means to pursue life interests and you find yourself in a Long Term Care facility . . . 

Let's look inside where then and now are existing in a time warp because WE don't see reality . . . 

Until it's thrust upon us . . . and that's too late.

Come along with me to visit Mom's old SNC/LTC facility or drop into one and really look around, listen and learn

Mom stayed in her room; sat in one place; busied herself with what she had or found to do; and, waited ...waited...waited
to be told what to do, when to do it and how to do it. 

And this was when she was highly capable; it became far more challenging when she began losing capacity and capability.

Have you been told there will be "choices" and  many "opportunities"? Not in the "lower cost/lower class" mostly populated by "lower income producing and qualifying for Medicaid" residents.

No one really cared. 
They were understaffed and few families visited.

Mom had to initiate and show an interest, we were told.

She was taken to what she considered "mindless" and "childlike" activities that held no interest and she was bored.

The only computer in any type of accessible area was "off limits" and no resident was given permission to use it at any time. 

The computer waiting for an employee of the facility who had been given the ability to use it yet it sat in a room that was available to residents for "special occassions" by reservation.

We did not have the financial means and Mom's "monthly check from Social Security went directly to the facility. 

Entering LTC, Mom lost the ability to control any of her SS. 
She was given about $30 a month and that was quickly taken from her in "services" from the facility. 

We provided for Mom, both daughter and I working at low wage jobs with the goal to provide what we could for Mom and keep as much of our "prior life" functioning -- a roof over our heads, food on the table (no Food Shares back then), the lights and a/c or heat available even if only at the lowest levels, and more.

Mom "went into" a LTC not through our decision but through the manipulation and control of a "Church Lady" who came into our life.

One positive outcome was since she was "self admitted", I was able to finally get back into Mom's "good graces" after several months and she shared how the facility really treated her and we started searching for a "better place".
 
I looked long and hard to find for a facility that Mom qualified for -- we had to have her in Medicaid because she had no resources, no ability to pay, at that time, $3,000 to $5,000 a month for a shared room/bathroom. In today's marketplace, that figure can be even higher.

Those marketing pieces and glossy pictures and videos don't portray the reality of almost every SNC/LTC facility. Under staffed, run by people who focus on the bottom line (even the Not For Profits) and constantly besieged by more and more paperwork and less and less time to devote to services -- they are as "shelved" as the people they serve.

If you have the ways and means there are "better places".  But few in the Greatest Generation achieved the high financial status then required now to secure "good care".

Take a moment and stop, think and consider. 

What If YOU had to enter a Long Term Care Facility . . where would you begin, what would you look for, who would make the decision with you? 

I'll focus on the "newest" Senior Living promising a "continuation of life as you know it" and requiring up front huge deposits and some with "getting to know you" deposits with a few social events for a sizable "hold".

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Three Generations Face Death Together

Mom laid on the bed, the uncomfortable, hospital bed, without anyone in the Long Term Care facility caring enough to provide her with a more comfortable last earthly place of rest. 

Bethesda would not allow us to have "Hospice" unless we chose "their Hospice".  They refused (now know they can't) allowing us to select our Hospice provider. In critical times, thinking rationally and constructively sometimes is forgotten.

To the very last it was all about "how much could they make", never what could they provide for her journey.

Daughter and I found a small area on each side of her and as our bodies touched, we felt the warmth slowly subsiding even though Mom's hands were continuously moving. 

We'd seen those movements hundreds of times as she prepared with us for guests, family and friends, to arrive for life celebrations and just ordinary visits. We were a multi-generational family from the time our first born was just a few months old  -- over 40 years.

Only daughter and my each taking a hand, holding it lovingly in ours and telling Mom/Grandma, "It's all right, you've finished the work you've wanted and needed to do. You can go now. 

You're looking forward to being with family and friends," seemed to provide the release she needed to leave this world and our family unit.

Mom's hands were active to the very last breath she took.

No one came to counsel us, checks on her were few and far between, they were simply waiting for what was "inevitable" -- and then there was the movement of her remains without any consideration for how it affected anyone experiencing and witnessing the "procedure".

SO COLD. SO UNCARING. Just another death for the facility. 

To be expected? She was "old". Was it really her time? 

Or was she no longer "useful" to the facility and to society who both determined the level of "caregiving" to be given when they controlled the pursestrings.


My husband was given a special mattress when he was in the hospital; but this place, this uncaring place where most turned away and just "let it happen" while providing for those who "paid extra" by using their facility's "Hospice Care" were accorded the privacy of a special room.

Mom was on Medicaid, as thousands who "live beyond" life years expectation find their journey. Our older population is being characterized as a  "burden to society" as they no longer produce "income", do a society's measureable amount of "work" or serve any "recognizable purpose".  

From Politics to Home Ownership -- our "elders" are being told to GET OUT, MOVE OUT, you're "useless". Shades of generations ago in less civilized societies. 

It's now 2023, we said our last goodbye to Mom in January, 2014. 

Looking back. I realize there was more I should write . . . this entry and several others I started. . . . and then life...as always...seemed to move me away; need to survive, to cope, to adjust became the focus. 

For those who walk directly alongside on the journey from where we are to where we go, the road is filled with so many variations from smooth surfaces to huge potholes, from high visibility to dead stops due to impossibility to see where you're going.

Some say when they hear she died going into her 100th year how "fortunate" she was to have lived so long. Mom's life was filled with challenges and obstacles, born into a family that eventually had eleven children, ten of who would survive late into life. 

Mom and her family members gave of themselves, the greatest gift we have, for others, in service to our Country, on the front lines and on the  assembly line making parts and pieces and taught us the ways to ensure we value the world around us, natural and human made.

All the boys, six of them, served in the Military, one landing on Omaha Beach and others also "at the front"; the youngest "not allowed" to enlist, went to Canada to protect the Border and served with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

In those times, children only went to school until 8th grade and if they made it the full last year, they were very fortunate. There were four girls, five actually, one died as a baby, and Mom was the second oldest with two younger sisters.

Then it was "out to work" to help the family. Mom's older sister by ten years, "Tillie", really Matilda but that wasn't what she wanted to be called, had moved to the other side of the Mississippi River to the very BIG CITY of St Louis and into the State of Missouri from Illinois.

Mom followed and they both worked as domestics, one of the few ways "country girls" could work; a hard life and one with long hours -- cleaning and cooking.  This was a "good job" for a thirteen year old where she could send money home to help care for her two younger sisters and one brother and share a place to live with Tillie and several others.

During the War Mom worked for Carter Carburetor on their assembly line; a job where someone else controlled the speed of the always moving belt carrying machinery used for the War Effort    "Over There". Many injuries, long repetitive actions hours, few breaks
and always the concern to do more, faster, and with less.

I know Mom felt she was helping as many women did and trying to keep the wheels turning and the troops advancing so the day would come when the work would be done, World War II would be over, brothers, sons, uncles, friends would once again walk beside them.

She married "late in life" for the times, into her thirties. because of the War and few men of her age group "stayed behind". Mom met a divorced man. At her age this was common, not like today when marriage often occurs in later years.

I don't know what attracted her to him or IF she realized he was an alcoholic. Alcoholism was rampant among men yet never labeled for what it really was. 

Even into the 1950's, it was  a "personal problem" and one considered to be "of choice", when it was often used as a way to dull the senses, attempts to remove mental images and try to escape the never ending horrors many had seen or faced.

Dad had two children from his first marriage. I discovered this family history only through seeing a picture in an open drawer of him with another woman, a young boy and a young girl but never told about them and only realized what I'd seen decades later.

There was no Ancestry.com, no Internet and information was often hard to find and resided behind closed and often locked doors.

Because of the War and the economy, many men turned to numbing themselves with alcohol. 

My Dad's "brand" was Hill & Hill, a convenient "hip or breast pocket size bottle". Whiskey. The kind that many build a tolerance to and so it takes more and more to "have an effect".

Mom said something once about getting married to help "Joe" not have to return to military life as men in their forties even with children were being "re-enlisted" to replace so many who died on the fields of battle -- he was twelve or thirteen years older than Mom.

Conversations about these "subjects" were not for children and even when I was "old enough" I didn't ask questions, didn't want to "ask about the family history" knowing Mom's life and mine had been very traumatic as we lived in fear of Dad's temper when he drank.

Dad believed in "spare the rod and spoil the child" -- only it was his belt he used. 

He also believed (having come from a Catholic family) in punishing through having the "offender" kneel on hard floor surfaces -- never a carpet -- with stiff, straight posture ensuring the back never bent. 

I don't recall being forced to pray but Dad always sat in front of me, watching as he consumed drink after drink, almost waiting for me to move or start to collapse to show his "authority" through snapping the belt sometimes in front of me but almost always against my young body trying hard to withstand this form of "punishment" for whatever he'd decided was"wrong" at the time.

This was a practice of many households, even my Mom's, where her Dad, as many did, sat at the table with their belt handy, ready to raise it and apply it, for any real or perceived "error or omission".

Mom said she was sad to leave her Mom but looked forward to not having to be around her father. Then she stepped into the same "dictatorial" relationship when she married, Joe.

Mom's life was hard work and caring for and about her brothers and sisters. Her marriage went from bad to worse and she always told me the best thing about it was -- she had "me".

Another time I'll write about how we lived, how we fled a life of fear, ran in all directions trying to stay ahead of Dad's ability somehow to find us, stand outside where Mom worked and shout humiliating false accusations about her to anyone who walked by. Not now.

For now, it's about my mother's amazing hands and how they gave so much to so many.

Even on her deathbed, she was working, most probably helping in the kitchen, one of her favorite places to show her love for family and friends.

Perhaps she was cooking and setting a table to welcome all who came, who joined together for everyday and to celebrate life's milestones and memories.

It was time. She was ready. All preparations were made. 

Mom passed.

It wasn't a time we expected as she'd been in relatively good health for her age except for the Lewy Body Dementia we did not know about until the last few months after a hospital stay when she had a reaction to a drug she was given causing the Hospital to say "they thought she might have LBD". 

It was 2013, the internet was in its infancy for research and content. Libraries didn't have information. True human connectivity would arrive years later and open our eyes and lives.

Dementia was lumped into that one word then and continues to be referred to as a "group" of  mental/physical" challenges just beginning to gain recognition as a medical condition that may be preventable as we have done with other "afflictions" causing pain and suffering.

LEWY BODY DEMENTIA ASSOCIATION:

This secret thief of life has been recognized.
New possibilities and opportunities open doors and windows.

We can recognize this thief of mental ability, work to control and eventually eliminate its destruction and realize Dementia may be fully avoidable, controllable and at the very least managed.

Someone you know or you, will surely be exposed to this thief of mind and body functioning until we join together to learn, to understand, to eventually eradicate this destructive human condition.

READ.      LEARN.   UNDERSTAND.     ADVOCATE.

Life is a gift to unwrap in all its layers and folds to understand, learn and help one another with their journey and our own.