When I was a “rebellious” teen, it used to absolutely infuriate me that whenever I would leave the house, my dad would tell me to put on my coat. It did matter if it was -20° or a balmy 65°. “You should put on a coat,” he would tell me as a was going out the door.
I would love to report that as an “adult” that I understand and appreciate the thought. But while the logical part of me knows he was just being a parent (who grew up in Montana, where it is a lot colder than Oregon) is pretty much drowned out by the volume of my rebellious inner teenager who says, “What business is it of his if I was cold? If I got cold often enough, I would have learned to put on a coat for myself.”
I would also like to report that even today, when I leave the house without a coat, I don’t get a little thrill. I’d like to… but I really can’t.
My adolescence was marked by a lot of these little battles. The alarm clock saga. The TV battle. All of it boils down to the me being a bratty little teen rebelling against the parents who really were older and wiser and concerned.
All of this is going through my mind last night as Mom and I sat in my living room bellowing, “I love you” at each other while a social worker tried to mediate our dispute.
As I have mentioned, Mom has stage 4 metastasized lung cancer. Fifteen years ago, when she went through breast cancer, she said she would never go through chemo again. So she came out of the hospital and was enrolled in hospice. The only way I could get her out of the hospital seemed to be to tell the doctors she would live with me where we had a full 24-care plan lined up. But our plan was always to get Mom back to the beach.
Unfortunately, that has proven easier to say than do. Mom’s friends have been working around the clock, giving me likely care sources. And while we have identified a few possibilities, there remains large gaps in care and even the areas where there is a solution, it’s a “blind” solution. We would be hiring individuals, not companies. No background checks, no bonds, no safety net. All cash out of pocket with no assurances.
When the social worker came over last night (the Federal government requires that all people enrolled in hospice get a social worker to make sure they are okay), one of our goals was to talk about how to get her hospice transferred down to Lincoln City. But I felt honor bound to say, again, that I was concerned about this plan: the gaps in care, the strangers, my inability to keep an eye out when things got worse.
While I believe Mom is hearing me when I tell her about my worries, her desire to go home is so strong that I don’t truly believe she is “hearing” me on that deeper plane. The plane where if I was an adult and not an emotional teenager I would have gone and put on the stupid coat to alleviate my dad’s concern. Where Mom would understand that this is a bad situation that none of us planned for.
In the end, the social worker pointed out some things that neither of us had thought about. He suggested Mom could go back to the beach for a “vacation” for a few weeks (or a month) to get her affairs in order. Because of the short duration, I would feel more comfortable with the limits of the arrangement. He also pointed out to Mom that whatever solution we reached, I would always have to live with it. Then he told her that if she went down to the beach and the situation did get back, adult protective services would have to be called. “That’s not a threat,” he said, “that’s just the way it is.”
I’m not sure which of those arguments swayed her, but Mom has agreed to stay with me, though we are going to the “vacation” plan. So, tomorrow we’ll load up in my car and head down to the beach to do some packing and other little things. In about a week, friends of my mom are coming over and I think they will go back to the beach where there might be a party and some more “goodbye” things. Then she’ll be staying here.
I’m just praying that I can be flexible enough to not cause Mom to go off the rebellious deep end.
Lots of people have been saying they will pray for us, or are sending us light, or are sending positive vibes.
Sort of seems what we really need is a full time mediator!