Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Just take the payment!

It seems its a rant day here for me. I already did a small rant on my personal page, so here goes the BIG rant on this blog....

I am the secretary of this house. I take care of all the paperwork and phone calls (incoming and outgoing) and I'm the Christmas card writer too. I have access to my parents money. I have access to their bills. I am the secretary- I was not hired for this position, I was given it by vote (2 to 1... LOL).

Today as secretary I was to call the clinic that mom has a bill with and pay it. Shouldn't be a big deal as I am listed on all her paperwork as an approved contact. In WI, I never had a problem with getting or giving them information since I was on all her paperwork. Not so here in CO. I called up, identified myself, and my mom and said, "I need to pay her outstanding balance."

"Well, we need to speak with her. She has to pay the bill."

"Why do you need to speak with her, I'm on all her paperwork? I have her permission as she's given it to you before and I'm in charge of paying the bill."

"Due to HIPPA, we have to speak with only her. It's the law."

"Again, you have her consent in writing to speak with me or my father. Why can't I pay this bill?" (getting a little annoyed already)

"Oh we could take payment from your dad. We don't need permission to speak with him. But for you... we need her permission"

"So you'll talk with my dad about this bill, but not me? Why the hell did she and I have to sign all those papers giving her consent for you to speak with me, if you won't talk to me?" (snarky voice here)

"Well if she's there she can give you permission to pay the bill."

"She's here. But why can't I take care of this? This is very frustrating for me. My mother has dementia and my father works days. She's not going to understand why you need to speak with her." (super annoyed, close to tears in frustration)

"Do you have power of attorney?"

"No, my father is living and well. I take care of the paperwork and bill paying. I'm on every damn piece of paper you have. And don't HIPPA me. I know how HIPPA works." (super pissy attitude coming out as I'm walking to mom, who is giving me the HUH What look)

"We have to speak with her. I can't do anything without speaking to her."

"Fine, let me give the phone to her."  

I say to my mom, "just tell them I can pay the damn bill. They need your permission for me to give them money." My mom is looking confused and takes the phone.

"Yes, this is me. I told you you can talk to her. She takes care of this." 

I have no idea what the lady is saying to my mom. But now mom is getting upset.
"Why can't you talk to her? She is listed on my papers. I know she is. Then just let her take care of this. I can't read the damn card to you."

Again the lady says some stuff, which my mom cuts off by saying, "Forget it. I'll have her call and bother my husband at work to get this taken care of. Why is she on my paperwork if you won't let her pay this bill. What a bunch of SHIT!"  and with that mom hung up on them!

I was so proud of her. But it upset her. And that upsets me. I'm very protective of my mom. I know she can't read the numbers on the credit card, that's why I make the payments. It pissed me off so bad that I called my dad at work and told him he could call the assholes and take care of it. What's he say to me, "But you're on the paperwork!" No shit dad, no shit. He took care of it. But he shouldn't have to, I'm on the papers dammit! I was trying to give you money... just be happy you're getting money!!!!!!!

Ironically, I also had to pay a few of my medical bills and had to put them on my dad's credit card. When I called my clinics up, they had no problem taking my dad's money. They didn't need his permission to use the card, they just charged it. When I called mom's old clinic in WI to get hers and dads paperwork and to pay one little bill there, no problem talking to me or letting me pay the bill. BECAUSE I'M ON ALL THE PAPERWORK!!! 

My mom has dementia. My dad is stressed enough without having to take time away from his job to call you to give you the same information I was going to. I'm here to ease the burden for both of them. By having to have her next to me every time I call you, you're just making her day worse. Some days, she's with me and can handle it. Other days, like today, you make her more confused. She has enough confusion in her life, I don't need some clinic (that has written permission for me to be the contact) making it worse. I will be speaking with the director of the clinic on Monday about this. You have pissed off the wrong English Composition degree holder. I can argue with the best of them and I will. Fix your paperwork damn it if you have to. If I have all the information you need, just take the money. I don't think some random person is going to call up and willingly pay my mom's medical bills!

Next time I'll just lie and say I'm a 68 year old woman! Maybe then you'll take the damn money from me. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012


It's Sunday. I'm able to watch the Packer game here in Denver from the comfort of my couch. It's nice.

Oh... the guilt is there though. I had planned on going with Mom and Dad on a leisurely Sunday car ride. But here I sit. I have a horrible headache but I'm enjoying the peace of being alone. Just me and the dog. Why do I feel bad that I didn't go along?

I know that to keep my own sanity and health I need to take time for myself and get space from mom. I know this, I've known this since I signed on to help. But the guilt that I'm not with her can eat at me. I feel that I should be making as many memories as I can with her. She won't be with me forever.

And then the logical, practical side of me kicks in and says, "STOP! It's okay to take time for yourself. It's necessary- stop the guilt trip." (My inner voice has a great southern accent by the way!)

I'm going to be brutally honest on this page. And this is where it starts. I'm lazy, I don't like to clean. I don't like to do laundry. I should be unpacking more boxes and putting things away. But I am not going to do that today. Today I'm going to sit on the couch, watch the game and then a movie. Or maybe I'll take a nap. A long nap to catch up on the sleep I've lost fighting with my asthma and a stupid cold that just won't let go after 2.5 weeks. I don't know why I can't get ahead of it. It's unlike any cold I've ever had before. I worry that Mom is going to catch it. So far, knock on wood, she hasn't.

I'm used to living alone. I spent the last five years in my own house, doing my own thing. When I didn't want to do something, I didn't. If I didn't feel like putting on a bra, doing my hair or even getting out of my PJ's... I didn't. I lived by my own rules and I liked it. The adjustment to living with others is harder than I thought. I have to make sure the laundry is done and put away. (Now I wish I had kids to do the putting away part!) I need to vacuum, dust and do dishes. I have to make sure mom has what she needs throughout the day. I need to learn when to push mom and when to let her be. I have to learn when to push dad and when to walk away. Its different. I'm trying my best. I know that's all I can do. I just have no patience for my own learning curve. I'm my own worst critic.

There have been many changes in the past 2 months. Some I like, some I'm not so sure of yet. Some I really could do without. But I signed up for this and I knew what I was doing. I just wish the "Holly Homemaker" side of me would show up. I don't know if I even have that side... but if I do, I'm begging her to show up sooner than later.

Until it does, I'm doing the best I can every day. And today, my best is to relax and recharge.

Me, my yellow cozy blanket and the game is on. GO PACK GO!

Friday, November 16, 2012

To shower or not....

It's a bit of silly and a bit of sarcasm today from mom- I call it a tween day because she reminds me of a 9-12 year old. One minute she loves me, the next she's telling me that she wants to be in a home because they'd treat her better. To best understand this you must know my mother has always been able to send me on a guilt trip. So the comments about putting her in a home are her way to making me feel bad for combing her hair (she had a snarl and got upset that I wanted to comb it out), trying to get her to take a shower, or just getting out of her PJ's that she's been in for three days.

That's another thing I just can't get used to.... she suddenly abhors taking a shower up until she takes one. Then she raves about how good it makes her feel. I can not understand why she hates to take a shower. It's worse than fighting with a two year old to take a bath, because I can't play the "'cuz I said so" card. Even dad can't convince her when she's in this mood. I've used the excuse that I need to breath in the steam for my cold/asthma. That didn't work today. So instead she went to Walmart and Big Lots in her pajama jeans (at least hey look like jeans), her white undershirt (a man's undershirt) and her long gray sleep sweatshirt that says "Smarty Pants" with Mickey Mouse on them and her hair standing up every which way. It doesn't bother me anymore. It just isn't worth fighting over. I'll work on it tomorrow again. On a good day, the shower will happen.

While we were out mom said she wanted McDonald's. Okay, lets go to McDonald's. She said the commercial for the new Western Burrito looked good and since it was still breakfast time, that's what she wanted. Okay. Sounded good to me.

We were sitting at a table, her telling stories about how my divorce came to be (I found out today that his girlfriend lived with him and I for a year before I walked out... lol), how outstanding my great aunt was as her supervisor at the hospital back in the "good ole" days (my great aunt wasn't her supervisor, she worked on a different floor.) I take her stories in stride because I know she just wants to talk- I nod, or laugh at the appropriate spots. I was also watching other people in the place. Two older ladies having coffee and catching up... how I wish that my mom was capable of that; Two veterans sharing opinions on Obama and an older couple that came in for their free coffee. It was this last couple that really got to me.

The lady kept staring at my mom and I. I was dressed in my normal sweatshirt, jeans with make up and hair done. Then there was mom. Oblivious to the stares of this other elderly woman or to the comments she was making about her. See, I read lips... have since I was a kid and lost my hearing for a few days. It's just a habit. It usually allows me to find out what others are talking about and chuckle. Not today. This woman was sitting there judging me and my mom. Commenting that my mom shouldn't be out of the house looking like she did. Her husband smartly kept his mouth shut. If he had said a word, I'd probably have gotten up and told them both off.

What I should have done was gotten up and spoken to this woman. I should have said, "Excuse me. Before you judge my mom or me one more minute, let me explain to you why she looks that way. You see, today my mom is in her child mode. She refuses to do things she doesn't want to. I can't maker her. She's the mom and I'm still her child. I respect her. I will not force her to do things conventional society thinks she should. You see, fighting with her wears her and I out. Her tears cause my heart to break bit by bit. I'd rather sit and eat with her at McDonald's then to cause her to cry just to make her hair look presentable to you. And no I won't leave her at home so that you don't have to see her. Now that you know, thank the Lord above that you have all your mind. You can sit and judge someone who can't remember where she put her shoes, let alone that it is Friday and that today isn't a year ago or twenty years ago. You can walk away from her. You may never see her again. But me, I wish with all that I am that she wasn't being taken from me day by day. Her hair isn't perfect but every day I get to make one more memory with her is. God Bless you."

That's what I wish I'd done. Instead, all I did was smile that sugary smile of mine. When we were leaving another couple joked with my mom over my comment that the girl at the counter was a bimbo. They treated her like normal. They didn't judge her. To that couple, THANK YOU! You made my mom laugh and smile the rest of our errand running. She's still talking about how nice you were. Even though it was only a 3 minute conversation, you made her day.

My mom knows she has dementia. She said so today at Big Lots. It hurts her that she has it. And it hurts my dad, and me. It hurts the family. But its our journey. She, nor dad or I, need your judgement. We are doing this day by day the best we can. If you don't like it, KISS MY ASS!