We continue the saga of Dad’s latest accident. Let’s tune in.
Friday was the third day I spent at Dad’s and it brought a huge snowstorm, well, huge for someone used to Seattle, but the 24-hour aide took a cab to Dad’s house in the morning, thank God. He asked what my dad needed and I told him about Dad’s state of health – couldn’t walk, coughing and in and out of reality — and that Dad was nocturnal. The night before, Dad woke at 11 p.m. and wanted me to take him to another room. I said no, because I was exhausted, had to go to bed and couldn’t help him back and forth for two hours. I couldn’t lift him by myself, either. He’s skinny, but he’s solid. I told him to call me if he needed me.
There was nothing to do with my dad asleep the first day, so the aide watched TV and I made more calls to get Dad services. Dad did wake up in the afternoon and I introduced him to the aide. I thought Dad would reject him because he was black, but Dad didn’t complain, in public anyway. Over the course of days, he asked me at least ten times “Ti nomizis?” – “What do you think?” about the aide. I know he was worried about the prospect of this guy sleeping in his house. The aide was a stranger too and that did not bode well for a man who doesn’t trust anyone.
The aide’s supervisor came the next day, to orient him and collect the deposit. We talked about what my dad needed and brought the deposit check to him. It was $1,300 for the first week. Dad balked at the number and refused to sign. The supervisor and I explained to him that he was not safe alone in his house, (and so had everybody from every other agency) so his choices were either home care or a nursing home, and he said he didn’t want to go to a nursing home. Again we asked him to sign the check, and again he refused. “It should be free,” he said. “Insurance will cover it.” Well, Medicare doesn’t cover in-home care, and for someone who’s against entitlement programs, Dad sure wants a lot of stuff to be free.
The supervisor said long-term-care insurance would pay for the aide, so I asked Dad. “DO YOU HAVE LONG-TERM-CARE INSURANCE?”
“No, I don’t need to wash my hair,” he mumbled.
“NO, LONG-TERM-CARE INSURANCE?”
“Yeah, bring over the chair.”
That went nowhere and it was really disappointing because Dad had the opportunity to buy long-term-care insurance when my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 16 years ago. He tried to buy it for her at the time, but they wouldn’t sell it to him. Seeing that, he should have bought it for himself, but he didn’t want to spend the money. It’s an expensive lesson that he’ll never learn, because I told him I’d work to get the aide’s care covered, but that won’t happen. The supervisor did tell me that if he refused care, I could have Social Services step in and compel him to go to a nursing home.
Later that day, Dad insisted on calling the garage-door people to fix his automatic door. I had to hand it to him, he looked them up in the phone book, dialed and set up an appointment for the next day. It was sad, too, because I doubted my dad would ever drive again.
The garage-door people came and put in a new motor. The technician asked me for a check, so I made one out for $275 and brought it to my dad to sign.
He peered at the check. “No,” he said. “The ad said $265. Tell them I won’t sign it.”
I brought the check back to the technician and told him what Dad said. He called his supervisor, who told me, “The ad has said $275 for at least two years. You can show him. It’s in the Clipper.”
I relayed the message to Dad. He grumbled. “It’s supposed to be $265,” but he did sign it.
I spent the weekend fielding calls from agencies who were sending people over, and I went to the supermarket for Dad and the liquor store for me. It was good to get out, and better to be able to make a drink at the end of the day.
Over the course of a few days, though, the aide really proved his worth. He woke my dad in the morning, cleaned him up and fed him breakfast. He woke him again for lunch and dinner, and, thankfully, answered Dad’s bellows after 11 p.m.
On Monday, I continued my calls for services and in between, my husband called. My dad heard the deafening ring next to his bed and he picked up.
“DAD, IT’S MY HUSBAND. I GOT IT.”
“DAD, HANG UP, IT’S FOR ME.”
“What do I need for gymnastics?” my husband said faintly in the background.
“WAIT A MINUTE, WAIT A MINUTE,” Dad said.
“JUST THE LEOTARD AND SNACKS,” I yelled to my husband.
“YES, SNACKS. FOR THE CAR.”
“DAD, HANG UP!”
“WAIT A MINUTE, WAIT A MINUTE.”
“OKAY, BYE HONEY.”
“Okay, I love you.”
“I LOVE YOU TOO.”
“WHAT?” my dad said, as I hung up.
By the end of Monday, I was exhausted. I hoped I could get a good night’s sleep on my 42-year-old childhood bed because tomorrow, we were taking Dad out.