After a long, sleepless night, my Aunt and I planned on how to get her into her wheelchair for the exit out the door. The transport vehicle had been summoned. The checklist was reviewed yet again re appliances turned off, lights off, flowers watered, on and on…..
Her personal belongings were packed. For all the stuff (hoarding) in the house, even clothing piled high…my aunt does not have much in the way to wear. She tends to wear much of the same stuff with infrequent laundry and no showers or baths. Sponge baths seem to be the norm. So a few clothes were packed along with meds.
We did get my aunt into wheel chair with a little of her help. We moved to the front porch and awaited the transport vehicle while I watered the geraniums we had so painstakingly planted for Mother’s Day. The time came to load her up and the tears commenced to run down her cheeks as she exclaimed she was not coming home. Reassurances and pats on the shoulder did nothing to abate the tears.
The welcoming was special as we pulled up. The staff came out to greet and my aunt immediately noted a long row of well attended roses and fuchsia baskets hanging about the front porch. She named the variety of fuchsia as she nervously chatted, rolled up the ramp into the foster home facility. The paperwork was signed by me and the formal requirements were dispensed with.
My aunt visited in the great room, sitting at a table while other clients came and went. She seemed happy, chatty and quite appreciative of the surroundings and staff. My aunt’s room seemed particularly inviting with a nice balloon, clean surroundings and a great view of the roses. I let her know the morning sun would shine in the large picture window. With relief, at her seeming at ease, I told my aunt I would be headed out to go buy a few things to ease her transition (underwear, socks, pajama bottoms, support hose). Those things secured, I headed back.
When I entered the staff was cleaning up after dinner. My aunt was in her room. I went to her and she was seated on the bed holding her knee, complaining of pain. The staff lady came and noted that my aunt had a great appetite for dinner, having cleaned her plate. My aunt also appeared to have an appetite for privacy and mobility. My aunt had decided to eat alone in her room. She had also decided to attempt to exit her wheelchair and walk across the room toward a dresser to place her limited wardrobe. The staff quickly noted this and intervened. My aunt seemed confused as to why the fuss.
Sigh…..”no one ever told me I couldn’t get up” almost made my head explode. Repeatedly she has been admonished, cautioned, ordered to keep her rear planted until she summons help for assistance in moving from the bed to the commode, to the wheelchair and back again. Great care had been given to explaining how to use the paging device to summon assistance/help.
So, I gently but firmly bawled her out. “If you fall and break a hip, or permanently ruin the knee, it is over. You won’t be going home. Do you understand how careful you must be?” “Now what is this right here? What do you use this for?” (The paging device…demonstrated 3 times by staff and myself) ”Is that the TV control?” Lordy me?
I spent the remainder of my time with her attempting to put her at ease, reaffirm the need for staying safe, and in time socializing with staff and clients at meals. My aunt has spent the better part of 40 years living alone and she is very set in her ways and enormously determined to succeed.
On another note, a 10 hard drop box has been summoned for Saturday morning. Starting small to finish the driveway in particular. I told my aunt what I was doing. She squirmed and became animated saying she wants to have a sale this summer. She wants the card tables set up. All in good time auntie. As I explained to her….if you want to have any sale, you better remember what that gizmo is for and use it!