Tuesday, November 24, 2020

covid notes 50

with a nod to Vesper Sparrow’s notes from my mess:


Tim’s sister got married on the 7th with a few family members there, including her mother.


On the 9th, Pinky (their mother) fell and broke her hip.


Late on the 10th, she had partial replacement surgery. She is 89 years old.


After the surgery, there was lots of talk about what to do next. Pinky is not only easily bored, but also has Lewy body dementia. She wants to go home. Her husband, Danny, wants to bring her home. He believes that going to rehab will not work for her, especially given the fact that no one would be allowed to visit, because covid. He believes she should come home and hopes that the family could do everything possible to make that work.


He was told that two strong adults would need to be home at all times. (This in addition to help coming in daily.) It was unclear whether anyone thought he counts as a strong adult. He is a very young 89-year-old (thank god), but how strong?


The four siblings began discussing whether a schedule needed to be worked out, with one of them there for a full week at a time.


Tim’s older brother has been diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer and has started chemotherapy. It doesn’t seem like he’s a good candidate for this task.


Tim and I need to get some doctor’s appointments in before the end of the year, and if we travel, we cannot go to said appointments. Besides the fact that we should not be traveling at all.


Vermont’s governor is discouraging all travel. A week and a half ago he forbid any household intermingling. Even going on a walk with a single neighbor was forbidden. (That has been retracted, but you must wear a mask and maintain distance and be with just one neighbor.)


I don’t think we should even consider sending Tim south until January 2, after our appointments. And maybe not even then. And I’m afraid everyone will think I’m a total bitch if I stick to my guns on this.


In the last week, it’s become more clear that Pinky needs to go to rehab.


Danny finally gave in to this, reluctantly. He is very worried about her. There was only one place that would allow visitors, but she didn’t quite qualify to get in, and then that place stopped allowing visitors.


She has qualified for a different place and will be moved today or tomorrow. Word has just come in that Danny will be allowed to visit each day during certain hours if he passes covid tests. I hope that this is true. It is such good news (in what may be a slog of ultimately bad news).


Meanwhile, my (also 89-year-old) mother’s latest health assessment has revealed that she no longer qualifies for assisted living and is looking at skilled nursing care for the rest of her life.


This means that the new assisted living apartment that her things were moved into when she moved to rehab in July will never be lived in (or even seen) by her. My sister has scheduled to move the rest of her things back to the hoarder’s house on December 1.


As my mother technically has DNR status, rehab felt she should have hospice care, which Alison agreed to and hired a company. My mother doesn’t know this. She is not actively dying at this time but now will have hospice nurses.


She is suffering from some dementia (vascular, likely). When she’s lucid, she still thinks she can go home and live in That House. When Alison told her that this would not be possible, Mom threatened to take her to court. Alison calmly told her to go ahead. (We are not concerned—my mother isn’t a person who does things.)


My sister is a fucking saint who is taking care of everything (and from hundreds of miles away). I would not be able to handle any of this. I can’t even get my shit together on the goddamned health insurance. I’m like a deer in the headlights over any paperwork.


Speaking of paperwork, we paid back the thousands of dollars that the Department of Labor decided we owed them. Living the dream, we are.


The Sears guy came today to service a couple of appliances. I like this guy a lot. But I heard him coughing downstairs, and when he had finished his tasks and I went to talk with him, he had trouble keeping his loose mask up. When he left I wiped down surfaces and opened windows and let the cold, cold air cycle through for awhile.


A couple of weeks ago (a week before the latest round of restrictions), I agreed to quietly drive to New Hampshire with Alison so she could purchase a new (to her) car—also because there was a grave I’ve needed to visit for nine years in the same town.* It was an 11-hour day with the drive to and from, the hours at the dealer, the stop at the cemetery, the finding of the grave. While we were at the dealer’s, news of the Biden/Harris win broke. Alison and I were trying to figure out if we could openly celebrate safely (meaning would we be shot on sight when self-identifying as Democrats?). We sat outside to eating our prepacked lunches, and one of the employees began a conversation with us, and he was cool, and we started celebrating Biden/Harris and trash talking Trump, but his guy would get real excited and lean in to make points (dude! covid!), and sometimes pull down his mask when making points (dude!! covid!!), and sometimes need to cough and would pull down his mask to do this (dude!!! covid!!!)! We saw him sitting with his coworkers later, and everyone seemed to be trusting each other to be fine, I mean, they were all masked. Then.


So there are two scary little moments.


As for Thanksgiving, the governor is allowing people who are single (e.g., Alison) to intermingle in one other household of an immediate relative (me), so she will join me and Tim for dinner. She is a gluten-free vegan and will bring food and we will be making food, both Alison-friendly and Alison-not, and she’ll probably be here just long enough to have a leisurely dinner.


And there’s so much more. But this massive missive is all you get today. You’re welcome.


*I truly thought I had told this story in a blog post, but I can’t find it. I allude to it here and here.


  1. I'm so sorry for the massive and seemingly never-ending travails (I was trying to think of a fancy way of saying "shit") your family is going through (although I admit to having laughed at the "dude! covid!" interrupters, but they may have been nervous laughs]).


  2. "Dude! Covid!!!" Why don't they get it? So sorry you had scary moments, especially one in your own house. When every other person is a potential threat to your safety, it must be so hard to relax.

    I'm so sorry with all the stress of your mother and Tim's mom. We had one week (which was bad enough) when D's father was first put into a rest home (I guess equivalent of hospice care, but what we call "hospital level care" here) in August when they were not allowing visitors. Fortunately after that we were able to visit, albeit wearing masks. He never saw our faces again.

    Happy Thanksgiving. I'm glad you get to spend the time with Alison, The Saint. (She sounds amazing.) A brief respite in the horribleness of your 2020.

    1. Mali -- just to let you know, over here hospice care is when it is decided to "let nature run its course".

    2. Thanks. Hospice here is very much end-of-life pain management.

  3. Wow. That's a lot to take in. I actually thought I was caught up on your posts but apparently not. Also: "I’m like a deer in the headlights over any paperwork." <--- this is me.