"Ah, FINALLY! Where's my coffee?" I was stunned by her greeting.
Sunday, my mom looked like she was ready for hospice. Hollow eyes and an expressionless stare; Ma? Where are you?
The nursing home that I found for my mom is very nice. A five star facility; how on Earth did I find it? Was it all the praying that I had done to Mother Mary?
The last 2 years, I spent countless hours researching and visiting facilities. I toured some of the saddest places on the planet; I left in tears. The residents sat in chairs, lethargic, no one talking, no one communicating; folks were clumped in a room, together yet alone. There was a smell in these homes, not of urine or human feces, it was different; I wonder if it was the smell of death? I cried. I worried that I would never find a home for my mom.
The five star nursing homes have wait lists, long lists of a year or more. I prayed. I visualized my mom in a nice home, one where staff smiled and were attentive to the needs of the residents. I believed that I would find such a place, I knew they existed... I saw them!
I waited. I called, "We're still interested, any beds open yet?" I waited a long time for "the call" to come, telling me that they had a bed for Jo. The call never came. I teetered on the edge of depression. I took a deep breath, pulled myself up and focused on the goal; finding a bed in a 5 star nursing facility.
Time was running out; mom was declining rapidly, falling and needing 24 hour care. I couldn't provide the care that my mom needed any longer. Caring for my mom was killing me.
I prayed. I prayed the Hail Mary prayer so much that I heard it in my head constantly. I prayed. I would close my eyes and see the Blessed Virgin Mary in my minds eye. She glowed. She became brighter and brighter as I recited her prayer; it was the mantra that kept me focused on hope.
Calling all the facilities that we are on wait lists; all homes gave me the same answer, "Oh, not yet my friend." I cried. I didn't want to do this care giving job any longer. I didn't want to visit more nursing homes; I didn't have the strength. Blood pressure rose as my patients dwindled; I was alone in my nightmare. I had to make it stop or I was going to die before my mom.
Few cared or heard my cries; I was becoming seriously depressed. It sucked. I began to think about death every day, my death. Death felt like it was the only way out of this hell that I had been living for the last 3 years.
I prayed. My mom needed a home. She was falling every day and forgot how to walk up the stairs. It was not safe for her or me. I turned to the internet.
Google helped me find my mom's facility. I began searching homes that were outside of my mom's insurance "network." One call led to another as I asked the same questions, "Do you have any beds available? How about short term beds?"
"Yes, as a matter of fact we are discharging someone tomorrow. We will have a bed for your mom tomorrow. Can you come tomorrow morning for a visit?" My prayers were answered.
Chirping birds greeted me the next morning; my heart skipped a beat... I FOUND IT! The facility was perfect, it had everything that I had hoped to find for my mom.
My mom was smiling yesterday as she held her "baby," Savita the cat.