Still raw from my experiences of caring for my mom, my mind immediately flashed to the day I literally dragged my mother into her nursing home nearly 2 years ago. It was tough. I needed to support Marty and help him check our aunt into "Rehab", code for a nursing home.
Like most folks, change is difficult for my aunt. She wants everything to stay the way it is; she does not want to live in a nursing home. She has told me this repeatedly over the last several days. Hospitalized on Saturday with pneumonia, she is very weak and unable to ambulate on her own.
"All I need to do is eat good food and exercise!" She exclaims, holding her fists like she is about to start doing calisthenics. "I do not want to live in a nursing home." She added.
I greeted her at the back entrance of the nursing home when she arrived from the hospital by ambulance. I could see her frail little body dwarfed even more by the stretcher she was strapped into. I smiled and waved. She frowned back at me with a look that screamed, "You just wait until I get you alone!" I asked my mother and father to give us strength to help Jay.
I opened the door for the EMT's and helped them bring Jay in to "Rehab." Smiling and doing my best to make her believe me when I tell her that she will never be left alone, Jay began to give me reasons why she couldn't stay.
"Oh gee... this place is too expensive! Look at it. It's fancy." Jay commented as she was being wheeled to her new room.
"I don't like this... look, someone is in this room with me... I want my own room!" She glared at me in disgust when the EMT's left and it was only her and me in the room.
One excuse after another she shot; excuses that fell on deaf ears. I smiled. I felt like my father for a brief moment, standing silent and letting Jay talk, talk, talk. I even felt my face forming my dad's grin. A smirk that I had seen make my aunt angry decades ago when dad was alive and kicking.
"Let me go see if I can find Marty." I interrupted. Every word I said to Jay seemed to make her more angry with me. I needed to get away from her before my ego made me start to cry. I took a few deep breaths as I walked down the hall. I turned the corner and found my brother.
Marty signed Jay in to the facility. Jay looked at me with confusion and distrust; she was blaming me for her being put in this place. After all, I was the one who pulled her out of her house a couple years ago when I saw the black mold growing and her cats poop everywhere! My mom was living with me at the time and having my aunt live here made my mother go more insane. Jay couldn't go back home. She couldn't stay here. Thank God for Marty and Patricia taking her in.
Now, life is changing rapidly for Jay. Her favorite cat, Morris died. My mom, her best buddy, died. Now, her little cat Molly is not doing well and about to die.
I pray for Jay to acclimate quickly and grow to love the nursing home as much as she loved the day program. Change is rarely easy when we are comfortable in life.