Wednesday, March 31, 2010

FBI Raids My Demented Mother's House

This represents my mother's fractured brain.


An extraordinary event took place yesterday at my mom’s assisted-living facility.
The FBI arrived at 6 a.m. and took control of the house. With them was a small army of the Dept. of Social Services and the county Ombudsman service.
The owners of the house, and three others like it, were arrested and charged with trafficking in human beings—basically Filippino house aides working as slave labor.

I got a call around 9 a.m. which alerted me to the situation. Mom was safe and a caregiver was on site. It was unknown if the house would remain open. For now all was well (!)
I immediately started making calls to track down the county ombudsman service and get more information. Nothing more could be told to me. They would contact me in the afternoon. A “placement” person would be seeing what she could put together for Mom, if it developed that she would have to leave the house.

At 2 p.m. I got home from an AA meeting to find a message on my house phone from the FBI, that the house was being closed immediately and my mother and the other residents needed to be moved out just as immediately.

The ombudsman gave me a very short list of facilities reputable enough to take my severely demented mother. None of them was willing to take her immediately. None of them was in my town. All of them were large facilities with high prices, protocol that required assessments of the client, multiple forms completed by a doctor, and no sooner openings than perhaps the next day, which is today, if they indeed chose to accept her.

The price quotes they gave me were $5,800 to $6,800 per month. In my town, an assisted-living facility charges between $2,700 and $3,500. In my town, assisted-living facilities licensed to care for dementia patients are in critically short supply.

When I got over to Mom’s house after exhausting all avenues for assistance that night, the kind FBI folks told me my mother was a sweetheart, she had been interviewed, and now it was my turn. I told what I know of the way the house was run, and I asked what they proposed to do about my mother.

They looked at me blankly. She was not their responsibility. Their concern was the house aides in a form of indentured labor. Someone from the FBI’s “Victim Assistance” office was there, but she could not assist, because her area of concern was the house aides of the other three homes, which also had to be shut down. No one in official capacity was interested in what became of the residents.

The Ombudsman said there was simply nothing that could be done for my mom. One of the other houseguests had found the last room at a facility 30 miles away. The other one had relatively no dementia and found a home in our town with another board and care home. Mom was on her own, because her level of dementia is technically “advanced” and it requires higher level of care.
So, praying like a mad dog, I took my moms things and put what I could into my car. Then I got Mom in the car and tried to explain to her what had happened. She couldn’t comprehend. I got her home, got her night-time meds into her, put her to bed.

Mom is a lost little girl who doesn’t speak grown-up language. She has nightly roaming problems, staying up and wandering in the dead of night, sometimes shouting at people.
She no longer understands her bathroom functions and uses whatever surface that is easily found…such as the floor, a chair, a hope chest….

So I’m trying to practice the tools I’ve learned in AA: Just keep doing the next right indicated thing. I have a small plan for tomorrow, running Mom hither and yon to meet with new facilities, go by the Doctor’s office, see about the requisite new paperwork, and see what unfolds. I’m pretty powerless and very confused.

But I know God knows and He is in charge, and I need only wait on his direction, keep taking the next indicated step. God has a place for my mom. Please join me, those of you who pray, and let us ask the Lord together, to be merciful to Mom. To guide us clearly in the way we should go. Mom has been asking God for a long time just to take her home to heaven. We join her in those prayers. We also ask that she receive good quality of life in whatever time remains for her.

Please remember us in the next few crazy days. Thank you!
(Update, 5 a.m. or so:)
At four this morning my mother wet the bed and got out of it to remove her wet things. We heard a crash as she fell. I ran in and found her without clothes lying on the floor, which she had also wet.

She was understandably distressed and confused. I helped her sit on the floor, wrapped in a blanket. Having no other bed, I laid a mat of dry towels on the bed, ran and got a pair of the Depends I'd gone out to buy at the late night store after she went to sleep, found some sweat clothes of mine (too big), and came back to the guest room. There she sat like a confused little girl.

I helped her to pull on her first pair of adult diapers (no fuss from her, as there had been at the house), got her dressed. Laid down another mat of dry towels on the bed, and she laid back down. Found dry blankets to cover her with. I rubbed her bony skull and forehead, and talked to her a bit. She found my warm hands welcome, and she drifted off to sleep.

My hubby dear stood by helplessly. Shouldn't we strip the bed and wash the sheets? He wondered. It quite mattered to him that the bed would be soaked. I said Eff that, she wants to go back to sleep. She was dry enough, and if the mattress got soaked, so be it.
I feel triumphant that she consented to wear her first Depends. This is going to be one hell of an interesting day.

Maybe with some luck and cooperation, I can give her a little bed bath before we head out to see what the day brings.

Keep first things first. Going now to have a little quiet time with God....

37 comments:

Shadow said...

oh my word! good luck in finding a suitable home for your mom! you are in my thoughts.

Karen said...

Oh, Chris, you have my thoughts and prayers and concern. I'll send all of these you way and hope for a good outcome.

Brian Miller said...

wow. crazy story. will be praying for you and your mother...sorry it all seemed to get put on you.

Beth said...

Oh, bless your heart! A little over a year ago, I had to move my MIL (may she RIP) to a new facility. It wasn't easy.

But we didn't have all the excitement you've had! Human traffickers... sheesh!

the walking man said...

That is a pretty fucked up situation.

More than prayer now is the time for action, someone has to be with your mom most of the time because of her wanting to wander and someone has to start working the phones. Start with a number of geriatric specialists offices for recommendations and then the Social Services (don't forget the Alzheimer Association) agencies for the aged.

Medicare (CMS) may have some help available. Don't forget to have her doctor write the prescription for home nursing (24 hour).

Hit your politicians office with emails and phone calls. The thing is this is not one of those deals that you can do alone Chris...it is going to take a small army of people to make phone calls until some answers are reached.

The situation is fucked up but it is not as hopeless as it looks right now. Get to it.

Garnet said...

This situation is so ridiculous it's funny, sitting here at my computer screen reading about it. But I can only imagine how deadly serious it is to you. Nobody can provide 24 hour care to someone with advanced dementia, all alone. Yikes! Consider yourself in my prayers. I sure hope a good solution appears very, very quickly.

Syd said...

I understand the frustration. I talked to others who had a lot of difficulty with their loved ones who had severe dementia. Luckily, my mother was good and could care for herself at the assisted living facility. She made friends with others who were demented and would gently talk to them. I hope that your dear mother will have a place where she feels comfort and continuity. I think both are important for the elderly who have any form of dementia or depression.

Mrsupole said...

Prayers are with you and your mom. I guess this is a true case of why my mom is worried about the government taking over health care. She asks me questions and I just do not have the answers.

I hope all goes well for you and your mom and will pray that you find a place that will take great care of her. How can anyone afford these places? The cost is just too much. I will pray that you find an affordable place too. My heart goes out to you both.

God bless.

Scott said...

geeze Chris, I cannot believe all of this! There HAS to be some sort of recourse.

I think you're on the right track with God's plan and having faith in that plan. I'll be praying for you and mom. God is with you and your mom.

Enchanted Oak said...

Thank you for all your prayers. I'm greedy for prayers today. Now I am going to update the post about tonight's recent events.

Katharine, Ontario Canada. said...

I will be praying for all that happens in the days to come...I have been a regular reader of your moms conversations, and have blessed more than you know, Blessings on your day.

Marion said...

I can't believe this, Chris. I will certainly pray for your Mom and yourself; I only wish I was closer so that I could help physically. I hope you find a place today for the poor lady, one which is affordable, clean and caring. I will be thinking of you today.

Prayer Girl said...

Your universe seems to have flipped upside down. This sounds like a situation that requires the power of God.

I am praying that God will provide the help you need - give you strength to deal with this and show you where your mom can receive the assistance she needs.

PG

Dianne said...

Many of us have been there. You did the right things. She will be more pliable with you, than at the home run by strangers. Daytime will reveal a different personality than night time. Get your siblings to do a job, any job so you are not alone. p.s. Wheelchairs save a lot of time when trying to contain a situation or speed up travel. Call the United Methodist Church south of you, they have an equipment loan closet, Kathy (the poet) will help you. You are not alone.
Dear One, Di

Sherry said...

I've said a prayer and will put you on my daily prayer list. I went through something similar with my mother a year ago (not the F.B.I. thing though)!

Magpie said...

Tragically this doesn't sound like a very well thought out raid on the part of the powers that be, and unfortunately, they are not the ones paying the price. My prayers are definitely with you and your mother at this time. God speed in all you do today and much success.

chitowngreg said...

Wow, what a story. My thoughts are with you. Glad to hear you're using your program and are just focused on doing the next right thing. I suspect there's a plan at work here somewhere and that this time with your mother has a purpose. Good luck in the days ahead and finding a new home for her.

Kim A. said...

Prayers, candles, fingers crossed, and I'm thinking of making a trip to Mt. Olympus just in case Zeus still has any pull. If I were there, I could help more. It is so frustrating to see someone who needs an extra hand and not be able to offer one..damn. I will be holding you and your mom and husband in my prayers, knowing that the highest good for all will manifest in love and light. Breathe, girl, breathe.

♥namaste and a bucket full of hugs♥

TechnoBabe said...

Oh my. You are a very dear daughter. I am sending so much love your way to help hold you up and keep your moving.

Georgina said...

I'm praying for you too. This can't be easy. I hope many people can rally around you to help do whatever needs to be done. I watched my Mom go through this with her Mom, (minus the FBI- Geez who needs that!!!). Your Mom, undoubtedly, knows she is very much loved and cared for. Thinking of you. - G

Catherine said...

Oh Chris! Praying for you and your mother and the whole situation.

Love, Catherine

RNSANE said...

Oh, my dear Chris, I am so sorry. You know I totally understand. My mother's facility, one of the best in the U. S., according to Medicare and U.S. News & World Report. Medicare was to have paid for the first 90 days since she was hospitalized with atrial fib and a stroke prior to admission
( it is $6000/mo to be there ). However, since she is not cooperating with rehab, we just got the news that, after only a month, she must switch to private pay. After all her savings is exhausted, Medicaid will kick in.

Titanium said...

Oh, Chris. I am so very, very sorry for the chaos that just exploded into her life and yours.

Bless you for being who you are, for Doing and Knowing and Being.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your Mom; now and always.

C.M. Jackson said...

prayers and thoughts are with you and your mom

♥ Boomer ♥ said...

That is just terrible. Terrible! Thanks goodness she has you is all I can say.

e said...

Wow...I am sorry for both of you, but I shudder to think what might have befallen your mother had you not been there and able to take her into your home. I'll be thinking of you both.

Nezzy said...

It's hard enough to deal with health facilities for the aging but just to be shut down without notice is just unreal to me. Bless you heart, I'm prayin' hard with you that things fall smoothly into place for your mother's care. Take care!

God bless and have a good evening sweetie. You are a good daughter!!!

sarah said...

wow Chris...you really are amazing. I am also praying for all of you....I am in awe of your amazing strength to go with the flow so to speak....Stay strong...Sarah

Karen said...

xoxox, Chris.

With Frank's mother, we also go an alarm that you can attach to the back of her pajamas. If she gets out of bed, it will go off. We got it at a hospital supply store (along with the Depends and pads for the bed).

Steve E said...

OMG, you Chris, whi is so nice to me in your comments, and your blogging indicates we are all friends of a sort here. It is time we all together ask God to intervene here, and pur some Peeps in front of you thursday, who can help in some way.

Bless you, for taking over. Others might --well, you know--stand aside, and expect "someone else" to "do"...that ain't the way it happens, not yet! You DO have our prayers especially for your intentions tonight!

Peace! and bless you!

Marla said...

Chris...I am praying as one who has been there. I am SO PROUD of you! You are living out what family means for the world to see.

If you go to the beginning of my blog, you will see I just walked this dog. How can I help you? I know of a wonderful place in Nipomo but is that too far? I also know some incredible caregivers who could help with leads in your area. Please, let me know how I can help.

Also, I am coming out there next month. If you need help or a break, I would be more than happy to do whatever I could.

I'm here ....and I'm praying.

Intrepid said...

That is so terrible I can't really think what to say that doesn't involve swearing so I will just say that my thoughts are with you and your mum - GRRR!

Matty said...

Gosh, I feel so bad for you. I have never had to endure a situation like this, and with two living parents in their 70's, I sure hope I never do. You have the patience of a saint, and I have you in my thoughts and prayers. Remember your own advice....God knows what he's doing.

Tari said...

I am so sorry this is happening to you and your family. How awful that the "officials" weren't able to help you at all, and 4 homes shut down in one day? Wow. A definite lack of coordination with other departments on their part. I hope this is temporary for you, and something opens up soon. Sounds like a tremendous burden. Sending thoughts and prayers your way.

Kristin H. said...

Oh, Chris. I'm speechless. Your family is in my prayers.

Let us know what happens.

Secretia said...

You and your Mom are in my prayers. Her time on this earth is short. The end is never pretty. You will see her in heaven one day and she will be able to thank you then. Right now it will just be a blur until it's over, and then be somewhat blurry for a while afterwards. It will clear eventually. Thanks for taking care of her, someone will care for you one day too.

With love, Secretia

Teri and the cats of Furrydance said...

How frightening for something like this to happen and just be told "You have to go". You handled this first day admirably, and I hope your strength holds and the wheels turn and you have a safe place for your mom soon...

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