Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Adversity, Bringing Relatives Together

There is nothing like adversity to bring people together. Until my father was hospitalized, I had not heard from my brother for a couple of years. Suddenly, after I made the inquiries, my brother is now like a long lost pen-pal. Each couple of days or sometime a couple of times a day, I receive e-mails keeping me in the loop of what is happening. In terms of my father's progress, there is not much to brag about. He had not made any. He still has the left sided weakness, not able to use his left arm or bear weight on the left leg. Sometime during the calendar, he was transferred from the hospital to a rehab center, but that information never surfaced in my mail. It seemed to me beyond extraordinary that they would have keep him in acute care for so long, but the reality makes more sense. With daily physical therapy, he is not making progress. This does not bode well for his future, though he is mentally alert and reportedly making corny jokes with the staff. The $52,000 question of the moment is what to do about Dad? Both my brother and his wife work out of necessity. Dad is not able to be independent at home, nor would he be if he went to live with my brother. Medicare and Medicaid are not going to pay for daily nursing care. They are not going to cover a nurses aid other than a couple times a week, but only if he continues to get Physical Therapy at home. He no longer has skilled nursing needs. Then there is his house. What do we do with that? With the poor choices he had made in a roommate, he no longer has a life savings, no longer has equity in his house, no longer has stocks and bonds tucked away for his retirement. What he does have is a mortgage that is grandiose when I remember that they paid $112,000 for the house way back when. He also has enough credit card debt to support a small island. It makes me want to start cutting up my plastic right now. Questions that are more difficult to wrestle with are what is my role being not only so far away, but not even in the same continent as they are? Realistically, I don't see that my role would have been much different if I were still living in CA. I could offer to call the rehab hospital social worker or his financial adviser; it is just a matter of a time difference regardless of where I live. However the problem is, I do not have privy to the information they may need to assist us further. That really puts a fly in the ointment, a wrench in the works, it really is a pain for my brother who does have easier access, thus making him among the chosen.

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