Tuesday, June 17, 2008


coal train 2
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
Well, on Sunday night after my invigorating 72 hour workweek was finally grinding to a close (it shouldn't have ground to a close for another three hours, actually, but needs must and my coworkers are almost talking to me again) A and I drove to Charlotte to pick up my brother N and the QOB. The drive down was kind of fun, even given that I was still unfairly hungover and completely exhausted, which A informed me meant that I was not hungover but had some kind of hangover virus, with, get this, exactly the same symptoms as a hangover, that is currently going around. A always knows about these weird symptom inexplicable mystery virii that, like, everybody has, even her friend in Greensboro. These virii may or may not be tied to the phases of the moon or the likelihood that Mercury is in retrograde, which is my friend J's explanation for exhaustion, sorrow, cramps and the regrettable tendency of small but important pieces of paper, like money, to escape my purse. But, despite the planets and the germs, we got there okay in about an hour and 45 minutes.

When the QOB came off the train she looked great. I mean, she had misplaced her teeth, which is always kind of disconcerting, but otherwise she looked fine and if you didn't know her you'd never guess that she had a stroke about three weeks ago. We piled into the car and drove back up to Asheville which, mysteriously, although we followed the same route, took two and a half hours. So everyone was exhausted when we got to my mothers and A and I just went on back to my house where we collapsed for a few hours before the workweek reared its hideous, leering head yet again.

Yesterday I worked about half a day and then went over to my mothers where I sat with the QOB for a while and realized several things somewhat depressing things about her condition, such as that she is completely spatially disoriented - she doesn't really know where she is - she is having trouble recalling who she is and who we are and, most importantly perhaps, my mother is not really up to this caretaking thing. The plan at this point was to find a small rental for the QOB centrally located between my older brother and me and hire some nurses during the day.

Thus, in a series of wild coincidences I thought I'd found the perfect house for her in West Asheville and we all - my mother happily excepted - went to see it. The house was cute. The QOB seemed to like it, if you overlooked the fact that she was kind of totally confused and still didn't have her teeth. The landlady (the coincidence here is that she turns out to be Bucket's human, with whom I walk dogs almost every morning, small Asheville strikes again) was highly dubious about the QOB's ability to live alone. She is right. Then, she politely and gently let us know that really, nobody in their right mind was going to rent her a house - she's like a walking perfect storm of potential litigation. This undeniable fact struck my brother and I dumb since it hadn't even occurred to us and yet now that it had, we had to change all our strategies. So we went over to my friend C's used restaurant equipment business - he was having a sort of afterparty party party - and drank beer and tasted hummus and ate some fried things and generally had a great time despite the constant low level thrumming worry at the bottom of both of our brains.

Then we went home and talked about the whole thing for some hours and got basically nowhere except that we agreed there is absolutely no way the QOB can live alone, in New York, Asheville or anywhere. This morning when I woke up I thought, you know, really the only thing is for her to move in with me. My mother had more bad news - the health insurance or whatever that the QOB had in NY, which was going to pay for therapists and home nurses and so on, will not transfer to NC, so everything she needs will have to come out of pocket. Don't you love America? I so love America and its wonderful health insurance and help for old people (medicare will cover none of this stuff.) And, in other downer news, my mother thinks that the QOB can only stay with her for a month before my mother's retirement community, which is essentially run by great white sharks with Episcopal leanings, either kicks her out or starts demanding giant amounts of baksheesh.

So, today, I have started looking for large houses in West Asheville while still unsure of what is actually going to happen. I am wary of the QOB regaining all her faculties and deciding to scamper back off to NY (we can hardly keep her duct taped to a chair in the basement all the time) and thus sticking me with a large house I can't afford. And I don't want to tell my landlord that I'm moving out in a month and then have some other solution for the QOB materialize, leaving me with three days to move and find a place to live and so on. Argh. And, quite frankly, and I know I said I would do this and I will, this is just PMS hangover virus overtired anxiety nerves talking here, I just sort of realized that, you know, my youngest child is 16.5 years old which means that in about 5 years he might well be moving out and I would, for the first time since I was 18, be able to just take care of myself. Except that now, I won't - I'll be taking care of my aunt. This is selfish, I know; just give me a moment to mourn my no doubt mythical free woman in the free world future before I head back to Craigslist and try to decipher what, exactly, they mean by close to central West Asheville.


Kathryn said...

Call the Council on Aging and ask for Kate Brockett.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I read your blog as it is the funniest and most inventive blog locally so I feel like I know you.

I had to write because I just went through this with my mother who came from another state after a broken limb, her health insurance also was not usable in NC and I had to change all that as well as have her move in with me.

There are health insurance options out there but they are expensive. I got my mom a BC/BS plan that costs about $200 a month but covers everything 100%. Since she is living with me and has no housing costs, she can afford this.

Good luck with this journey, it is a hard when especially when you have a full time job (me too) and kids (me too)

Gordon Smith said...


I emailed my friend about the Waynesville house. I'll let you know when I hear from her.

Anonymous said...

CarePartners Health Services offers the services of a Geriatric Care Manager. It is not covered by insurance and is $85 per hour. However, this person is trained specifically in navigating all of the healthcare needs of an elderly person. This service has been beneficial to several folks I know that are dealing with elderly parents or relatives. The website is attached. http://www.carepartners.org/pagedisplay.cfm?mainpage=18&subpage=43