Sunday, August 30, 2009

Homecoming from Florida

E. is home from Florida. What *is* to be done about, or perhaps I should say with, mom? Almost seems the nursing home is trying to kill her, but that is true only some days and with some nursing home personnel.

E. and her sis, mom's caretaker, confronted some folk, did an end run by talking to the new head of nursing, "sneaked" mom out to see another physician -- which act was apparently considered disrespectful and even *unethical*.

(My reply to that idea was that not to have sought a second opinion when mom was in difficulty would have been immoral. Tomorrow in journalism ethics we'll talk about ethics v. morals. That's a kind of intellectual isometrics, pitting one muscle against another, static but strengthening.)

And so our phone conversations went: One day the plan was to change nursing homes, the next to figure out some way to bring mom home in spite of the fact E.'s sis has back and hip problems and can't shift mom without help. And the amount of money needed to get help is limited. And I'm not going to bankrupt us to eke out another six months of life for a 98.5-year-old mom.

Right now I'm thankful I'm pretty much indifferent to my mom in her nursing home in Tennessee, an indifference made possible by the fact my older sister lives nearby and keeps an eye on things. Shelley wrote a poem about love divided is love doubled, but he was rationalizing his unremitting pursuit of Baby Strange. His was sexy math, not the calculus of dealing with geriatric parents.

It seems a cruel kind of love to urge E. to think more of herself and less about her aged parent. It's also disingenuous, isn't it? I probably want her devotion all to myself. Well, let her practice on her mom then. Consider it a workout for the main event: me.

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