Getting an old lady with decent insurance out of a nursing home is about as simple as infiltrating the KGB unnoticed without speaking Russian. She's too confused to be safe, too weak, too....what? Seriously folks, she's walking, using the potty, and asking for her kitties. Let her go.
So today, with the help of an understanding doctor (and an agreement to set up a spy cam so I can check on her from afar) I got her sprung. Here's how it went:
After a week of several phone calls daily the nursing home agreed that she was ready to discharge to Hospice care. The agreed-upon time was 11 AM. Hospice would arrive at home at 1 PM. Yesterday Babygirl and I spent a few hours trying to reconfigure Mom's bedroom (which is also her dining room - she can't climb the stairs to the bedrooms and has had a hospital bed downstairs since she moved in two years ago). The current arrangement made her walk circles around her dining room table, dragging her oxygen cord with her. Once it got wrapped around a couple of times she'd forget what to do about it and just take it off. When she fell, she didn't have her oxygen on for this reason. While I was putting the finishing touches on this project this morning, the nursing home called and asked if I could come in a little early for some paperwork. Of course. I knew there would be paperwork!
It turns out that the 'paperwork' they needed done was the required stuff that allows them to ADMIT her to the nursing home in the first place. Somehow, in the three weeks that she's been there, no one asked me to get that little detail taken care of. So I spent half an hour admitting her to the nursing home, and then went upstairs to do a half-hour's worth of paperwork to get her OUT. It put us a little behind schedule.
She then got loaded into a medivan and brought home. Two skinny guys hoisted her up the back stairs in a wheelchair, transferred her to her walker, and in she went to be with her beloved kitties.
Hospice arrived, right on schedule, and we hit the rough patch I anticipated. They outlined the purpose of Hospice: To make her comfortable, but to not do any diagnostic tests or life-prolonging treatments. "Hey! Wait a minute! You make it sound like you expect me to DIE or something!" says Mom.
"Everybody dies, Mom. You have at least four different diseases that can't really be treated. We aren't taking anything away, but we aren't adding anything new because the new stuff would probably kill you faster than the diseases you have. Besides, Hospice isn't a contract that says you HAVE to die in a certain period - you can take your time about it!"
Only in my family can you say something like that, get a laugh and not get sent straight to Hell.
The winning argument was this one, though: "I need help to keep you from going back to the nursing home and this is the only way I can get it." Done.
So she is settled, I get someone to come in twice a week and shove her in the shower with more help further down the road when we need it, and it's covered by Medicare because it's Hospice. It's sad that you have to be officially dying for your insurance to help your family keep you at home.
So, in spy-code, "The Goose has landed." Moose and Squirrel are a whole different story.