Tuesday, May 27, 2008


The old man continues to decline. As a result, I have stepped up Nursing Home search 2007. Part 2.

I've been pretty upset about this, and worried something bad is going to happen to the male half of my DNA, and it's kind of overwhelming. There are SO many homes, and they promise all this stuff, and there's waiting lists etc and I just decided to do the only thing I really could do... and well, that's pray, and ask God/Buddha/Allah whatever for a sign I couldn't really miss. Boy did I get it. More than once.

I went to one last night, it was in Salmon Creek, super big huge nice house, and the people that owned it seemed nice enough, but the referral guy was a little pushy, wanted a deposit etc all this stuff. I felt like it was a good place, but I felt the need to keep looking. Everyone there was in a wheelchair, and while Dad will be there soon, he still has this gimp about those that are really "sick" in his mind.

I talked to my mama, who knows everyone and her dog due to her chosen profession of Hair Stylist/Almost Free Therapist and she has a client that has a care home. She called her, and she didn't have any vacancies, but she left her a voicemail that she had several friends that also have group homes that go to the same church etc and left phone numbers.

Well between the combination of being deaf, and this lady's Romanian accent, my mom couldn't understand the names left on her voicemail but she could understand numbers.

So I have this list of like 9 phone numbers, and I reverse directory them, and only one comes up. I decide ah, well I'll call this one first, because at least I have a name to ask for.

I get busy at work, and mom calls back - she talked to her client again, and the client said her number one choice would be the lady whose name I just happened to find out. Ok, that's an interesting little coincidence. Ok.

So I call her, and she speaks perfect english, no accent, which is good - because my dad has a hard enough time anyway, and a heavy accent on a caregiver would be difficult for him. I like her instantly on the phone. She emails photos of the home and the room that just opened up, and there are more pictures of the residents than the home. This is unual, because 90% of these old folks places are trying to impress you with their nice furniture and fancy chandeliers, and that doesn't mean JACK SHIT. What matters is my dad is well taken care of and respected. So huge points there. Also, zero pressure from this girl.

I set up an appointment for tonight to go see her after seeing the pictures, and she emails me the address. It's 7*** Alabama Street.

My dad was born and raised in Alabama. Hmm, another interesting coincidence.

I get another lull at work, and I decide to call and check on the complaint records of these facilities. Most people don't realize this is public record and you can call and find out what happened.

Home 1, fancy one, has a complaint that was recently investigated on July 10th. The case is closed, with no evidence of wrongdoing noted, but there's no report available for me to look at. I discover they've only been open and licensed since March, which isn't the impression I got from the home. Hmm.That gives me pause.

Home 2, referred one, has zero complaints, and got a perfect score on every single surprise inspection. Hmm.

I go there, and the house isn't fancy, but it's immaculate and the people there are half in wheelchairs, and half not. Instantly I go up to the youngest looking guy there, and introduce myself. We shake hands and I flat out ask him how it is to live there. He tells me how wonderful it is and about how we are like a family here etc etc. He tells me I look young to have a dad in need of care, and that my dad must be young. I tell him "Not as young as you, I would imagine." He tells me he's 60. I tell him my dad's 74. He tells me he lives there because his kidneys are failing and he has seizures. He tells me he goes to the VA and was in the Navy, I tell him my dad was too, I crack a joke about waiting hours at the VA. I like this guy.

So I talk to the owner, Daniela, and she asks all the right questions, and has all the right answers to mine, she's sincere, and she has a good sense of humor. I explain to her that I'm looking for a place that my dad can stay at through the duration of his life, and ask specific questions about that. She has the perfect answer - she says caring for the vulnerable and elderly is her life's work and she considers it an honor to be able to assist people as they are in their final moments.
I decide she's hired.

I tell her I called the state, and she's the only one I asked about that got a perfect score. She's excited I did the footwork, and is excited to tell her husband - he walked by and she said "I told you people check!"

We discuss paperwork, timelines etc and talk for the better part of an hour. I like her more and more. We are similar in age. She tells me she worked at her mother's adult care home at the age of 16 and has been a caregiver ever since. She's in process of obtaining her nursing degree from Clark part time.

As I shake her hand and tell her I look forward to having her help care for my father, she gives me a brochure. I haven't seen it yet.

On the cover there is one picture - purple lotus flowers. Exactly like my tattoo. Yup, there's my final sign, in case I didn't pay attention the first two times.

Thanks, whoever you are up there. I will sleep well tonight.