Honorary Lumberjock Down Ms. D. #3: On the brink of loseing everything she has...

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Dusty posted 05-04-2007 04:03 AM 1465 reads 0 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: They both were pretty much in my way..... and that was just fine! Part 3 of Honorary Lumberjock Down Ms. D. series Part 4: Decsion Day...The staff meeting....Does she get to go home or lose her home? »

I’ve make a point to call Ms. D. at least twice a day. and visit her in person at least three times a week. I know she is lonely, afraid, but most of all simply bored.

It seems to pick her up; I can tell by the tone in her voice.

I know she has been feeling a lot of anxiety lately. She went to visit the orthopedic surgeon last Friday. The news wasn’t very good. The break turned out to be much worse than originally thought. The healing time would be at least doubled if not more. It will be at least 6 weeks before she is even able to put the slightest weight on her leg.

She took this news hard.

She has made the best of the rehab in the nursing home. It’s been a struggle for her.

Then she got the devastating news. The Dr. said she couldn’t go home, for at least 6 weeks. That was followed by “your Medicare Insurance will run out Wednesday”.

She was told she wouldn’t be allowed to go home because she is considered at risk and a vulnerable adult . They determined shes unable to care for her self in the condition that she is in.

She called me. She was upset. Scared.

She wasn’t sure what to do or what her options were if any.

Confusion and fear began to take over. She was having an anxiety attack.

I listened. I attempted to calm here.

I fell short . I also felt helpless for the moment.

All I could do was assure her I would do every thing I could to help.

I had no clue what I could do if anything at that moment.

I just did what I do best.


I listened and let her express her fears and concerns.

I had nothing magic to say or wisdom to convey. I just tryed to comfort, and remain strong.

I have no doubt I fell short again in my efforts.

I never know if just listening helps. I just feel helpless, at times like this. All I can do is remain steadfast in my faith that things will work out for the best.I try remain calm and assuring. I don;t ride the roller coaster of emotions. I have never found this to be helpful.

Ms. D’s greatest fear is she won’t be allowed to return home. This is very real.

They have already began the process of ascertaining as to if she’s able to pay for her care. Another part of this process is to do an asset inventory and discloser.

She is a woman of modest means. Her social security is her only source of income along with a modest amount of savings. It has always been her intention to leave what ever she had left , if anything to her church. She was very active in her church when her health was better . She found great comfort there. Her house is paid for but not worth what the care in a nursing home would cost, for about two years or until the proceeds, are gone. She would then become a ward of the state or county.

This is very scary for her. Also , a reality check!

And the same for me.

However this is about her and not me. I will be fine it’s her I worry about. I tell my self I will remain strong for her and make her a promise.

I tell her I would do every thing I possibly can to help her in keeping home. I also promise to do what I can to get her back home as soon as possible.

I had no clue what I was going to be able to do if anything at the time.

I am a man of my word.

I would keep my promise to try help, regardless of the outcome I would try.

I needed to come up with a plan and fast. I told here I would. I would get back to her with my plan in a couple hours. We then could go from there.

We desperartly needed a starting point and a well thought out plan of action.

I knew that hope was or is not a plan. It is a wish and emotion. We needed something much more concrete.

We also needed hope and prayers. I was confident that part was being done by a lot of other people.

This is where my experience being a para-legal came in handy again.

I new what needed to be done. And fast. I knew she had a follow up appointment with the staff social worker for the nursing home and the care team Monday at 2.00 o’clock.

It was Friday already.

Over the weekend my brother-in-law and my father had come down to help me built a handicapped ramp to her house. I knew this would be the minimum required for the first step for her to go home. I wanted to get a jump on this and be able to show to the social workers at Monday’s meeting that she had access and egress to her house. Her safety wouldn’t be a concern then.

I could tell she was very apprehensive about the meeting.

I offered to attend it with her if she liked.

She accepted my offer and seemed very relieved.

I visited with her over the weekend and tried to prepare her for this meeting the best I could.

We met at 2 o’clock.

The conference room was full of staff from the nursing home. It was a cold drab room. The atmosphere was tense.

There was no pretending the stakes were high.

We all knew this. She sensed it also.

There was no pretending this would be a defining moment ,at least for the immediate future for Ms. D.

I had talked at length with her and tried to prepare her for any and all possibilities. She said she understood.

I knew she didn’t.

I told her I felt we needed to go on the offensive and make our case for why she can go home. She agreed and we formed a plan and I would present it at the meeting.

The major points were.

A. The ramp had been built alone with barrier free access to her house.

B. We would propose that with home care nursing services along with other professional services like physical therapy be part of her recovery.

C. I would convert the dining room and living room to barrier free rooms. I would move her bed out to living room so her wheel chair would freely move around.

D. A temporary portable toilet would be rented and installed until permanent changes could be made to the existing bath room, making it handicap accessible. E. A temporary nursing service would be hired to come in at least 3 times a week to monitor her progress and on going recovery.

F. Meals for wheels program would be obtained for home delivery of a hot meal once a day.

G. On going housekeeping and personal care help would be obtained from a certified nursing assistant service.

H. Home delivery of groceries would be set up along with a microwave and other small appliances that would be available and in a reach of her while in a wheel chair.

I. Regular well being checks would be scheduled with the nursing home along with on going out patience physical therapy visits.

J. An application for alternative transportation services such as Metro Mobility would be make and explored.

K. A test run to her home, monitored by the nursing home staff ,was proposed along with an evaluation of her current living conditions and any recommended changes would be made prior to her coming home.

L. Permanent long term plans would be addressed for the over all health and future care that might be needed.

Other concerns and minor points were addressed.

The nursing home staff seemed to be in a state of shock.

They all but had prepared for Ms.D. to sign over the deed to her house and for them to take over the long term care.

Not so fast.

She may be old and injured from her fall, but she isn’t helpless.

They needed to be reminded of this little fact.

I did, as did she.

They didn’t know how to respond.

I didn’t give them much of a chance.

I asked “what time tomorrow will you be able to conduct the evaluation.”

Some what taken back and surprised by our request they said “we would have to check staff schedules first and get back to you”.

I said, “Great let’s do that now, I will await a time you can come”

Not giving them an out or excuse.

They looked at each other as if they were in a state of bewilderment.

I chimed in and said, “how about 11 am, that will give Ms. D. time to arrange her ride and for me to prepare the house for the inspection”.

No one said a word.

I got up and said, thank you and we will see you tomorrow at 11.

I then wheeled Ms. D. out side to enjoy the sunshine.

It had been very dark and gloomy in that room for a while.

For now at least, we were experiencing the comfort of the warm rays of sunshine.

We both just sat quietly.


-- Dusty

22 comments so far

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4338 days

#1 posted 05-04-2007 04:20 AM

That is all too scary!

View Chip2's profile


1 post in 4065 days

#2 posted 05-04-2007 04:29 AM

Thanks for the inspiration – both for her and all of us who read about this situation. I can imagine my parents in this situation someday (they’re now in their 80’s), and let’s face reality: we’ll all probably need some help with infirmities.

Please keep posting on Mrs. D’s progress, and in the meantime I’ll pray for the two of you to continue as real friends.

View Karson's profile


35125 posts in 4424 days

#3 posted 05-04-2007 04:58 AM

Clap! Clap! Clap! Yeah Dusty. I great defense is a potent offence. Way to make them sit-up and notice, that they are not in control of the world.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Jeff's profile


1010 posts in 4118 days

#4 posted 05-04-2007 05:01 AM

You are so resourceful, Dusty. Brilliant!!!

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 4201 days

#5 posted 05-04-2007 05:12 AM

Dusty, the problem with many people who work in roles of helping people, is that they forget who their customers are. They fall into a pattern of easy solutions that supposedly fix all problems. The solution worked in one case – so it will work in all. They fail to think outside the square and simply go through the motions thinking that they know what is best.

The problem is, although it may be ‘best’ for them it certainly isn’t for all of their clients. It’s sad, even when these clients have supportive family members, often they will allow the system to overtake common sense and the best outcome for the client or the family.

It’s not until confronted by a Knight like you that they are shaken out of their lethargy.

God bless you, my friend. You are an inspiration to all of us.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

View PanamaJack's profile


4483 posts in 4101 days

#6 posted 05-04-2007 05:19 AM

Outstanding job Dusty, keep us informed.

God Bless you and Mrs. D!

-- Carpe Lignum; Tornare Lignum (Seize the wood, to Turn the wood)

View Diane's profile


546 posts in 4147 days

#7 posted 05-04-2007 05:37 AM

You had me tearing up with this post, way to go with helping her like this. I can’t wait to hear she is home. I pray that she mends as quickly as possible.


View Jeffrey's profile


15 posts in 4068 days

#8 posted 05-04-2007 06:02 AM


you are one of the most caring people. Ever- You rock-

-- Jeff - Bellevue,Ne.

View Dusty's profile


785 posts in 4180 days

#9 posted 05-04-2007 12:08 PM


Thank you. for all the comments.

I’m touched.

Please keep the prayers coming. We aren’t out of the woods yet.

The good news is they haven’t won this battle.

They have no idea how patience I am or how stubborn and determined Ms. D can be.

She misses her “kids” dearly, my basset hounds.

This battle has just started.

The score Ms. D 1 The nursing home 0

This is only the first inning.

-- Dusty

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4184 days

#10 posted 05-04-2007 12:25 PM

again, your past has been most helpful!!!
I really liked the control you took over the meeting. Well done!!

It may be only inning 1 but the “win” must have given Ms D the strength and faith that all was not over.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Dusty's profile


785 posts in 4180 days

#11 posted 05-04-2007 08:46 PM


Your so right regarding your comments. One thing I think is often overlooked is we tend to forget that nursing homes and the care they provide is a huge business.

This is not to minimize the services they provide.

However, it is a huge business. With out clients, they would cease to exist.

It is a major commitment to take care of some one who isn’t able to do this for themselves.

It seems that it is much easier to “let some one else do this” because of our full lives now days.

Many times this boils down to money. That is if you can afford to pay for the care they will be more than happy to provide it for your. This is not always in the best interests or desires of the person who is suppose to be receiving the care.

A lot of times they don’t have a voice in what will happen to them regarding there future care.

I think often it is considered to be a burden ,rather than a privilege to be trusted enough to care for some one else.

I think one of our short comings as a society is how little we feel a debt, or duty, to take care of the elderly or those who have gone before us and not longer are able to do that for them selves.

-- Dusty

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 4201 days

#12 posted 05-04-2007 10:15 PM

The irony is, Dusty, with carers normally being only one generation behind the elderly, it is only twenty years before they will be in the same position. I suppose one sign of maturity is when you realize that our time here is so short. “You do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away” (James 4:14)

My dear mother is living in a seniors extended care home. It’s a beautiful place. She still has her independence living in a private two bedroom apartment, but the staff prepares communal meals (except for breakfasts). She is responsible for herself and is free to come and go as she decides. She’s 86, has a weak heart, but is otherwise quite healthy for her age. The cost of this place is $2000.00 per month, and the residence has about 100 other clients just like her. Do the math, that’s $200,000.00/mo = 4.8 million/yr. income.

Yes, it’s definitely big business. Fortunately, my departed father provided for Mom and she is able to live in a high quality situation. But there are so many less fortunate seniors who live in squaller close to starvation.

I believe the manner in which we look after our seniors, is a strong indication of of the moral health of our society. The western world is going to face enormous challenges in the next twenty years as the ‘baby boomers’ start filling up seniors accommodations. Let’s pray we get it right.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

View Dusty's profile


785 posts in 4180 days

#13 posted 05-05-2007 12:38 PM


I have tried so hard not to get on my soap box about the state of health care in the USA.

This experience with Ms.D. has thrust it into my daily business. I confess I have not really thought much about it because I am still young, in good health.

My parents so far, have been able to remain living independently on the farm.

I was really taken back when they told me it would cost 259 dollars a day just for basic care for Ms. D. All that was was a bed and meals. At that price less than two years and all her assets would of been gone.

I made the comment to her that If I was going to pay 259 dollars a day for a room I wanted it to say “Westin” over the entry way and have a bell man meet me at the door.

She agreed.

This is a woman who never made more than 12 dollars a hour her whole life. She worked two jobs most of her life to support both her and her mother. Her father who was in ill health retired and two years after his retirement the company pension that they thought was going to be there the rest of there life went bankrupt.

This was before the government started the Pension Guarantee program. This was one of the reasons they passed the legislation. It was to late for them every thing had been lost.

One thing I can say as a result of this experience. First, shame on me for not getting involved sooner in this long term health care mess. Second, I will alter my own practices to be better prepared when that day arrives for me and I should need extended care.

-- Dusty

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4184 days

#14 posted 05-05-2007 01:46 PM

Hmmm $259/day – it would be cheaper to hire a live-in nurse!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Dusty's profile


785 posts in 4180 days

#15 posted 05-05-2007 04:16 PM


It is terrible and tragic isn’t it.

The last chapter hasn’t been written on this yet.

Remember the score is one nothing in favor so far of Ms.D

-- Dusty

showing 1 through 15 of 22 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics