I've had time to digest. My take on it all is a little more in perspective. I'm still offended at the lawyer's fees, don't get me wrong, but I can see that the end result is what really matters.
This past year has been a growing experience. With growing, comes growing pains.
I felt huge emotional pains, watching my mom suffer painfully: physically, mentally and, yes, emotionally. I can't imagine the loss of dignity of being in a nursing home, confined to a wheelchair, in diapers, having someone spoon feed you, when your brain is telling you that you are well enough to be independent. (she definitely was, and still is, not!)
It hurt tremendously to have to move her possessions from her independent living apartment without her knowledge. (We couldn't let on, the ensuing depression would have made her give up, she was too ill to handle that grave injustice)
As the only child in town, I became her support. I became the financial power of attorney, the medical power of attorney, the advocate between her and her care givers, the one to do the arranging of transportation, the one to shuttle back and forth between the doctors, the hospitals.... At times, I felt there was a phone constantly in my ear. When the phone rings or the mail comes, I cringe. Ya, me, who doesn't even balance my checkbook because I truly hate money and dealing with that sort of thing.
The messy state of her affairs... Where do I begin? She had been very ill for many years; it was monumental. It wasn't just filing papers... I learned about: insurance, home owners, medicare, and personal secondary medical insurance; selling a house; estate sales; selling stock; reclaiming property that has been transferred to the state; liquidating assets; property tax; prearranging funerals; probate; death tax; dealing with financial planners; sheltering assets; annuities; elder care attorneys....the list goes on and on. Each one more insulting to your intelligence because the elderly get bashed financially on all ends. BUT the most fun???? Medicaid law.
Wait a minute... let me amend that. Maybe the most tolling thing was the well meaning, evil spirited phone calls and digs from her friends and tertiary relatives who didn't think I was doing enough or doing right by her... Where was their help??
So, every day, I had a huge to-do list because the time clock was ticking; the law changed as of today, January 1, 2009. As of today, the law is way less favorable if you haven't pre-planned.
So on top of all this BS paperwork, trying to get people to do their jobs right when you contact them, reading and learning, and oh yea, my job, my responsibilities and my life...one still needs to eat, sleep (not much), shower, do laundry and buy groceries (did I mention some major surgery?)... I visit every other day or so, and somehow find a way to put a smile on my face, be upbeat and find cheery conversation.
I learned that it might be ok to die. It has changed my outlook on the final frontier. I hope I go fast. I hope medicine doesn't prolong my life to the point that I can no longer take care of myself. I also learned that the tough part is being the one who has to "clean up" after someone else dies.
I will probably learn more in 2009. The saga, I know, is far from over. The house is not yet sold. I just read an article that said there were only 13 homes that sold in December in Racine. Some of them sold for well less than half of their assessed value.
I may end up buying real estate that I don't even want, just to save it from the wolves. (we have 45 days to sell it or it becomes fodder for the state to seize upon her death) That doesn't even take into consideration the insurance, property taxes, upkeep, heat.... see the fun, see why sleep is elusive?
The emotional pain will be huge when she finally does pass on. I will really be a grown up then and will miss her terribly... I already do on days her mental capabilities take her away.