Gather round boys and girls. It’s time for a Cautionary Tale.
Once upon a time, well, day before yesterday, my son asked if I would go with him to pick up his mother from the airport. She was flying into a nearby major city to visit her ailing mother who was by all recent accounts in a very bad way. Being that my relationship with my ex wife is very good and she and my son wanted me to accompany them, I certainly was willing to go. Besides, I had a strong relationship of over three decades with my former mother in law.
Nineteen days ago, my former mother in law fell and fractured her hip. It happened at her recently new residence of her husband of just a couple of years. She had been widowed since 2003 when this Christmas-Thanksgiving (December-November) match materialized. Her succumbing to his doting and persistence came as a surprise to most. An unpleasant one for three of her children her were fiercely loyal to their deceased father and less than enthusiastic about the new man in her life. My ex wife and her younger dietetic accepted the relationship on the stance that it is her life, she should do what makes her happy. He was a widower, having recently lost his long time wife after an extended, heart wrenching Alzheimer’s siege.
Surgery was quickly performed on her injury. The recovery process in the hospital was difficult. Medications for pain and anxiety were necessary. In recent months, signs of some memory loss had been evident. Needless to say, the combination of factors took its toll. She was far from her independent, determined, strong-willed self. Longer than a week passed when Doctors told her husband, there was nothing further to do medically. His choices were to take her home to his fashionable apartment in a luxury retirement complex, or place her in a care facility. He chose the latter. An assisted living, nursing home facility in his complex.
She was moved to the new location. right away, her eldest and youngest living daughters traveled to see her. Both are remarkable women with strong personalities. They had been estranged for some time on a number of issues, including their mother’s relationship. In fact, there had been palatable friction for several years with mother and first born daughter. The dire reports on her condition seemed to vastly improve with two of her daughters and a granddaughter there. His eldest son’s wife also came to visit with one of her daughters, who happens to be an RN. The husbands doom and gloom updates seemed over exaggerated. There was a plan girl rehab to begin. The hope that on smaller roses of medicine how, perhaps mental capacity woukd improve and some semblance of an appetite would surface. All parties, at the end of last weekend departed for home hopeful of continuing improvement. But those reports, beginning last Monday, with the watchful husband as sole correspondent, were anything but positive. By Wednesday, the forecast had been downgraded to imminent demise. Slipping away mentally, refusal to eat or drink and even refusal to swallow medication.
On Thursday, her granddaughter and new baby visited. Her report, while not overly optimistic, was encouraging in terms of her response and spirits. Nobody quite knew what to think. That confusion turned to crystal clear clarity on Friday night.
My son, nephew and I picked up his mother around 7. We set down for the 55 minute drive to the nursing home. On the way, my ex wife called her mother’s husband to let him know we were enroute. It quickly became apparent, something was highly rotten in Denmark. He told her he had gone home and that she was not to be disturbed. He demanded that she wait until he arrived at 8 am Saturday morning. Further, he told her not to bring any food or try to convince her to eat. When incredulously, she asked why, his response was, there is no need to prolong this. ….. Cue Alarm Bells. Suddenly things were in focus. Because he was not physically or emotionally equipped to care for her, and prompted by his obsessive desire to br in control, he had decided that it was time got her to exit, stage left. The game had abruptly changed.
Despite our prohibition, we went straight to the facility. Before arriving, she called her younger sister, who along with her daughter, were enroute, two hours away. Receiving the revelations from that call, she was incensed and declared she was putting her mother in the car that night and getting out of there. We agreed to compare notes when she arrived.
We entered the tiny room and for the next 40 minutes, we enjoyed quality time with her. She was foggy in many areas but remarkably sharp. She knew all four of us and we talked about a variety of things. She maintained her communicative skills, responding to every question. However, as time went forward, her recognition of people slipped. Two more of her Grandsons arrived and lively, somewhat amusing conversation continued. Around 10 pm, my sister in law arrived. Everyone concurred, this was not a person dying due to her injuries or lack of brain function. Her deterioration was being induced by methodical deprivation. With their mother’s brother and sister scheduled to arrive on Saturday, the decision was made to let everyone assemble, assess the situation and then confront the suddenly wildly unpopular husband. There had been no medical presence all that week. He had spook noted himself as a Doctor and God The girls elected to spend the night at the nursing home. Reinforcements were coming. Saturday was going to be a most interesting, tense, highly dramatic day.
End Part One
Conclusion on Monday