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We finally got moved up to the Pacific Northwest about 2 month ago. It's been a crazy time, but we love it up here, and love being close to family.

About a month ago, I was just glancing through ads, and saw one for a part time job, 2 days/week, doing EXACTLY what I used to do (which is unusual). Mom was taking a nap at the time. On a fluke, I responded to the ad. Before she woke up, I'd been hired after not working for 5 yrs.

Now I've been working a month and it's been working out find. Some days, when I get up at 6:30 am I wonder what the heck I was thinking, but for the most part I really do like being back at work.

Then last Tuesday a terrible wind storm hit Spokane, where my mother-in-law lives. She's 92, and my husband's cousin A lives with her. A is an alcoholic, but at least there is someone there. We got a call that night that one of the big Ponderosa Pines had come down on the house and cracked the roof and the ceiling. A was drunk, as usual. Their neighbor told them not to try to come out until morning because electric lines were down.

I went to work the next morning and my husband was with my Mom. I texted D later in the morning to find out about his Mom, and he called me and said, "Mom found A dead. The neighbors found Mom wandering the on the street. The house is uninhabitable. I have to leave today". He waited until I got home from work, then took off. The next day my brother watched Mom while I went to work.

We don't know yet what happened to A, although there was diarrhea all over, and the medical examiner has said we need to get professional medical waste cleaners in there to take of it, so possibly c.diff.

My MIL still is out of it. She's not understanding why house isn't fixed yet (2 60' trees falling on it and half the town destroyed makes things a little slow), and she's refusing to accept that the food in her refrigerator is no good any more. Her bedroom looked like a hoarder lived there, and we're coming to the conclusion that she needs at the least assisted living. Clearly, she can't stay by herself even after her house is fixed.

My problem is this - we've got her temporarily in a cousins house, but that won't last long because they're already taking care of one elderly ALZ parent, and have felt for some time that D should step up more with his Mom. They want D to bring his Mom back here. The problem with that is, my Mom doesn't live with us, we live with her. It's her house. And she has made it clear that she doesn't want D's Mom living here. She's welcome to come stay for a short time, but we have 3 bedrooms, and my Mom wants that 3rd bedroom for her guests when they come to visit.

Right now I don't know when my husband will be back. The city of Spokane hasn't even cleared the tree enough so that the power company can come and get the power back on for that neighborhood (this happened 3 nights ago). He still will have to deal with the biohazard remediators and insurance company as well as funeral services for A and short-term placement for his Mom. My brother and his wife are leaving town on Wednesday (one of my 2 days/week that I work), so I'm not sure what I'm going to do with my Mom. We could be running into this problem for several months, as D may have to live up there for awhile. At this point, I'm tempted to quit my job. I'm just not sure. Advice appreciated.

Eve

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Insurance adjuster told my husband "you won". When he looked confused, she told him, "you won the award for the worst damage I've seen so far". Structural engineers have deemed the house unsafe. No one allowed in at all until repairs have been made. It will have to be totally re-trussed. Now my husband won't be the bad guy when he has to keep telling his Mom she can't go home. No one can go in. Good deal.
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Glad to hear that plans and contingencies are being developed, but I'm even happier for you that you'll be able to return to your job! That's wonderful news!
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So glad to hear you will get to keep your job, I know mine keeps me sane most of the time! And that you are looking into placeing MIL. You and hubs keep your comunication going and hang in there!
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Today they got a crane in and lifted the one tree off the house. The insurance company got on that because they knew rain/snow was coming tomorrow and they wanted to get the hole covered before then. My husband said that once the tree was off, it was clear that they're going to have to re-truss at least half the house - it was crushed. The tree in the alley that took out the power has still not been removed - that needs to be done by the city.

Mom is safe and warm in our cousins house for now. They just don't want to keep her for months, because they already take care of their mom with Alzheimers - they don't need another, and I don't blame them in the least. They have been warm, gracious and welcoming in this crisis.

Calling the Lutheran Family Home is definitely high on the list. He's already talked to ins. about temporary housing, and it is covered (that's when he called me and asked what I thought about a long distance relationship for awhile). He will stay with his mom until she gets placed in assisted living. He's also talking about bringing her down here in assisted living if she doesn't have a policy in place at the Lutheran Family Home. He's going to discuss all this with her after Thanksgiving, giving her a little more time to adjust.

As for the job, they've basically given me a leave of absence. They told me that the job will be waiting for me whenever things settle down. I got a big hug from my boss (who also has relatives in Spokane) and she told me that everyone loves my work and they want me back. I hope this hiatus won't be more than a couple months.
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eguillot, first off glad to read you finally made it to the Pacific Northwest, it was quite a journey getting there. I know you wanted to move to be closer to family to help you out with Mom but I bet you never counted on that storm to happen and now your Mom-in-law needs your help, too.

I agree with BlackHole above, hang onto that job and to get Mom-in-law on the Lutheran Family Home waiting list. Regarding keeiping the job, even if you have to pay someone to come into the home to help Mom out while you are at work.... down the road you will be glad you did.
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Such a stressful scene for you and your husband. Get on the horn pronto w/homeowner's ins to see if they'll pay for MIL's temporary housing. Hopefully yes. Regardless, next call is to Lutheran Family Home. Get her on their list immediately. MIL had assisted living (in a sense) with A in her home. MIL needs to graduate to another supervised situation; one that does not involve your parents. There's also a decent chance that MIL's double-whammy loss (home and A) will send her to a new level of confusion. Very common with old folks. And do everything you can to hang onto your job. I, too, specialize in something odd.....I know how hard it is to fall into a perfect fit. Perhaps there are faith-based groups in your area who can help you creatively fill MIL's "care gaps" during this transition time? Or hire a teen or nursing student for periodic companionship? Hang in there. And try to get some sleep!
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The Girl Scout's building on Ash has been set aside for "medically vulnerable adults" says the Spokesman Review newspaper.

It's going to be a while yet before they get that kind of a mess as you described cleaned up, for couple reasons. Requires several services and probably only cut off a small # of people, so low priority. The Police chief and power company president are also both still out of power, too. So just a bad deal. You sure have my sympathies! Keep fingers crossed it wasn't cdiff. Much easier clean up. Cost less, too.
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There are actually 2 trees down on my MIL's house. The one tree fell across the front of the house, breaking the roof and entryway and doing most of the damage to the house, the other tree, in the back of the house, fell across the alley and took out the power for the neighborhood. The city still hasn't come out to remove the tree from the alley, so the power company can't get the power back on. Until they get the power on, no one can come in to do clean up. Not sure it's really safe for anyone to be in there right now anyway. It's sort of a Catch-22 - it's not safe for the cleaners to go in because of structural integrity, but it's not safe for construction people to go in because the cleaners haven't been there.

I'll keep you posted.
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E- We are in N Spokane. Yes, Shadle is out. Originally they were saying 3 days, then after the weekend, now saying after Thanksgiving for some. Dangerous, challenging situation. Her resistance....maybe go have a 'free' lunch at a couple of these ALFs. My M and MIL are together in one of them and they get along there much better than they would in a home alone, or with staff. Lots to do, others to see, people watching to do. Her safety is really a serious issue. Supposed to get extremely cold. Sure hope it's not C diff. BAD deal. Dealt with that w my M. Crime scene cleaners, the whole bit. Ambulance workers need to know if/when she falls. Take care and best wishes. Keep us posted?
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Nothing to add but my well wishes.
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Sophe - I called my niece, who used to work for one of the biggest crime scene clean up companies in the country for advice. MIL is not C.diff. We're not sure that A was, just a possibility, and the ME said that until tests come back we need to treat the scene as if it was. I am not in town, but my husband is. He is staying with his cousins who are temporarily housing his Mom (they live up in the Hangman Hills area).

I'm hoping they can salvage the home. If nothing else, selling it after it has been fixed will help pay for Mom's care. Selling in it's current state is impossible.

Her insurance will pay for temp housing. Right now she is resisting anything except moving back to her house (after it's fixed), so the short term plan is for her and my husband to move into short term housing until some kind of other arrangements can be made for her care. She may end up back in her home with full time caregivers paid for with VA aid & attendance, if she resists strongly enough. Not sure yet. We'll have to see.

Sure hope you get your power back soon. What part of Spokane are you in? Mom's in the Shadle Park area.
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If u have been @ work long enough u can take FMLA leave guarantees your job upon return. PS ONLY bleach, (not bleach-wipes, either) kills C-diff spores.
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Yes, very bad storm in Spokane. I'm still without power. Extreme cold now and more coming. Very dangerous if not very weather savvy. You need assessment if home is a knock-down or not. If C-diff it's dangerous to the cleaners and you need crime scene cleaners...look up providers on Google. If MIL is C-diff+ herself you must disclose to an ALF considering taking her due to risk to other residents. Consider Northpointe, Rockwood, Windriver. Sayre and Sayre attorneys in town can advise the name of a geriatric nurse case manager who can help you since you are not in town. All hotel rooms booked due to hosting power crews from out of state/region working to fix power. See if U can get her hospitalized for psych eval for 3 days then entitled to Medicare nursing home 100 days. Good luck.
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Jessie - My MIL has always said that she had planned and arranged to go into the Lutheran Family Home up in Spokane when the time came, but would never get specific about what those arrangements were. If she does, indeed, have something in place then we will obviously go with that. I'm not sure moving her out of Spokane would be good for her - she's lived there 60 yrs and plenty of friends and family who would visit her there. Only D & I here.

My husband spent quite a bit of time up there last year trying to get her affairs in order after he found that she hadn't paid taxes, etc and the house was in foreclosure. He got everything straightened out and has been taking care of her bills ever since.

She has some money in savings, but not a lot. She lives frugally. There is no mortgage, which is good. If there was, she would be hurting. She would qualify for veterans aid and assistance, however. She served during WW II. She had an honor flight back to DC last October.

I had a talk with my boss today. I explained the situation to her, and told her that I really liked working there, and would like to be able to come back after things settled down. She told me that she would get my shifts covered, and that absolutely I could come back - that everyone there loved me, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that that holds true and this is just temporary for me.
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equillot, Nature can be so cruel like this. The first thought that came to my mind is if you could move her to assisted living near you. That way you and D could help her, but not have to move her into your mother's house. Does your MIL have enough money for assisted living?

The damage to the house is so sad. Did the tree fall on A or did something else happen? I am so sorry. I know that they will have to check the foundation to make sure it is sound to see if the house can be repaired. Since the tree was only 60' tall, it may not have displaced the house from the foundation. I know you are going to be faced with a decision whether to keep the house or let it go. I don't have any guidance here, but you'll probably know what to do as time goes on.

I really just wanted to write to say I'm sorry. It seems that everything had fallen in line, but a tree knocked it back out of line. I wish you didn't have to quit your job, but I understand if you feel you need to right now. I hope things get back on track soon.
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I talked to my husband last night. Poor guy is so overwhelmed.

Yes, his Mom did have some confusion before, but mostly just forgetting occassional things, and always, always, always being late or missing doctor appts (which I think was on purpose). She managed to get to her bunco on time.

Part of her hoarder problem is dirty laundy, which can be attributed to her washer/dryer being in the basement. She's 92 yrs old, and whether she wants to admit it or not, those stairs are too much for her. She needs a place more suited for her. She's lived in that house for 60 yrs now, though, so maybe it took a tree coming down on it to get her out of it. It was my husbands childhood home, too. Lots of memories in that house.

As far as me being able to work from home, that's not possible with the type of work I do - I'm in a one person office that requires that someone be there from 9 am to 6 pm 7 days a week. My boss is going to be working there today. I'm going to go in and have a talk with her. My brother's wife is having very serious surgery Dec 8th and will be recovering for a long time (her surgery will take 7-8 hrs), so he will need to be taking care of her, not Mom. I would like to be able to come back and work for them again at some point in the future, but right now it's just too much. After my MIL gets situated and D is back home, things will be better. But without him here, I can't do it all. He really is a treasure.
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I thought about this situation some more but really can't come up with anything helpful. I did want to let you know, though, that I am hoping each day brings a little bit more resolution, peace, and hopefully a plan for this stage of your family's life.

I also wanted to bump this up so others can answer.
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I remember I think it was last year when you were trying to work everything out. It's good to see you back but not under these circumstances - what an ordeal for everyone! But I am so relieved that your MIL wasn't injured when the trees came down. Sounds like it was a close call.

Did your MIL have confusion issues before the storm? If not, that kind of catastrophe could certainly cause them. I'm wondering if one of the issues in the dilemma is whether or not she'll retain her focus and understanding of what's happened. It certainly can't be easy.

Assuming the homeowners insurance will cover the remediation first for the haz mat cleanup, then the damage to the house, I think that you could be looking at a long term temporary placement for your MIL. I suspect the damage is going to take some months. And it seems pretty clear that your mother's home isn't going to be available.

Sometimes insurance companies arrange for temporary living quarters after storm damage, so that might be one method of finding a place, with financial assistance. I would contact the adjuster ASAP to see if this is a possibility.

A similar event occurred in an adjoining neighborhood; the family moved out and if I recall correctly were in temporary quarters paid by the insurer until their house was fixed.

If there's a mortgage on the house, the lender may get involved with repair as well, preferring repair to demolition if the former is still an option.

Addressing how your mother feels is probably a tougher and more delicate issue. However, if she's agreeable to a part time stay by your MIL, that might be tried, although from what you write it sounds like MIL needs a higher level of care, unless the confusion she's suffering now is only temporary as a result of the storm. So many "ifs"....

I really wouldn't quit work though; it sounds as though this job is right for you, and that's not an easy situation to duplicate. I'm wondering if there's a way you could work from home?

I don't know if part time workers are covered by FMLA, but I would discuss the issue with your employer to see what arrangements can be worked out, including a temp if necessary until you're able to work again.

But remember that right now everything must seem so overwhelming, requiring so much time, so many arrangements. Before you even consider quitting, sleep on it, discuss it with your boss and husband to see if all of you can find a solution that's agreeable. I think you may need the diversion of the job to help you through the next months.

And do find out what the insurance company will offer in terms of a temporary residence for your MIL.
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(((((((Eve)))))))) What an incredible and unfortunate sequence of events! I am so sorry. If I remember it right you had some troubles getting to the PNW. Sounds to me that mil may be in need of more than assisted living, She really needs a good evaluation and professional recommendations as to her care. This whole episode may well cause her a decline. It must be a great shock to her. Regarding your job is there any way you could ask your employer for a temporary leave of absence because of family matters? The Agency for Aging and Social Services nay have some ideas regarding your mil. Sounds like something has to be worked out pretty quickly.

Hope others chime in with some ideas, Let us know how things go.
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