New to caring for an abandoned relative.
I attended a doctor's appointment with my husband's sister and her husband on September 3, 2013. My husband and I are her legal guardians for medical care. Due to a simple misunderstanding by her husband regarding her appointments on that day, he had an explosive verbal outburst in the waiting room of the Dr., the police were called and he took off, abandoning her. We have not heard from him since. Of course, I could not simply leave her there, so I called my husband and we took her home. It is now 9-19-13. She is safe with us, and we are awaiting a court date of 9-25-13.
After bringing her home with only a t-shirt, pair of shorts, and a single shoe in a duct-taped wheelchair, we frantically scrambled to obtain the mere basic necessities for her safety and health. She requires 24 hour care with assistance in every aspect of personal care.
We borrowed equipment from the local Senior Center, set up in home health care through the VA and Medicare, bought a baby monitor so we can hear her at night, built a temporary wheelchair ramp to go outside and went to the local Goodwill to purchase several outfits.
We are addressing an overwhelming avalanche of needs for her, from psychosocial (clearly, there was emotional abuse prior to her coming to us, and she was left in bed 20+ hours a day) to safety issues (I am proud to have learned what a gait belt is) to medical (of course, there is an abundance of health issues and she doesn’t have her meds handy) to legal (she has zero access to any of her money, no ID, and none of her medical assistance equipment).
So. Sometimes life sucks. Well, we are getting through. There are so many issues to address that it is impossible to do more than touch on any one thing for more than a few minutes at a time. I breathe, in and out, and sigh a lot.
I think the worst part of a situation like this is not having the answers and authority to address my sister in law’s needs on a mid to long term basis. I have spent every day reordering my priorities on the basis of what is most critical, to what is “merely” important to what can wait.
The best part is there, too. My sister in law is learning to trust me. She knows she wants to stay away from her husband. She has better vitals regularly than she’s had in years, and she is eating healthier and visiting with family (also new, she’s been very isolated).
In the middle of chaos, I am learning quickly to celebrate the “small” victories, to address the big picture as I can and to ask for help to learn how best to care for her (and me). My trusty notebook holds every event that needs to be recorded (yes, there’s a lot), so I don’t even have to have a good memory myself dealing with all of this information.
Are there other people out there with similar stories or with hints or tips that may be helpful for me? I am anxious to provide the best level of care for her that I can.