MIL's health has declined. My husband and I aren't even really sure where to start getting help. Any suggestions?

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My MIL is 61 years old. She went through hip replacement surgery a couple of years ago and never really recovered 100%. A couple of weeks ago, she fell in her home and had to be taken to the ER. During this time, she called her son to check on her cats. When we entered the home, it became obvious that she had not been cleaning her home or removing garbage for quite a long time. It was shocking to us, as we had just been out to lunch with her in the previous week, and she had mentioned nothing wrong. This lack of housekeeping had to have been going on for months. So now we are trying to get things back on track, but it's slow going since both my husband and I work full time. After her first trip to the ER, she was referred to social services, and the social worker reported her home to the city Dept. of Neighborhood Services. We haven't gotten anything regarding code violations, but I imagine it's just a matter of time. I'm assuming that they will order the inside to be cleaned at a bare minimum.

She actually fell again last week and has since been admitted into the hospital. She's been there about a week, so it's given us some time to work on the housecleaning and organization. We are really worried that she won't be able to return home. Another huge concern is that she has five cats, and they are really important to her. We are not sure what is going to happen. Best case scenario is that the city will make her get rid of (2) of them, as the legal limit is (3). Worst case - they will make her find new homes for all of them (or even seize the cats if she doesn't do that). We both know that will crush her, but we're not sure in all honesty that she can take properly care of the cats herself. A pet sitter might be an option if she's able to go home, but I'm not sure if she'll agree to that. We're also going to be talking to her about a professional cleaning service, as there are things like carpet that are above what we can do as far as cleaning goes.

My husband has POA. It was set up before her surgery a couple of years ago. It was one of those "just in case" things, so he doesn't know a whole lot about it. I'm interested in finding out how others have helped their loved ones. It's hard because she doesn't want any other family involved. I feel bad about this situation with my MIL. Thanks in advance.

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Even the most expected death is a little bit of a shock, but I can tell neither of you thought the time was even near. My mom was IN a residential hospice and I was still in shock the morning she actually passed; we thought she had longer and so did they - we'd just paid a month rent for their longer term program since she seemed to have stabilized in the first week there. Something like this happened to my cousin too; her mom (my aunt) had turned into a hoarder and all, but was still working crosswords and going to church with her, maybe was going to move in with her at her parish in WV...well, she went and died at home unexpectedly before any of those plans could happen. They found her in the bathroom when she did not answer the phone or pick up a paper.

You may look back and realize things were going down hill, but you just can't see it coming for the ones you love.

Here's hoping you and hubby have faith and good memories to bring you comfort, strength to get through the funeral and working with the house, and that the difficult times you've just been through can quickly pale in comparison to the better ones.
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I'm so sorry to hear that. When a loved one passes away unexpectedly, I think back to a friend of my parents who told me stoutly on my father's death: "better for him, worse for you." I found that a bit rough as consolation goes, but perhaps it is true that your MIL was spared an undignified decline. I hope your husband is able to come to terms with it, all in good time.
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oh, my cancan, I'm so sorry - I'm just now seeing this but I'm sure you've been busy these past few days - probably even more so today I'm assuming but I feel you'll need us more after today - so please come check back in with us and let us know you both are doing - and again, I'm so so sorry
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CanCan, I'm so sorry to learn of your mother-in-law's passing.
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I wanted to thank everyone who responded to this thread and helped out. It meant a lot to me.

Unfortunately, my MIL passed away on Sunday. It was completely unexpected and shocking. She seemed to be getting better (breathing need improved, responded well to the dialysis treatment, etc.), but in the end, it was not enough. The pulmonary hypertension ended up making her breathing so difficult, and she would have needed to be an a respirator. The doctor said there was nothing left to do.

My husband is doing pretty good in spite of all this. He and his mom were pretty close, and I expect that the future holds a lot of heartbreak and grieving for him, but we will get through this.
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Thanks, everyone. This has really become a rollercoaster. We went to the hospital on Friday and Saturday. She is just - flat. No personality at all (except for wanting orange sherbert - I know that's her favorite). We find out more tomorrow.

Countrymouse - No need to apologize at all. No one saw this really bad development coming, and the family is completely shocked. I have used humor throughout (perhaps in bad taste at times, but that is my style) in order to cope.
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PS- I always found it scary too, when the things I had "just in case" became real necessities. But, I would bet you and hubby will be up to the challenges of what comes next. It was uncharted ground for all of us who have had to set foot on it.
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Tougher decisions ahead than what to keep and what to toss - hugs and prayers for you all. I hope you get her back from this crisis, and have some chance to enjoy a little of your time with her again, with the perspective this has to bring you and maybe her. Or at least get that chance to say all the stuff you need to say. For better or for worse, the "stuff" will be waiting there to be dealt with whichever way it goes. I hope it goes well!
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Oh yikes! - I'm sorry to hear that she's landed in the ICU (I wish I hadn't been so facetious now). It doesn't sound good at all. Is your husband able to get to the hospital to sit with her?
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Cancan, sorry to learn of this development. I think the issue would be whether the feeding tube (nasal or stomach?) and the ventilator are intended to be temporary to allow recovery from current conditions, or if they're expected to be long term.

I have no experience with transplants, but if she's in a weak condition, I'm sure that would be a factor, as well as how long her kidneys would last without intervention.

I do hope that you receive better news, or if not, that you'll be able to understand what the situation is so you know what to expect.
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