The Last Four Weeks

June 14th 2023 / 27 minutes to read

I don’t even know where to begin. It just keeps going. Every. Single. Day.

My last post covered how intense my life became immediately after my mom passed away.

One would think that alone is traumatic enough.

Nope. Exactly two weeks later, I became my father’s Health Power of Attorney. A new hellscape began. So here’s what’s been happening since I posted about how all of that had been going.

On the last day that I was Health Power of Attorney, a nurse and I had a 40-minute phone call discussing the use of morphine. I was recommended to have it on order but not to give it to my father unless something catastrophic happened. It was only to have the order placed because they were concerned about my father having a stroke due to his heart issues and that his risk for stroke was “astronomical.” I believe now, after the fact, that there was never going to be a good case for him to have morphine, as he was not terminal or had any chronic illness beyond the repeated UTIs.

I was informed weeks later, which this post will cover, that less than an hour later, when my brother, Daniel, was again made Health Power of Attorney, he authorized the use of morphine. I was, and still am, horrified by this. My father is 0-100 on many things, and I knew this would be one of them. Sure enough. He is demanding morphine constantly. I will explain later on how this has made everything so much worse for my father’s health.

On May 23, 2023, my father told me he wanted me to have full Power of Attorney, which means financial and health. He knew he had made a mistake having my brother be Power of Attorney in any capacity. When my brother lied to him that I was causing staff to threaten to quit unless he was Health Power of Attorney and that I was trying to pull him out of his facility, he panicked. He was becoming aware of the fact that my brother wasn’t paying my father’s bills but that his credit card bill kept increasing somehow. That my brother had “cleaned out my room twice in two weeks and “he just convinced me to let him take my wallet and two credit cards.”

My father is bed-bound. My father could walk when my brother put him in the nursing home in early 2017. He lost that ability over time and became wheelchair-bound. Now he can’t properly support his head up if they try to put him in his wheelchair. So he lays on his back the majority of the time. He is unable to sit himself up without a Hoyer lift. He’s fragile due to his repeated infections this year.

On May 25, 2023, he spoke to the social services woman about entirely changing the Power of Attorney to me. Now, I had emailed on May 15th my concerns that my father was, in fact, not alert and orientated when he switched Health Power of Attorney to my brother.

I’m confused because the hospital and Hillcrest staff told me how altered he’s been lately.

My father texted me this Sunday morning when I asked why he chose to do this, “Your brother said you were causing trouble with the office and you threatened to throw me out.” So to me, that doesn’t seem like my father was, in your words, very lucid and able to make his needs known. It sounds like a sick, older man was manipulated and lied to.

I understand this most likely falls under “family drama we don’t get involved in,” but this affects my father’s health and well-being. The stress and confusion for him aren’t doing any favors.

Toss in the 40-minute phone call I had with *facility* not even an hour before you emailed me, where we discussed how bad my father’s health condition is, plus his extremely high risk of stroke, and trying to see if he had had an evaluation by a cardiologist recently, I am concerned.

I am not expecting you to have all of the answers. I’m simply looking for clarification, and I want to ensure he’s ok.

I never got a response to that email.

I emailed on May 25th, “My father contacted me and asked me to reach out to you to see what time works for you for me to come up to *facility*.” Surprisingly, I got a prompt response that we would look at the following week to set up a time. I responded by asking if we could process the Health Power of Attorney paperwork in the meantime, as I knew from the last time I did not need to be there for it. I was told that we would discuss it at the meeting. That confused me. I didn’t know why my father’s request was becoming complicated when it took all five minutes to have him switch it over to my brother while he was most likely altered.

I was emailed back on May 26th that we were looking at June 1st for the meeting in the early afternoon and that she had called my brother and Ombudsman (who is a mediator of sorts) to see their availability. “If we all meet (you, Dan, *Ombudsman*, IDT and your dad) hopefully we can come to a resolution and not continue with the back and forth.” What I took from this are a few things.

She called my brother.

I would email asking for a phone call and would be denied, or have it scheduled and never receive a call, or I was told it had to be a “meeting” with everyone to have a phone call with me.

I also became stressed out because I know how my brother responds to any threat to his perceived “control” over our father. And then lastly, I hadn’t seen my brother in many years in person, and after his behavior when our mother passed away in late February, I dreaded more confrontation. I also was confused about why so many people had to be involved. Again, where was this when my father quickly and easily made my brother Health Power of Attorney?

I responded to that May 26th email with, “Ok, I’ll wait for your confirmation of date and time for the meeting.”

I emailed again on May 30th, “I am just following up to confirm the date and time for the meeting.”

On May 31st, I was informed that the meeting would be at 11 am the very next day, just under 24 hours of notice, and when I asked if we could move it to the early afternoon, as was indicated in the email on the 26th, was told that 11 am worked for everyone else. Ok, fine. I will have to make it work because what other choice did I have?

I frantically tried to prepare myself for what I felt was a strange situation, see my brother in person, advocate for my father, and deal with multiple people I hadn’t met before. I was stressed, to put it mildly.

I believed the meeting would be held in a conference room so I brought my iPad with me to take notes, I assumed everyone would have a chance to say their piece, that the mediator would mediate, and everything would come to a resolution that my father would be satisfied with.

Yeah, so that didn’t happen.

On June 1st, I arrived at the facility 20 minutes early as I wanted to get set up in what I assumed would be a conference room. As I stood at the desk in the main lobby and informed the woman I was there for a meeting for my father, she tried to find the social services woman. Five minutes go by, then ten minutes, and finally, she informs me that the woman would come to get me. I thought, great, I have no idea where the conference room is. The social services woman finds me and informs me that everyone has been waiting in my father’s room. Oh. So I was the “late one,” and I was the only one that wasn’t informed to go to my father’s room for this meeting.

As I walked in, my brother gave me the dirtiest look and glared at me. He kept that up the entire meeting. There was me, my brother, social services, an aide, the mediator, the nurse practitioner, and another woman dressed in administration clothes, but I don’t know her role. My father was in his wheelchair, wearing only a shirt and a white sheet meant to cover his bottom half that kept falling to the ground. He was slumped over because he hasn’t been able to support himself in an upright position in months physically. I kept picking up the sheet and trying to cover him while my brother stood there, glaring at me. Then as I looked at the group, he was the only one unmasked and unvaccinated (against COVID). That confused me because signs everywhere stated that guests MUST BE MASKED. I guess my brother was the exception to that rule.

The meeting is begun with the aide angrily explaining how this can’t keep happening, the switching back and forth; I understood this to mean Health Power of Attorney because Financial Power of Attorney had never been transferred before. She wrote on a legal pad for my deaf father, “Why do you want to switch power of attorney?”. Notice the phrasing; it was not specific to only financial or only health. This is important later. She also kept lecturing about how no one could prevent another person from visiting.

I interrupted her and again clarified that if she referred to the May 7th hospital stay, no one prevented my brother from visiting our father. That they themselves did not inform my brother where our father was going, that when I spoke to the night nurse, she told me that she agreed that until my father was admitted to the hospital, there was no point in telling my brother as it was after visiting hours at the hospital. We didn’t know where he was going to end up that night. I was frustrated at this point because I didn’t understand where this false narrative was coming from.

So my father proceeds to go off about my brother not paying his bills, not helping with his health, and so on. My brother proceeds to raise his voice and start ranting that he believed I was coaching my father to switch Power of Attorney and leaped across the room to grab our father’s cell phone, proclaiming, “I HAVE SCREENSHOTS!!”

My father says, “The battery is dead, dumbass.”

I was humiliated. I was having my brother behave this way in front of so many people. Ugh.

I explained to the group that my father came to me with concerns. I told him his concerns are valid and to talk to the administration here, which he did. Then my brother starts shrieking that I was trying to convince our father to call the authorities on him. I again explained that my father informed me that my brother took his laptop, wallet, and two credit cards. He refused to return everything except the wallet, minus the credit cards, and that this fell under personal family drama, and I am sure the staff doesn’t care about our personal family drama. That I was more than willing to let anyone look at my phone to go over my conversations with my father. No one took me up on that offer.

Over the course of the meeting, my brother went off that I didn’t visit as much as he did, and did anyone even recognize me or remember every single visit I’ve ever made?!

Yep, because I am immunocompromised. Once COVID decided this was the timeline it should be in, it meant I could no longer go to a nursing home where COVID would run rampant (as it did to all nursing homes in the U.S.) to visit my father. There’s a strong chance I won’t survive it due to my type of health issues and lung damage.

I explained to the group how prior to COVID, I visited multiple times a month after dinner hours to run my father’s errands. I didn’t expect anyone to remember me specifically, as my father was much more functional, physically, back then, and it didn’t even matter how much I visited in person because it didn’t apply to the situation we were there for.

Let’s see what else my brother ranted about… oh yes, and he kept saying he did pay the bills recently. My father said after months of not paying and only when he found out about switching Power of Attorney. Every time my brother would start ranting, I would say they don’t care about our personal family drama, and then he would shriek, “LET ME FINISH!!”

Now I am taking a 45-minute meeting and trying to give the high points because it was a lot. I am still reeling from it! While my brother was losing it, the nurse practitioner kept trying to talk to me about my father’s health, kept trying to get me to make health care decisions, and the one administrative woman whose role I have no clue about physically grasped my brother and kept saying, “THIS ISN’T PERSONAL DAN! YOU CAN STILL VISIT!”

At this point, I noticed everyone was having individual conversations. I spoke up and said hey, everyone is having their own little conversations, and at the end of the day, we are here to support my father and his decisions. He is alert and orientated. We don’t have to like his decisions but must respect them.

My father was complaining about pain and that he wanted to be put back in bed. That requires a Hoyer lift. So another aide came in with the lift to move him. At this point, everyone, including my brother, left except for the nurse practitioner. I was so confused. Wasn’t I there to sign the paperwork? So another 40+ minute conversation with the nurse practitioner about my father’s health. Without getting into it, I had to explain what his doctor wanted because the nurse practitioner kept writing down stuff like, do you want the catheter removed? Yes or no, I kept going back to explain the consequences and what the doctor and I had agreed upon. He chose not to take it out. I thought that was settled. HA! I was wrong.

Then the other nurse, the one I dealt with the most during my time as the Health Power of Attorney, came by. That’s when I learned how quickly my brother put my father on the morphine path. We talked in depth about the morphine issue and about switching to extended-release pills because right now, the one he was on at the time was knocking him out instead of helping with his leg and back pain, pain which I believe stems from laying in bed on his back day in and day out. He would have to enter hospice care to be on a different form. I asked multiple times what that meant, and I felt I wasn’t getting any solid answers, so finally, I said look, I equate hospice with death because the only times I’ve had family enter hospice, they are dead a week later. It was explained to me that this isn’t the case. It was brought up multiple times if I should approve hospice care. I said I had to wait until the paperwork was signed. I joked about needing a pamphlet explaining what hospice actually meant, and then slowly, everything trailed off, and I was left alone with my father.

He asked me if I felt happier with his decision. I said happy wasn’t what I was feeling, that I was proud that he was standing up for himself. After about a half hour, I decided to find the social services woman because my father was feeling tired, and the paperwork still hadn’t been dealt with. After asking a few staff members, one led me to the office, and I had to pass the room labeled Conference Room, which I found ironic. The woman was eating her lunch, and I apologized for interrupting her and for my brother’s behavior. I was told it was okay because they were used to him.

I brought up my confusion about how the hospital and their own staff informed me how altered my dad was on May 11th and May 12th, yet that same day he was apparently alert and orientated enough for legal paperwork. I was told that she felt he was alert because he recognized her and called her by a nickname he has for her.

Even though I brought it up in the meeting that included my brother, I again explained that my father texted me on Mother’s Day to inform me of what my brother said to convince him to switch him to Health Power of Attorney, which is that her staff came to her directly threatening to quit unless my brother was made Health Power of Attorney. I was told again how that wasn’t true. I said, I know, but you never asked my father why he was switching, yet today it’s a massive deal of why he’s switching to me.

I brought up doing the paperwork, and she grabbed the other woman who works there, who happened to be a notary. We returned to my father’s room, and he was lightly dozing. I wake him up, and he proceeds to read every piece of paper. I was like, again, where was this three weeks prior?!

While we waited, I asked if they had any idea why there was an over $300 charge on one of my father’s credit cards. They had no idea and said that couldn’t be, that he only gets $30 a month in Medicare for spending. I made a note of this in my head.

So paperwork is signed, I had to sign nothing, and after more time with my dad and the documents in hand, I head over to my twin sister’s house as I had the start of a migraine, and she lived far closer to his facility, plus I knew I would get water and snacks!

After my visit and going home, I made sure to put the paperwork in my Dad folder, and I noticed there was no Health Power of Attorney paperwork, only financial. I emailed social services and asked for their copy, as I didn’t get one, and if they could also send a copy of his DNR paperwork.

The response was, “We did not do a new POAH yesterday as he only specified the POAF and it is not assumed for both unless the family or resident says otherwise. If that is something he wants to do, we could look into it next week.”

Everyone, and I do mean everyone, was under the assumption this was for full and complete Financial and Health Power of Attorney. My father believed this, and his nurse practitioner, me, my brother, the aide going off at the start of the meeting, and the other nurse who asked me about hospice.

What the actual fuck.

I text my father to let him know, and he is furious. Absolutely furious. I tell him to bring it up to social services again and that he should tell them everything that was going on.

At this point, we find out my brother still refused to return our father’s laptop that he took without permission on May 7th. He also changed my father’s email password.

The meeting was on Thursday, by late Sunday morning; my phone is blowing up because hospice was there trying to get my father to sign their paperwork, and my father wanted me to be on the phone while it was happening. I am half out of it, on the phone trying to figure out what was going on, texting my deaf father, and just so confused. He eventually signs the paperwork, and the nurse, again the one I dealt with the most this year, said she was planning on calling me anyway and would call me back. She does about a half hour later and explains to me that they removed my father’s catheter, and he hadn’t been able to urinate in 24 hours. I WAS FUCKING PISSED. We JUST dealt with this not even 48 hours ago?!?! WHAT HAPPENED?! I was informed that he demanded it be removed. I said no, it was supposed to be removed and a size smaller put back in, which he knew. I was told that since he was now in hospice, no one could make him go to the hospital. I am texting him, but at this point, he was knocked out on his morphine.

The next day, which was June 5th, I called to find out what was happening and was told we were now 48 hours without any urine input. I said damn it, I knew that urethra would rubberband shut if we didn’t put a new one in! I then texted my sister asking if she was available to go with me to his facility, as I was losing it at this point because there was a nightmare hellscape in my personal life that had nothing to do with my dad or brother, and I was at my breaking point. She wasn’t available, but my brother-in-law was, and he came with me, which I appreciate so sincerely. It helped me so much! The Dream Team!

So we went to see WTF was happening with my father. I was informed that my brother had been there in the morning. He, for whatever reason, chose not to explain to our deaf father what was happening with his body and what being in hospice meant. I had one… I think the nurse or aide explained that it was removed to do a void test. I said NOPE, absolutely not. You’re wrong. So back and forth of me going YOU’RE WRONG, and she said well, let me check the notes, and I’ll be right back, but I know it was for a void test (which meant to see if he could urinate without the catheter). She comes back, “I am so sorry!! Let me get the aide in here to explain what happened!” I said I don’t care; it was a miscommunication on your end, and because of that, my father didn’t have informed consent, let me explain it to him, and I’m sure he will make the right choice and go to the hospital to have the procedure redone. I was so fucking angry!

I’m then informed that I can’t push my father into a decision or manipulate him into a decision, that I have to “be in the moment” and respect him if he says no. I was like… how can he make an informed decision when you all fucked up?!

I explain to my father the miscommunication and that his bladder would rupture within days, kill him, and be painful. That I didn’t want to be an adult orphan. He was all well, ok, then. Can they try to do the catheter here? I asked the nurse, and it was, “ughhh what’s the point it won’t go in” I said sure, 99.999999% it won’t, but we can try, right? And that’s not an unreasonable request that he’s making. So a lot of back and forth, and finally, they agree to give it one try. It fails, and my father agrees to go to the hospital. I was told to tell him the hospital stay would maybe be one night. Yeah, he was there the entire week.

While we waited for specifics on transport, I asked my father if I should take photos of what was in his wallet to see if items continued to go missing; he said yes, do it, so I did. I felt like I was violating his privacy. He had my brother-in-law, and I change his phone password to a new one that he specified, due to my brother violating his privacy on his cell phone repeatedly. After all that, I had to leave as I knew he was soon being transferred. He had me tell the staff he would go with his cell phone, the new charger I gifted him during the Thursday meeting, and his wallet. Staff confirmed that he would indeed have those items with him.

I got a voicemail from his doctor the next day letting me know that he had to re-do the procedure we just did, that this set us back to square one and that he may never be able to be without a catheter now. His bladder started showing resistant bacteria again, which meant infectious diseases had to be involved again. I was so frustrated. All the excellent progress we made was erased.

The hospital staff called me to see why my father was on morphine. I explained the situation that happened with my brother. They were horrified. It was explained to me that being on morphine causes constipation and reduced appetite, which are huge issues with my father as it is and will now become much worse. That it can cause respiratory issues and possibly make his heart issues worse. They felt there was absolutely no reason for him to be on morphine but that it was too late to stop because my father was becoming dependent on it.

He’s become increasingly weaker with each and every hospital stay he’s had this year, which to my knowledge, we are at four hospital stays this year alone, totaling five weeks. It’s only June.

And then the hours and hours of texts with my father happened all week.

I told him how I contacted the non-emergency police number to see if they could point us in the right direction, but their solution was to file a theft report. I thought my father would be like, ah, forget it… but no! He said DO IT! Tell them he has drugs and unregistered guns! Which… is true. Sadly, very true. I am not sure what to do there yet.

So then, he tried to remember his accounts so we could reset passwords. We made progress on some but not on others. It was two steps forward and twenty steps back.

Finally, I regain access to one of his credit card accounts, which led me to an Xfinity (Comcast) account. I manage to log in and see an outstanding balance of $633.46. My brother’s address is listed as the service address, with premium VOIP, internet, cable package, extra channels, tv boxes and remotes, and modem. I ask my father if my brother has been using my father to pay for my brother to have this, and my father says yes, that he’s been trying FOR YEARS to get my brother to cancel it and stop it, and he refused.

Oh, holy fuck. It turns out my brother is using our sick, elderly, bed-bound father’s credit cards to have an Xfinity account under my father’s name and social security number for over $300 a month since July 2017.

Wait, July 2017? My brother put my father in the hospital on March 11th, 2017. My dad was placed in a different nursing home for a couple of months before moving to his current facility on June 20th, 2017. How could Xfinity have my father sign the paperwork at my brother’s residence on July 15, 2017, if he wasn’t there? MAKE IT MAKE SENSE BRO!! What is the total cost so far? $19,423.42

My father gives me a list of accounts/issues with accounts, so on Friday, I make all the phone calls. First, with the bank, I was told I must go in person with my paperwork. Cool, understandable.

Call Social Security, on hold for 44 minutes before I was informed that they were now closed, and the call disconnected.

Then Xfinity. OMFG. TWO FUCKING HOURS AND TWO MINUTES on hold the entire time. For the first 20 minutes, I was on hold, then a woman said, “Tech support” I said I need to speak with a manager about a fraud situation, and she argued with me that she could handle it. I explained I wasn’t comfortable with that and I needed her supervisor as this was a legal matter. She kept putting the phone down so I would hear call center noises and conversations, and would occasionally get back on the line to see if I would discuss the matter with her, eventually when she realized I was not going to get into it with her, she put me on a proper hold, which turned into a ridiculous TWO HOURS AND TWO MINUTES on hold before I had to end the call. I tweeted, and DM’d on Twitter about the situation. I was told to go to their website and file an identity theft report. Then she randomly informed me that she had been with the company for eight years, and I should not have called the main customer service number but should have somehow known to call their Customer Security Assurance number. WTF?!

I let my father know everything, and he told me to go ahead and file the report with Xfinity, so I did.

My father went back to his facility on June 9th and seems to be doing ok after having the procedure re-done for his urethra.

Then on June 13th, I woke up to phone calls from the hospice representative and my father’s facility. The hospice representative was there to re-sign the hospice paperwork because Medicare will only pay for the hospital or hospice at any given time, not both at the same time. Cool makes sense, so he was discharged from the hospice for his recent hospital stay and has to resign from the paperwork.

So after I got off the phone with the hospice representative and shortly after, when the facility called me, I texted my father to let him know it was ok to sign the paperwork. He agreed, and when the nurse went to look for the hospice representative, the dude fucking LEFT! So I called the representative and said hey, my dad is waiting to sign your paperwork…. and the hospice representative starts to go off how my dad is “fully altered” and barely knows his own name, and so on and so forth. I said umm, no? You may not be aware, but my father is entirely deaf, so you need to write things down… and then I was interrupted with “I KNOW!” and then it was this back and forth of me asking his criteria to determine if my father was altered and me saying I disagreed. Finally, I said thank you for the information. I will let the facility know.

I call the facility back and let them know what the hospice representative said to me. So that’s another fiasco because it looks like they will be going with a different hospice company now.

Then, since the social services woman was there today, I told my father he needed to talk to her. He told me to contact her, so I emailed her, letting her know my father believed I was Health Power of Attorney because it had been 12 days since the meeting, and that I had corrected him but that he wanted to speak with her and that I was upset over the hospice situation. She responded pretty promptly, asking about the hospice situation, so I let her know what happened with the representative and how they kept claiming my father was altered.

I got an email less than an hour later that I was made Health Power of Attorney again, and she agreed with me that my dad absolutely was not altered. So one positive thing was tackled, I suppose.

Now it’s the middle of the week, and I am already stressed and exhausted because I don’t know what else I will find out, which worries me.

Notes

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So when NaNoWriMo comes around, you just need to take these last couple of posts, throw in some fake names and a bit more dialog, a resolution, and you’re done! *hugs*

HAHAHA RIGHT! Thank you for always taking my hysterical phone calls. It means the world, as you know!

Dani - aredfinch

Whew! You’ve got so much on your plate. Hopefully, the new hospice company will be a good one. They can be so invaluable when it’s a good company. I am confused by the bits where you are saying an aide was discussing things with you…especially the morphine. There’s no reason an AIDE should be discussing that, it should be one of the nurses. But that whole facility sounds…interesting…ALSO, there’s no reason the facility couldn’t insert a catheter, but I would be concerned about infection control, honestly. What I don’t understand is a facility staff removing it in the first place. Did the facility provider not read the post discharge record? I am glad you continued to advocate for your father. And keep in mind a DNR does not mean “do not treat”! Don’t let them push you around if he needs something that will benefit him.

Reply to Dani - aredfinch

My father has a very long stricture, so they physically can’t do it at the facility. He needs a urethral dilation done to be able to get a catheter.

The staff removed it because they thought he was supposed to do a void test, even though on the 1st, it was made very clear that was not to happen, that we were only to remove it and to reinsert a smaller size before the urethra closed again.

Oh, I am well aware of the DNR at this point!

The aide has been very helpful overall, I feel. I think the issue maybe lies with the administration.

More stuff happened today on the financial side, and I cried in public, so that was fun.

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