Lady Jane has taken up temporary residence in a brand new place, recuperating from 8 very long and painful days in the hospital. She doesn't need daily physical therapy, she doesn't need oxygen ,nor does she need help with her medications. She is too weak to do much walking and talking; cooking and cleaning are out of the question for the immediate future. A sociable person, she'd wither on the vine if she were home, alone, using all her energy to struggle to the door to welcome visitors.
The Case Manager at the hospital wanted her to go to a Skilled Nursing Facility to receive treatment; this would be covered by Medicare. But Lady Jane knew that her PT needs would resolve once she was mobile. She didn't need daily treatment, she needed to get up and get moving. The Case Manager reminded her, rather sternly, that Medicare would not pay for the kind of place we were describing. Imperiously and appropriately, Lady Jane said she would pay her own way.
"I can't travel anymore. This can be my vacation."
And she's using it just that way. I found her in settled in her room in a comfy, padded armchair, reading by the open patio door. A gentle breeze, the cooing mourning doves, the color returned to her previously ashen cheeks - we were a happy twosome. The facility is brand new; she couldn't arrive until they ordered a bed and dresser. The hot water heater had issues and so have a few of the meals, but the salads we ate the first evening were scrumptious and filling and the staff is willing and courteous and she has no complaints.
She has no complaints. That says it all for me. I'm helping her coordinate her care, so I have a semi-professional interest in the outcome, but mostly I like her a lot and I want her to feel safe and comfortable. We were congratulating ourselves on planning this part of her life so brilliantly when Raul knocked and was granted admission.
Raul, a bearded, nattily attired, Hispanic man with a deep Southern accent, is the Community Life Director.... although it took us a moment or two to decipher exactly what he was saying. Please don't tell me that immigration is only a border issue; wherever he learned his English, it came with a drawl as thick as Lady Jane's Carolina roots.
Once we figured out the where and the what, my friend politely declined his offer to escort her to this afternoon's activities: a community meeting with the Ombudsman from the Pima Council on Aging (the County watchdog agency) and, right afterwards, a Music from the '30's and '40's Trivia Contest.
Raul paused, smiled, and reluctantly shared the fact that nobody else was interested in Trivia, either. They've only been there a few days, and they, like the building itself, are still settling in, working out the kinks, discovering how their days will go. For most of the residents, this is their new home. They will have plenty of time to explore.
Lady Jane, meanwhile, will rest comfortably in her chair, her tablet and her telephone and her book close at hand. (Well, her book was close at hand until she decided not to finish it. More on that in a future post.) She's awaiting the arrival of a desk, so that she can be more organized, but, in general, she's doing exactly what she should be doing after a lengthy and debilitating hospitalization - nothing.
Her only job is to heal. I'll bring her a nightlight and pick up her prescription and bring her something yummy if dinners don't improve soon, and she'll sit on her chair, icing her aching arm, admiring her snazzy, new, fire-engine red walker, as her body readjusts.
It's a rest home. And yes, it is exactly as comfortable as it sounds.