Tag Archives: grandmother

My Mother was Escorted from the Building

I was at work yesterday, working.  This has been a very big week on many fronts but the elation of a shiny new President Obama was going to end quickly.  I just gave notice that I would finally be cutting back my hours (And it scares the hell out of me, because I just kissed 25% of my income away) due to chronic illness.  It was time.

And my Mother has been dealing with issues related to my Grandmother’s health.  My Grandmother can no longer care for herself and it was a very tough time for my Mom, to know her Mother can never go back home again.

And then what?  I get a phone call from my Mother that she’d just been laid off.  She had been working at the same company for over ten years, underpaid and overworked and taken for granted.  And to top things off, they escorted her from the building, letting her know she could clear up her desk after working hours.

I understand the need to do this but I also feel it’s just cruel.  And to hear my Mother sobbing on the phone, my Mom who had already been dealing with so much recently, it broke my heart. She’s worked her whole life, she deserves better than this.

My Mom knows the reality of things, she knows that at 61 years old she will find it very difficult to get another job and she is just not ready to retire yet.  Unfortunately, my Mother doesn’t have much retirement savings and was hoping to really stockpile in the last few years of working.

My Mother is a young 61, she still goes to concerts and loves her life and her granddaughter very much.  I don’t think of 61 as “old”, not anymore.  And personally, I think it should be her choice.  It’s up to her.

The bright side is that she is technically employed until February 18th and she has health insurance, etc.  She is going to visit every doctor possible and get anything taken care of before her last work day.  She is also receiving three months severence and then will have a chance to apply for unemployment.  After she had had a chance to calm down (She told me through sobs that she had to pee and that they probably wouldn’t let her back in the building.  My Mom is a spitfire, she said she might as well just pee in their parking lot) she realized that she had time to find another job and time to help the transition for my Grandmother from her rehabilitation home to a new permanent home.

There is a lot to do, they have to clear out my Grandmother’s belongings (I’ve already been offerred her China and her sewing machine) so they can either sell her house or rent it out.  My Grandmother has two years savings to pay for her care already socked away and she’s one of those lucky ones.  My Grandfater worked for ConEdison for forty years, she gets his pension and his social security.  But we know times are different now.

But our whole family has already sworn that we would be there for each through thick or thin and that the next few months were going to be tough ones.  I told my husband the news and his first reaction was, “Do I need to clean out the spare room?”  Yes, he’s a good guy.  If it came to that, my Mother could move in with us and she could rent her condo and pay her mortgage that way.  There are always things to be done.

And so, when Barack Obama said that we’d all have to sacrifice, I knew he was right.  We all knew he was right, that we would all have to help each other.  I just think yesterday’s news was so out of the blue.  But just as many here have already proved, most of our jobs are not “safe”.

So please, say a little prayer, send a little thought to my Mother and Grandmother, they need it but I also know that it will all work out just fine.  

Both women have worked their whole lives, my Grandmother caring for her four kids and then my ailing Grandfater.  She’s always been there to help raise her Grandkids, she also deserves better.  She’s 4’9″ and a tiny little Italian lady, everyone thinks she’s just adorable with her chin hairs and her cooky hair cut.  She’s just my Grandmother.

Update:  I just got this email.

Toshiba/Tabs in Irvine and they laid off about 100 employess between Monday & Tuesdaybasically did the same thing walked them right out and wouldn’t let them get their personal effects they have to come back Friday after 6pm.

And a personal note since this is A California Blog, my husband teaches at Cerritos College and we’re not even sure he will get paid next month.  So how are we going to pay our mortgage with an IOU?

Watching My Grandma, Feeling “SiCKO”

My grandmother was just released from the hospital this morning. She nearly collapsed in the bathroom on Wednesday morning, and she’s had to spend the last two days in the hospital. She was severely dehydrated. She had diarrhea. She couldn’t eat. She was extremely weak. Basically, this is what happens to a ninety-two year old diabetic woman all too often.

So we had to drive Grandma to the hospital. We got a bed for her in the emergency room pretty quickly, but then we had to wait forever in the emergency room until the hospital finally had a room ready for her. Grandma finally got her room, she was able to sleep, and she was able to recover over the next 36 hours.

Thank goodness we caught Grandma in time, before she lost consciousness. Thank goodness Grandma’s feeling better. And thank goodness she has good health insurance. What would have happened if things weren’t as good for us?

Follow me after the flip for more…

My aunt and I stayed with Grandma overnight on Wednesday. We just couldn’t bare the thought of having her stay in the hospital alone. She doesn’t like sleeping in a strange bed in a strange location, so we didn’t want Grandma to be alone. She was able to fall asleep, though we couldn’t (we had to “sleep” on cheap, uncomfortable chairs). We were there withe Grandma, she didn’t have to be alone, and she was at ease.

Earlier in the day, my dad paid the hospital $50 so that Grandma could stay in the hospital. Her insurance covered the rest. I guess I should consider my family lucky. Other seniors go into debt to cover their health care costs. I don’t imagine how they could ever be at ease.

Yesterday, Grandma was starting to feel better. She was starting to eat again. She was hydrated again. But we had something scarier to worry about. The hospital wanted to send a therapist in to help Grandma walk again! Ahhh! Scary! Another $300 tacked onto our bill! No!

OK, so we also really didn’t need the therapist. We can help Grandma walk. My dad used to work in a hospital, after all. But what if we did actually need the therapist? And what if we really didn’t have the money to pay for the physical therapy? Why should we have to turn that down for Grandma, just because we couldn’t afford it?

Many seniors in California face exactly that problem every day. They must go without the prescription drugs that they need. Yep, over one-third of California seniors have no prescription drug coverage. They have to worry about being “burdens” to their children. As more and more people become caregivers for their elderly parents, they don’t get the support they need to afford the financial burden of being a caregiver. To be honest, that’s what my family DOES have to worry about right now.

As soon as we got to the hospital this morning, we had some frightening news waiting for us. Grandma’s blood sugar was down, so I suddenly began to worry. Will she have to stay in the hospital longer? Is her condition worsening? What will happen next?

Well, I got some reassurance from the doctor. The doctor said that Grandma should be released today. And after a few more hours, a couple more blood tests, and another hospital meal, we were finally able to take Grandma home. We’re back at the house now, and Grandma is so happy to be home.

However, my dad isn’t happy that he has to go to the pharmacy to get Grandma’s new prescriptions. She has a new pill to take for her Diabetes, and another pill to take for her diarrhea. We’re not quite happy about another trip to the pharmacy for more drugs with more co-payments. However, I guess we should be happy that Grandma’s not one of those people who can’t even afford her prescription drugs.

Now that I’ve seen a little more of our crazy health care system in person at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center, maybe I need to learn some more about our dysfunctional health care system and what we can do about it. I know Michael Moore’s new documentary, “SiCKO“, is opening tonight. Maybe I should see that this weekend. I know that SB 840 will be voted on in the Assembly soon. Maybe I should contact my Assembly Member soon, and ask my Assembly Member to vote for real universal health care that covers not just all our seniors, but all Californians.

These past two days, I’ve been in an emotional inferno as I’ve been monitoring Grandma’s condition. However, I know that many more families undergo much worse every day as they worry over whether their elderly relatives get ANY care. This is just another reason why we need real action on health care, and why we need it now.