Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Battle With The Adult Protection Service Is Over, But Another Battle Is Sadly Lost

I'm Free!!!  The APS Case Is Closed!!!
Like a couple of posts ago, this will be out of the norm of this blog.  The sarcasm will be mostly absent, the humor will be minimal at best, and the topic is one that can actually have a bearing on your life one day.  

This is about a victory my father and I had over the Indiana Adult Protection Service!

My last posting about the APS drew quite a few views.  One might even say that I cast aside my sarcastic trademark and provided a human interest story.

Okay, so I won't make it a habit.

Still, I have to boast a little.  Regardless of the efforts made to incarcerate (a more fitting word than the phrase "confine to a nursing home") my father, as they did my stepmother, they have now closed the case!

In addition, the sister of my stepmother is now attempting to regain guardianship of her and move her out of the nursing home.

We can only hope it's not too late.

But, let's first look at my father's case.

Attempts were made, first by the nursing home, to generate a feeling of dementia around his actions of the time.  They took a statement made by a man that had been awakened in the middle of the night and twisted it to look as though he didn't know where he was at.  They then took his action in walking five miles to be with his wife (when his vehicle was damaged in an accident in which was another person's fault) as the act of a person without their right senses.  And, finally, they looked at him not bringing lunch with him as an act of a man that couldn't remember things, when in essence, he didn't want the food to spoil in the heat and had already eaten a healthy breakfast.

In the meantime, he continued to change her bed at the nursing home, feed her when staff failed to do so, take her to the bathroom when staff wasn't available, and calm her down by talking to her, rather than using the drugs the nursing home fed her constantly.

Now, you know why her sister is attempting to get guardianship.  It's only my guess, and
I Sometimes Look At My Wife And
Wonder, "What Would I Do If I Were
In My Father's Shoes?"
only a layman's assumption, that knowing all that my father was doing, the nursing home looked upon him as a threat.  What better witness against them than a man performing the tasks they were paid to complete?  And, wouldn't it be to their benefit to discredit the witness in advance rather than attempt to do it after he had testified against them?

Legal services for my father were retained immediately this time.  I wasn't playing around in hopes that they'd see for themselves that he was very competent.  He had tried that with his wife and the results weren't as he'd expected.  I knew better than to let the state office have their way early.

I scheduled appointments with the Veteran's Administration for mental and physical competency tests, the Department of Motor Vehicles for a driving test, and contacted the APS so they'd understand that proceeding ahead of those appointments might result in a legal suit against them.  As expected, they intelligently backed off.

Well, the physical examination showed that my 83-year-old father is in better shape than I am!  That was no surprise as his blood pressure was 105 over 54, his heart rate was a little less than 70 bpm, and he is on no medication for any ailment at this time.  He is constantly working in the yard in all types of weather, chops wood daily for the Winter and his Mother Earth News style home furnace, and eats no fast food whatsoever!

Then, the mental examination was given.  He got every question right but the date, and was only off by one day.  Hell, I've often miscalculated the date, thinking it was the 3rd and it was the 4th, etc.  

The doctor, after bragging about his state of physical and mental health, told me to cancel the driving test as he had given her no reason to proceed.  She smiled, told him not to forget to set an appointment for his check-up in six months, and bid him a cheery good-bye.

Still, even with that news, I knew that we needed to be careful.  So, I continued limiting his time at the nursing home to two hours a day.  Although he's greeted with smiling faces there by the staff, I'm not forgetting how they attempted to have him confined.  He's still a danger to them, and even more so now that he's been through all the examinations proving his competency.

Oh, there have been instances I look at him and think to myself, "He's not going to be in great health forever.  I need to keep a close eye on him."  

I think, throughout all the trauma this last year has brought us, and considering that he is suffering from being alone for the most part, my father and I have finally grown close.  At age 83, he respects me and my opinions now, something he never really demonstrated before.  It's as though we've changed roles, with me becoming the adult telling him how to stay safe and of what to beware.  The child has become the parent.

Although a man that cannot live without his independence, he calls me now when he needs help.  He's not above admitting that society has greatly changed since "his day" and it's not easy to keep up with.  Computers, electronic drafts, dealing with official agencies and legal representation may not be his cup of tea, but he knows I have no trouble with any of it.  So, he now looks at me as being there to take care of him when he needs it.  

You might say it's the first time since my days as a late 60's freak 
that he's shown me respect.

And, it's only taken me over 40 years to earn it.

Love ya, dad!

Just do as I say!

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     

***I was debating on when to publish the above.  I wrote it before the national election, but with all the hatred and spite in the air, I just couldn't publish it then.  I had thought during the Ten Things Of Thankful blog hop, or perhaps some other time.  

However, to every victory a small amount of tragedy occurs.  

Less than two hours ago I received word that my stepmother was being given a maximum of two days to live.  She is unresponsive, unable to swallow, and has had a Catholic priest by her side for quite some time.  The end is near.

I lost my real mother when I was thirteen.  For the last thirty-six years, this woman has been my mother and the wife of my father.  I know it will be a great loss for me when she passes, but his loss will be even greater.

We all get old.  It's a natural occurrence.  Acceptance of growing old finally sets in when common sense overcomes ego.  Acceptance of death arrives at about the same time.

The same compassion that allows us to love forces our hearts to ache when we lose a loved one.  I have told many to stop thinking of themselves and rejoice in the departed's release from misery.  Instead of thinking about how much we'll miss them, think about how they are now free and in a much better place.

It is time for me to practice what I preach.  It won't be easy, but one must do what one must do.  Otherwise, self-pity and grief overcome our sense of logic and create a deeper hole for us to climb out of when the sun rises and the clouds clear.

I worry about my father and how he'll take this.  Will he lose his sense of purpose?  Will he lose his desire to live on and continue to enjoy the ...

... Sorry, I just answered the phone.  The 48 hours just shrunk to less than two. 

My stepmother has passed.

Her suffering is over.

May God Bless You, Shirley.


  1. I'll say it again. Huge hugs, love, and prayers to you and your family, brother. xoxo

    1. Thanks so much, Sis. This year has been a battle only to have it end in this manner. God has plans for us all. We just have to have faith and move on. Many Thanks!

  2. My condolences and sympathies, dear friend. Through this ordeal with your stepmom and dad, you have demonstrated how big your heart is and what a genuine caregiver you are. :) Underneath that tough-skinned, comedian exterior is a warm-hearted person that cares deeply for the welfare of others. I knew this when I "met" you online. If you hang around a person long enough, you see their true colors through their writing. :)
    Thank you for your service to your stepmom and dad. You are a person with a heart of gold and they deeply appreciated that - in the way that you and your dad became close, and in the way that you fought for your stepmom.
    We have but one life, but you have made decisions that prove that yours is fully lived.

    1. Hey, Cindy (can I still call you that or, like my daughter demanded Mandy become Amanda, do I need to change?)

      Your words are only too kind. I look at it more as a duty to my father. He and I were never that close, but that doesn't mean we don't have to change as time goes on. I only wish the world would follow the example. Can you imagine if everyone were to stop trying to get something and just gave of their selves to others how wonderful life would be. Of course, that would mean eliminating greed, jealousy, and hate, which would mean a whole lot of folks in Washington D.C. would be out of jobs. That would be a Godsend in itself!

      Again, thank you so much. I knew I had a lost daughter somewhere, and now I know where she is. :)

    2. You, my friend, can call me whatever suits you. I am going by "Cynthia" more these days, but plenty still call me by my nickname. It's mostly because "Cynthia" sounds better in Spanish. LOL.
      Great friendships - though we have never met - are forged as we all share our life experiences and what's going right and what's going wrong. I have always loved your story.
      And you have reinforced what I'm doing with my new website: as long as I can and as often as I can, I intend to give. :)

  3. Wow, what an ordeal is right! So sorry for your loss.

    1. Thanks so much, Debbie. It's been a strange journey. It just didn't have the ending I hoped for. Greatly appreciated!

  4. You are such a decent man, bro.
    I'm so happy the relationship you now have with your dad is so fulfilling - today is the only day we have a bit of control over.
    I'm sorry about the loss of your stepmom - sending prayers and hugs to you and your family. Happy, peaceful Thanksgiving. Love, Sis

    1. Sis, so good to see you here.

      First, thank you so much, not only for your words here, but for your help and advice you so graciously shared with me when I called upon you. I know your time is valuable and filled with other obligations. Taking the time to assist me and give me the acknowledgement that I was taking it in the right direction helped tremendously to validate my thoughts and actions. I bow to you and the help you rendered.

      I have a feeling what my father and I have built will only see positive growth. The loss of my stepmother is something he seems to be dealing with well at this time, but I need to be wary of any mood changes yet to come. I can only hope he strong enough to ward off post funeral depression. I'll be there to help him in doing so, you can be sure.

      The best, most safe, and happiest of Thanksgivings to you and yours. You make one very proud to be your "Bro". I only hope I can live up to the standards of the position. :)

  5. Oh how sad, I am truly sorry for your loss, how is your father taking the news it must be hard for all.

    1. Jo-Anne, thank you for your kindness.

      I'm actually kind of shocked at his reaction so far. He seems to have accepted her death as an end to her suffering, and his. For months, his life revolved around spending a minimum of eight hours a day at the nursing home with her. Then, when I limited his visits to two hours a day, he seemed to be at a battle of actually feeling the need to be with her and a need for having some time for himself. A couple of weeks ago, the doctors forecast her passing by Christmas, so I doubled his time at the nursing home to four hours a day. This protected him still, and gave him the extra time to satisfy his guilt complex of being with her.

      I told him yesterday that he would realize his loss this morning when he got up and figured out he didn't need to go to the nursing home for the first time since her incarceration there. It happened. However, when he remembered, he sat back, relaxed a little, and ate another breakfast. It was if a burden had been lifted from his shoulders, even though it was evident that the loss was still felt. I've stressed how he can now do the things that he's been unable to do this year, such as sleeping later, sitting down and watching his favorite television programs that he's ignored, and completing his home projects that his time was so limited on prior. In fact, today, even with all the funeral preparations to be made, he seemed more relaxed as he realized just how much of a toll this year had taken from him, and how his life was once again his, instead of that of a caregiver.

      I think he'll be okay. :)

      Thank you so much and have a save and happy Thanksgiving!

  6. Dear Rich - I am so sorry for the loss of your step-mother, for what she meant to you, and of course for the great loss this is to your father. From your description I like and admire your father. I am so glad during this awful past year that you were there to help protect him from what the nursing home or state would have tried to do. I know this will be a hard Christmas for both of you. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Blessings.

  7. Rich, I'm sorry to hear about your loss. Your father sounds lovely and he's lucky to have a son that looks after him. Blessings to you both.