Today, Life in the Boomer Lane and Now Husband moved her Aunt Gert from an assisted living facility in Pennsylvania to a nursing home in Northern Virginia. She invites anyone who cares, to join her in being outraged that a perfectly lucid (albeit heavily medicated and emotionally fragile) human being is forced to go to a nursing home solely because Medicaid won’t pay for assisted living facilities. She then invites them to see the small shreds of humor nestled among the truly gut-wrenching ordeal of the entire moving experience.
The first stop was the assisted living facility and the first task was to pack up Aunt Gert’s belongings. The drawers contained dozens of outfits that her aunt had never actually owned. While Aunt Gert always looked clean and put together, it was clear that the assisted living had some kind of humongous common pool of clothing that everyone shared. All sizes and tastes were represented, and included several dress-for-success jackets from Ann Taylor. Gert, age 92 and in a wheelchair, had never actually been gainfully employed in her life. It was unlikely that at this stage of her life she would need professional clothing.
Aside from the shoes on her feet, there were several pairs in the closet. One was a pair of sneakers with laces. The other pair looked like gardening shoes. Gert, in addition to having never worked, also never worked out. And she certainly never worked in the garden. LBL left all of the clothes and shoes in the room, presumably for the next occupant.
Arriving at the nursing home, after the initial business was taken care of (consisting of Gert announcing that she hated LBL and Now Husband and putting them on notice that she was leaving and going home–home being the house she lived in many years ago that was sold), LBL showed Gert the photos of family members she had taken from Gert’s previous room. She asked Gert to identify one photo of a young male with cap and gown. “I have no idea who he is,” said Gert, “the photo came with the room.” Given that all of the clothing and shoes certainly did, LBL trashed the photo.
Next up was a trip to the dining room, where residents sat patiently while an equal number of workers managed to deliver food with alarming confusion and in slow-motion. While LBL, Now Husband, and Aunt Gert waited, a woman in a wheelchair rolled up to the table and positioned herself next to Now Husband. While Gert glared at her, she leaned in Now Husband’s direction and cooed, “I don’t know which table I am supposed to be at.” Now Husband, who has a long and successful history with women in bars (and everyplace else), leaned right back into her, smiled and said, “I wonder what one has to do to get some food around here.” If one could swoon while seated, she did. LBL realized in that moment that if she predeceased Now Husband and he ended up in a nursing home, she had just seen the future.