chelseagirl: Alice -- Tenniel (Default)
[personal profile] chelseagirl
My aunt died late Thursday night. She was with a health care aide. I'm told that when the aide came in to give her last set of medications for the night at 9pm, she said she wanted to sleep a little longer, and when the aide came back at 9:30, she was gone.

I had seen her the day before. She'd finally gone home from the nursing home/rehab center, and then fell again and was rehospitalized a week later. This time a cracked vertebrae, though it might not have been the result of the fall. I left work early on Wednesday to be with her in the emergency room, but I had to fly out to Denver the next morning for a conference I was presenting at. I got back late on Sunday, taught Monday morning, and then headed back to the hospital. They released her that night, and she went home with her primary aide.

Wednesday morning I got a call from her aide that the agency hadn't sent someone else yet. (Lorna was private, not from the agency.) She'd been there for 48 hours and was tired and stressed. So I told my staff I wasn't coming in and cancelled my appointments (I lied and called in sick, because I had been taking off so much time due to my aunt -- luckily, as long as I don't miss classes, I've got some flexibility . . . but people have been out and we've had a problematic grad student client and there are things that need to be done). I took a taxi uptown, got Lorna some food, and spent the morning and halfway through the afternoon with my aunt, who had yet another nurse coming for assessment. I also fielded quite a few phone calls from the agencies about people coming for various appointments.

Lorna needed a few days off after her 48 hour shift, so the agency booked some other people, though I'm happy that on Thursday we had Lakeisha, who was new since she'd been home and who we really liked. Someone else was with Aunt Isabel when she died. But I'm glad I saw her on Wednesday and I'm glad Lakeisha was there for most of the day Thursday.

Friday was meant to be a grading papers day, but it became a fielding phone calls and running Isabel-related errands day.

If we're friends on FB, you've seen my two posts:

#1. The two things Isabel valued most in the world were her independence and her intellect. Her physical disabilities had taken away the former -- she was going to need 24/7 attendance (luckily she had saved & invested very well and had the money for it, at least for the near future) and as Parkinsonian dementia got worse, she was losing the latter. She was tired and it was ready for her to go.


#2. The police sealed the apartment. So my mom, who's the executor, is coming down and can't get into the apartment. She's meeting with the funeral director on Monday, and we are meeting together with the lawyer before I go to campus Tuesday morning. And we can't get in and the police were rude and dismissive and basically treated me like a crazy person because I raised my voice. If someone told me at 5am, when I'd just lost a family member, that I could come by and pick up the keys, and then when I was there (in a rainstorm so intense I was soaked despite umbrella and raincoat) they tell me a different story, and *actually think I should have had the presence of mind to get the name of the person I spoke to at 5am when my relative just died* then they are neither kind nor logical. *Everyone* else I have been dealing with, from the agencies and lawyer and building and etc. has been super kind and helpful. But not the cops.

I went to the building anyway and expressed my concerns to the super (who had assumed she was just rehospitalized) and a coop board member who fortuitiously was taking her dog for a walk just while I was there. They reassured me and put me in touch with the managing agency, and everyone (except the police, apparently) is on my side.

But mom will have to sleep here, even though the apartment is empty, because if we break the seal, we're subject to arrest. (She's obsessive/phobic about cleaning, and you may guess my apartment has fallen into disarray. But as I've said to M, I'll vacuum and change the cat boxes, and I want her to see what all this has done to my ability to cope -- I'm grading papers this morning, not scrubbing floors.) And there are a lot of records we don't have access to. This is ironic because I have been handling Aunt Isabel's affairs since early July and everything was IN MY APARTMENT until Isabel went home a few weeks ago, when I moved her documents back to her place. Hell, I had her *wallet* in my possession for almost 3 months, and returned it when she went home.

Our lawyer is going to help us get back in. He says it's good that the original will is in the apartment (I know just where, because I found it, photocopied and scanned it, and then returned it) because we need it and the surrogates' court will have to let us in.

But *swearwords* my 82 year old mother is taking an 8 hour train ride from Buffalo and she can only stay in NYC for a few days because she is sole caregiver for my 85 year old father, who's had several strokes and walks with walker very hesitantly and sometimes falls. (Wonderful family friend Chrissy is staying with him for a few days.) And we can't even get into the apartment to get the bloody documents we need for her to start doing her work as executor. (Aunt Isabel intended to add me as co-executor but never got around to it and sometimes was convinced that it had already been done, but it hadn't. So yeah, I'll be doing all the work, but mom will be the executor.)

Also, stupid stuff. Lorna left some of her belongings in the apartment and I can't return them to her until we can get in. I spent all summer keeping Aunt Isabel's plants alive for her because she cares about them. I spent most of the summer clearing out the apartment to de-hoard it and get it made safe for her to come home to. In fact, since early July, I HAVE SPENT MORE TIME IN THE APARTMENT THAN ISABEL HAS!!! There is fresh food in the fridge (which I bought for her) which is *going to go bad*. And although her mail was forwarded to my address some time ago, a lot of it was still going there and her mailbox will explode, and her mailbox key? In the apartment.

SO BLOODY RIDICULOUS! Apparently they seal the apartment so that no one who is not next of kin can go in and take things. Except next of kin/the executor is my mother and neither she nor my cousins (who live in Ohio and near DC; I am the only local one) have any objection to my taking *anything* I want considering how much time and energy I gave to Aunt Isabel over the past four months. They've said so. But honestly, I need to get in there to get bills and financial records so we can start cancelling things (everything except the power) and save the plants and clean out the fridge and etc.

Beyond exhausted. And did not get the grading done that I thought would happen this Friday/weekend when I left the office Thursday evening.
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