Follow up from the last post. Proper names have been changed and the italic text is an add on that I held back in the real letter. As true as it is, I figure best not to alienate the doctor...need to give her a chance to do the right thing and not put her on the defensive. Yet.
Dear Dr. Fucked it Up:
Attached you will find the letter that my sister wrote to appeal the denial of our mother’s long term health care insurance. We would appreciate you reading it and keeping it in our mother’s file. Hopefully the appeal will go through and her long term health care insurance will activate, alleviating a lot of the problems for our mother’s care.
I am very sad and frustrated that things could not have gone more smoothly. I tried reaching out to you in June and explaining how difficult things can get with our mother, but she has charmed and misled many people before and you are not the first. However, allowing our mom to talk you into changing her insurance application was not only possibly fraudulent, but also a gross mistake on your part. You might have saved her a few hundred dollars in assisted living fees, but now her insurance has been denied based on your revised and inaccurate account of our mother’s needs and health status. Our family is extremely frustrated that everything we feared is manifesting despite our best intentions and efforts.
Allow me to elaborate a bit for background and context.
Our mother has been mentally ill our entire lives. I’m not going to go into a detailed history, but suffice it to say that when my parents divorced in 1974, the courts granted custody of my younger sister and me to our father due to our mom’s documented mental instability.
In 2007, I spent a week at her house cleaning out the mess of her hoarding in preparation of her moving into assisted living. It took six trips to the dump and 10 to the Goodwill to make her place habitable again (60 phone books dating back to the 80’s being the tip of the iceberg). At the time she promised that she would continue to let us help her by sending us her insurance information and allowing us to help her straighten out her finances to get her ready for long term care. It never happened. Every time any of us would mention to her the steps she needed to take, she would become irrational and lash out verbally; or hang up on us and avoid us until she thought we would drop the subject.
During the months of her downward spiral this last year (the falls, the increased hoarding, complete lack of safe behaviors, and medical emergencies) we continued to try to help her. Despite her lying, her manipulations, her psychotic rants and phone calls, and her complete lack of cooperation. When we felt completely impotent, we called in adult protective services. We had no choice. Mom would not let any family in past the guarded gate of her adult community. She was completely irrational on the phone and had reached the point where she was saying she “wanted to die” when she could not manipulate us into doing things her way. Her way is what got her into this mess in the first place. Her way is not being responsible for herself or for us or for our families. We are no longer children cowed and frightened by her, but adults just trying to act in her own best interests. It takes an enormous amount of effort to not become an enabler to our mother.
One of the most problematic behaviors of Mom is her mismanagement of money. An example. In the late 1970’s she inherited from her mother, our grandmother, a paid for house and the balance of my grandparents’ savings. Mom was already living in a 100% paid for home that my grandmother had bought her after the divorce. Mom quit her job and sold the mobile home and lived off that for about a year. Then she began refinancing the house and living off that. I was in my early 20’s at the time and my sisters were both living far away. It was like beating my head against a wall trying to talk sense into my mom. I begged her to rein herself in before she ended up without anything, but that is exactly what happened.
We thought the years of working and living paycheck to paycheck might have turned her around, but that is not the case. When she found out she could again get credit, she took all the credit any card would give her. She is now in a lot of debt on her charge cards, but won’t tell us how much. We wanted to file bankruptcy for her and set up her finances so the portion of her rent at the assisted living home after insurance, as well as her insurance payments and prescriptions, would be doable. That is why my nephew insisted on her allowing my sister POA. However, Mom’s neurotic behavior and psychotic outbursts have exasperated my sister’s MS and made it impossible for her to help our mom.
We love our mom and have stuck with her for decades, but we cannot let our families or ourselves be taken down either financially or emotionally by her worst behaviors. My nephew has generously stepped up and paid the first three months of Mom’s rent while waiting for the insurance kick in. Had you and the assisted living home supported us in our efforts to curb Mom’s self-destructive behaviors everything would be in place and fine at this moment in time.
The POA hasn’t done any good as Mom is still free to sabotage our efforts. The professionals I have consulted with over here in Hawaii tell me that what she needs is a conservatorship as she is incapable of making sound and rational decisions about her finances or her care. The family thinks a third party conservator, perhaps appointed by the courts, would be a viable solution as Mom doesn’t trust her daughters. And, quite frankly, we don’t trust her. Also, she might be less inclined to go into manipulative and neurotic behaviors; hopefully she will settle down and enjoy that she is in a safe place and that everything is lined up for her best interests.
Thank-you for your time,