Caregiving - or - Russian nesting dolls

Delicate thoughts of a dangerous mind.

Re: Caregiving - or - Russian nesting dolls

Postby fleet » Wed Feb 25, 2015 12:57 pm

You have my deepest sympathies.
Why? I like big ones, that's why.
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Re: Caregiving - or - Russian nesting dolls

Postby Jac » Wed Feb 25, 2015 6:04 pm

Thanks guys. :happy:
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Re: Caregiving - or - Russian nesting dolls

Postby fable2 » Thu Feb 26, 2015 1:54 pm

You have my deepest sympathies.
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Re: Caregiving - or - Russian nesting dolls

Postby Mr.Shadow1234 » Tue Mar 03, 2015 2:14 am

(Shakes head in sorrow, having nothing to comfort you with.)

I sincerely feel sad for You, more for Elaura, as she was your mother, and because I cannot even imagine what living without my mother would mean to me.

Nothing I can say will comfort you. Words don't keep you warm on a wintry night.

Give it time, is all I will say, time is the best healer, and death will come for everyone, it is only love and memories that remain.

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Re: Caregiving - or - Russian nesting dolls

Postby Elaura » Sun Mar 15, 2015 6:27 pm

Thank you, everyone. As a prologue of a sort, I'd like to let you all know what happens next, after an adult (non-spouse) dies in hospice care.

First of all, these little guaranteed life insurance policies for people between the ages of ~45 and ~80 are great. If you get one from Prudential, or Mutual of Omaha, or any other reputable company they are wonderful. All you do is call them up (if you are the beneficiary), and, at least with Mom's, they verify the death with the funeral home and send you the check. No fuss, no death certificate required.

However, these policies take time to mature. Mom's wasn't worth the face value yet, so we only got 110% of all premiums she paid. We were fortunate my brother was in a position to pay for the cremation, since it is common practice for all funeral homes not to submit the paperwork to the coroner until paid in full and what I got for the small policy wasn't enough to cover it. Most funeral homes will accept a policy which adequately covers the expenses in lieu of immediate payment, but they can charge extra for it.

Now there are a few things no one tells you about. Lots of people talk about families fighting over the estate and wills and probate, but frankly, if you are fighting over an "estate" you probably won't get anything out of the rest of this post.

Mom had no estate. We attempted to set things up so there would be no issues after she passed. Jac and I bought her house and the only thing left in her name was a vehicle that didn't run and hadn't been registered in over two years. Honestly, i still don't know what we're going to do with it, but at least we shouldn't have to pay the back registration and fees.

So, when someone who is contributing to your household bills dies, even at home, it costs money. Even though Medicare covers 100% of the Hospice and medicine prescribed for the end days, there are still things like new and different foods, drinks, guests, and the inevitable major appliance that ALWAYS breaks at these times. This time it was the dishwasher. When my dad died, it was the dryer.

Mom was receiving Social security, social security survivor's benefits, and my dad's retirement annuity. All of which stopped the day she died. She passed on the 25th. Three days later not a dime was deposited into her account. However, all automatic debits will go through as long as the account is open. Here's the catch: you aren't allowed to close the account until the last government deposit that would have come in, doesn't or is sent back. In order to prevent all of Mom's automatic withdrawals from coming out, I had to contact them each and tell them to stop the payments.

Legally, they don't have to do anything until they see a death certificate . . . unless you are a *joint account holder*. If the bill is in both of your names, you are responsible for the debt, period. Doesn't matter if the deceased claimed it and was paying on it, if your name is on it, you owe it. If not, and you are a joint account holder of the bank account the withdrawal comes from, you can report to the bank any refusal to stop a withdrawal and they will have you fill out a form stating the withdrawal is not authorized and return it. ***UNLESS*** there is a time frame in which this cannot be done. At our bank, any auto withdrawal made within ten days of the person's death can't be returned.

So, the upshot of it is, if you are a joint account holder, you are responsible for the deceased person's bills which come in within ten days of their passing and, in my case, over $600.00 in overdrafts and fees charged to the account, because the deposits stopped and the withdrawals didn't.

If you are not a joint account holder, you aren't responsible for a dime, but anything left in the deceased person's account may be swallowed up by bills paid after their death and you'll have a devil of a time fighting to get it back.

So, Jac and I are in quite a bind. Our household income was halved on March first and our bills were the same. The grocery and heating bills were even higher than normal. Mom did have another life insurance policy, but since both my stepdad (deceased) and my brother (out-of-state) were named as primary beneficiaries (no contingents, thank God), my name has changed twice, and Mom's has changed once since the policy was bought, I had to provide (all certified):
  • Mom's death certificate
  • My stepdad's Death Certificate
  • Their marriage license
  • Her state ID with her married name at the time of death
  • My birth certificate
  • My first marriage license and divorce decree
  • My second marriage license
  • Three of the insurance company's forms signed by me two witnessed
  • The same three forms signed by my brother (out of state, remember?) with two witnessed.

Though they accepted copies of almost all of the certified documents, they did require the original forms signed by me and my brother as well as an official certified copy of the death certificate. Which, remember, had to wait a week to be processed by the coroner after the funeral home got their money and submitted the paperwork. I had hoped my brother would get those forms yesterday and mail them back immediately, so the insurance agent could put the packet together and mail it all to the national office on Monday, but I'm afraid he won't get the paperwork until tomorrow and then the national office probably won't receive the packet for review until the end of the week.

The crazy thing is, ours is a fairly simple situation. We're not talking about a half a million dollar policy here. No estate, no nutty in-laws staking claims, no blended families. Natural death, under a doctor's care, only two kids, simple cremation with no autopsy, embalming, or special services. Jac and I had to sell some of my and my mother's gold jewelry to keep the phone (and internet) on last week. The dishwasher is still broken, too. God only knows how long the claim will be under review once it reaches the insurance company's national office.

Meanwhile, we've managed to pay everything but Mom's (now my) overdrafted bank account and our credit cards. So far, the worst thing that has happened is that our credit tanked due to past due and over-limit fees. We hadn't planned on buying anything with it in the near future, so that really doesn't matter. We still bring in enough to keep the home and auto loans and insurance paid, so no worries on losing those. We also have quite a bit of freeze-dried food, since my mother was a prepper of a sort, so we won't starve, either. Although we can't afford any more propane for heat, the worst of winter is over and we have electric heaters, too. Cold showers are not the worst thing that can happen to a person.

What I'm trying to say is, nobody tells you about these things before hand. We just went through this with my step-dad two years ago and even though it took over a year to get Mom's survivor benefits started, that was a cinch compared to this time around and we thought we were *better* prepared this time. Because of all this, neither Jac nor I have had any time or energy left over to grieve. We very much appreciate your well wishes and prayers, but like I told my brother, we're just not at that stage of the grieving process yet.

I hope someone gets something out of this grim fairy tale and can avoid one or two of the pitfalls we're still digging ourselves out of.
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The Immortal Alcoholic - or - Does it never end?

Postby Elaura » Sun Jul 12, 2015 3:06 pm

Back from a third 72-hour mandatory commitment for being suicidal after drinking two bottles of wild turkey in a row (because he ran out of his valium and oxycodone two weeks early) . . . my uncle is already showing signs of taking too much medicine again.

I told him today that he was showing signs of overdose and that even if he was taking his medicine exactly as prescribed, the doctor has given him too much. His answer: "Well you can think what you want, honey."

If someone had said that to me, I would have, if I could think at all, first said, "Oh really? I'd better go check," and gone to count my pills. Especially if I knew I'd be going into serious withdrawals and be in great pain if I ran out. But my uncle gives me the standard, defensive, addict's response. Which tells me he doesn't care if he's taking too much. He probably already knows he is.

This on the heels of promising me I could go back to Florida to help Jac and his mother any time and he would take care of things here. No fucking way.

For what it's worth, there is a blog in which a woman discusses what it's like to be married to an "immortal" alcoholic. If I was married to my uncle, I could at least beg a judge to put him in extended rehab and get a break on the basis of his being suicidal and the 72-hour thing not working three months in a row. They would even be able to tell me what happened to him after he went to the ER, something which, because of HIPAA, I had to find out from the police after checking the morgues and jails.

Immortal, in my uncle's case, means he's been a substance abuser for forty years. He's had both hips disintegrate (necrotize) and then replaced, and he has emphysema. He is now 65, still a chain smoker and, for about three years now, has gone though month after month of taking an entire 30-day prescription of valium and oxycodone in two weeks and then drinking two bottles of hard liquor until he's either suicidal or it's time for his prescriptions to be refilled.

Two summers ago, he slit his own neck with a pocket knife and almost died because he nicked his carotid. He hardly eats anything at all. The first signs of him taking too much medication, besides a general slowing of his speech and movements, is a phlegmy cough and swollen calves and ankles, i.e. congestive heart failure.

Why won't he die already? I'm stuck with him because of two deathbed promises; one, my mother made to their mother that he wouldn't end up on the street and the same one I made to my mother. Through foggy permission and internet sleight of hand, I do, at least, have access to his bank account. This is a good thing, since, if he does manage to kill himself, we can't afford to do anything with his body at all.

Folks will be wondering why we don't throw him out (despite the promise I made to my mother). Well, we can't. He makes $1000 a month and gives us $100 for "his share" of the satellite TV. There is no lease, therefore he can't break it. He is not a danger to us or our property, though every time I go in his room I find another pile of broken glass. Sometimes ashtrays, sometimes globes from candles and oil lamps. When I took up his rug recently, there was fuzzy mold sticking it to the floor. I also had to throw away his bloody bedlinens when he slit his throat, but the blood came up from the floor. We would still have a hard time proving he'd damaged anything that didn't already belong to him.

We can't have him committed because when he is sober, he's of sound enough mind to avoid it and, because "alcoholism is a disease" we can't evict him on that basis alone because that would violate the Americans With Disabilities Act. He is looking into veterans' homes on his own, thank God. After all, Jac's mother is moving in with us soon. Please, please, please let them accept him! I can't take much more.
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Re: Caregiving - or - Russian nesting dolls

Postby Raym » Sun Jul 12, 2015 3:14 pm

I've half an idea of what that means...

I'm sure you will work something out soon. Hang in there, buddy. :hug:
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Re: Caregiving - or - Russian nesting dolls

Postby fleet » Sun Jul 12, 2015 7:19 pm

I wish I had some helpful suggestions to offer.
Why? I like big ones, that's why.
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Re: Caregiving - or - Russian nesting dolls

Postby Jac » Sun Jul 12, 2015 8:43 pm

He's a fuck-up who only cares about himself, Fleet. That's all there is to say.
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Re: Caregiving - or - Russian nesting dolls

Postby Elaura » Sun Jul 12, 2015 11:40 pm

Harsh, but true. I'm going with him tomorrow to check out a VA home. Hopefully they'll take him soon. Even if he were an angel, we're going to have our hands full with Jac's 80-year-old mother moving in. She deserves as much love and attention in her twilight years as we gave my mother and my uncle has no right to get in the way of that. Honestly, he had no right to get in the way of my mother's care either, but that didn't stop him.

The thing is, he uses every tiny little thing that doesn't go 100% right as an excuse to take another pill. We were sitting in the ER in May, I think, and he was weeping about my dad's death. That was thirty years ago. I think he can stop using Dad as an excuse now. He's "so sorry" I had to shoulder "such a burden" as watching my dad, grandmother, stepdad, and mother die that he seems to have gone out of his way to have made the last two MORE difficult than they had to be.

He was so wasted, Jac and I couldn't even leave the house together to go grocery shopping during the final months of my stepdad's and then my mother's lives. I told him today he was beginning to look like he'd taken too much medication, that upset him so he took another pill. Now he wakes up for a few minutes and then leans over forward and passes out again. Gahh!
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