Looking at Life

Don & meHubby and I taken a while back when we both looked fairly young 

After a rough few weeks, I’ve decided to write about what has happened recently. Perhaps there are others out there going through similar tough times. Blogs should be upbeat, but right now that’s difficult to achieve.

Wednesday my husband will be transferred from rehab to long term care. He simply can’t rehab any further. It’s been an upsetting time for both of us and other family members as well. We’ve been together since we met in high school. I was 14 and he was 16 when we had our first date. Though I went out with other guys for a while, it soon became obvious that we were a couple. We were engaged out of high school. I was barely 17 and we married that December when it became possible he would be called up for the Korean conflict.

As it turned out, the war came to a close soon after we married. That was 1953 and as they say today, we had a lot of rough patches in our marriage, but here we are still together, separated for the first time by circumstances beyond my control. He went to bed one day and that’s where he stayed. No matter how much we cajoled, doctors warned, nothing would convince him otherwise. Soon he could no longer stand or walk. Though he is healthy otherwise, that’s where he’s at now. His mind is wandering at times, though he does not have dementia.

I am learning to live alone, I happen to like my own company. Often I talk to myself or the cat just to hear the sound of my voice. I’m not afraid to be alone, it’s just strange. My daughter Jeri is a Godsend. She cleans the house and does my shopping, which she has done for quite some time as I’m physically unable to do a lot of chores. Her husband Farrel repairs stuff around the house and is preparing to put a new roof on for us. He will be paid for that as part of the spend-down for my husband’s Medicaid application. Our “other” daughter Chrissy props me up with visits and she and her hubby Brian help out as well.

I have learned a lot about the care of people and how it is paid for. I learned that Medicare covers the first 100 days of the rehab process, providing the patient is truly working on his physical therapy. Then it becomes private pay or a long, drawn out process of applying for Arkansas Medicaid. All assets are liquidated except home and car and divided in half. Then the patient’s half must be spent down on family expenses, such as medical bills, car repairs, home repairs and certain other allowable items.

It is wise during this process to obtain a competent attorney. His fee becomes part of the spend-down. Get someone where the spouse is being treated to recommend one.

During all this process I had to look at what might happen with me in the future. My daughter Jeri, who had found the North Hills Rehab for her Dad, was busy checking out retirement places for me. We considered Assisted Living, but I balked at this, still being able to do most things for myself. I don’t need a caregiver at this point as long as she can do the things she does for me. After checking several places, she found Nantucket. It’s set up for the elderly. I shudder every time I think of myself in that way. They have apartments equipped for the disabled and regular apartments. It’s more like having your own home. So she filled out all the applications and we were put on a waiting list. It may be a year, but I have qualified.

Sara Bartlett, a long time writer friend who is with CareSupport Services, has been advising me and she suggested I remain where I’m at while the stress level is so high. Perhaps live here for the winter before deciding to sell and move. It’s a difficult decision to make because I’m still very active. I attend writer’s events and friends help me when I need it, but I still drive most of the time. I visit my husband twice a week.

According to Sara it’s smart to plan ahead so you don’t have to arrange everything under pressure. This past week I’ve visited the funeral home and prepaid our funerals, attended two writer’s meetings during the pouring rain, worked on several projects for my next book and taken care of duties for my new job as Distribution Director for Oghma Creative Media, which happens to be my publisher. I’ve asked them to keep me busy and they are doing that. I’ve also worked at learning new tasks on the computer. 

It is important during times like this to stay busy, keep your mind occupied, cry when necessary and socialize with good friends. Don’t sit and stare at the wall, don’t lay in bed all day, sleep well, read a lot and don’t watch daytime soaps. I love movies so I take a break from writing around 5 in the afternoon, watch a couple of good movies or catch up on streaming my favorite shows, then I write for a couple more hours before going to bed where I read for an hour or more.

lilacs redbuds 005

I planted this lilac bush in 1972, a start from my Aunt Allie’s yard to mine.

I live in the country amid the songs of birds, the wind in the trees on the mountain slope behind us, the leaves dancing in sunlight in the hundred-year-old maple out back, the fragrance of magnolia and lilacs and iris as they bloom, and the night sounds of frogs in the creek, a whippoorwill high in a tree, the owl who calls to her mate every night. I wait like her for the sound of his voice in reply. Without these my life would be drab, and so I’ll stay here for a while longer, keeping the windows open so a breeze can flutter through bringing the outside to me.

This photo was taken just down the road from our place

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About veldabrotherton

I'm primarily a writer, but I also speak and teach workshops and co-chair a large critique group. My brand is SexyDarkGritty and that applies to my western historical romances, mysteries, women's fiction and horror novels. After almost 30 years in this business, I still have something to learn and attend conferences to network with other writers, publishers, editors and agents.
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15 Responses to Looking at Life

  1. What a difficult, surreal, inevitable and yet sweet time for you and your reflection.

  2. Casie Halseth says:

    Thank you for sharing.
    870-405-5311
    Always available to chat.😊

  3. jimcopeland says:

    Dear Miss Velda:
    I read every word of your blog, knowing what I saw the last time I was in Ureka Springs. Your work has kept you ALIVE all this time and will sustain you through this period. I do think we are here for a period to make waves, to accept thanks, to perservear. I turned 74 July 2 and I looked around to see what if anything had changed. Nothing, had so I went ahead with the job of cleaning out the gutters. While my wife was in town this past Monday I pressure washed the car port and drive way, (short) and as soon as I finished that and a couple of hot dogs I started on the bridge that connects our place with the bank presidents. The bridge had not been washed since 2004, I am sure, because I have lived here since then. My wife was as hot as I was when she got home, about me being hot. Ha ha.

    She’s gone to the dentist today while I’m writing to you. I’m not sure what else I will do until she returns?
    Miss Velda, you have been an inspiration to me and I thank you for it. I have 6 books published now, and many more to come. I am taking longer to send off an Query than ever before. Also, I take longer to edit each story, synopsis. Hopefully each one will give the chosen agent a better view of my ability to write.

    I hope your husband enjoys the rest of his stay knowing that he and others have prospered through your help.

    My sincerest thanks,
    Always, James M. Copeland

    • James, as always you are so kind to mention things I’ve done and can still do. You are an inspiration to me as well, in how active you are and how hard you work on your writing. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  4. prestonlela@yahoo.com says:

    Thank you for showing us life as it really is,,,The Good,,The Bad,,,and The Living……Keep on writing and giving us others words to learn and grow with,,,,love you….

    Sent from Windows Mail

  5. Lelia T says:

    Such heartbreak. I’m very sorry, Velda, that this is happening to you and to your beloved husband of so many years.

  6. Velda, this is so heartbreaking, but thank you for sharing. I wish you much peace and many future writings to share with your readers. I’m glad you are able to continue to live in your home and work with your writing. I understand how much it means to you. God bless you and your husband and your family. Keep writing.

    • Freeda, thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment on my blog. Sometimes I hesitate to write such things but many of my friends want to keep up with what’s going on in my life, so once in a while I update. I appreciate your touching comment.

  7. nancyhartney says:

    As always Velda you are a role model and leader. The medicare info, the house repairs and upkeep, the decisions to move/not move are dern good info for anyone. I especially like your staying in your home as long as possible and having so many natural treasure there. Your decisions play sharp for me as Bob and I are already preparing – hoping its still 10 years off but who knows. . .

    On another note, several interesting and exciting women in the Crimes and Clues book club live at Nantucket and enjoy. The in-town shuttle service is also good and the complex is on Collier’s Drug delivery route. Not sure, however, if you’ll ever find another lilac brush as full, an evening owl to call, or birds to keep you company. Friends and books and work will be there. Hugs to you. And, thank you for blazing the way.

    • Nancy, thank you for reading and commenting on my blog. I hoped it would help people younger than I to sit down and make some decisions now. Sara Bartlett, a former member of our group, works in this field and she has been so helpful and generous with her suggestions. See you soon, I’m sure.

  8. gina amos says:

    A lot is going on in your life at the moment, Velda. I wish you well. And thanks for taking the time to drop by my blog.

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