A Sweet Apartment

Gen spent a couple of months in Farnham Manor's big house. Right away she started to piss off the authorities there. She was probably the only, er, inmate living there who still had the wherewithal to come and go under her own steam. She still had a car and she could still drive it. She took herself to medical appointments and other excursions. She usually came back after the door adjacent to her parking spot was locked, so she took to parking out front in the fire lane. The staff would have to ask her to move her car, about which she would make a fuss until they gave up, asked her for the keys, and moved the car themselves. That suited Gen just fine.

Moreover, Gen didn't care much for the institutional food, although she acknowledged that "they try to make it palatable." Food was the most important element of Gen's life and meals were the major event of each day. She also had eclectic culinary preferences and she missed whipping up something unusual in her own kitchen from her vast collection of recipe clippings and cookbooks.

Shortly after Becky and I, with help from Ted and various pickup-truck-owning friends disposed of practically everything Gen owned in the cluttered chaos of her Reedville house, her outlook began to improve and she began to chafe at the restrictions of living in the Big House. Gen asked me to accompany her to an appointment with her nurse practitioner, whom she saw regularly for cardiac check-ups.

The nurse practitioner, we'll call her Jennifer since I can't remember her name, asked me to her office while an attendant checked Gen's vital signs and prothrombin time. Boy, did I get an earful. "Your mother is a very intelligent and alert woman," she said. "She can still drive and take care of herself. She has no business living under the thumb of Farnham Manor. She is perfectly capable of living on her own and managing her own affairs." I was stunned. Where did THIS come from? My thoughts about the maelstrom of Gen's life, which I always ended having to clean up after, came at me with such intensity that I was speechless.

Jennifer continued. "There are other places where your mother could live," she offered. "There are two assisted living facilities right here in town and even Farnham Manor has cottages where your mother could live. She is capable and intelligent and she can live on her own, after all."