I’m sorry I accidentally stuck you in a snake pit disguised as a nursing home. But you remember that time when I was six and I made a little chocolate cake in my friend’s Easy Bake oven? And then I put it on the kitchen table and you threw it away because you thought it was a mud pie? Yeah. We’re even now, right?

When I made the arrangement for MoC to do skilled nursing at the rehab center and then, after she was finished with skilled, to live there, I had no idea where they would find a room for her. It never crossed my mind, because our experience was completely different the last time she was there, and different from my grandfather’s experience. They have a separate unit for Alzheimer’s/dementia patients. It is a locked unit, so you have to press a button to get in and punch a code into a keypad on the other side to get out. Simple, but probably too complicated for most of the residents of that unit.

Currently, they are transitioning part of that unit to be skilled and/or residential, the part where MoC’s room is. The other two halls in that unit will be locked down, with the patients on the other side of the doors. For now, though, the whole unit is locked and everyone mills around freely within the unit. It is unsettling, to say the least.

There was the sweet lady, dressed very nicely, makeup on, holding a baby doll and carefully wrapping it in a small lap blanket. That almost made me cry. There was the screamer, who would just suddenly start yelling for no apparent reason. There was the toucher, who I think tried to grab my arm but got hold of my purse instead. MoC’s roommate is invisible, I think. I’ve never seen her, but apparently she does exist. Then there were the two women who barged into MoC’s room and refused to leave until a nurse came to herd them out. Jesus. It isn’t a bad place.  It’s clean. It’s fairly modern. The staff are friendly and helpful, they’re just swamped because there are (at least) twice as many patients on that unit than there are on the unit where MoC was before.

I’ve been told by two different people that the renovation, re-arrangement should happen within a couple of weeks. But for now? For now, I’m just spending as much time there as I can, which hasn’t been easy because I’ve been working 11 hour days. I tried to get them to move her to the other unit, but … because MoC will be a resident, if they move her while she is skilled nursing, she could lose her room and then we’d be screwed.

As I left last night, I tucked MoC’s jacket around her neck, put her afghan on her legs and tucked it up around her chin (she’s always so cold) and hugged her. I said, “I am so sorry. I didn’t know it was going to be a snake pit. I thought it would be a barrel of monkeys.”

The cool thing is that the staff from “the other side” knows she’s back and they’ve been stopping by to see her. Soon she’ll have the new staff eating out of the palm of her hand.

It’s only a couple of weeks.