Mom needs aggressive therapy

After a botched operation left her bedridden for months, my mother has to relearn to walk

Dear Annie: After a botched operation left her bedridden for months, my mother has to relearn to walk. My father, a loving but controlling person, didn’t want to put her into a rehab facility where she would be pushed to get well. Instead, he placed her in a nearby nursing home.

Most of the patients in the home are in wheelchairs or in their beds. The staff gives Mom physical therapy four days a week, but they don’t have a lot of equipment or expertise in rehab.

Long story short, Mom is not making progress. She’s getting depressed, and it looks like she’ll live the rest of her life in the home. My siblings who live in the area defer to my father, and I can’t get the doctors to do a thing.

My mother has her full mental faculties, and I think if the doctors could talk to her alone, without Dad around, and explain that she needs to go somewhere else, she would do it. And if they would spell it out for Dad, he might be OK with it, too.

Right now, it’s all about keeping him calm instead of getting her well. I don’t want my mother to spend the next 20 years in a nursing home because we missed the opportunity to get her the aggressive therapy she needs. What can I do? – Concerned Daughter

Dear Daughter: You may not be completely informed of the reasons behind the choices being made. Many nursing homes have quite competent rehab facilities, and it’s possible your mother is, in fact, getting the best care available to her. Set up a conference call with your siblings, and find out what is really going on.

You also can leave a message for the doctor explaining your concerns in detail.

Enlist your siblings’ support to approach your father, calmly and with love, to clarify why a different program could be more beneficial. Surely he wants Mom to make as complete a recovery as possible.

Dear Annie: I recently attended the wedding of a friend’s son. It was a beautiful affair. However, I was disappointed to see that eight- and 10-year-old children were permitted to stand with the single men and women waiting to catch the bouquet and garter.

I encouraged my son’s girlfriend to try to catch the bouquet, but the children stood in front of the adults, who could not push forward for fear of knocking down the kids. Tradition says those who catch these items are the next to be married. I don’t think 10-year-olds should participate. What do you say? — Perplexed in Pittsburgh

Dear Pittsburgh: It is not appropriate for young children to participate in these customs. (The “winners” also customarily dance with each other, which can be awkward when a 30-year-old woman catches the bouquet and must dance with a nine-year-old garter catcher.)

Many bridal couples, however, have no objection. Those who do should announce that the tossing is limited to adults 18 and over.

Dear Annie: As a lawyer, I believe you should have added a caveat to your advice to “Not Their Mother,” whose brother-in-law and his girlfriend are living in their home as tenants.

Whether paying rent or not, tenants must be served with a notice of eviction and most likely will have 30 days to vacate. Throwing them out without the notice of eviction and simply changing the locks could bring the homeowners a lot of legal trouble they probably don’t want.

I would also advise against packing the couple’s bags or placing any of their belongings outside.

Landlord/tenant laws vary from state to state, but I feel comfortable in offering that type of advice in a general sense. – Wendy Gantos, Esq.

Dear Wendy Gantos: We appreciate the legal advice. Every state is different, and we do not know the details of this particular rental situation, but better safe than sorry.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net.

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