Life on Hold

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Bernie Luengas, California

In 2012, I was visiting my mother when she started to pressure, she became pale and took two of the nitro pills she carried at all times. I immediately dialed 911 and she was taken to the hospital. The doctor said she had irregular heartbeat, but she would be ok but that she could no longer live alone. I realized my visit was now permanent and I knew it was my responsibility to take the lead role but with my sister living near by, I would be ok. However my sister has chosen not to help and neither are my nieces. They don't call my mom or visit on holidays or birthdays.

I'm on this 24/7 and signed up for IHSS to become mom's caregiver and that was early 2013. By August of that year, I was told that because of a rule known as "share of cost" they expected my mom to pay me. It was the most outrageous rule I have ever heard of and no way was I going to charge my mom to look after her. So three years went by before I was finally paid. I have no days off because I have no relief. I'm allotted 70 hours per month even though it's everyday, all day. No time for a social life and my friends live 100 miles away. It's public transportation for the both of us and she now has four specialists and her primary that we go to. Grocery shopping, picking up prescriptions, financial matters and of course the daily routine of her medications and everyday chores. I sleep on the living room floor or sometimes the couch. I get stressed, agitated, depressed, lonely, but I continue to take care of the woman who took care of me at one time.