Who’s Your Advocate?

5 Sep

This past weekend, my family and I drove to Cleveland, OH to visit my husband’s family–especially his Mother, who contracted a deadly virus in her brain last November and has been incapacitated ever since.

Although my husband and some of my children had seen her before, this was my first time to visit her, and I’m still reeling at what I witnessed. You might assume that I’m referring to watching my once-vibrant Mother-in-Law confined to a hospital bed, unable to speak clearly, unable to move her limbs more than an inch. But, I’m not. Yes, that was horrific on many levels, but the real tragedy I’m referring to is the family’s inablity to advocate on her behalf.13

Long story short–once her insurance money ran out, my Father-in-Law applied for Medicaid. However, since that can take quite a bit of time, my Mother-in-Law has been doing without physical or speech therapy for months now. Add to that–the facility in which she is staying has not been paid in months either, due to “Pending Medicaid.” So, they are not inclined to take especially good care of her.

That leaves her without the resources she needs–and, unfortunately, no one to advocate for her. Although my Father-in-Law has the best intentions, he’s simply incapable of exploring all the possible options available to her, resources that could be helpful, or organizations that may be able to help. The rest of the family also seems in a paralyzed state–unable to focus on problem-solving due to the shock that still hasn’t settled.

So, I find myself wondering–who will be her advocate? Who would be my advocate if this happened to me? Would the people I need be there for me?

These are tough–but important–questions to answer. And, they force me to evaluate each and every person in my life.

I’m ready for the difficult conversation that has to happen between myself and my husband’s family regarding her future, and I’m even more ready to make sure she has the care she deserves because, without an advocate, we’re all on our own. And, that’s a terrible place to be.


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