My brother-in-law just called to tell me that he had just left Woodland Terrace.

He said that he talked to Sylvia Gray and that he was able to spend some time with mom. He said that Woodland Terrace was definitely much nicer in general than Coastal Rehab, where she had been from May 9th to May 16th. He said the interior was better in almost every way, and that there are two “wings” which are almost identical. The employees he met all seemed fairly competent and the place was relatively well organized.

My brother-in-law told me that mom shares a room with another lady who is really “out of it” and was asleep the whole time he was there. He said he tried talking to mom and she was “kinda” responsive, which is somewhat of an improvement, I suppose. He asked her if she’d spoken to me lately and she told him no at first, but when he asked again she said yes. He asked her how she is feeling and she said, “Not good.” When he tried to get more information out of her, she stopped responding at all.

He said that the TV which I gave her Christmas a few years ago (and which he is currently storing at his house) might be too big for her room, but that he’d taken some measurements and would investigate later. He said he asked mom about the TV and about getting a phone in the room for her and she seemed to understand. He put her belongings — mostly clothes, photographs, and stuffed animals from my sister — in the dresser she had in the room and then he completed some paperwork to inventory what he’d left there.

He said that he asked her if there was anything he could for her, and she very clearly said, “I’d like a glass of water.” A complete sentence is a landmark event at this point, I feel. My brother-in-law told me that she’s in a “low bed” because she continues to try to get up and walk around unassisted, which is sort of dangerous. The nurses told him that she cries pretty frequently, but she hasn’t been aggressive at all.

The whole time he was there, he said there was a woman in the room that was sort of like a nurse, but was really more of a room attendant. She told him that it takes about a week for residents to get acclimated to the facility and for the staff to get to know a new resident. My brother-in-law also said that he met Cheryl, the evening nurse.

He asked Sylvia about a phone and she told him the same thing she had told me, which is that for now it probably makes more sense to call the nurses station first and arrange a time to call so they can prepare by getting her near a phone. He said there seemed to be many more employees there than there were at Coastal Rehab; there was always someone nearby and he never had to look for long to find someone to help with anything.

My brother-in-law noted that security there seemed much better than Coastal Rehab. (Someone tried to leave through the front door to have a cigarette and was rebuffed firmly.) He again stressed that the entire facility simply seemed cleaner than Coastal.

As an example of how attentive they are, he said that twice he approached unattended nurses stations and both times someone immediately came to see if he needed anything. He said every single person he met seemed very nice, and he was somewhat surprised at how youthful and competent all the staff seemed.

He explained that mom has a squeeze-buzzer next to her bed that she can reach easily to call a nurse if she ever needs that. He also mentioned that someone told him my uncle had visited mom yesterday and had been trying to “get information”, whatever that means. Apparently there was some confusion about my brother-in-law being my mother’s brother or being me or being my mother’s brother-in-law instead of my brother-in-law. But he clarified all that for the staff before he left.

He said that he asked my mother, “Do you want to get out of here?” and she said, “Yeah.” He told her that we were going to do what we can to get her out of there, and asked her if she had any messages for us. She again said, “Yeah,” but then didn’t elaborate at all. He said that it looked very much like she was trying to talk, but that she wasn’t actually saying anything, which must have been frustrating for him. (I can certainly empathize with that at this point.)

He told me that the TV in her room was on ESPN, which I consider fantastic news. My mom loves sports and for the last eight or nine months I have been telling nurses over and over again to please leave her TV set to ESPN, yet every time I talk to her I can hear Matlock or Law & Order or some other TBS or TNT crap in the background. So the fact that the attendants at Woodland Terrace actually listened to me when I told them to leave it on ESPN made me very happy.

The room attendant told my brother-in-law that she would put all mom’s stuff away for her, so he didn’t actually arrange photographs around the room or anything like that. He also noted that he saw a bunch of photographs of my son on her dresser, which was great news. I just sent her those photos on Monday, so it was nice to learn that someone must have read her the letter I sent and shown her the photos.

He said there were about a dozen rooms on her wing, and that they all seemed very clean and organized.

He asked Sylvia about psychotherapy for mom, and he was told that it wasn’t going to happen until there was a resolution of the issues with Medicaid and funding, which is pretty disheartening. But Sylvia said she’d help with the Medicaid application. She’s now approximately the 893rd person to tell us that, though, so it’s hard for me to have faith.