On and On

Time sure slips away at times.  I think daily about the need to set down a post – my need – not “the need” to blog effectively.  If I simply followed “my need” there would probably be daily posts!

Part of it is probably that I seem to have so many boxes I’m attending to at the moment, both personally and professionally.  Maybe if I do a bit of a recap I can get all this out of my head and continue forward.

SON –

Son is still homeless, though on a medicated assisted treatment (MAT) for his substance abuse program – methadone makes him ill, so his outpatient program has him on Suboxone.  He has already been on the waitlist for a 90-day inpatient program for three months – and there is yet no end in site.  There are only three men’s facilities in our county – each with a small number of beds.  We are hopeful.  I am hopeful he will stay clean and make it to the inpatient program.

He wants badly to work – but is in the catch 22 of being homeless, looking for work and then how do you work and be homeless?  I suggest to him he could find a place to stay easier if he had an income.  He sadly reminds me his every day effort is finding a safe place to sleep (or hide at night) where he won’t get mugged or have his belongings stolen. I’m subsidizing him with food every month to supplement the $88 he gets in EBT funds. I bought him a simple, cheap one-burner camp stove and mess kit so he can prepare meals from non-perishable foods.  When we are going to medical appointments, I buy him a meal.  I pay for a cheap fitness club membership ($15 a month) so he as access to showers.

One of my great heart sadnesses is that I can no longer support him – he cannot stay with me.  But I know I must at this point take care of myself, dig myself out of the debt I’ve incurred taking care of him, and move on with my life as best I can.

MY LIFE –

So I am now “renting” a room from my ex.  Oddly many say – we are best friends – each other’s emotional support. I help him with his business and that up to a certain amount converts into paying rent – and I happily attend to most of the household activities.  For the time anyway, we are both comfortable with the arrangement – separate bedrooms and all.

My small pension and social security retirement keep me going every month – barely right now as I am focusing on bringing down credit card balances.  I contribute to food and my half of utilities. There is also my MediCare and supplemental insurance, car insurance, etc.  It’s amazing how quickly it gets eaten up.

SIDE HACKS IN RETIREMENT –

I am working on supplementing my income over the next month or so by interviewing for a “task forcing” position at a hotel in San Jose.  That means “sitting in” as a sales manager while the hotel takes time to do a search for their ideal permanent candidate.  I get a daily fee, accommodations/meals and mileage.

I would never go back to work full time at this point, but two or three opportunities like this would be a nice addition.

THE FUN STUFF –

I help the Ex with his business – we do lead paint inspections on HUD subsidized apartment complexes.  We’ve spent a fair amount of time in San Diego and LA – in the San Francisco East Bay Area and now – excitingly – have been hired to do a building in Honolulu (I lived in Hawaii for 15 years, it is my heart)!  The second week of September we will be there – 2 travel days, 3-4 work days and a day or two of play.  (and my airfare and hotel are covered in the contract)

October 19th my grandson is getting married – I get to officiate their vows! and then October 21 we leave for Kauai for 16 days for a real vacation!  Ex’s sister/brother in law are joining us for a week, and friends are joining us the rest of the time.  A lovely three-bedroom condo at Plantations in Princeville!   Again it’s the generosity of Ex – I paid for my air fare – hopefully the task force side hack will come through so I can chip in more.

hanalei-1.jpg
Hanalei Bay at Sunset – 10 minutes from Princeville – my photo from last October

So what’s going on in your life?  The good, the challenging, the despair, the joy? It seems to always be a combination of all – right?

 

 

Some Hope

It’s been another six weeks since my son reached out for help with his addiction.  Through the Sacramento County Department of Health Services he signed up for assistance with substance abuse.   In six weeks this is what has been accomplished:

  • He went to an intake appointment and was qualified for a 90-day inpatient program.
  • He did orientation for that program that puts you on a waitlist for a bed. And we learned it could be MONTHS for a bed in one of three facilities for men.  Months in like – if you don’t get a bed within 90 days you have to basically re-apply.  It’s more of an update than re-application.   He has to check in once a week by phone to indicate he is still interested.   The waitlist works like this – when a bed becomes available, the intake person starts at the top of the list.  He calls the first name – if they take the bed, it’s done.  If they don’t answer, he leaves a message and goes on to the second name.  If the second name answers and takes the bed, it’s done.  If not, he leaves a message …. and so on.  If the bed is not taken on a phone call, the first person to respond to a message and take the bed gets it.  There is no way to know if there are 10, 50 or 100 people on the waitlist.
  • He entered a suboxone program.  It is used to treat adults who are dependent on (addicted to) opioids (either prescription or illegal). SUBOXONE Film (a sublingual dose) is indicated for treatment of opioid dependence and should be used as part of a complete treatment plan to include counseling and psychosocial support.  Unfortunately there is no counseling and psychosocial support until he is inpatient.
  • He has had a TB test and a physical.
  • He is awaiting an appointment for a psych exam for monitoring his bi-polar meds.

No call from the waitlist yet.

As long as he is true to the suboxone program (weekly clinic appointments to monitor his compliance) I have purchased a $15 a month gym membership (Planet Fitness) so he has access to a shower.  I take him to a laundromat once a week to do laundry.  I still will not give him cash.  He is still homeless.

I also moved over the last month – from the 2-bedroom townhouse we shared to renting a room from my ex.  Being on social security and a very small pension and not having the shared rent support from my son as it was suppose to be left me with no choice but to further minimize my living expenses.  It also made my son realize that he truly does not have the option to “move back in with mom”.

As I am looking back over the last three months or so, from when I finally made the decision to stop enabling my son, I think on the range of emotions I have gone through:

  • Despair – the acceptance that he was not going to change as long as I made life so easy
  • Anger – at myself for letting him take advantage of me for so many years and, yes at him despite knowing he suffers the disease of addiction, for his anger at me for turning him out
  • Fear – at not knowing where he was, if he was safe, if he was eating, or lying dead in a park somewhere
  • Hopefulness – that he reached out for help and (unless I’m really missing something) appears to be earnest and following the plan
  • Acceptance – that the ultimate outcome is out of my hands
  • Reclaiming – reclaiming my life that I gave up five and a half years ago to take care of him, which I came to realize was the big mistake here.

It’s a process – a time of personal growth even in my late 60’s.

There is some hope.