by John Lawrence
The following is a work of fiction. Contrary to the Thomas Wolfe novel, "You Can't Go Home Again," you do have a right to go home again despite your hospital doctor's attempts to have you go to a nursing home. None of the names or places in the following bear any resemblance to actual persons or places. Part 1 can be found here.
Oliver had a reverse mortgage on his house. This let him take out as much as he wanted, whenever he wanted, until the fixed amount ran out. He supplemented his living expenses from this fund. Once the cash ran out, he wouldn't be able to live there any more so he was very frugal. He also had a pension from the Post Office - he had been a mail carrier for many years - and his social security.
He complained that his pension check from the Post Office plus his social security put him just over the line so that he wasn't quite poor enough to get MediCal. If he had gotten MediCal, he would have qualified for In Home Supportive Services (IHSS) and MediCal would have paid for a caregiver to come in so many hours a week. As it was Oliver had to pay the caregiver out of his own pocket, and he could only afford a few hours a week. He was lucky to have the two volunteers from ElderAssist plus Raphael who brought him Starbucks on Saturdays plus his neighbor, Bonny. When you added it all up, Victor had plenty of help, just not 24/7 caregiving.
Oliver had an old Ford Focus in the carport that had not been driven in years. He still paid the insurance premium every month. He said that having a car visible on the property deterred thieves. The house was a modest one story which was typical in Apex Gardens. What once had been a working class neighborhood had gentrified over the years and many folks had added on and put in nice landscaping. What their homes lacked in square footage, they made up for in charm.
The local shopping center was a bit decrepit. The major grocery store anchor had closed a few years ago. The anchor was now a Union bank. They still had an ancient Foster's Freeze, a newer 7-11, a Mother's restaurant, a plumber and a bar of course where they had Karaoke on Thursday nights. Los Panchos, a liquor store and a beauty parlor rounded out the offerings. The nearest Vons was up the hill on Mission Heights Road. That's where I did Oliver's shopping.
Oliver's house was even more modest than the average Apex Gardens place. It was a two bedroom, but that's all Oliver needed as he lived by himself. His living room was decorated with a large picture of a white wolf on a white snowy background. There was a picture of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans on the wall and a tile that said "Mi Casa es Su Casa." The library that took up the wall next to the front door was filled with books mostly by conservative authors: Ann Coulter, Patrick Buchanan, Sean Hannity, James Michener.
to be continued