||[Jul. 7th, 2006|08:36 pm]
The good news (thanks to Lorrie for alerting me) is that the Department of Health and Human Services changed its rules late Thursday to exempt Medicare and SSI recipients from the citizenship requirements. Since Marsha has Medicare, she should be out of the woods. Foster children and the homeless are still vulnerable, though.
I am grateful to Karen, Barbara, and Willow, who each got me contact information for lawyers, through whom I got the information that even before Thursday it was going to be possible (though discouraged) to use affidavits to establish citizenship; to Jan, bellamagic and Lake, who helped me get in touch with Karen; to Kelpie, who suggested Central Virginia Legal Aid; to northlighthero, who forwarded a friend's information about affidavits; and to everyone who offered prayers and good wishes.
The bad news is that Marsha is doing worse this week than last. The current plan is to send her back to her old nursing home Monday. I haven't been able to talk to one of her doctors, but I assume that the they dropped the idea of tube feeding through her stomach because it seemed more likely to harm than heal. I don't know if death is imminent, or if Marsha will stay on this new plateau for a while. I do wonder for the first time whether life like this can be worth it for her. The answer may be "yes": she seems to have an urgent need to talk, though talking exhausts her as much as running up multiple flights of stairs would exhaust you or me. She talks about the present, some; about our early days; about her life before that. She repeats herself a lot. It isn't clear to me whether she's forgotten what she's already said, or if she just wants to make absolutely sure I've heard her. It's probably a bit of both.
The life force that kept her alert and engaged (and cantankerous) as multiple sclerosis whittled her mobility down to her head and her left thumb -- that life force is driving her still. I watch her, and listen, and rub her forehead, and put my hand on her belly. Little enough; more than I can say.