When I arrived in Italy from Jakarta, I found my mom in a terrible state: she was dehydrated, thin, unable to stand or talk. I immediately took her to the hospital, and when she was dismissed, ten days later, it was unthinkable to leave her at home without proper care. How I could build a structure of support and care around her in a matter of days, I had no idea. The night she was back from the hospital, the old carer already dismissed, I found myself alone with her. She was in total delirium, and threw up all the pastina I had given her. I had to move her, clean her, change the bedsheets, while my shoulder – not completely recovered – was hurting as it had not in days. I rarely felt such a sense of panic and loneliness.
So I did the only thing I can do in these situations: I turned to people. I called one cousin, who suggested to call another (who is a nurse), and I got immediate support and advice. I’ll never forget the wonderful sense of direction I felt while listening to her, and the gratitude when I hung up and was able to get some decent sleep because I had calmed down. From that moment, it was one positive encounter after another. And I could not believe how lucky I was to meet all these amazing persons, who genuinely cared about our situation. Of course I had to work a bit on it, but from the new carer, to the health worker, from the secretary of my mom’s family doctor to the coordinator of the association I chose to give my mother home support, it was a chain of solidarity, action, good advice and efficient interventions.
The health worker of the public health service was particularly amazing: I talked to her on the phone, and she invited me to go and see her to discuss my mom’s situation and see what could be done. When I went, she spent a long time with me, and only let me go when she was sure I had understood everything properly and was ready to get the necessary paper to start home assistance. I could do all this because Maria, the wonderful new carer who came into our house like a mature Mary Poppins and spread her cheerfulness around conquering my mother’s heart, was impeccably taking care of her. In five days I managed to have my mom looked after by a loving full-time carer, by a nurse who visits her every two days and by a social worker who washes her every three. The request for permanent house assistance has been sent, and the health worker who encouraged me to apply is taking care of it in Milan, while I can enjoy my holiday in Tuscany with my family. Both she and the carer have made all they could to make me feel comfortable and encouraged me to leave and get some rest.
I talk to the carer every day on the phone, and I have the feeling my mom has never been so cared for, washed, properly fed, and loved as she is now. Yesterday she was delirious again, and I worried that the carer would not make it on her own. I called her this morning, and she was happy to tell me that things had gone back to normal – my mom is collaborative and calm again. I know the road ahead is not easy: my mom will only get worse and I’ll have to go back to Indonesia and leave her again. But having these wonderful people around has given me a great boost of trust and optimism. And I am sure that my mom feels the circle of love around her, and this makes a world of difference.