Many of you know my mom. She's 87 years old and nearly 20 years ago, following the unexpected death of my father, she moved to Illinois to be closer to us. She bought a townhouse 5 blocks away from our house and when our children were young, she was incredible in helping Wynn and me care for them. Through her 85th year, she was fiercely independent, strong and healthy. Then in 2014, she had a stroke, and many things changed for her...and for me. We found a wonderful caregiver, who stays with her Monday through Friday. On the weekends, my mom would come and stay at our house, where we felt comfortable leaving her alone for a few hours at a time. That schedule worked out really well...until earlier this month.
One morning, a few weeks ago, my mom got out of bed and fainted from low blood pressure. She hit her head - and ended up with a concussion and coup contrecoup injury, (a brain injury on the opposite side of the site of impact - because the brain moves on the inside of the skull.) She was in the hospital for a few days, then transferred to a nursing/rehab center. She's home now, but we've had to make changes to accommodate her new challenges. For one, she now has a caregiver, in her home, 24/7. After many conversations, she made it clear that she would like to live in her home for as long as possible. No doubt, it would be easier for me if she moved into our house, but I don't have the heart to make her move at this time. So, I told her I'd help her stay in her house as long as possible. Despite having grab bars installed in her home previously, she needs more assistive devices to help her be safe. I try to stop in to see her at least once a day, and try to make it to her home for home health nursing and physical therapy appointments. We are so fortunate to have warm and reliable caregivers for her.
So this week, I was feeling a little better about my mom's situation. We got her out of the nursing/rehab center, (which she hated), and back in her home. I was getting all of her out-patient appointments lined up and found her a weekend caregiver. It seemed like we were headed toward a good rhythm for her and I could put things on cruise control for a while.
Wednesday night, after going out with work friends to celebrate a 60th birthday, I came home around 8:30 PM. When I put up the garage door, I saw that Wynn's car wasn't there yet. I went into our mudroom, as usual, and heard noises. So I shouted, "Who's here!". I heard more noises and quickly realized that someone was in the house. I turned around and ran back into the garage and was headed to my next door neighbor's house...scared out of my mind. As I reached the end of my garage I instinctively stopped, just as the burglar, who had run out the front door, crossed my path a few feet in front of me on the driveway. He ran across my next door neighbor's front lawn, across the street, then disappeared into a townhouse neighborhood not far away...while I was shouting, "STOP YOU F*%#ING A$$HOLE!"
I called 911, and police cars drove past my house and into the townhouse neighborhood, while I stayed on the phone with the dispatcher. Soon, three more squad cars showed up, including the canine patrol. The three police officers and the police dog entered the house, guns drawn. There was a lot of shouting warning any intruders to put their hands up or get bitten by the dog. Two more police officers showed up and stayed outside with me and my next door neighbor, Jerry, as the other officers "cleared" the house. Many minutes later, the three officers, with the dog, emerged saying, "All clear."
Jerry, the two officers and I went inside and found that the burglar had entered through our back door. He had shattered the double-paned door glass with a brick, reached in, and let himself in. A classic burglar move.
Then I turned, just as one of the officers said to me, "Do you have a dog?" When I said, "No, not anymore", he pointed to a large pile of canine crap on the kitchen floor. Then he asked, "Could there have been a dog here?" to which I answered, "Only yours." If I wasn't so pumped with circulating adrenaline, I would have felt badly for the guy, who turned beet-red and was apologizing all over the place. Seconds later, when I looked back, the officer had already cleaned up the mess. (Insult to injury, for sure.)
The burglar got away with jewelry and cash. He put them into a pillow case he took right off our bed...another classic burglar move.
The next day, we met with the police detective assigned to our case. There are leads, including security video footage from a neighbor's camera. Maybe the police will catch him one day. For now, we are living with a plywood boarded-up back door...a lovely reminder.
(PS: Dear Mr. Burglar Asshole, I am thankful that you did not take my bottle of Xalkori. It's the medication that is keeping me alive. It was in the same drawer that you took some of my jewelry from.)
(PPS: Shouting obscenities at a fleeing burglar, momentarily, made me feel better.)