noroI’m just one stomach flu away from my goal weight.”  The Devil Wears Prada

It has become my least favorite prefix. Noro, as in Norovirus, aka the stomach flu.  The kind they get on cruise ships. This was no cruise.

On the third day of my mother-in-law’s residence in Senior Independent Living, the notice arrived. Almost 1/4 of the residents and staff had been infected. All planned activities were suspended, the gourmet dining room was closed, residents were confined to their apartment for the duration of the epidemic.

It was not a good start.

My MIL was widowed over a year when the suggestion was first made by my husband’s 2 siblings. She was lonely and depressed and having trouble maintaining her home of over 60 years.  Maybe it was time to move.

This is a very choice center 30 miles from her home, close to the youngest brother and primary caregiver. (We live 300 miles away. )

She married at 19, moving from her parents’ home to her husband’s, never having a place of her own, never a roommate that was not related. This was a major challenge, and she was cautious, even fearful of the decision. She agreed to “try it” for 2 months.

My husband and I were never convinced this would work for her, believing she is just playing along to appease the 2 youngest siblings. I cannot imagine leaving a home of 6 decades, no matter how lovely the new dwelling.

And, it is lovely. She has brought much of her own furniture, purchased some new. There is a lovely kitchen, huge bedroom and living area, small dining room and a spacious, accessible bath with modern appointments. She is ambulatory, using only a cane or walker at times; in remarkable good health for a woman of 85.

Before viral “incarceration”, residents were forthcoming, friendly and seemingly very active. We saw card games and Wii bowling tournaments, shopping excursions, walking trails, gazebos, exercise rooms in use. The highlight of their day was the socialization at the 3 gourmet meals served in elegant style by wait staff in black tie/white shirt full uniform.  A grand piano graces a small stage for entertainment during meals.

The first day we saw her there, she was so animated. We joined her at dinner just after her welcome luncheon; week-long activities were planned and abruptly canceled by the next day.

The virus symptoms showed up for her pretty quickly. We were discouraged from visiting, which gave us a few days to begin the cleanup at the house.

She had given the word that she was ready to give up the clothing/personal effects left behind by her husband. It was time. We began the process of sorting/donating/ trashing the years of collections. This was a couple who never threw anything away. Ever.

When they ran out of room, they built newer, bigger closets. Their ranch style home features a full attic and full basement, with storage from floor to extended ceiling. Outdoor shed, garage all filled to the brim.

It will be a gargantuan task. My husband and I only made a dent while there; which is fine, since we think she will return after the 2 month trial. norovirus

And…we both got the virus. We are home now, but still in recovery.

p.s.  Don’t believe the hype. I’d take those 5 pounds back any day…any day !

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26 Responses to NORO

  1. writerinsoul says:

    Van, what a miserable experience! Here you are trying to do a good thing and you get the flu for your trouble.

    Every time I’ve been involved in “downsizing” someone else’s home, I go home and get rid of more of my *own* stuff – seeing what other people horde – and in many cases never use – is a wakeup call.

    • Oh, Colette, my own husband has a bit of that “save” gene, and you’re so right..each time we’re there, he comes home motivated to begin the purge. I have friends who rented storage units to de-clutter prior to home sale, only to get rid of all that stuff later on… it’s a constant learning experience. Thanks for your thoughts. ☺ Van

  2. Holy Smokes Batman! What a horrible way to get settled into new surroundings. So sorry that you and your husband got sick too – egads!

    You never know, Van, she may like her new home, considering the things that go on when there’s no virus sweeping through. Hope she and you feel better soon. ❤
    Diana xo

  3. Not the best experience at all. Here’s to wishing a speedy recovery for all of you! ❤

  4. Hope you feel better soon. Doesn’t sound like fun, any of it. My brother and I are helping our parents (mid-eighties) make similar decisions. Lots of fear on many different levels. Then we too will be cleaning out the closets, attic, sheds, and basement of important “stuff.”

    • It’s hard for me, Diana. I have no emotional attachment to any of that stuff. I just want to rent a dumpster and go for it. Need to show restraint out of respect for the family and their childhood memories. Thanks for your comment. ☺ Van

  5. megdekorne says:

    Van dear ,hoping for your comfort zone to flourish …hugs , xxxmeg

  6. Pingback: Friday Pick 147 | talktodiana

  7. Thuna Anita says:

    A good pick, I would never had the chance to find this blog if it wasn’t for Diana 🙂 I hope you all get well soon and MIL will have a chance to settle in and find the positivs with friends around her.

  8. Ann Koplow says:

    I’m so glad Diana led me to your blog. Now I’ve caught the Vanbytheriver bug!

  9. Leaving all you’ve known for 60 years has to be nerve-wracking. Then it has to be frustrating to be confined to her room by a flu bug. I remember my Dad, who passed in 2011, carefully picking the hours that he shopped for groceries so as to avoid anyone with a cold or flu. So I understand the precautions they’re taking.

    I hope your MIL has settled in and is now out and about making friends in her new home. Diana Schwenk sent me here and I’m glad to moseyed on over. 😉

  10. lbeth1950 says:

    Maybe she will like it. Sounds like a nice place. Never can tell.

    • It has been 2 months since this was posted…her “trial” period. She speaks well of the place, and is okay with it, but (and there’s always a but), it’s not home. I get it. We are still in the process of cleaning out her home of the clutter, and she is nervous about that. There is talk of fixing it up and moving her back in…she can’t decide. It is frustrating, but perfectly understandable. Thanks, Linda

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