Scaling Walls

Saturday, May 25, 11:45 p.m.

It’s been eight days and still no word on where Dad is. That’s eight days without his medication. It’s been in the 80s and 90s here in Jacksonville, Florida, and I can only imagine that he’s dehydrated and hungry, probably disoriented, and most likely sleeping on a bench somewhere or behind some building.

I wish I knew where he’s landed. I don’t need to have interaction with him, I just need to know that he’s safe, but deep inside, I know he’s not. I’ve had pangs in my chest all week just thinking about the whole situation. Someone has to find him. I mean, how hard can he be to miss? He’s an old man with a bright red walker on four wheels with handbrakes and a black basket under the black seat. I have no doubt that he goes shirtless during the day. And for someone with a walker, he can walk at a pretty good clip.

I went downtown to the courthouse on Monday with every intention of filing for a Baker Act action on Dad and ran straight into a wall. Naturally, since he has no fixed address, I can’t file. Officers need an address to which they can go pick him up. They won’t search for him. Of course not, because that would just be too easy on me.

I spoke with a detective Monday, too. She didn’t inspire much hope. She didn’t seem familiar with Dad’s case at all. Of course, I have no idea how many missing persons cases she’s dealing with. She asked for medical information on Dad’s mental health, and I emailed her the 3008 form our primary care doctor filled out on him. I’ve heard nothing from her since. I guess I’m going to have to be the one initiating all the contact in this case.

I also had some interesting interaction with the lady in Lake City who owns the managed care facility Dad eloped from. I spoke with her early in the week, I can’t remember which day (I think Monday or Tuesday). She’d heard nothing from him, not that I expected her to. I’m quite sure Dad doesn’t know her name, let alone her number. Besides, he doesn’t have a phone. He does tend to borrow people’s phones, though, so I figured I’d give it a shot. I told her I didn’t want her to have to hold Dad’s bed for him as it’s rather clear that he won’t be returning. I asked her to mail his things to me C.O.D. and to return the box I sent him as it contained his medication, medical insurance cards, and all the pictures we saved for him. She said she couldn’t return them because I wasn’t Dad’s guardian, that she didn’t have the proper paperwork, and that “them’s the rules and regulations.” Then Friday, I received a rather formal text from her (she signed it with her full name, including middle initial). She wanted to inform me that she heard from a “good source” that I knew where Dad was and that I needed to have him call her at [her number] so she could know what to do with his belongings. I told her I didn’t know who her source was, but I had no idea where he was and had no way of contacting him. It just dawned on me as I was writing this that she does have copies of my power of attorney, and that should be sufficient for her to send his things back to me at my request as his attorney-in-fact. I’ll have to double-check with an attorney friend next week and then get back with that woman. I want his things sent back to me. If he shows up anywhere, it’ll be here at some point.

Throughout the week, I followed up on a suggestion from one of this blog’s readers who is an attorney (who is no longer practicing). She read about my trying to regain guardianship and conservatorship over Dad’s affairs and pointed out that I could read the statute online and also find all the paperwork I needed online. She gave me a link, which I followed up on, but unfortunately, Duval County is one of many Florida counties that does not have its paperwork available online. She sent me another link to another county and told me that the paperwork is nearly universal and the new link should get me started. In my research, I learned that–in Duval County, at least–an attorney is required, so even when I do fill out the paperwork, I’ll still need an attorney to represent my interest. Fortunately, I have a friend who’s a retired nurse, now a doctor, who has loads of experience dealing with elder affairs. His girlfriend is also a social worker who has a son working with the police in some capacity. From the three of them, I learned that there is a pool of low-cost attorneys at the courthouse I could avail myself of, and I intend to do just that. I’ll get everything as prepared as I can on my end and then run on down to the courthouse to have everything reviewed and see if I need anything more. If I could just get that aspect of all this taken care of, I think I’d feel a lot better.

I also researched how to bring a suit in small claims court. I need to get back the rest of the money I paid to the lady on West 33rd Street for Dad’s room and board. I paid for 31 days; he stayed five. I also need to get back the remainder of the money I paid the lady in Lake City as Dad only stayed 16 days there. Naturally, I have to do this in two counties since Jacksonville and Lake City are not in the same county. Lovely.

My nurse/doctor friend convinced me that I needed to report the Lake City lady for elder abuse as she had, after less than 24 hours of knowing Dad, got herself put on his bank account. Thursday, I tried to report her. Seems they can’t take a report until she actually takes money out of the account.

Everywhere I turn, there seems to be a wall.

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