Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Backing Up A Little

I mentioned in a previous post that we learned to recognize when Mother had a UTI because she would say something confusing or just weird.  One day, I went in, and I don't remember exactly what she said, but it didn't make sense, so, I..................

Me to the floor's head nurse - Mother probably has another UTI.  I was wondering if ya'll could do a urinalysis and culture to check it out, or a blood test, whatever.
Nurse D - Your Mother just has dementia and not a UTI.
Me - No, she doesn't have dementia (at that point we don't think she did, or at least it was very mild and not obvious).  She has a better memory than I do.  Of course, that's not saying much.  (I was trying to be pleasant with this BEAST in a nurse's uniform.)
Nurse D - I'm sorry, but we can't be running tests on her all the time.  HER FAMILY is always asking us to run tests, and we just can't.  She just has dementia, and HER FAMILY needs to understand that.
Me - Excuse me (not being nice anymore!) but my mother has a better memory than you and I do together!  I am HER FAMILY and I don't ask for her to be tested all the time, just when she starts being confused, which we have learned means that she has a UTI!  I WANT her to have tests run to confirm this.
Nurse D - Well, I'll call her doctor to see if he will order the tests, but I know he won't because THE FAMILY is just denying her REAL problem.
(A receptionist sitting at the desk next to where this conversation was taking place looked incredulous that this B would be talking to me this way!)
Nurse D struts across the hall into her office and slams the door behind her.  A few minutes later she returns and says - The doctor said he would order the tests, but he wasn't happy about it.
Me - Well, you know what?  She's my mother, not yours.  I hope your mother never ends up in a nursing home where people like you are so cold and uncaring.
Nurse D  turns and walks away.
Receptionist - She's like that all the time.  I'm so sorry.
I went directly down to the first floor and asked to speak to the nursing home director whom I had never met.  He wasn't there, of course.  Instead the social worker came from her office.  I told her exactly what had been said by this nurse who was supposed to be taking care of my mother.  She indicated that they had had other complaints about her.  Well, then why was she still there?  I was livid!!!!!  I didn't calm down for days after this.
BTW Mother had a horrendous UTI!!  My brother and sister both had words with Nurse D about this.  She turned the other way every time she saw me after that.  She told my sister that I had always caused her problems.  This encounter with her was the only time I ever talked to her!!!
When Mother left that nursing home, I was mailed an evaluation from the NHC main headquarters.   Let me tell you, I told it like it was.  I praised those who had been wonderful to all of us, especially to Mother.  I named them by name and gave them the credit they deserved.  BUT, on the other hand, I told it like it was about NURSE D, too.  I sure hope she's not still employed there or anywhere that compassion should be a part of the job!  I don't really understand anyone becoming a nurse who doesn't have compassion.  I have relatives and friends who are nurses and they are all some of the most caring compassionate people I know.  In order to do this kind of work one has to be this way!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Another Snippet of Nursing Home Life

Ms. M wheeled her chair over to the dining room table where I was sitting to feed my mom and said to me - I've been peeing all the time.  I pee all night and can't get any sleep. (Hey, I can identify with that sometimes.)  The preacher came yesterday and I told him about how I'm peeing all the time.  He said he'd pray about it, and do you know that I didn't pee but one time last night.
Me- Wow, that preacher must have a direct line to the man upstairs. 
Ms. M - Yep, but his line wasn't so direct when I told him about the problem with my leg, it took a whole lot longer for it to get better.

The next day:
Ms. M to me - Well, I peed again all night last night.  The nurses said they are giving me a medicine to make me pee because my feet are all swollen.

I ran out into the hallway to see who was yodeling.  It was Ms. L who rarely ever even talks....... 
A sad story about Ms. L
When she first came to the nursing home, back last fall, her daughter came to eat dinner with her every night.  Her daughter (I'll call her D)  had just moved here from another state partly to help take care of her mom and partly to take care of her own health needs by being closer to her sister.  D brought food from Hardee's, Wendy's, etc... every night because her mom wouldn't eat the nursing home food.   D and this gentleman who volunteers there every evening (I'll call him J) formed a close friendship and began dating.  (J's story is fascinating - I'll tell it another time)  They would both come to the nursing home and visit with her mom and others who J was particularly fond of helping.   One day J couldn't get D to answer her phone so he went to her apartment and found her dead.  She had diabetes and perhaps passed out from a sugar low and hit her head on the coffee table.  Ms. L doesn't seem to understand what happened.  It took J several weeks before he could come to the nursing home without crying, but he's still there every evening.

Mother had a better day, yesterday.  Cross your fingers, throw salt over your shoulder, knock on wood, avoid walking under ladders, etc........  Hey, whatever works, right?  Oh yeah, you might say a prayer, too.  That's probably a little more likely to work.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Rough Week

It's been a very rough week for my mom!  I did get to confer with her doctor this evening and we have come up with a plan that I hope and pray works miracles.  I'm not really expecting miracles, but I would love to see her have some relief.  I've got more stuff to write about here, but not tonight.  I've got to go to bed and get some sleep!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Things Overheard At the Nursing Home

Ms. M to Ms. R - "You need to wipe that food off your chin."
Ms. R's reply - "I was saving that for later."

Ms. W to anyone who is within hearing distance (for her that's a long way off!) " I want to get out of here, do you blame me?  Do you blame me?  Do you blame me? and on and on and on and on................"Take me out in the hall, now. Take me now.  I want to go, now."
And "Make him quit looking at me.  I don't want him to look at me.  Please make him quit looking at me." (It's her brother who is also a resident who she's referring to.  I can remember telling my mom to make my brother quit looking at me when I was a kid.)

Ms. C to me - "I walked all the way from town today.  My doctor told me I need to walk every day. "(town is a few miles away and she can barely walk using her walker down the hall)  And - "Have you seen my husband, Carl?"  or "Have you seen my son, Carl?"

Ms. R to everyone who walks by - "Sissy, come here Sissy.  Come over here and talk to me, Sissy."

Ms. W to me everyday - "What's your name?  Is that your mother?  What's her name?  How long has she been here?  I've been here 3 years.  My name's Ms. W.  What's your name?  Is that your mother?  etc....."

Ms. E  to everyone - "Tootleoo, tootleoo, tootleoo....."

Ms. C to the director  -  "Will you tell them to bring my baby boy to visit me?"
Director - "I didn't know you had a baby boy.  I thought all of your children were grown."
Ms. C - "Well, that just shows what you know."

I have come to love these people and don't write this to in any way make fun of them.  I hope no one would take it that way.  It's just that you have to try to see what little bit of humor you can in a nursing home, otherwise it would be very depressing.
At lunch time I couldn't wake my mom enough to even put a straw between her lips to try to get her to drink.  At dinner time, she was awake and ate fairly well.  She told me about going to the doctor's office where they do silly things, this morning.

I'm thinking that I want to write all kinds of different things about nursing home life and my mom in particular in this blog and not always try to get "inside" her head.  I don't think I can do that so well anyway.  I am still going to try that on occasion.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Fast Forward...Two Years Later........

Mother was pretty happy at the assisted living facility for the three years that she lived there once she got used to it.  She made friends, was able to get around with her walker, enjoy the activities, go to church and out to eat. She had a long term care insurance policy that would cover 3 years of care.  Three years to the month that her policy ran out, this is what happened.............

Oh, I really don't feel well.  It's 2:00 in the morning, though.  I hate to bother anyone, but I think I'm going to have to call one of the nurses.
"Mrs. J, what's wrong?  Can I get you something?"
"I really don't feel well.  My stomach hurts so bad.  I think I'm going to be sick.  Can you get me something to help."
"Let's see, let me take your blood pressure and check your temperature."  ................."Oh my, honey, your blood pressure is a little high and you seem to have a fever.  Should I call Julia?"
"No, she's gone out of town to visit her daughter and her family.  She'll be home late this evening, though."
"Well, honey, I don't think we should wait that long.  I think I'll call C."

C is my cousin who Mother raised from the time his mom died when he was 12, till he went off to college, got married, etc........  He is one of the most caring men ever, anywhere.
They did call him, and of course, he went right over.  The decision was made to take her to the hospital.  He called me at the hotel where my husband and I had stopped on our way home from the NE.  We had about 8 more hours to drive before we could be home.  C stayed with her.  At the hospital it was determined that she had a blockage in her intestines.  They thought they could treat her and send her back later in the day.   However..............
It turned out that she had a staph infection running through her body.  It had settled in her gall bladder.  Yes, her gall bladder.  The doctors were baffled.  They had never seen staph in a gall bladder before.  It turned out that her gb hadn't been functioning for years, but it was inflamed horribly.  
She ended up going into the ICU unit.  She became very confused and was even hallucinating.  Apparently that isn't unusual for older folks when they have infections and are moved to new surroundings, etc.......

Where am I?  What is that man doing up on the ceiling painting polka dots?  Where is my family?  Why is there someone standing in the window looking at me?  "Oh, help me, why won't somebody help me?  Why won't you let me go?  Why are you holding me captive?"  I'm going to get out of here.  These people are trying to hurt me, I know they are.  Why do they have all these needles in me, and why am I hooked up to all these machines.  Are they trying to kill me?  "Help me, help me, help me!"  I'm getting our of here.  Let's see, I can pull this needle out.  BEEEEEEPPPPPPPPPPP  What is that noise? BEEEEEEEEPPPPPPPPPPPPPP..........................
"Mrs. J, you have to leave that in your hand, honey, it's giving you medicine.  It looks like we need to find a new place to put it, you've really done a job on this site."

It was determined that Mother needed to have her gall bladder removed.  S, B, C, his siblings, and I decided to have her taken to another, bigger hospital to have this done.
Once we got her to the other hospital, the doctors decided they needed to do a cat-scan.
"Help me, help me." What are these people doing to me.  "Where's Julia? Where's my mother?  Where's my daddy?  I want my mother!  Please get my mother for me!  What are you doing to me?
AAAIIIIIEEEEE Nooooooo........ I don't want to be put in that machine.  Don't put my mother in there either.  Why are you doing this to me.  I 'm going to get up and get out of here.

The doctors let me go into the room with her to try to calm her down so they could do the cat-scan.  They finally got it done.  It was determined that she did need her gb removed, but that since she was on blood thinners they couldn't do it till she was off of them for a few weeks.  A drain was inserted into her bladder, and she was moved to a special unit for folks with extra needs.  It didn't seem to matter what they gave her to calm her down, the meds seemed to have an opposite effect on her.
She remained very confused and upset for several weeks while we were waiting on the blood thinner to be out of her system.  Actually, she ended up in that hospital from the middle of May till the end of July.   She called 911 twice to tell them she was being held hostage, etc.... She was so scared.  We all visited her daily.  She would seem ok some of the time, but then she would become all confused again.

Finally, at the end of July, the doctor decided that he could remove her gb.  We all waited in the surgery waiting room: me, my husband, S, B, C, M(another cousin) all waited.  It was a very tense time.
The doctor finally came out to tell us that the surgery was complete.  He had a difficult time and she lost a lot of blood, but he thought she would be ok.

After only a couple of hours after the surgery, a social worker was in Mother's room suggesting nursing homes that we could have Mother transferred to nearby.  At the time my B and S lived in the city where this hospital was.  We decided on a nursing home that was near there.  This was an hour and ten minute drive for me and C, further for M.  But, it was only 5 or 10 minutes for both B and S.

Now, where am I?  What am I doing here?  Who are these people who keep coming in my room.  Oh, here's S.  Thank goodness.  She says that this is a nursing home where I am going to live for a while.  Oh good, B is here, too.  I guess this will be ok, if S and B can come to see me often.
"Oh God, please help me, help me, help me.   I need to go home..................................."

Mother was in that nursing home for one year.  It was a turbulent year.  It was like being on a roller coaster.  Some days were really good, some were really bad.  We never knew what we would find.  We did learn to recognize when Mother had a UTI, because her first symptom would be confusion.  She had them off and on all the time.......................  My S moved to another state to be close to her daughter, because her own health is bad.  She has COPD and is on oxygen all the time now.  So, we decided to move Mother to the nursing home where she is now, which is only 5 minutes away for me and C.  I was driving to the other one 2 or 3 times a week.  It was wearing on me, to say the least.  My brother works and has a family still at home, so it just made more sense for her to be closer to me since I was retired and have an empty nest, as all of our girls are grown and live away.
At some point it was determined that Mother had Alzheimer's and Parkinson's on top of the other problems she had.  She continued to have UTIs on a regular basis.  Therefore, she just kept being prescribed with more and more medicines, which we are thinking may be causing some of her problems.  

To be continued...........................

Friday, June 18, 2010

Father's Day

Father's Day is coming up in a couple of days.  This has never been a holiday that I  celebrated, that is, before my husband became a father.  I realized from him and the relationship between him and our daughters, just what Father's Day is all about.  I also witnessed the relationship between my husband and his dad.  Now, I have sons-in-law who are such good, caring, loving, hands-on dads.  I am so thankful for having these "dads" in my life".  I am posting about Father's Day on this blog about my mom, because when I think back on my life, I realize that Mother had to compensate for the absence of our father.  He wasn't completely out of our lives, and I'm not going to go into detail here, but I'll just say that when he was around, it wasn't good.   Mother did, finally, take us away from him.  He kept showing up occasionally, but for the most part he was just absent.  Mother had to work doubly hard to provide for and care for us.  She had the help of her sisters and her mother, but it couldn't have been easy.  So, on this Father's Day, I am honoring my husband, my father-in-law, my son-in-laws, and my mother.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


I am going to interrupt my stream of consciousness writing from my mother's point of view today to give you a little up-date on what's happening now.  Mother spent 2 1/2 weeks at a Senior Care Unit in a nearby hospital.  I was so hopeful that the doctors there would perform a miracle by taking her off of and adjusting the many mood altering type drugs that she is on.  Let's see, there are 2 anti-depressants, one anti-anxiety, 2 STRONG pain meds, one med for Alzheimers, 2 drugs that they were giving her "as needed" to calm her drug, plus numerous other drugs that could possibly be causing her to have some of the problems she has been having.  The first thing that the doctors there did was to discover that she had a terrible UTI that was caused from 3 major bacteria.  So, since none of the antibiotics she had been on recently were working, they put her on a very high powered one that had to be given by injection.  The UTI was cleared up after a week, but then she ended up with a yeast infection, which of course, she is being treated for now.  I was so grateful that this UTI was treated so aggressively.  She has them ALL the time!
Then, the doctor took her off medicine that she's been on for a long time for Parkinson's, which I really never thought she had to start with.  She has had a tremor for years.  Her doctor in the past diagnosed it as a familial benign ?????? tremor.  My sister and one of our daughters has the same thing.  Her tremor has gotten some worse over the years, but until she was in this nursing home no one had ever mentioned Parkinson's, but what do I know?   So, the doctor in the SC Unit said that this med. can cause a lot of the symptoms she was having, like intense itching, etc......
He said he took her off her sleeping pill, but she wasn't on one so I don't think he did or that he knew what he was talking about.  I questioned this, and he never really admitted that he messed up on this one.
He double one of the anti-depressants and one dose of the other one.  He added another Alzheimer's med which I had actually asked the nursing home doctor about putting her on a long time ago.  That doctor said that it wouldn't help Mother.  Who do you believe?
He finally decided to take her off of one of the drugs that is supposed to calm her down.
What these doctors don't understand and wouldn't listen to me about, is that my mother reacts very differently to most meds than most people do.  If something is supposed to "calm" her it is very likely to "rev" her up instead!  I have seen this happen numerous times, and I tried to tell this doctor that, but he would not believe me or listen to me or something.
Anyway, last Wednesday, a week ago today, I went to a meeting of the "team" consisting of a doctor, the administrator, an RN, the social worker, and me.  They were very smug about the fact that Mother had been calm for two days.  I told them that I hoped and prayed that they had "cured'' her, but that she has days like this quite frequently (not so much lately, though) and that it probably wouldn't last.  Oh, but they were very sure that she was all better.
Wrong!  That very evening she became very upset and anything but calm.  That's when they decided that maybe they did need to take her off one of the drugs I had been asking them to take her off of all along.  It didn't help, though.  She's still on so many others.
I could be wrong about the drugs causing some of her issues.  I have no idea, really, but neither do they, because they won't even try!
So, my sister (who came in on Sat. and just left today) and I decided that she just needed to come back to the nursing home.  She is just 5 minutes from my house, is in familiar surroundings and people, in her own bed, in her own room with her own pictures on the walls, etc.... She begged me to bring her "home" to the nursing home nearly every night when she was at the hospital.  It broke my heart.  So, now she's back.  She isn't really any better or worse than when she went.  I guess in one way it is a good thing that she went.  We realize, and she does, too, how much we love the nursing home she's in compared to that place.  I can visit at anytime of the day or night here, whereas, the visiting hours were very strict there.
I could go on and on, but I won't go on anymore.
I will get back to trying to get in her head in my next post, but I just felt compelled to write about this experience.
I hope and pray that my body gives out before my mind!!!!!  I don't want my children to ever have to see me like this or go through the decision making when I no longer can make decisions for myself.  That and taking care of the finances are the hardest parts, well, besides seeing her so upset at times.  I can handle confusion, but not the hysteria and frightened states.
I don't know what all I just wrote, or even if any of it makes sense, but it sure made me feel better to get it out!!!!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

About One Year Later........

continuation of trying to get inside my mom's head................

Okay, so this place really isn't so bad.  It is nice to have my meals cooked for me, my laundry done (Julia and S insist on doing it for me), my medicines regulated by someone else, activities that I can take part in if I want.  Julia and A come to pick me up for church every Sunday, then out to eat at C's restaurant.  I wish they didn't have to take up so much of their Sunday, but it sure is nice.  Julia, B, and S take turns taking me to doctor's appointments, etc... all the time.  Several of my friends come to visit with me.  Thank goodness, I have a large enough "apartment" that I can have visitors comfortably.  I know the kids feel better about me being cared for.  They don't have to worry so much.

Today was awful.  I fell in the hallway when I was going to the dining room.  I had my pocketbook in the basket of my walker.  It was heavy and caused my walker to topple over.  When I fell, I landed on my face and broke my nose and my glasses.  Of course, they called Julia to meet me at the hospital.  They took me in an ambulance.  That was so embarrassing.  I hate being such a bother to everyone.  I look like I've been beaten!  I'm going to have two black eyes!  Now, they are talking about getting me a wheel chair.  If they think I'm going to let them push me around in a wheel chair they are crazy.  It's almost like they just want to do what's easiest for them, and that they don't care at all about how I feel.  Don't they realize how humiliating it would be to be in a wheelchair.  It's bad enough to be using a walker!  I just won't carry my pocketbook around anymore.

Okay, so far they have given up on making me use a wheelchair.  I am being extra careful when I'm walking.  I know that I walk way too slowly to suit everyone, but if it keeps me from falling that's too bad.  Also, I can't really pick up my feet any faster.  Thank goodness, T(***one of the nurses) will bring my mail to me, so I don't have to walk all the way around the whole circle to the other side of the courtyard to get my mail.  I do love getting mail!!!  I look even worse than I thought I would!  My whole face from my forehead to my cheeks are black, blue, and purple.  I don't think I want to go to church this week.  Everyone will know that I fell.   Of course, I guess Julia has told them anyway.  She's always talking about me to everyone.  I wish she wouldn't.

Tomorrow, a group of little dancers are coming to dance.  I love it when groups of children come to perform.  Some of the churches and schools send groups to sing, dance, and visit.  I wish groups would come every day.  I may scare them with my face looking like it does.  It's not as black, blue, and purple now.   It's more green and yellow, but it still looks awful.  My nose still really hurts, too.

Can you believe that they have wine tasting parties here?  I don't drink and never have, and I never will.  I think it's terrible that they are encouraging us old folks to drink!!!!!

Finally, most of the bruising is gone, now.

Next week they are going to have a family party.  Only 2 family members can come for each resident.  I don't want to hurt anybody's feelings.  Should I ask Julia, S, B, or C, or maybe one of my other nieces or nephews?  I don't know what to do.   Maybe they'll let me ask more if I ask them......................

Thursday, June 10, 2010

continued stream-of-consciousness writing from my mom's point of view.....

At least I got to come home for a few days before going to the assisted living facility.  Julia and S thought it would be a good idea for me to be home a few days to decide which furniture I want to take with me.  I know this is a really nice place where I'm going because I have visited friends there.  I just don't feel ready for this stage of my life.  Am I going there to just wait on dying? 

Humph!  I'm here, but I am not happy about it.  The little "apartment" is nice enough.  I have a view of the courtyard with beautiful flowers and a fountain.  I even have my own door out to the courtyard.  I have a private bathroom, a small kitchenette, and lots of closet space.  The color of the room is a gorgeous green (I can tell Julia picked this room for me because she loves green.)  I got to bring my own furniture.  The kids were really aggravated with me because I DID NOT pick out what I wanted to bring during those few days they allowed me at home.  But, once I got here, I told them what I wanted.  I had them bring my mom and dad's antique bed, the marble top table, my favorite recliner, the stained glass window that was once in my church, and a few other things.  At least I get to have things I love here.

At the rehab unit, the therapist convinced me that I needed to be using a walker.  I am really embarrassed to be seen using it, but it really does make walking easier for me.

I've been here a few weeks now.  The nurses are really nice, but I'm so sad I can hardly breath.  The doctor has decided that maybe I need to take an antidepressant to help me with getting used to being away from my home.

A few nights ago, after I went to bed, after having really bad indigestion all day, I got to thinking about an article I read once about how indigestion could be a symptom of a heart attack.  So, I rang one of the nurses and asked her what she thought.  She took my blood pressure which was really high.  My blood pressure is never high!  So, she called 911. When the EMTs got here they thought I needed to go to the hospital.  They called Julia who agreed to meet me at the ER.  I was so scared!  Was this going to be IT?  Was I going to die?  Maybe that would be best for me and everyone else.  I don't want to be a burden to my family!!!  I don't want to live in this place anyway!!!
The ER doctors thought that I was having a mild heart attack, nothing serious..........so, Julia and A decided to go ahead and go up North to visit their daughter's family.  After all, B and S, and one of my nieces and and one of my nephews live fairly close by. 

It turned out that the heart attack was a lot worse than they thought.  They decided to take me to a bigger hospital where they were more equipped to take care of me.  The doctor there said that I needed to have a quadruple bypass!  No way!  He actually said that it would be very risky!  Thank God, the kids let me make the decision whether to have the surgery or not.  I know because of taking care of BS(****mother's big sis) after her open heart surgery that I DO NOT want to go through that!  I'd have to go back to that rehab place again, and I AM NOT going there! I guess the kids wish I'd agree to the surgery, but it is MY decision, not theirs.   I am NOT going to go through that!  I'd rather die!!!!

Well,   HELL......O (****mother's only swear word!)  somebody called Julia, and she and A along with my granddaughter and great granddaughter drove all the way back down here the day after they got up there.  Of course I'm glad they are here, but they didn't need to come back so quickly!!  I don't want to be a burden!!! 

Finally, I'm back home.  Oh my, did I just think about this place as HOME?  It will never be HOME!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Continued Stream-of-consciousness writing from my mother's view..........

Well, I've done it now....I've had a wreck.  I told them to call C (my cousin*****)  instead of Julia.  She would just get all upset and tell me I can't drive anymore.  It wasn't my fault, that lady hit me instead of the other way around, but it did take me too long to react and stop my car.  Oh good, here's C.  He'll know who to take my car to for getting it fixed.

It sure is taking a long time for them to fix my car.    They've had it for weeks. (****C told them to take as long as they possibly could!)  I guess I don't really need to be driving after all.  I think I'll tell Julia, S, and B(****my brother) and make them happy.

My car is finally fixed, but since I'm not going to drive anymore, I guess I'll sell it.

Today the worst thing happened....... I was getting ready for a Sunday reunion with some of my distant cousins.  I took off my alarm necklace that the kid's insist that I wear in case I fall at home.  I laid it on the vanity when I got in the tub, which was a mistake because I couldn't reach it.  I got down in the tub, and when I was through, I couldn't get out.  I ended up sitting there for hours.  Julia wasn't expecting me at church because one of my cousin's was taking me to the reunion.  I kept putting warm water in so I wouldn't get so cold.  I was able to reach my towel, but I could NOT get out.  Finally, my cousin came to the door and when I didn't answer it she came on in.  She found me and helped me out of the tub.  I guess I'll have to tell Julia, C, S, and B that this happened.  No telling what they'll do now.

Ok, so it wasn't so bad.  The kids got me a bench like seat for my tub, a shower head on a hose so I could rinse myself, etc..., a bar to pull up with, and a no slip pad in the bottom of the tub.  I will always have my phone or alarm necklace close enough to reach from now on, too.

I just keep on falling.  C came in today and caught me on my knees trying to crawl over to the couch to get up.  I have fallen so many times that it is scaring me.

I'm in the hospital.  I fell and when the ER doctors checked me out they said I was severely dehydrated.  So, I'm on an IV. 
I'm in rehab at a nursing home.  This place is awful and I'm scared.  S came and talked to me about maybe going to an assisted living facility instead of back home.  I don't think I can stand this!!!  I don't want to think about it.  I am not going!!!  I can stay home by myself.  I just need to take better care of myself..........................

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I will start at the beginning of this journey leading to the place in time we are in now.  I am going to attempt to write this from my mother's point of view, so please bear with me as I guess what she is thinking and feeling.  I think it will help me to understand her situation better if I write it in this way.  ****** will indicate my input

About 7 years ago:

Today I fell.  I already have trouble hearing, and now I'm having trouble with my balance!  I better not let anyone know about my fall.  I have noticed that I am having trouble with my left foot when I'm walking.  I have trouble picking it up and stepping over things.  I guess I'll ask my doctor about this next time I go to her.  Julia and S (**my sister) have both mentioned to me lately that I'm dragging that foot.

I had another fall today, this time I was with my friend, and so I can't pretend that it didn't happen.  I landed on my face and had to have stitches where my glasses cut above my eye.  That's ok, I don't have to tell about the other falls I've had.

Julia and A(**my husband) have moved back home.  I guess they'll try to start telling me what to do and what not to do.  Well, I hate to tell them, but I'm quite capable of taking care of myself.  Julia is already insisting that she take me to the grocery store, to get my hair done, etc....  She and A have even starting picking me up to go to Sunday school and church.  It's a little embarrassing to me that my friends see them chauffeuring me around like this.  Julia fusses at me because I back out of my driveway instead of turn around and go out forward.  She just doesn't understand how hard it is for me to turn with my shoulders hurting like they do.  I just hope she doesn't figure that out!!!

Today, Julia insisted that she would take me to Walmart instead of letting me drive.  She said that crossing the bypass is too dangerous for me.  She also noticed that I was having trouble putting the pan of soup on the stove top.  Doesn't she realize how heavy the saucepan is?  I bet she'd have trouble with this, too.

Okay, so now I'm really in trouble.  Julia was here today and saw me having problems lifting the laundry basket.  It dawned on her that I couldn't possibly be able to change the sheets on the bed by myself.  I told her not to worry about it, because I let Jenny (the housekeeper who came once every two weeks for a couple of hours) change the sheets.  Julia insists that they need to be changed more often.  Now, she plans to come do my laundry.  She doesn't have time to do all of these things for me.  She's still teaching full time.  She says that it's ok, because her girls are all grown and she doesn't have anything else to do.  She says that I did all of these things for her when she was growing up and that it's her turn to help me.  I don't want HER HELP!

Oh no, there's M(**her friend) in the other aisle.  I sure hope she doesn't realize that Julia brought me to the grocery store because she won't let me drive across the bypass.  Well, maybe she'll just think that Julia needed to come, too, and that we just came together.  I'd better not lean on the cart too much when we meet up with her.  Okay, let me stand up straight.  Oh that really hurts my back, but I don't want M to see me like this.  Whew, thank goodness she's gone and I can lean over again.  I'm glad I can use this cart for support.  S even suggested that I start using a walker the other day.  Can you imagine that?  There is no way I'm using a walker.  They've already insisted that I start wearing these old lady shoes!!!

*****more tomorrow........

Okay, Here I Go

I need to give just a little background on my mom before I really start writing about her current situation.
My mom brought the three of us kids back home to live with her parents and older sister when I was about 7 years old.  We lived next door to my aunt, uncle, and 5 cousins.  My grandfather and uncle died when I was still very young.  Then, my aunt died when her youngest son had just turned 12 and her next to youngest was 16.  My mom moved into their house and finished their "raisin".  I was a freshman in college at that time.
Then, my  grandmother died a couple of years later.  Next, my aunt, who was my mom's older sister, and who never married, moved in with Mother.  She had lots of health issues so Mother took care of her over about a 15 year span.
Mother was unusual in that she went off to college in the 40s.  She had a degree in zoology and microbiology.  Then she went to Atlanta where she trained to be a lab technician.  That's where she met my dad.  They married and moved back to the small town where we live now.  The marriage was not a good one (this is fodder for another whole blog...... maybe someday), and after only about 13 years is when Mother left him.  She waited 7 more years before divorcing him, though, because she believed that divorce was "WRONG".  She was convinced that our dad could get custody of us if anything happened to her if she didn't go ahead with the divorce.
Even though she was very independent in so many ways, she didn't learn to drive till she was 40 years old.  We lived in town, close enough to walk to school, church, the grocery store, etc..... So we walked.  If we had to go somewhere too far to walk, one of our aunts took us.
Then, Mother decided it was time to learn to drive, and drive she did.  After teaching science in high school for several years (she had to go back to college to get her certification), she got a  job with the Department Of Children's Services.  She worked with families with abused and neglected children.  There were many nights that the police would accompany her to some one's house to pick up children who needed placement in a foster home.  There were times she had to go to the jail in the middle of the night to rescue a child whose parents had been arrested.
She was on every committee at church and very involved in the women's group.  She was in the church every time the doors were open.
She was always available for babysitting my 3 daughters and my sister's 2 daughters whenever we needed her.  She loved having the girls spend the night with her.  They laugh about how she always fixed the same foods for them because once she learned something they liked she didn't want to disappoint them.  She also let them watch whatever they wanted on tv, unlike their mom!!
After she retired, she served on the foster care review board, and did other types of charitable works.
I tell you this background on my mom before I start writing about her situation now, so that you have an idea of the kind of lady she was and still is somewhere deep down inside of her.

Tomorrow I will begin trying to get inside her head to tell you about the lady she is now!

Monday, June 7, 2010

First Post On New Blog

Hi, if you are coming over from my sewing blog,
then you already know that I have been posting a lot about my mom there.  I have decided that I would rather have a separate blog for these observations.  Please bear with me while I think in text on this blog.  I hope to have some feedback from some of you who also have experienced having an elderly parent, grandparent, or who may be an elderly parent or grandparent.  Here you see a picture of my mom that was taken on her 86th birthday on May 24.  Below that you see a small portion of a fence at the nursing home that I recently painted to honor her and my mother-in-law, aunt and grandfather-in-law, who were all residents in the past.
I will come back to this later to start my first "carefully thought-through" observations.  Don't believe for one minute that any of my observations will be thought-though carefully or in any other way.  They will just be what pops into my head as I type.
I will say, that the person who successfully is able to get into the minds of the folks at the nursing home will win the Nobel Peace Prize or some other such prestigious award!  So, I don't truly think I can do this here in this blog, but I'm going to try to at least "guess" what might be going on in these precious brains that causes them to have whatever issues it is they have.