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...........................

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