Thursday, July 29, 2010

I Can Hear Myself in My Daughter

A couple of days ago, Lil E, our almost 3 year old granddaughter, who just became a big sis, was whining about something.  We were having trouble understanding what she was saying.  Her mom kept saying, "Lil E, you have to talk in your normal voice and stop crying so we can understand what it is you want."  Oh my, that's exactly what I've been saying to my mother lately.  It really hit me how the circle of life goes from babyhood, to childhood, to adulthood, and back to babyhood ( if a person lives long enough.)  I hope I don't live that long!  I hope that whatever age I am when all that begins is the last age I attain!  My mom feels that way, too.  The other day, when she was having a really good day, she was bemoaning the fact that she couldn't do anything for herself anymore, that she has to rely completely on others for her EVERY need.  She wanted shoes, which she hasn't worn in about three years because she can't walk.  She wanted her pocketbook, which I keep at my house, because someone at the nursing home might take it. (I actually took one of her pocketbooks to her.  I just put some stuff in it along with her billfold that had nothing of importance in it, but she knew the difference and it was not the RIGHT purse.  Oh well, I tried.)   She wanted her phone, which we disconnected because she can't hear to talk on it anymore.  She wanted me to leave her some checks, which I can't do because they might be stolen.  She wanted lots and lots of things and to do things that she can't do anymore.  It is so hard to see my mom so helpless and sad.  I'd rather see her doped up so that she doesn't know what's happening.  I guess that's mean of me to say, but it is true!!

Life does continue to cycle, as I said.  We have a new little granddaughter who was born just a few days ago.  She is beautiful and so calm!  I wrote a little more about her on my other blog that's linked at the top right of this one.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Here We Go Again

Oh well, I guess it was too good to last!  Mother had 2 or 3 really good days, and then I went out of town.  She has had a rough time since I left.  But, my husband is checking on her everyday, because he's still home.  My cousins and sister will all be going to check on her during the time I'm away. 
I was really hoping that the change in medicines was going to make the difference.  Perhaps, over time, it will.  Perhaps she needs more time to get the old stuff out of her system. 
Also, I think she was trying extra, extra hard just before I left to make me feel better about leaving.  She wanted to show me that she could laugh and smile and be happy.  Now, that I'm not there, she doesn't have to pretend anymore. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mother made me laugh

For several days now, Mother has just been crying and crying and crying, uncontrollably!!  She would say she didn't know why she was crying or she would make up some silly something, like, "I was itching last night."  So, tonight when I went in to the dining room for supper, I found her sitting there in anticipation.  She looked up and said, "I know what L can name the baby.  Beulah P_________!"  I nearly fell over from this humor coming from my mom.  Okay, the story behind this is...... my grandmother's name was Beulah Augusta P_______ (I don't want to give the last name because it would be identifying my family that I want to protect from some crazies out there in cyber space.  I truly doubt that anyone reading this blog is crazy, but you never know.)  Anyway, my grandparents named my mother Beulah Ruth.  She hated the Beulah part so much that when she went to college she signed everything B. Ruth and wouldn't tell anyone what the B stood for.  So, all of her college friends called her Beanie.  To this day, the ones who are still alive and able call her that!  Now, for the P_______.  My dad named me Julia P__________.  I, too, hated this name and rarely ever told anyone what it was.  When I married I essentially dropped that name and just used my maiden name as my middle name.  All the years that I taught, I never would tell my students my middle name.  It got to be a real challenge for them to see if they could guess it.  No one ever did!  Whew!!  Anyway, I guess you really had to be a part of this NAME HATING and to have been there tonight when Mother suggested this name, but I promise you, it was hilarious.  She had tried very hard today to think of something funny to say to me when I came tonight.  She told one of the CNAs that she didn't want to cry in front of me tonight, and she didn't.  I think that the adjustments in her meds are starting to work!!!  She was lucid, even though she's been crying, for a couple of days now.   Such an improvement!!!!!!  Hallelujah!!!!
I'll be gone for a month to visit my daughter, who is going to present us with our 6th grandchild very soon, and her husband and almost 3 year old.  My husband, sister, cousins, etc... are going to be holding down the fort here in the SE.  My husband will join me out West later on, but my sister will be here that whole week staying at our house. So, I probably won't be updating this blog much, if any, while I'm gone.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Painting on the windows and.........

I won't put all of the paintings on this site since I put them on my   site, but I thought I'd share this one.  
Things have been anything but sunny for Mother the last few days.  I always say, "You have to laugh to keep from crying," but there are days when I just can't laugh.  Yesterday was one of them.  Mother kept saying something that we couldn't understand and that only frustrated her more so that her voice became even harder to understand. 
Finally, I realized that she was asking me if I could see myself in the mirror.  
When I told her, "Yes," she said she wanted to see herself.  So, I found the activity director who had a hand mirror that they use on the days that the ladies get all prettied up with make-up, etc...  I held the mirror for Mother to see and she did not like what she saw.  I really hadn't thought about the fact that she hasn't seen herself in a really long time.  I have no idea when she last looked in a mirror.  Anyway, she wanted to know what she could do to look better. 
I said, "Well, we could put make-up on you, but you don't need it because you look pretty the way you are."  
Make-up was the WRONG thing to say to this lady who never has had any make-up on in her entire life.  She didn't think a person should wear make-up, dye his/her hair, or have pierced ears,  etc.....  She said that is not what God intended, etc....  I had to sneak and buy my first make-up when my sister suggested that's what I should do.  When I started coloring my hair to cover the gray and got my ears pierced Mother wasn't happy, but seeing as how I was a grown married woman by then there wasn't much she could say about it.  
So, when I said the M word, she freaked out and wanted it washed off, now!  
Now!  Wash it off now!
She was finally consoled when I washed and washed and washed her face.  Then she wanted to get out of her chair.  
I want out of my chair.  Get me out of my chair, now.  Please get me out of my chair.  Why won't you get me out of my chair.
All of this was taking place in the dining room just before lunch time, so there were other residents and some of their family members there.  I asked one of the CNAs if we could just take Mother and put her to bed.  I would feed her in her room.
Oh yeah, Mother loves tomato sandwiches, so I had taken her a couple of slices from a tomato that we had just gotten from the garden, a couple of slices of bread, some mayonnaise, salt and pepper.  I made her a sandwich. This was sometime between the mirror episode and the wanting out of her chair.  When we went to her room, I just left the sandwich on the table - she refused to eat it or anything.
After we got her settled in bed, I went back to the dining room and found another resident eating her sandwich!  Some of the staff thought I'd be upset!  I just laughed.  I'm glad he enjoyed the sandwich since Mother didn't.  This man eats off everyone's trays if no one is watching.  He's hungry!!!  They usually bring him two trays of food.  He's very thin so it's not going to hurt him!
Mother went to sleep, finally, and didn't really wake up again until just before supper time tonight.  When she woke up I was arranging her family photographs.  They keep falling off her bulletin board so I bought two poster frames and put them in those.  I hope this works.  We need to have them fixed where they can be moved out of her room on those nights when she is dreaming that bad things are happening to children.  (Remember that she was a social worker for the Department of Children Services.)I've decided that when she sees these photos it upsets her sometimes.  But, on her good days, she loves seeing them.  She woke up wanting a bath mat?  It took me a while to realize that she meant bath robe.  She really doesn't have a robe at the nursing home because if she's up in her chair, she's dressed in her clothes.  So, I got one of her shawls that I made her, and that satisfied her, sort of anyway.  She kept saying that she needed to be ready when the people come.  I told her that no one was coming.  I WAS WRONG!  Our preacher actually did come.  
She looked up at me and said, "I told you people were coming."  I guess she got me.  Ha!
It's just so frustrating for me, the staff, and Mother when we can't understand what it is she wants.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Life Gets in the Way................

of my posting on this blog lately...........................!!!!
First of all, as I may or may not have posted here, my mom has had pneumonia.  It was caught early and she's really doing well.  Her meds have been adjusted and so far, knock on wood, etc....she seems to be doing better as far as her anxiety levels, etc.... go.
My brother has a staph infection in his leg/hip from having hip replacement surgery on May 27th.  He was doing well, but he started running a fever about 2 weeks ago, then he started having extreme pain in his leg, bad enough that he called his wife to leave work to take him to the emergency room.  They took blood, put him on antibiotics and sent him home.  The next day, they called him to come back  to be admitted to the hospital to be hooked up to IV antibiotics because of the STAPH!!!  They went back in and took out part of the prosthesis, cleaned it all out, drained 4 liters of YUK, replaced what they took out, put in a drain, sewed him back up, and then hooked him back up to antibiotics and iron by IV.  Finally, yesterday, he got to go home...with the IV still hooked up for at least 6 - 8 weeks.  Home Health will come to his house to help him with this.  He is not out of the woods and won't be till the 6 -8 week period is over and they find the infection is gone!!!!  Prayers that this will be the scenario!

I haven't felt too well myself so I finally went to the doctor on Tuesday of this week.  I tried to go on Monday, but due to the 4th holiday my doctor's office was closed.  I saw a different doctor in his group on Tuesday.  Anyway, it seems that I have strep throat!  I haven't had strep throat since I was a teen!!!  That's been about 42 years ago!!!  Anyway, I really didn't feel good, knew that my tonsils looked rough, but didn't expect this.  I am better now, though, after being on antibiotics by mouth and getting 2 shots!

Yesterday, I got a call from one of Mother's nurses that she was fussing because she wanted cough syrup (I did tell you she has pneumonia, right?  Is cough syrup an unreasonable request?), a mint (again she has a dry throat, unreasonable?), and her pictures had fallen in the floor (She has LOTS of pictures of her 9 great grands, and 2 great nephews and one of the CNAs knocked a bunch of them off the wall by being careless with Mother's chair or something.  Again....unreasonable?)  This nurse was rattled because she didn't have time to deal with all of Mother's demands!!!!!  Uh, she had time to call me!  Oh well, I told her I had strep and didn't really need to be around Mother, even though I'd been going everyday up until I found out what I had, but she seemed so distressed that I decided to go.  When I got there, Mother was whiny, but she wasn't yelling like the lady next door, or crying, like her roommate, so I really don't know why I was called.  This nurse said she thought I wanted to be called before they ever gave Mother meds to calm her down.  UH.............this same nurse has given Mother all kinds of meds before, but she's never called me first!  Actually, since Mother's meds were adjusted I don't feel the need to know every time they give her something.  I never asked to be called every time anyway, just when she was inconsolable.  She was not like this at all yesterday.
I was feeling so rotten, though, that I'm afraid I wasn't very nice to either this nurse or my Mother.  I kind of lost my temper, not too badly, but badly enough to make me feel awful!  I told Mother that she needed to be more patient.  That's like telling a 2 year old that he/she can't have a lollipop when they are right in front of him/her.  Anyway, I also let this nurse know that I felt like her call was unnecessary.  I had called to let the nursing home staff know that I wouldn't be there for a day or two, but obviously that word wasn't passed on to this nurse.  My biggest complaint about this home is the lack of communication among the staff members.  I talked to the PR person about this issue yesterday.

I've been asked to paint the windows across the front of the nursing home.  I'm going to try to get it done next week.  This won't be as big a project as the fence.  This is a temporary painting that I hope I get to change on occasion with the season changes, etc.......

Friday, July 2, 2010

More from mother's view...........

I'm going to try to summarize and capture the events and the thoughts that went through Mother's head when she moved to the nursing home she's in now.

Me to Mother - Since S is moving to __ maybe you should move to a nursing home that is closer to me.  I've been to ones in ______________, ______________, _______________, and in ______________. (All the nursing homes in towns between where she was and my home town, which is about a 60 mile distance.)  I really think the one at home is the best choice.  What do you think?
Mother - I don't want to move to that one, because it's awful!  Remember how bad it was when your Aunt C was there?  I don't want to go to the  one in _________________ either.  But, whatever is best for you.
Me - I've been to all of these different nursing homes, and really the one at home is as good if not better than the others.  They have a new director and everyone says it is so much better than it used to be.  And, K__H__ is a nurse there, and G__H__, and J__H__, and P__T__, and .........................  (These are all people she has known all her life.  There are more than this who she knew, as well.)

Mother - Well, whatever you say.......................
Later - Mother's thoughts.................I guess it doesn't matter where I am.  If I have to be in a nursing home what difference does it make.  Julia says the one at home has changed.  I trust her, so I guess I'll just go to that one if I have to move to another one.  I could just stay here.  I really like L, (the CNA who took care of her most often).  I really don't know why I have to move.  B still lives here, and he can come to see me everyday.  But, Julia has to drive so far.  I hate for her to do that.  And, B still works and Julia is retired so I guess it makes sense.  I wish S wasn't moving, but she needs to because her health is so bad.  I guess I'll just tell them to move me back home.

A few days later Mother is moved by ambulance to the nursing home that is only 5 minutes from my house.  Her first room is tiny!!  Her roommate is a lady she's known all her life who broke her hip and had just moved in that day, too.  Did I mention that the room was tiny?  I mean, you could barely get the gerry chair that mother had to have in the room and between the beds.  The bed was a manual hand cranked relic.  We asked to have Mother put on the waiting list for a bigger room and to get her a bed she could operate herself.   She did get a new, somewhat larger room after just a few weeks, but that meant not being with this lady who she had known forever.  But, she knew her new roommate, too.  She had worked with this lady's daughter.  (It's a small town!)  The room was a little bigger and was satisfactory for a while.
Mother's thoughts..................... I wish I wasn't in the last room down this long hallway.  I think the nurses and aides forget I'm here sometimes, and I'm always the last one they come to get for dinner and activities.  I really don't like this room.  Ms. C, (her roommate) keeps getting into my stuff.  I saw her eating some of my candy.  When I tell her it's mine, she just looks at me and eats it anyway.  I've told Julia that I don't like this room, but she doesn't seem to believe me about being the last one they get to and all that.  I wish she would take up for me more.  It seems like she just believes everything the people here tell her.  She doesn't believe that I'm the last one who gets fed at meal times when she's not here, either.
Me to staff members - Mother tells me she is usually the last one who ya'll get ready for meals and activities, and that she's always the last one fed when I'm not here.
Staff members (different ones at different times) - She's right.  We start at the other end of the hall and since she's in the last room, she is the last one we get to.  And, since she's not diabetic, she does get fed toward the end of the meals.  We have to feed the diabetics first.
Me - Couldn't the CNAs rotate which end of the hall they start on each day?  Couldn't Mother be one of the first, who's not diabetic, to be fed?
Staff - Well, we should do it that way, but we don't.
So, I just made sure I was always there for nearly every meal.  That way she could be fed as soon as her tray came out.

A month or so after the move to this new room.......................
Mother - "Did you know that Honey (my grandmother who died in 1972) came to see me today?"

Me to floor nurse - Mother is confused today, that always means she has a UTI. Would you do a urinalysis on her today?
Nurse - Oh, okay.

Next day - Mother is still confused.
Me - Did you get the urinalysis done?
Nurse  No, not yet.  We couldn't get her to pee when we tried.
Me - Please try again.  I know that she has a UTI because that's the only time she gets confused like this, and if it doesn't get stopped she'll just get a whole lot worse.
Nurse  - Sure.  (But she didn't and Mother did get worse!)
Mother - Tell those children to stop running around and making so much noise.  Did you see those little girls jumping out of that doll house hanging on my wall?  I need to go to Mother's funeral (my grandmother died in 1972).  Please get me dressed so I can go to Mother's funeral.  Why won't anyone get me dressed?  Help me!  Help!  Help....................... on and on

Nurse K  calls me to tell me that Mother needs to go to the hospital.  Well, of course she does.  The UTI has gotten really bad!!!

The hospital stay was short.  The doctors got her on antibiotics, and changed every other medicine she was on, as well (another story for another day).  
When she came back to the nursing home, they asked if I wanted her in still another room.  Yea!!!  This room was on a different hall, and were still a little bigger than even the 2nd one she was in.  And, she would be just a few doors down from an outside door and the nurses station.  This was great news.  I love the CNAs and floor nurses on this hall.  My sister doesn't have so far to walk when she comes, and with her health issues that's important.  But, mostly I was happy because she would not always be last to go to the dining room, etc......................

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