Update on Mom etc

Glitter53May 3, 2005

It's been a while since I checked in for my usual infusion of support...;-)....but if I thought I was busy with Mom here, it's nothing compared to driving to the nursing home a half hour away almost every day! Sheesh! But for now, it's necessary.

I mentioned that she wasn't doing well right now, and I'm beside myself with guilt for having placed her, even tho' I know, intellectually, that it's the best place for her under these circumstances. Where else can we have a doctor on call who comes to our bedside?! When Mom went in, she was her usual huggy, kissy self: everyone she met was her new best friend. Everyone was 'sweetie', 'honey' and they loved her back. However, like Fairegold's Mom, she's not the type to just sit there, when she can attempt to get up and fall down. You'd think they'd learn, wouldn't you? Last week she tried to get out of bed at night without calling for assistance (why would she want to bother them?) and fell onto the floor. She complained about pain in her right rib-cage, and they checked her over, and gave her some Tylenol for pain, and called the dr. in the morning. He saw her late that morning and thankfully, nothing broken, just bruised. Which is still painful. I visited the poor gal that day and it was so hard to help her eat, as she coughs from time to time, grabbing her ribs and tearing up. She felt much better the next day. However, after dinner in their dining-room, she decided to pick up a dropped napkin, leaned forward in her wheelchair and slid ungracefully to the floor. Another phone call: your Mom fell again. NOW you may be understanding why I had to keep an eye on her 24/7! If I ever went downstairs to the basement to toss in a load of laundry, you can bet she was perched at the top of the stairs, telling me she was coming down to help me!

The facility she's in has a 'no restraint' policy, as it's been determined by numerous independent tests that having bed-rails causes more injuries when they try to climb over them, and seat-belting them into wheelchairs means that if they fall out, they bring those chairs down on top of themselves, compounding the problem. So, thankfully, her falls have had minimal affects on her. But it's been 3! The first one was before the bed fall, when she was still using her walker: her gait became unsteady, and she lists to the right, so she toppled over. Hence, the wheelchair, which she managed to careen down the halls in, on her better days.

Yesterday my DH and I went to help her thru lunch, in her room, and I noticed chest congestion when she coughed. I called the nurse, who charted it, and immediately called the doctor. I don't know if he visited her yesterday, and it's too early to call this morning, as they're all being herded into the dining-room for breakfast as I type this.

Naturally I want this cleared up with antibiotics before it turns into pneumonia.

Yesterday I'm not sure she knew us. She kept her eyes closed throughout lunch and only mumbled almost imperceptibly. She seems to go from lucid to sleepy and incoherent depending on...what?....that's what we don't know. It's so difficult to see her that way...I hugged her, stroked her lovely white hair, held her hands, but without any response from her....she's drifting away and here I am, casting a life-preserver around, and she can't grasp it.

As for the nursing home, I haven't a single complaint! I know it doesn't sound good when I say she's fallen a few times, but it's more of a reflection on her insistence that she does everything herself, rather than the care they provide. She did the same thing here, but I didn't have a doctor on call who would come here and assess her each time. She has a lot of eyes on her, and her daily care-givers are angels. But at 91....gosh...she's so frail.

So, my Dears, that's the story in a nutshell. Sort of a nutshell....maybe an oyster shell. I'll call later this morning, when I know she's tucked back into her room for a nap. She continues to sleep quite a bit, and falls asleep almost immediately.

I pray for all of you each evening. I hope our combined prayers are answered.

For now, I'll close this novel (you said you liked to read!!;-) and let you get on with your busy days. As for cleaning windows, I decided I needed new ones on the front of the house (the last ones to be done), so phhhhttt! There goes one job! haha!

Hugs and Blessings to each of you!


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Linda, I am basically going through the same things you are.
I seem to stay very busy just going to check on Mother (also a half an hour away). I try to get there four times a week. (I am still working).

It seems Mother has been on a down hill decline ever since I put her in. I sometimes wonder if my visits hurt or help. I like to think they help (by taking her the clothing, etc. she needs) but who knows.

Yesterday I called to ask how she was doing. The nurse said she wasn't eating and she told the nurse she was dying and that the Lord was coming to get her. She usually eats everything set before her.

Today the nurse said she was just fine and ate breakfast and wasn't talking like that.

I too feel a little guilty about putting her in but what else could I do? Not too much. I feel like I did the best thing for her. The alternative was to quit work and keep her at home. I don't think that would have worked out too well either. I kept her at home until she no longer knew the house or could call us by name.

It is just so difficult but all I know to do is to just take it one day at a time.

Enjoy your day. The weather here in the southern U.S. is unseasonably cool but at least there is some sunshine today. We are still waiting on warmer temps.


    Bookmark   May 3, 2005 at 11:03AM
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Linda, you and Pearl both have to look at this as the best thing under the circumstances. Your mothers would have been going downhill even if you had kept them at home. They may even have done worse. That's the most troublesome thing about dementia and a failing body, you don't really know what's going to happen next. There is no "best" way of handling them except to keep them safe. Don't feel guilty about doing the sensible thing. Prepare yourselves for the road ahead. It's going to be a hard thing to watch.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2005 at 12:18PM
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I suspect that what we interpret as their condition going downhill more rapidly when they enter a care facility is actually something a little different.

One, our loved ones have been fighting to keep things going while they lived with you (I seem to be mixing pronouns, but you all understand), to keep looking like they are strong and are not a burden. When they move into a care facility, they 'relax', and are no longer putting on that face for you at home. (I can't seem to find the words today---)

And two, you are not with them 24/7, and all of a sudden, you see them with different eyes. When they were in your home, you overlooked the obvious and just did your job. Now that your loved one is in a care facility, you've gotten a good night's sleep, and you see them in a fresh way.

And three, given the stages of various diseases, yes, they may have gone downhill at about the same time they entered the care facility. But it would have happened at home, as well, just like PB says.

Linda and Pearl, you are both strong role models for me and for others. We're all in this together, friends. I am so glad I got to know you all.


    Bookmark   May 3, 2005 at 12:27PM
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Hang in there. It isn't easy seeing the person who gave birth to you and was there when you needed them failing in health. I know. My mom is only 68 but has had 4 heart attacks since January of this year. 5 times in ICU on respirators. Today she came come for the 6th time after having another blood transfusion. Her blood pressure was 39 over 17. Her kidneys aren't making new blood or something to that effect...so she might have leukemia or a form there-of. She is also blind and has been for the past 10 years. Imagine yourself blind with a ventilator tube down your throat and them feeding you through the nose. Unable to speak. This has torn me apart, and being the oldest son is most responsible for visitations, etc. My dad is still around, but he had heart operation in Feb. too. And he is just about stone deaf ..so he can't hear the doctors etc. Anyway...didn't expect to go on like this. Just wanted to say you ladies are not alone. Everyday I can call my mama or go see her is a blessing. I am trying to soak this all in because I know it will be her time before too long. Take care, Duane

    Bookmark   May 3, 2005 at 2:46PM
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A lot depends on the home. Some homes encourage the clients to participate in everything, even if it means come and sit and listen. Just getting out of bed/room makes a difference. As to the restraints/rails, many states have this law. I know ND does, as my daughter and granddaughter have worked in the home and now my 17 year old GD is starting her job their. Many times there are state laws we know nothing about. Feel free to discuss any problems with the administator.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2005 at 6:22PM
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Duane...that is a very sad situation for your Mama. Your time with her is precious.
I am convinced that it is as difficult, if not more difficult, to have a person in a facility. Trying to influence the system in a positive way AND do everything else is always hard, but now you have that sense of urgency and doom about things you have little control over. You can only do your best, and realize that some of this would occur regardless of where she is. Shalom, Derry

    Bookmark   May 4, 2005 at 9:11AM
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Duane, it is difficult, isn't it? Seeing your parents, once so vibrant and strong, being reduced to such dependency...You hit it right on the nail-head when you said that you're trying to "soak this all in"...With Mom in the NH, time with her is so precious, so much more tender than when she lived with us (for 11+ years) and I was so busy looking after her physical needs...I remember once, when our daughter was just born: I woke for her feeding, warmed her bottle and as I sat there with her, I truly remember saying "remember this...the baby smells, the warm bottle in my hand...the rocking chair...the street-light outside casting a warm glow over the March snow..." and to this day I can still bring that memory up. I do the same with Mom now....and I know she feels loved.

Fairegold: what you said about our Moms changing their behaviours in a NH was truly thought-provoking! I recall the number of times my Mom asked me if she was a 'burden' to me (to which I replied of course not!;-). So I wonder if, in that facility, with its caring staff and homey atmosphere, that they can finally 'let down their guard' and relax more into how they really feel, physically and emotionally. They can be themselves, because they don't have anything to prove to us. They don't have to pretend to be stronger than they are for our benefit. Interesting theory....much to think about...

Thank you, Ladies, and Gentleman, for your responses...she's truly in a wonderful environment...I should know: I've been there often enough! ;-) Every second day, now. Blessings to each and every one of you, my Friends...I do keep you all in my prayers each evening...

Have a lovely day

    Bookmark   May 4, 2005 at 9:30AM
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Hello Linda,
Haven't been on for a while & it sounds as if you're adjusting as your dear Mother is. It's difficult to see the changes we all experience, but how wonderful to be able to share with each other.

My DH sees his Mother daily in her NH as he brought her out to the NW in Dec from the South. It's wonderful to see how faithful he is with her & is beginning to take a day from visits when he knows someone else will see her.

We just moved my father to asst living last week after he moved here from AZ in Feb. He tried independent living, but couldn't manage it & is adjusting. I visit 2-3 times weekly & have a brother who also does. Do feel lucky in that regard as my Mother's dementia has worsened & she's in an Adult FH. All this seems to be taking its toll on me & I've had to lessen my work of helping seniors.

With my faith in the Lord & my DH by my side I know I'll get my energy level up again. Do rest, friends, when you can. Thank you all for how you contribute & welcome to the new people such as Duane. Bless you. Sharlee

    Bookmark   May 4, 2005 at 8:20PM
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