Well, how time has flown. My mom was evaluated by the social worker from her independent living apartment complex and it was decided she was going to need to move to the assisted living building. Yes, the one she said she’d never go to. She was furious when I told her she wasn’t going to be allowed back into her apartment as she needed much more help. I looked into the assisted living facility near to me and found they had an opening and if she passed their evaluation she would be accepted there. I know we’d looked at their facility when Mom was looking for an apartment back in August, but they wouldn’t accept dogs. They can visit anytime, just can’t stay.
I was scared to tell Mom that she couldn’t go back to the apartment and had to go to assisted living. My Aunt and Uncle were coming to visit (my mother’s brother) and they agreed to be there when I told her to be my backup. My younger daughter was in town for the weekend and she also was there for support. I gave Mom the options of either moving to the building in her independent apartment complex, or moving to Ames to be closer to me (about five miles from my house!). She, thankfully, decided to move to Ames.
Then the big rush began. Mom was getting better and they decided she was going to be released in about a week. My daughter got right on the phone and got her brothers and sister involved. Three of the four and their spouses showed up a few days later and we started packing and downsizing. First, we’d moved mom from a three-bedroom, two story house with a fairly large kitchen to a two-bedroom, two-bath apartment with a small kitchen. Now we had to cram her into a one-bedroom, one-bath apartment with a kitchenette (not even a stove, just a small refrigerator and microwave and very little storage). I also got a storage unit not too far from the apartment and we ended up with 3/4 of the items going there.
On a Saturday, the kids helped pack and sort. On Monday the hired movers came. On Monday afternoon, Tuesday and Wednesday, besides going to see Mom some of those times, I unpacked all her things and put them away in her apartment. I hung all her pictures, made the bed, did everything I could to make it as ready to live in from the get-go. Then, Thursday, April 2, she was released from therapy and I took her to Ames to her new apartment.
She has some continued therapy… PT and OT, but as of this Wednesday they released her from OT and I think Monday will be her last PT session. She has also been released from using her walker in her apartment building and outside, if I, or someone else, is with her. If she is alone she is still to use the walker outside.
She’s starting to settle in. I’ve gone almost every day and taken the dog to visit several times as well. I took one day and did some reorganization of the storage unit, and finally feel we are getting a bit more in a routine. She had some appointments in Des Moines for later this month, but I’ve convinced her to try local optometrists and dentists, and switched out her medical doctor to mine.
I will admit, I did get angry at her just a couple of days ago. I still try to be there for all her therapy sessions and she gets snarky at me when I see her not doing what the therapist says… just things like doing her exercises way too fast. She whips through them as fast as she can, just as though she can’t wait to get it over with. The therapist will say to go slow, and hold for a count of two seconds to slow her down, and she’ll do it once,then ignore them and go fast again. If I say anything, like “slow down” she just glares and me or tells me to butt out. After the therapist left the other afternoon I told her I was just trying to help and she snapped at me that “If you weren’t here, I would do what he said to do”. HUH? Because I’m here she’s not doing it? WTF? I finally snapped and just said, “I’m done”. I walked out of the door. She’s saying, “Are you coming back?”… I said, “Not today”.
Well, I drove around the block and felt horrible. I went back and although it was about 4 o’clock and she eats at 5, I walked in and said, “Let’s go for a drive and ruin your supper… and go get an ice cream cone.” I gave her a hug and told her I was sorry, that I loved her. She said, “I’m just so confused”… and that’s what I was afraid of. She really is just not what she used to be and is confused and I think she’s doing the best she can with what she has. I realized that afternoon when she was trying to start crocheting an afghan for a wedding gift for a cousin that she really didn’t remember what to do. She taught me to knit and crochet and it was sad watching her. I started it for her to the point that all she’d have to do was the pattern back and forth (and it’s a pretty simple pattern) and it will be interesting to see if she manages to get anything done when I go back next time.
I’m trying to make her happy and keep encouraging her to join the exercise group at her apartment complex, or go shopping with the group on the bus, or they go to dinner once a month, etc. They play cards and have WII bowling (that she loved at the Senior Center when she lived in her house). I’m hoping she’ll make friends and be happy there and won’t be quite so dependent on me coming and going. I hung a bird feeder outside her window on a tree and she’s enjoying the birds. Doing whatever I can to make her life a good one under the circumstances.
Where do I start? I’m so frustrated. Big surprise. Mom still has a pissy attitude. “I’m never getting out of here.” “I’m leaving here in a box.”
In between those comments she’s trying to get up by herself or she doesn’t get up the way that physical therapy has taught her, she’s trying to walk without the walker, tells me she’s gotten up at night and gone to the bathroom herself, is being a brat about eating (she’s lost 5 pounds since she’s been at rehab)… and her mind is still somewhat confused, although better since she doesn’t have the heavy duty pain meds.
Yesterday they called to make a doctor appointment with the orthapedic surgeon as he wanted to see her in a month and didn’t want her to put her full weight on her bad side until then, but since she’s been ignoring that rule and doesn’t seem to be having a great amount of pain from that they want him to see her and sign off on her being able to put her full weight on that leg. She had a fit and was all upset that she was getting worse because she was going to see the doctor next monday. Trying to explain to her that she is going to check her progress was like trying to talk to a chair.
She also has PT (Physical Therapy) – where they work on her lower half. OT (Occupational Therapy) – where they work on her upper body, and ST (Speech Therapy) – where they are going trying to work on her memory. First, they put the daily appointments on a whiteboard and she constantly asks me what they mean. She’s even written them down and still can’t remember or remember to look at where she wrote it down. The ST gal put a big sign up in front of mom that tells her not to get up out of her chair and to use her call light. She keeps telling me to take it down. Because. She’s. Ignoring. It.
Yesterday they had a photocopied sheet of some exercises for her to do in her room that they didn’t have time for at PT. The therapist asked me to help her with them. Fine. Mom looked at the sheets and when I asked her if she wanted to do them, she said no – and threw them in my face.
I’ve been leaving at about 5-ish when they take her outside of her room to supper. She went to the bathroom before supper and she is to sit on the toilet and pull the call cord for the nurse to come back and help her. I’m in her room and hear a banging and it is her at the bathroom door! I ask if she called the nurse – “No”. I said firmly, “You aren’t supposed to be up without the nurse holding onto you!” I get a “SHUT UP”. ARRRRRGGGHHHHH. I just want to walk away and never go back.
Today there is ice so I’m not going down. I warned her yesterday before I left. Since she has called me every day I’ve been a few minutes late to ask me where I am (Usually about 5 minutes away), I figured she call me today. A few minutes ago? Yup. She called. Wanted to know what the weather was doing here. I told her, it was freezing rain. “Well, it isn’t doing anything here.” I happen to know after listening to the news this morning that they had some freezing rain there, too, and she hasn’t been out since she got there so how the hell would she know?!?! I know what she was implying.
They said last week at her staffing that she would probably be in rehab a month. Being with her every day and seeing how she is fighting the process, I could see her bones healing in a month and her mind still being messed up. Then I don’t know what we’ll do. She has an assisted component of her apartment complex where they can move her – it is an assisted living and memory care building. She told me when she moved into her independent living apartment that she never wanted to have to move into that building but what do you do if she can’t take care of herself? I guess maybe her negativity is rubbing off on me. Maybe she’ll be just fine in a month and will be able to go back to her apartment. I hope so. In the mean time I’m just going to go quietly crazy over here in my own world. ACK.
In order for Medicare to cover mom’s rehab, she had to be in the hospital for three nights. Because Tuesday when she was taken to the ER went so late, she wasn’t officially admitted until after midnight so she couldn’t be moved to a skilled nursing facility until Saturday. She was fighting it. She was all about going home. (Even though she couldn’t walk – even with a walker, she could barely creep.) When the social worker came in to talk to her about which nursing facility she would like to go to she got furious. I came in and she was telling me if he showed up again she’d kick him out. She just wanted nothing to do with a perceived “nursing home”. I think she, as most elderly people, think if they go to a nursing home they’re never getting out that they’ll die there.
The social worker came back and he was nice as could be. He even recommended a place where she’d have a private room and it was in a really nice facility that we’d toured when we were looking for an apartment for Mom to move into from her house. Well, she finally calmed down and accepted she was going there. On Saturday they took her in a van (thank goodness) and although it is about 15 miles further away it is still on the same side of town and easily accessible for me.
It is a lovely place and she has a very nice room. I’ve seen nothing but nice people working there and I warned them about her attempts to get up on her own and her delusions of the evening two nights previous. I’m sure they’ve seen it all.
Because my mom is elderly (83) and is technically 5’10” and weighs right about 100 lbs, it is no surprise when she fell she broke something. She has no padding. One of my goals when I moved her into a retirement community was that she be fed. She moved from her house which she was horrible about cooking for herself or eating even if I cooked meals and put them in her frig or freezer – I wanted to be sure she had meals available. At the place she lives she gets a big noon meal, a breakfast bar with rolls, fruit, juice, coffee, cereal. She can also order off a menu for breakfast or supper or if she doesn’t care for the two daily offerings for the noon meal. She says she gets some fruit or cereal or a roll from the breakfast bar, I know she eats lunch (although she tells me she quit eating dessert shortly after she moved) and she is not good about eating supper. Yet she’ll cry because she weighs so little. Unbelievably, she has been living in independent living. You’d never believe it right now.
She would basically have to be forced to eat something in the hospital. She would say she wasn’t hungry and she’d just pick at stuff. She was on pain meds and very strong ones. She called me one night after I’d been gone for two hours crying and in a high level of distress saying she was in the doctor’s office and he wanted to do surgery and she wanted me to come get her and to call 911!!! She was insistent! I asked where the doctor was, thinking a) how did she ever get out of bed on her own, she can’t walk and b) wtf? She tells me the doctor stepped out so she could call. I told her I’d be down, but when I got off the phone my hubs talked me down off the ledge and had me call the nurses station. While I was on the phone with mom her cousin called me – she has the same name and mom had evidently called her first, confusing us in her cell phone. Her cousin has an elderly mother and knows exactly how this goes and lives about 5 minutes from the hospital so offered to go sit with her a bit and hopefully get her a bit centered. We all figured she’d woken from a bad dream and was disoriented and especially with the strong pain meds she’s on she probably was really messed up.
The nurse told me she was in her room, in bed, and the last time she checked she was eating her supper…
Mom’s cousin sent me a text. Mom was in bed, fine. Seemed to not really know her at first, but after awhile calmed more and they visited for a bit and she seemed okay.
I figured the next day mom wouldn’t remember a thing. She remembered! She said she was in “that other place” all night long and although she didn’t really know her cousin she visited with her (just a note – her cousin has been around my whole life and has lived close by and I used to babysit their kids).
I had been at the hospital all day long for two days and was thinking I could maybe take a day off, but after that incident I decided I would have to be there with her every single day – if for nothing else, to give her that sense of stability. She did still know who I was.
I had every good intention of getting right with my blogging and, well, you can see how well that went! I got wrapped up in the sugar detox and did very well through January and most of February… right up until the point where my life all went to hell in a hand basket.
In the evening of February 17 the security guard at Mom’s retirement complex called me to tell me she’d fallen and been taken to the hospital. I rushed down there (I live about 40 miles away – luckily the hospital she goes to is about a mile from her apartment) and found her still in the ER. This was about 8:30. They had taken her for an x-ray and were concerned perhaps she’d broken her hip. As I got the story out of her, she was getting up to answer the door for the pharmacy delivery man and tripped on the carpet. Yup. Tripped. On. The. Carpet. Old people. Gotta love ’em.
After much pain medication and a lot of time, they did a CT-scan and found out she didn’t actually break her hip (thank goodness) but she did fracture her pelvis in two places and broke her tailbone. By the time they got done figuring out if she was going to have surgery or what was going to happen, it was just about midnight and they don’t do surgery on those kinds of breaks but they had to admit her to the hospital.
I got home about 3 a.m.
That was the beginning of the adventure.
Old: So my dad passed away five years ago. This week (January 12). All this time and I’ve never shed a tear for him. I have his ashes in an urn on my bedroom dresser now. Next to another urn with the ashes of their dog. Mom wanted me to keep them when she moved out of her house. I think of him from time to time – especially around his favorite holiday, St. Patrick’s Day. His best friend passed many years ago, but his wife just passed suddenly a couple of weeks ago. She’d had a stroke and been in a nursing home for several months and Mom wasn’t even sure what her status was or how to get ahold of her. Suddenly, out of the blue, before Christmas, she called Mom. Told her that she was doing better and was going to be getting out of the nursing home and going to live with her eldest daughter. Mom was excited to go see her and I’d told her I would drive her the forty miles to visit her once she was home and settled. It never happened. That would be the last time Mom would speak with her. She had a heart attack and died on my birthday. (A week before Christmas). I felt so badly for Mom. She never did get to go see her one last time. Thank goodness she got to talk to her. It is odd how that works sometimes. I remember one of my grandmothers, my Mom’s mother, who had a progressive stroke. She was at home when it hit, and she never regained consciousness, just got worse and worse until she died. Strangely enough the week before she’d been to visit my family (a 45 mile trip), then she’d been down to Missouri State University at Maryville to visit my aunt. My uncle went to school there as well, but she hadn’t planned on seeing him this trip. As she was in the registrar’s office taking care of some business with my aunt’s tuition, in walked my uncle. He just happened to stop in to the office to check on something of his own. So she was able to see all of her family before she passed.
New: I don’t want to bore anyone with my day-to-day journey into sugarless eating, so I’ll leave that on a new blog I’ve got called “The Fresh Pages” which can be found at www.tfpages.blogspot.com Although I’m very pleased with my WP site, for the life of me I couldn’t remember how to link another blog to it so just went where it was simple and started it on Blogger. Maybe at some point I’ll move it over here, but for now we’ll just do it this way. So far so good!
So, I thought I’d start (since I’m so far behind) by telling you something old and something new. That way, maybe we can catch up to each other?
Old: Probably one of the biggest, most exciting, and life-changing things that has happened since we last were together… is I have a new granddaughter! She was born on June 1 and is two-and-a-half years old. She also was partially named for me! Squee! I was so proud and overwhelmed. Such an honor. I love her to pieces and she’s really changed our world. She is the daughter of my youngest (son) and she only lives about two miles away so I get to see lots of her. She has long blonde hair and the biggest blue eyes and the most beautiful smile you’ve ever seen. I may be a bit biased, but a lot of other people seem to think so too. Her mom and dad had a miscarriage about a year before they conceived her, so it was quite a wonderful thing when she came along. I will always remember when we were told they were pregnant, because it was the same day as my youngest daughter’s wedding! That’s a story for another day, but when they told us we were to keep it quiet and was that ever hard to do! Well, that’s long over now and I did manage to keep the secret. Now we just feel blessed every day to have her in our lives.
New: I don’t know if anyone remembers (or cares) that I am a type 2 diabetic. Well, I go hot and cold when it comes to taking care of myself. The past year has been another Pepsi-chocolate-sugar fueled whirlwind of BAD. I take my medicine, but have missed all my doctor appointments and have in general been not good. So, 10 days ago (January 5) I started the “21 Day Sugar Detox”. There is a whole book and program devoted to it as well as a Face Book support group. I’ve been good! so excited. More on that later as well. Gotta run for now.
O.M.G.! Has it really been three YEARS since I was here? What in the hell got into me? So much has been going on and is going on now that I really am getting fired up to go at it again. Just found out one of my favorite bloggers, Sizzle, is retiring her blog. I see so many people doing that or, like me, just abandoned the thing for other endeavors. The guy who handles my site sends me messages every year when it is time to renew the subscription asking if I want him to just archive all my posts and send them to me and shut down the site. Well, um… no. I always had faith I’d get back to it. It just took time. Lots of time. So, bear with me as I post about some things that have gone on in my absence and some things that are new and eventually my timelines with come to a singular point. Good for you? Here we go…
Oh, wait. That’s your line. I admit, it has been waaaay too long since I’ve been here. I’ve got tons of posts rolling around in my head that I should have put onto “paper” over the past few months and, Captain Obvious that I am, didn’t. Yeah. I’m here to say it is going to be a long haul, but I’m going to rectify this. You’ll probably be sick of hearing about things that already happened and are long over, but for my own mental health I’m going to do it. I hope someday these chronicles may find their way into a place where someone can say, “Oh! That’s what she was all about!”.
Well, I can hope, can’t I?
Uh, yeah… about that. I seem to have gotten distracted in my willingness to blog more. What can I say? Facebook ate my homework? Seems if I have a few extra minutes on the computer I’m lounging about on there, catching up on most of you (those of you who are on there). Then there are the games. Oh, my. I gave up my WoW (World of Warcraft) addiction – sort of – and in its place I now have these things called a “cafe”, “frontier”, “farm”, “pet”, etc… that take up endless hours that I feel could be better used. I even got away from them for awhile, but they lured me back in with guilt. Guilt because my friends were playing and if I don’t play I don’t help them… and if I help them, then they help me. You get the idea.
The WoW thing? Yeah… I gave it up. I say “sort of” because I’m really missing it. Most of the people I met there I see pretty routinely on FB, at least the ones I knew the best. I do miss the whole graphics of it and the plotting and the planning and the “if I’m having a bad day I can shoot a bunch of alien bad guys and feel better” aspect. I miss having that in common with my kids, most of whom played at one time or another so it was a mutual interest. Now the boys are into some other game and when I hear them talking about the game it brings back the feeling I had having that with them.
Just for a quick update. The back is 100% better. I am now pain free! It is wonderful. I can drive, walk, sit, even clean the house… pain free! The last time I had this surgery, I ended up with months of physical therapy because of something called ‘frozen shoulder’. It was caused partially by my diabetes, and because before the surgery when I was in pain I babied my arms and shoulders and didn’t keep the range of motion in them (because it hurt). This time I just toughed out the pain and hoped it would pay off by not having that issue after surgery, and I was right. Given a few days for the actual surgery recovery, the arms went back to feeling great. I still had all my range of motion and didn’t have the stiffness and pain I’d had previously. The doctor even let me start walking, slowly, a couple of weeks after surgery. Mid-March I had my final checkup and x-ray and all looked well. I now have a neck that is fused from the C4 vertebrae to the T1, in three sections of surgery. My surgeon pointed out that the top one, C4-C5 that he did was nice and straight and has a titanium plate in place. The last surgery, which he also did, was fusing C6-T1. Also with a titanium plate and nice and straight. The one in-between, C5-C6 was my first surgery done by another surgeon, and was fused with cadaver bone. It isn’t quite as straight. He laughed and said he’d love to go in and fix it, but it is hard to tell someone you want to go in and break their neck, just to make something more asthetically pleasing on the inside!
So, March flew by and I didn’t even realize I’d not blogged. The end of March and April so far have been busy. With some gumption, I may actually blog about that… uh… soon?