Time and Time Again

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.

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Middle-aged. Anti-social. Mom. Grandma. Town-raised farmer's wife. Iowan. Want more? Come read the blogs.

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