Last night at 11:37, I received a phone call from Lifeline informing me that my mother had fallen. Thank God she was wearing her emergency response button this time! She appeared to be alright but was unable to get up. We did have the squad bring her to the hospital to rule out any injuries not readily apparent and just because she is 85. After a head CT and other x-rays, she was treated and released at around 04:10.
The doctor informed us of her test results (labs and radiologic tests good) and inquired about her living status. When he heard she lives alone... he looked concerned and suggested a nursing home..TWICE.
I looked over at her...and my mother the one who is feisty and argumentative with me ...resistant to my helping her straightening her apartment, taking her garbage out, or basically any good thing I try to do or give her...looked like she was going to cry. My mother does not show a soft side except too animals.
She was lying back on the stretcher with 4 blankets nestled up tight around her neck because she was cold and she looked frozen in place... but it wasn't from the cold but rather by abject fear which evidenced across her face and she just looked straight up to the ceiling.
I felt so sorry for her in that instant and reached over placing my hand on her frail, bony shoulder and said "Mom...don't worry...you don't have to go into a nursing home now." (I don't know that yet. I don't know what I think and am still processing it all) And then she forcefully said "I'm NOT going into a nursing home!" I looked at the doctor and saw his quiet concern/disagreement.
She is alert and oriented. Yes... forgetful, mixes up stories and embarrasses the heck out of me when I hear total untruths she has told me she told people about me or my family... but it is absolutely NOT dementia. She does crossword puzzles (good at them), word searches and is an avid reader...mostly the latest Reader's Digest health books, alternative medicine, medical facts type of books. She has stacks of them.
She cooks and does things for herself. She needs help but will not allow me to do things I can plain;y see need to be done. I will vent elsewhere or this would turn into something the length of "War and Peace".
The problem is that she is not steady on her feet and so uses a cane or walker. The times I observe she isn't using them, I remind her (gently) and she goes off like a firecracker on me telling me not to lecture her. She is being better about it now though... but not completely.
The problem is also that she doesn't have good flexibility in her legs, nor strength to rise up from the bed, sofa, chair, etc. and so takes effort on her part. And she has to crawl and then flop into bed because if she sits on the bed 1st...she can't lift her legs up onto the bed. Everything is either too high or too low for her to get out of easily.. if at all.
So last night as she was crawling into bed...she slipped down and landed on her knees on the floor and could not get up. Thank God for Lifeline!
Lifeline is an excellent program and more people should have it. Not everyone can afford it but then they may qualify for a grant that will pay for it. I got my mother on such a program. The last I knew it was around 40 a month and so very worth everyone's peace of mind and safety of the client. It often enables people to live independently longer than they otherwise may have. We got a letter once from an elderly lady thanking us for the program because she was able to stay home and be with her dog longer. :)
But I digress.
The ED docs concern is that because she has begun to fall and she is on coumadin, she could bleed to death if she has a bad fall.
So younger son and I got her home and situated in her apartment and got home at 05:30 this morning. I called the ED doc back to clarify some things. I am thinking that perhaps some PT to strengthen her legs but he thinks that given her age and condition that we should consider a nursing home.
So... my head is spinning with this stuff. I am going to get on the phone tomorrow and call some contacts I have to see what they suggest. I should have done this sooner but admittedly have not wanted to face this. I went on line to get some info on nursing homes in the area. I also assuaged some guilt by reading how difficult it is for most children when it comes to this. In her case even more so for various reasons. I am an only child and so don't have any siblings to help with decisions or care. Unfortunately with her finances, she can't get one of the better ones. What I really want to do is make it possible for her to live in her apartment.
I feel scared and I feel overwhelmed. I don't want to lose my mother. And it breaks my heart to see her scared and vulnerable... and physically weak.
We went back over tonight. I made her a BLT on rye that she loved and printed up some pictures of her cat and also a great family picture that she was in with the boys and Devan. She lit up when she saw that. We did some things around the apartment. I also said that I don't want her going into a nursing home but that she HAS to stop arguing with me when I want to clean and organize. She needs a clearer walking path and some things HAVE to be cleaned out for her safety. She didn't argue with me. Maybe hearing the doctor state she needs a nursing home will cause her to be more cooperative with me.
I hope so.
How do you pick out a nursing home anyway? And aren't they for people who can't do anything for themselves. I think assisted living with medical availability would be best.
And then her cats..she loves them and they are her heart. I think she would die of a broken heart worrying about them. We can't take them because our shepherd would never tolerate them.
The best solution is making it possible for her to stay in her apartment.