Sunday, October 5, 2008

Encouraged... Sort Of and Other Things

We celebrated younger son's 20th birthday at my mother-in -law's today because I have just been too busy to get ready to entertain. It was a fun afternoon, Chris liked his gifts, the food was good and Devan still maintains her position in the family as the official cake tester. She dips her finger into the icing (becomes her piece) tastes the icing and announces to all that the cake tastes good and so we can then all have a slice. I got it on video this time. :)

After the party ...we were going up to the hospital to see mom. I warned Devan that her Great Grandmother wasn't going to look like she usually does because she has been sick and still needs to get better. Devan drew her a cute hospital picture that we taped to the wall.

I was pleasantly surprised and encouraged to see mom sitting up in bed, doing her word puzzles with her glasses on and watching TV. What a change! For two days she hardly opened her eyes, couldn't do ANYTHING for herself and I thought I was losing her. I had been crying on and off since Friday morning.

She talked with us, was feisty with me, could feed herself and use the remote... and combed her hair. She is still tired but more like herself.

I brought up her Tabu powder and thought the scent might evoke a positive response in her since she loves the perfume so much. (way too strong for me) She was happy to see it and I dusted her lightly with it on her shoulders and neck thinking the scent would perk her up and it did. I also brought her a tube of her rose red lipstick to apply when she is ready. And she perked up seeing that too.

I think it is important to bring things that will evoke positive memories and responses in the patient.

We all had a nice visit with her. Devan put a latex glove on and was pretending to be a doctor working on a patient in the empty bed next to Mom. Uncle Chris assisted her.

After everyone left, I went down to nurses station to get something for Mom and saw her doc there writing out orders and so went over to him to see what he was thinking now that she looked better.

He informed me that her heart rate was down to 70 (I think that was it) and they also got rid of the fluid. He will be starting PT for her in the morning with the hopes of building her strength back up. I asked him what he was thinking about her coming back home now...because he had agreed with me 2 weeks prior that a nursing home would not be good for her.

He is thinking about having her go to a 21 day rehab program at the subacute place. I think that would be great. I asked if people come back out of those places when they are like her. He said...if they are going to they will do it at the end of the rehab...if they don't around then then they are not usually able to. He also expressed concern regarding how she is taking her meds.

I know she has been frustrated with heavy diuretics and if I heard him correctly she cut back on her own. She told me she takes one and when I loaded her meds I only gave her 1 but it is supposed to be 1 1/2 and I went with what she said without reading the bottle.

I think if she knew her not being compliant was putting her at risk for a nursing home that she would agree to let me fill a 7 day pill box. Plus I am going to check every day where I just assumed it was alright.

I asked if she is able to come home (which I actually doubt at this point) could he keep her a couple days more so I could keep doing things in her apartment because she doesn't let me when she is there (although she is going to have to), but he said that depends on Medicare. He also said she could refuse going to rehab. I said she thinks he is God and he laughed at that. I said I know she sasses him sometimes to which he stated that she is stubborn.

I stayed and watched the news with her but when I saw she was falling asleep... I decided to go.

I felt better about leaving at 19:00 tonight. Still not easy..but I did feel better about it.
Saturday night I stayed until 21:45 because I couldn't bear leaving her. They didn't chase me out. One of the perks in having worked I was helping her with things.

I had gotten her washed up and encouraged her to drink. I had to hold the cup. When the nurse came in I asked what she ate for dinner and upon hearing she didn't eat anything stated she needed to get nutrition into her. I said the dr had recently said if she doesn't want to eat when she is home, that she should drink ensure or slim fast and requested that she get an order for that. I said she might need to be hand fed because I had to do that the night before because she was so weak.

I think it is so important for patients to have someone to be a patient advocate on their behalf. The nurses are good there, but seemed short staffed and also seemed to have a lot of high maintenance elderly patients. I think if a patient isn't able to ring for assistance or articulate what they need that they can sometimes be overlooked. Not because of intentional neglect but because the staff is so busy.

Older son, Jon...came in to see her last night and we got her talking for a bit by asking her family questions that only she would know and that got her engaged. I was holding her hand sitting close to her just watching her. I felt so sad and I said "You have to get better, please get better so you can come home mom." Her eyes were closed but she said"Stop harping." I said "What?" She more annoyed said "Stop HARPING on me!" I said I just wanted her to get better.

I know this is her way sometimes...she just gets snappy with me. But even after all these years it hurts and quite frankly...I don't understand. I mean...if I heard one of my children or anyone pleading for me to get better... if I could muster words... I'd tell them "I will" or think of something encouraging because I would worry about them worrying.

And then part of me was mad inside and the other part hurt.

I have been beating myself up for being a bad daughter... but I think usually (there are exceptions) you will have the relationship with your adult children that you cultivate when young as well as how you are with them generally as adults. I do try. Sometimes not hard enough. I know it is NOT all my fault.

I just know... I want to make this time count for something better. I know I am going to have to be the strong one...even though I secretly want to crumble like a little girl and run away.

So I came home more light hearted tonight. Reality is setting back in but I am not as sad or discouraged as I was. Time will tell and I guess I will know a lot more this week. I will call the social worker tomorrow to get some Ideas about longterm care and what her options are if we have to go that route.


Elaine said...

I am so pleased to hear of her improvement. I think that having her go on at you about HARPING is a wonderful sign of her improving mental state. Please don't let it get you down.


SeaSpray said...

Thanks Elaine. Yes.. and I am glad..I just wish it had been different over time.

{{warm hug back}} :)