Monday, March 17, 2008

Mom (and Me) Update

Landileigh left a message on my last post wondering how everything was. I guess it's rather rude to describe an upset in one's life and then not keep everyone advised as to how things are going.

My mother made it back to our hometown and was placed in a skilled nursing facility. Three days later we got a call saying that she was retaining a lot of fluid and might have to be rehospitalized - another "wait and see" situation. It resolved with an increase in the diuretic pill. My sister, niece and I went to see her that weekend and I was shocked to see that she was in a wheelchair. I tried hard not to cry. I spoke with the charge nurse and she said "well, most of the residents here are in wheelchairs - we just don't have the time to get them walking".

Can you imagine how hard it was not to bop that woman upside the head? Mom had obviously weakened since she was in the hospital here in Minneapolis. That Monday, when the nursing supervisor was back on duty, I called and told her that we wanted her in physical therapy immediately. She asked if she was able to walk before the crisis and I told her yes, she walked quite well. I guess nobody had documented it and they assumed she couldn't.

So now they have determined that she can transfer to the "intermediate" facility, which are small studio apartments with your own furniture. She will eat all meals in the dining room, but can also have a microwave and little refrigerator in her room. We are planning to do that move weekend after next.

She wants to talk about her funeral. I was willing to do this, but my sister said "don't put her in the grave before she's dead!" and stormed out of the room.
Yup, emotions are running high between all of us. My sisters are twins, 7 years younger than me and we at times don't communicate very well. It takes tact and patience.

I still have the crud, plus a urinary tract infection, so have been on nonstop antibiotics for a month. The doc said the respiratory thing "has a tail on it" and I could expect to be coughing for several weeks. "Ordinary people illness" is double crummy on top of db.

Our branch audit by the New York Stock Exchange was a great success. Now it's just the stock market in general that's not doing so good.

I want to tell you ALL how very touched I was by your comments - wnat a beautifully supportive community. I had a session with the family therapist that I've been seeing since M became ill and told him about the OC and TuDiabetes. He said, "do you mind if I write those websites down? I have several patients that might benefit from something like that."

Of course, I gave him the addresses. Embrace the good and pass it on.

Happy St. Patrick's Day everybody.


Colleen said...

Oh Kathy, I'm so sorry you're going through this with your mom. It's so very tough.
One piece of advice. I kept a journal of my dad's care for several weeks. It helped me keep track of information and it helped me "come back" when I was told something by the nursing home staff.
Your mom deserves every bit of PT/OT it takes to get her back to as close as possible to where she was. DO NOT accept anything less. I hated challenging nursing home staff but I did - and it worked.
You and your family are in my thoughts.
Hang in there. You know that you're helping your mom and that's what counts.

Toni said...

Thanks for the follow up. I can't imagine what you're going through, but I know that time will be here sooner than later. Can't really prepare for something like this though. Your in my prayers.

Scott K. Johnson said...

Hey MN - thinking of you through all that you are dealing with. Thanks for the update, and please do let me know if there is anything I can do (even if that is something as simple as an ear to talk to or whatever).

Donna said...

Kathy - Thanks for the update. I've been wondering how things were going.

You're doing the right thing by insisting that they get your mother walking again. It amazes me how the elderly are treated sometimes. I will keep you, your mother and your sisters in my prayers.

Oh, and I hope your crud goes away soon. Take care.

Zazzy said...

I'm glad that there has been improvement and that she was able to move into her own little apartment. I know how much that little bit of independence means.

I find it incredibly frustrating that she wasn't placed in PT immediately. I'm glad that you were able to get her what she needs. Hang in there.

As for funeral planning - it was very important to my parents, especially my mom when we did this some years ago. I was the only one who would talk to them and listen to what they wanted. What they want is important and I'm glad that your mom was able to talk with you about that. I know how hard it is. And I know how important it is to know what they want and not be trying to make those decisions in the middle of a crisis.

Hugs to you!

Araby62 said...

Hope you're feeling better soon. Thanks for the update, I was concerned (:-)

Shannon said...

Oh boy. This is a lot for you to go through. Thank you for taking the time with all you have on your shoulders to let us know how things are going.

If there is anything I can do from afar, I'd be happy to help.

Colleen gave great advice for how to handle the care facility. Don't let them get away with doing less for your mom than what she needs. The squeaky wheel always gets the oil.

Minnesota Nice said...

Colleen - what a great idea about writing stuff down. I have already started and will record my phone chats with the nurse as well as what I observe when I visit. I think my years with db have been helpful in navigating the medical maze, but, when it's your M there's a different emotional spin to things.

Toni - no, you can't really prepare for this, except to love your dear ones while you've got 'em, and to leave nothing unsaid.

Scott - thank you.

Donna - thank you. I am about 95% recovered - took an entire month.

Zaz - I do fully intend to talk with M about her funeral - I just won't do it when the girls (yes, they are approaching middle age and we still call them "the girls") are present.

Kathy - thank you.

Shannon - it's hard to be assertive - I am still afraid to "stir the pot". As we were leaving that day, I started to thing that maybe they really were too busy to get her up to walk. What a bunch of rubbish. By the next day I was thinking clearly and able to plead a good case to the director.

Molly said...

Thanks for posting an update. Sounds like things with your mom are frustrating, at best. My grandma is in an intermediate setting. She has to make it to all three meals, otherwise she needs to move to a nursing home. At 97 years old she is still able to make it. My family gets frustrated at the lack of human contact she has. We actually chose to have them administer her meds (even though she could do it herself) just so that she would get some daily contact with staff.
Talking about the funeral stuff is hard...
Sorry to hear you have been plagued with the crud. I am also fighting a "stomach ache/sore throat" illness. Not really enough to stay home from work, but pesky enough to make me think about it every morning.
Dixie and I send our best.
Hang in there. Hopefully the move with your mom will go well.

Minnesota Nice said...

Hi Molly - "woof" to Dixie. Please put up pics of your new digs.

It's hard to deal with all the Mom stuff when she's 90 miles away. I would like to bring her here to the Cities, but my sisters feel she should stay in her hometown where her friends are (friends that are also ill and fading).

But, I'm feeling better with the uncertainty of the situation and think that coping skills can be sharpened as we move through challenges.

George said...

I tagged you cuz I luvs ya a bunch!

Major Bedhead said...

It's hard to be assertive with medical types sometimes. But you did the right thing.

Hang in there. I haven't had to have these discussions with either of my parents yet, but I know it's just a matter of time.