Mom has been off the Dilatin for over a week, and there is much improvement in many areas. She is no longer having trouble with double vision. She does not shuffle her feet when she walks, and for the most part, holds her head up straighter. Her words are no longer garbled and hard to understand. The “wobbly” painful legs are improving every day. And her mental clarity has been noticeably better.
She has been running a very low fever this week; hardly even. You and I wouldn’t even consider it a fever, but with the sick elderly, even a slight fever is noted. She has not complained about anything, and the home care nurse asked specific, personal questions. ‘No, everything is okay’.
Yesterday wasn’t a great day. We had two doctor appointments: Hearing Aid check-up and Post-hospital check-up. Mom asked me 4 times before we left the house, ‘where are we going?’ Seriously? This hasn’t happened all week. She has remembered almost everything (except the funny story she keeps embellishing about how she obtained her new walker — dream?). But yesterday, she was confused. And she looked weary. This saddened me because she has had a pretty great week, and she has looked more like herself than she has for a very long time. Note to self: when conversing with a person with dementia, stop using the phrase, ‘don’t you remember…’ It only causes both of you to be frustrated in the end. It is what it is. Period. Her version. My version.
At the doctor appointment, she struggled to converse with the doctor. She pointed to me so I did most of the talking, and it’s a challenge to be honest with the doctor, and not “throw Mom under the bus”. Her perception of her exercise and eating is different than mine. She is also holding firmly onto some drugs she has taken for years, and possibly no longer needs. I’m not talking addiction, but rather, security. Mom had a few seizures 40 years ago, and she is terrified of having another one. She says it’s embarrassing. The doctor is more concerned about her life and death issues, and not so concerned about her pride. He would like to wean her off and determine if she is seizure-free at this point. He doesn’t want her on drugs she doesn’t need. Mom is adamant that she will not go off the drugs. So I tried to disappear into the corner, and let the two of them duke it out. After all, I have to live with this woman. And to be honest, she is a grown woman, who has most of her mental faculties. The decision is her’s. We have a seizure prescription in our hand when we leave the office. Round 1: Mom
Mom almost didn’t make it to the bathroom yesterday — a couple of times. Ok, let’s add this up: low-grade fever; confusion; frequent bathroom stops. Sounds like a UTI to me. Of course, it is Saturday, so I call the home health nurse (what a blessing she has been on a couple of weekends now) and tell her Mom’s symptoms. She agrees that a urinary tract infection is probable. She places a call to the doctor, and an antibiotic is waiting at the pharmacy. Hopefully, the confusion will improve in a day or two.
My sister came to visit today. I sent the two of them out of the house. Mom says, ‘aren’t you coming with us?’ I felt slightly guilty, but replied, ‘no, I am not’. There is laundry to do, weeds to pull, floors to clean. And a blog post to be written! There are just normal, everyday chores that need to be done. And to be honest, I am enjoying a little bit of solitude. I know Mom would probably like some solitude too. I have been pondering putting a chair and TV in her bedroom for that very reason. However, I don’t want her to feel like I am banishing her from our living room. I just thought she might like some privacy. I also don’t want to take away her hope of going home. The more I make my house look like her permanent residence, the more I worry about her losing hope. I think she needs goals. She needs to look forward to going back to her home. That may happen, and it may not. Today, I’ll leave that extra chair out of her bedroom because for now, I’m choosing to give her hope.
ps — Mom and my sister just returned from their outing. It’s probably a good thing that Mom lives with me — I think the two of them just might kill each other!
Lord, thank you for the progress Mom has made this week. Thank you for giving the doctor’s wisdom in treating her. Please help Mom and I to continue to be kind and gracious to one another. May our days be sweet. Thank you for helping her to get better this week. Thank you for that answered prayer.
Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.