That Would Be Terminal For You

The good news is the CT scan was normal.  The bad news is Mom is back in the hospital.  I just want to cry.  I tried so hard to avoid her going back in, but some things are just out of my control.  It isn’t her heart or her congestive heart failure.  Blood work showed that she has improved in two weeks.  But her legs just won’t work.  And the doctors all agree that something isn’t quite right;  she is a fall risk.  The ER doctor bluntly said, ‘you can’t go home because you might fall and break your hip, and that would be terminal for you’.   Ouch.  But it was what Mom needed to hear.  It was what I needed to hear because I wasn’t so sure I was going to leave her there.

I am here at home today caring for my three grandsons.  The distraction is good.  My sister-in-law is at the hospital texting me periodically with updates:  ‘waiting for MRI…   gone for MRI…. will take about an hour…  Doctor just in…. He is coming up with nothing’.  Great.  Not what I wanted to hear, but I guess I don’t know what I want to hear.  I’m not sure there are any good scenarios here.

So I wait.   Hard to be here and not there.

I don’t think she’ll be coming back here for awhile.  I think they will try to do rehab somewhere.   That “somewhere” will most likely be the local nursing home.  And that makes me want to cry too.   I know Mom doesn’t want to go there.  I told her I would do everything I could to keep her here.  I just pray to God if she has to go there, it will only be temporary.   I don’t want her last days to be in a nursing home.

I fear she won’t come out.

 

 

 

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She Just Listened For Our Cries

I was born in a small town hospital and lived in an old white farmhouse for my first four years.  I hardly remember anything about that house.  There are a couple of snapshots in my head, but that’s about all.  I had two older sisters and one older brother;  he was still a baby himself when I came into this world.  I know my Mom was busy with all those kids.  Another sister was born three years later.  It’s a wonder she got any sleep at all.  They didn’t have baby monitors back then.   She just listened for our cries.

I had four babies of my own.  For the first three, I too just listened during the night.  I didn’t sleep soundly in those days.  The least little whimper from those kiddos, and I was wide awake.  I spent many nights in a comfy recliner, rocking babies and making promises to God if He would only make them sleep.  By the time our fourth and last baby was born, I had a baby monitor system.  I don’t know that we really needed it.  After all, I had never slept through a baby’s cry.  And the monitor only intensified every single burp and gurgle.  I think I got less sleep with that contraption.

Funny how life circles back around.  I’m lying in bed listening to my mom over a recently installed monitor.   I can hear her trying to get settled; a few grunts and several deep sighs.  I just tucked her into bed and turned off the light.    I don’t “tuck her in” every night.  She has been pretty independent, however, she is struggling right now.  Her legs are like noodles; not sure why.   As she was getting ready for bed, she dropped her hearing aid.  After bending or squatting to get it, she couldn’t get back up.  Thankfully, I was keeping watch in the hallway.   “Mom, you okay?  Do you need help?”    My husband and I easily stood her back up.  I know she hates this.  She hates being weak and dependent on anyone.

After she was done in the bathroom, I walked her back into the bedroom, and helped her into bed.  “Mom, please call me if you need to get up during the night.   Your legs are a little wobbly today.  Please let me help you.   I don’t mind getting up”.   I know she hates that too.   She doesn’t want to be a burden.   And she is not — no more than I was when I lived in her home and I needed her.

So as I listen over this monitor, waiting for her to fall asleep, emotion overtakes me and I begin to cry.  I let the tears freely fall and grieve for my Mom.    I’m worried about her.

I won’t sleep soundly tonight.   And that’s okay.

Lord, help me to enrich my Mom’s life.  I don’t want the days to just slip by.  I don’t want to get so caught up in the daily care of her body that I forget to nurture her spirit as well.  Lord, I love my Mom.   Help me to bless her.

Ephesians 4:29  Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.

 

 

Good Luck, PT

So Mom has been very lethargic and weak the last two days.   It may be that Physical Therapy did too much with her on Friday.  That would normally irritate me because they are the experts and they should know what they are doing.  And Mom, who has been rolling her eyes at me about physical therapy said, ‘see? enough of that!’

However, when I look at the choices of what could be wrong — PT messing up is the best option.  Because as I watch Mom, and do some reading about her symptoms, I think she has a lot of Parkinson’s Disease symptoms.  A lot.  I actually mentioned this to her new doctor last week, but he didn’t think so (after 10 minutes in the room with us!).   I also told him that she fell a couple of years ago — fell over backwards off a friend’s porch and hit her head.   I don’t think she ever went to the doctor for that accident.  Anyways, I must have said enough because he did order a CT scan.  She will have that done tomorrow.   So if I have the choice between PT over-doing it or Parkinson’s.  I choose PT screwing up.

But I will be shocked is it isn’t Parkinson’s.

By the way, PT is scheduled again for tomorrow morning.  Yeh, good luck with that.  I think you may see some eye rolling and attitude yourself from my Mom.   … just sayin

Lord, we need some help here.  Please give the doctors wisdom.  Help them discover what is going on.   We need some answers.  Mom is not getting better.  She should be getting better.  I want her to get better…

No Spunk Today

The house is quiet.  Everyone, that is Mom and my husband,  has gone to bed.  I know I should go to bed too.  It’s late, and I will hate myself in the morning for not getting enough sleep.  But I revel in this quiet.  This time that is all mine.  And it’s not like Mom is even much trouble; really she is not.  But it’s just I need some moments when I am not responsible for anyone.  Here. Now.

Earlier this week, when my husband got home from work, he stayed with Mom and I went to CVS .  I told him I was going to pick up a prescription, and I was going to take my time.  The drugstore, for pete’s sake, but we live in a small town where everything closes down with the sunset.

Yesterday, my sister-in-law invited my mother to her house for the day.  After I dropped Mom off, I was like a kid in a candy store.  What should I do? What should I do?  Truth be told, there were not enough hours remaining in the day to get done all I wanted to get done.

This sounds like I am complaining, and I don’t mean to be.  Seriously.  It’s just being responsible for another human being is a little daunting…. again.   It’s like bringing home that first baby.  No one can prepare you.  No matter how many times you hear “just wait ” you still don’t understand the constantness of parenthood until that baby is living with you 24/7.  It’s like that.

In some ways this is good discipline for me.  I can’t just drop everything and run to a store.  I have to prioritize and plan errands.  And that is a good thing.  Thank goodness, I  am a homebody by nature.  Even so…

Today wasn’t a good day for Mom.  And I am feeling very melancholy.  She was so weak and frail, and I guess, sad.  And that is hard to see.  She is spunky by nature.  No spunk today.  I wonder if I’ll ever see the spunk again.

Lord, I love my Mom.  Give her rest tonight.  Help her sleep peacefully.  Help her to have a better day tomorrow.  Give her back some of that spunk that I use to grumble about…   and Lord, forgive me for that.prayer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Don’t Know What To Do

Well, two days ago, I would have said Mom is improving.   After crashing on Monday when out-of-town family left, she rallied and has had a good week.  However, yesterday, she was just so confused all day.  She spent the day with my sister-in-law, and on the way to her home, she  asked me three times in the car, ‘where are we going?’.  Her home health nurse and physical therapist went there to see her.  But she didn’t seem to recognize them or understand why they were there.  Last night when my brother brought her home, she looked totally exhausted.

When she came out this morning, she was dressed — complete with shoes and earrings.    I thought that was a great start to the day.     But as we talked over a cup of coffee, and she fidgeted with her hearing aids (replacing the batteries again!),  she just didn’t seem herself.   I was hoping to get the name of her hearing-aid company so we could once again order batteries from them.  Recently, I’ve been picking them up at the local drugstore, and they just don’t last as long.  But Mom couldn’t remember the company or the fact that she had always gotten the batteries from them.  She was just confused by the conversation; so I dropped it.

After breakfast, she headed to her chair, and has slept the morning away.  I have banged pots and pans and dishes as I emptied the dishwasher.  I even used my cellphone to call the house phone so the ringing would wake her up.   I put on an old movie  — she loves old movies.  I turned the volume up really really loud , and made a mental note to pick up some ear plugs for myself.  “Mom, here’s a movie coming on.  Cary Grant and Grace Kelly”.   She roused and said, “oh, that’ll be good”.   I think she may have seen bits and pieces, but she still slept through most of it.

I woke her again; fixed her lunch.   She is cold.  I helped her into her fleece sweater; checked her temperature.  She says she feels fine, but she is just tired today.   So sad.  This is not my mom.

Usually I insist that she walks more; lets get that blood pumping.   I often have her “walk the circle” in my house a couple of times when she gets up to use the bathroom.   She is usually reading the paper or doing a crossword puzzle.  She loves to watch the news.  But not today…

I put a Julia Roberts movie on because Julia is one of her favorite actresses.  But she is sleeping again.   She hasn’t done this before — slept the day away.  I’m not sure what to do.  Will this disrupt her sleep tonight?  Is she sick?  She ate a good lunch.   She just can’t keep her eyes open today.

I don’t know what to do.

Lord, I need wisdom and clarity today.  These are the days that I get overwhelmed with this task.  I don’t know what I am doing.  Please help me to give her the best care.  Help me to know what to do and when to do it.   Please give Mom strength today.  Her body is so tired and frail.  I don’t know what to do…

Why Can’t I Just Go Home?

It’s been a little over two weeks since Mom came to live with us.  She was so incredibly weak when she arrived.   What did they do to her in that hospital?  She was better before she went in!  How can “taking water off” her body leave her so emancipated?  She looks like she has aged 10 years.

We have tried to settle into a routine, but life has been a little crazy.  Home Health Care is coming for awhile to help with rehabilitation.  There was one nurse who came for two and half hours just to ask questions.  There was a physical therapist who came for about an hour and half and evaluated Mom’s legs — walking, balance, etc.  The next day, an occupational therapist came to check on her arm strength and cognitive skills.  Then the next week, actual therapy began.

Mom isn’t a happy camper about therapy.  She rolls her eyes at me (kinda funny — is this payback time, Mom?).   She thinks once she is back on the golf course, she will get strong.  “Golfing will make me strong”.    I think I may have to take her into the backyard myself and let her attempt to swing that club.  I think she is a kinetic learner.  Once she actually sees that she cannot golf, physical therapy may not seem so silly to her.

So in the last two weeks, I think we have had a total of seven different professionals here.  Those who evaluate, those who actually train, and those who fill in for those who train when they go on vacation.  What a zoo!    And on top of all that, we had a big milestone birthday bash for my husband here — planned months ago.  I felt sorry for Mom.  So many people here and such a long evening for her.  She did great, but she was exhausted.

The next weekend, she went to my sister’s.  My husband and I had a short getaway planned to Chicago to complete his birthday celebrations.  Again, Mom, I’m sorry.   I know routine is your friend.  Life has been anything but routine.  She is confused about why she has to go there.  ‘Why can’t I just go home?’

I’m getting that question a lot.  I don’t blame her.   I try to make things as easy for her as I can.  I try to give her plenty of “space” to do what she wants.  I haven’t made any extra demands on her about eating or exercising.  She is eating well and walking.   I’m trying to give her as much freedom as possible.  But I know she just wants to be in her home.  I get that.  And it makes me really sad.  I wish I could give her that; and it breaks my heart that I can’t.

 

Lord, Show me how to make Mom as comfortable as possible.  Help her adjust to our home.  Make it her home.  Give her peace and contentment.  Please don’t her friends forget she is here.  Help me to be creative in getting them together.