Archive for February, 2015

Out of hospital

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015

Wm Chesley Morris with cat

Wm Chesley Morris with cat

Mom was sprung from the hospital on Thursday. With the help of her new caregiver, Carmen, we loaded her up in the Buick and brought her home. The living room has been transformed into a mini-hospital room, but it’s light and she can see her birdfeeders out the back window and be in the thick of things. And she can see her cat, although he has been a bit stand-offish – probably due to the new furniture arrangements and all the commotion.

Carmen is her 24/7 “live-in” caregiver. I’m not sure if she will stay full-time or will be relieved at some point by another person – I’ll leave that to the agency we are working through. It’s a bit odd to be in the house with a total stranger taking care of your mom, but Carmen seems very capable and perfectly at ease. I was worried about her ability to move Mom around, but was relieved today to learn that she had used the lift to get Mom out of the bed and to the toilet and back. It’s just impossible without a lift or at least two people since Mom’s right side is paralyzed and she’s really not able to help much, so it’s pretty much just dead weight. If Carmen can get used to the lift, then I’ll feel much better.

In addition to the home care agency that is providing 24/7 care, Mom is receiving hospice services. It’s not so much that she has a terminal illness, but she is 90, had a massive stroke, has blood pressure problems, arrhythmia, etc., so she qualifies for hospice services – which are amazing in my book. John and I kept saying, “what’s the catch?” They brought in the hospital bed, wheelchair, lift, shower chair, potty, and walker – plus they provide wipes, bed pads, gloves, pull-ups, etc. The only thing we really had to buy were sheets for the bed. A personal care attendant comes three times per week, a nurse comes once a week or as needed, and a doctor comes once per month, so we don’t have to take Mom to the doctor. They also manage all of her prescriptions (Crawford Drugstore here in town is amazing – they will deliver her meds and send me a bill at the end of the month). And the hospice folks are all so darn nice. 

John was here all week, thank goodness. I’m not sure I could have gotten through the week without him. He left today. He’s been such a trooper! We hit several of our favorite restaurants while he was here, and we met the Stokers for dinner, too. It was nice to get out of “hospital mode” for a few hours.

I have to say that my head is pretty much exploding. I have decision fatigue, worry constantly, and am not exercising. That said, I think we are doing the right thing for Mom and very soon I’ll be able to go home and go back to work. I’ve had such great support from my office, so that’s one thing I haven’t had to worry about – they just keep saying, “do whatever you need.” I’m so very fortunate in so many ways, despite the current circumstances!

I’d have to look at a family tree, but I think the man in the photo above is Mom’s grandfather. I just wanted to show that cat lovers run in the family!


Happy 90th

Sunday, February 15th, 2015

Birthday Princess (she'll kill me when she sees I've posted this)

Birthday Princess (she’ll kill me when she sees I’ve posted this)

The days have really blurred together by now (we’re moving into week five of the hospital), but there were some highlights.

The big news is that Mom turned 90 on Friday (the 13th). The nurses sang happy birthday to her at lunch, then around 4:00 we had cake and several friends and family dropped by – we had seven or eight people in the room, which made her happy. She also received flowers from several people, plus got cards in the mail, emails, and phone calls.

She had been being more alert earlier in the week, but Friday and yesterday she was pretty pooped – then she ends up sleeping in the daytime (which interferes with therapy) and being awake and restless at night. In an attempt to keep her awake yesterday afternoon after therapy, I wheeled her outside to look at the pansies and get some sunshine (the high was near 70, although we’re expecting ice tonight). We stopped in the gift shop where the manager, a friend of hers from her volunteering days, tied a heart balloon on her wheelchair for Valentine’s Day, then we swung by the cafeteria where some of the workers came over to tell her hi (also from her volunteer days). We ended with about 10 minutes of birdwatching out the window near some trees. She really seemed to enjoy getting out.

The other big news is that John returned yesterday in the late afternoon and I am soooo glad to see him. He’ll be here all this week.

We’re supposed to move Mom home on Wednesday. If all goes well, she’ll have 24/7 care here at home, plus other support services. I’ll know more this week and will keep you posted. Keep your fingers crossed for us!

…and still here

Monday, February 9th, 2015

Mom is back in rehab and doing well, but that still means she can’t use her right arm at all and can sort of move her right leg. Her speech is usually slurred, although sometimes is very clear. Most of the time she totally understands what you say to her; other times she sort of seems out of it. She can’t sit up without help much less stand. But bless her heart, she is giving her all in therapy – even when the doctor – for some unknown reason – gives her a drug that makes her blood pressure drop so low that all she can do is sleep. (That one has been discontinued.)

I was thrilled that John was here last week and sad to see him leave Sunday morning. He let me sleep in and took the breakfast shift with Mom – now I have to get up early – ouch!

Thanks for all the words of encouragement.

Still in the hospital

Sunday, February 1st, 2015

Mom has been in the hospital now for two weeks. Since having to go to ICU for observation, she has since been moved back into the rehab section of the hospital.

The therapists say she is making good progress and I can tell an improvement. But we still have a long, long way to go.

John flew up on Friday to spend a week with me. I am so glad he is here – it makes a huge difference to have him here.

Thanks so much for all the calls, visits, and emails – we appreciate it!