Monday, March 21, 2011

Whew, relief!

We have had 3 ER visits in the last 3 weeks with the Mommie.  She's at that stage where she falls a lot, gets confused, has blank moments.  No, this is not all the time, thank goodness, but when you are 96+, that's what can happen.

First ER visit was a small stroke.  They don't refer to these things as TIAs any more.  They did find evidence of a little one in the left side of the brain, and that controls the right side.  So she was really out of it and unresponsive, and the next day, she was just fine.  Had total control of her right side, good strong grip, able to lift her right let up high, etc.  They kept her a few days to check on her but sent her home on Wed.  Whew, relief.

Then on Fri, she was totally out of it, not responsive, basically in blob form.  Back to the ER, where she recovered nicely and no problems.  All the tests were fine, ER doc told us we could take her home, which we did.  Whew, relief.

Next Fri, she was found sitting on the floor in her bathroom.  Responsive but had no idea how she got there.  She does have a very wonky memory, lots of time she remembers little and then other times, she's right on target.  So back to the ER.  This time I went alone, no need for the Hubbo.  And she was just fine!  Not even a bruise.  Competent, with it, although again she didn't remember how she got on the floor.  Was released in about 4 hours with is a really short time for ER visits.  So now she's back home.  Whew, relief.

The hospital has a good out-patient service.  The VN nurse saw her, and so did the physical therapist.  Medicare cover these visits, but only for a little while.  The goal with her residence (which is independent living) and with us is to keep here there as long as possible.  She is very much loved there.  Her room is right outside the dining room.  They help her to the table and bring her back.  She has a wonderful aide who helps her shower and get dressed, and now they think that she could use an additional person from 1-3 in the afternoon.  That aide would keep her company, take her outside when the weather is good, walk with her and her walker, and such.  No medicare help for that, but it would keep her out of the nursing home, and that's what we want to do.  And at the end of the stint, she could help Mom back into bed for a nap, and then at supper time, the ladies would help her up and to the table for dinner.  The evening chef actually puts her to bed on her way out.  When I say that the Charles Bierman home is the best thing going, I really mean it.  I have never seen a more caring and professional group of people.  The care they give the residents goes way beyond what anyone could expect.  They are the tops!

The physical therapist gave us some ideas on making her apartment better for her, and the hospital will send out an occupational therapist for more ideas.  I suspect that the hospital folks want her to go into a nursing home with her falls, but my feeling is that she will fall anywhere, in her apartment or in a nursing home, and she's not ready yet for a wheel chair. 

So that's the Mommie news.  I'm pretty realistic about her condition.  She's befuddled a lot of the time, but she's so well taken care of and loved, and it doesn't particularly bother her.  And as she has said many many times:  she's had a good life and continues to enjoy her life.  Is she the Mommie of old?  No, but she is the Mommie of Now, and that's good enough for me.

ER note for anyone doing the ER tango:  Make sure you always have a book or knitting or crochet with you.  It really makes all that time hanging out bearable.  Trust me on that one.

Yarny news:  In between all the hospital visits, I've been dyeing and knitting.  Most of what I'm knitting, I can't show you because it's all for the Light & Dark Lace club, but here's a pic of the shawl and scarf pattern for the Feb edition of the club.  The patterns won't be sold until June, just to keep them a bit exclusive.  Here's Avira Shawl:

And here's the little Avira scarf that I tossed into the pattern bundle just for the fun of it!

They'll be available for purchase around the beginning of June.
I can't show you anything else; it's all hush hush, but I can tell you that the shawls are pretty!

And here are the reds that I just listed in the Etsy shop.

In order, they are Red, Petunia, Vermillion and Orchid.  Yep, Orchid is more towards the purple end of the spectrum, but here it is anyhow.

Hi, Grace - It's an interesting situation, but fortunately I can do it, and the Hubs is a rock that I can lean on.  In a very strange way, it's been almost a pleasure in that I can do for my mom what she needs.  I know her wants and I am her ombudsman, her champion. I know that the nursing home would drag her way down, and am doing whatever I can for however long I can to keep her out of it.  Daughters of Israel is a very good nursing home, and Charles Bierman is part of Daughters, so when she needs to go there, I know that she will get the best of care.  I'm really hoping, and so are the folks at Bierman, that she will die while still at Bierman. And on a lighter note, it finally stopped snowing here in Morristown!

Scrabblequeen - When it became time for her to not live alone any more,we moved her here, where we could do the work.   I was still working at the time, but only in the next town over from her, so it was easy to get to her.  Fortunately I worked in a place where my schedule was somewhat flexible, and everyone helped me out if I were called away. 

Carol - I think that she is now going down hill more quickly physically.  It's a blessing that she is fuzzy a lot of the time.  If she really knew her situation, it would bother her immensely.  I've learned that elder care, even when she doesn't live with us, is far harder that I ever imagined, especially now when the crises seem to come very quickly.  Like you, I'm glad I have a great support system, and online support is wonderful.  We all know what this is about and can help each other out.

Wall-to-wall books - My mom lives in the best place imaginable.  I think she's really getting to the nursing home stage, but if she went in now, she would slide down so quickly.  Here, she knows the staff, who are beyond wonderful.  They care about her as if she were their mom.  So my solution is to hire as much support staff as we can (and still afford it).  Whenever she leaves Bierman and then comes home, she has no idea where she lives.  But the minute she steps into her room, she says:  "Oh, that's my furniture.  I'm so glad to be home."  And it makes her happy.


Grace said...

beautiful yarns beautiful patterns, I am sorry your Mom is having such a hard time. I have a friend, Trudy, her mom too is having a rough go and broke her leg on Saturday, she is also 96, so she was in the hospital over the weekend and they are taking her back to the home today, Prayers for all the mommies!!!

Scrabblequeen said...

How fortunate you are to be nearby your mum and also to be able to be a help to her! I drove to L.A. last weekend, killer 7 hrs in the car each way, to check on my 88+ yr old step mom who had a major stroke. Each week since has brought amazing recovery...but it is so hard to be so far away!

Carol said...

Love your yarns and the post on your mom. Mine is a mere 85 but the memory is going and very frustrating for me to be in Texas while she is in California. But I go as much as I can since she will not move here. So many of my friends are in this same situation, it is comforting to know others share the journey.

Wall-to-wall books said...

That is really great that you have such great people working with your mom. It is wonderful to have a support system to rely on.

My daughter works for a private Assisted living home for Alzheimer's residents. It is really a great place for them (and a great place to work too).

I love love love the gray scarf!

Anonymous said...

This sounds so familiar. I have friends whose mothers are in similar condition. My mother-in-law is in an Assisted Living apartment and has had frequent visits to the hospital--falls, low potassium, pneumonia, sore that wouldn't heal. . . it's rugged getting old!

I admire the way you are facing this and am so glad you have found the right place for your mother. What peace of mind that must give you!

Shawl is beautiful... and so are your sentiments.


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