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      Sunday, January 06, 2008


tales from the parkside
06:32 PM - 01/06/2008

The topic: A “sniff”?

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That’s where my mom is right now.  Otherwise known as a Skilled Nursing Facility. 

This morning when I called to see how the night had gone, I found out that at sometime during the night, mom fell. She said she had to piddle and got up and tripped and fell.  But she made it back to bed alright.  I told Annette I’d be right over.  I brushed my teeth and hopped in the car and off I went.

Mom was still in bed when I got there.  Her room was in disarray.  The closet door was off the tracks (Brian had just put it on the day before).  One of the drawers had been pulled out and not pushed back in right.  The walker was where it had been the day before, didn’t look like she’d used it at all.  I looked in the kitchen sink and the only bowl looked like it was from the leftover pot pie she’d originally started on Thursday night. Like I said yesterday, there wasn’t much there. 

This morning she complained of back pain, because she fell.  Annette, who hadn’t even been six feet away, and who wasn’t completely asleep, claimed to have not heard anything.  Mom said she didn’t say anything because she didn’t want to bother Annette.  I asked about the drawer being open and the closet door being off the track. Mom blamed them both on Annette, saying Annette had been looking for mom’s meds.  I asked Annette about this outside of mom’s hearing and she looked at me like I was nuts.  She said “no, I know where her medications are”.  I just looked at her and said “that’s what I thought, she’s lying to me again”.  But Annette had talked mom into the idea of going to the hospital.  Mom was still complaining of back pain.

I asked her if she wanted to go and she said “yes”.  I called Brian and told him.  Since I figured I’d need the papers from mom’s doctor visit last week, I went home and found them, and we both went back to mom’s.  Brian took Annette home and I got mom dressed. Kind of.  Anyway, we got down to the hospital and I went in first to wait in the check-in line and Brian pulled up front and they brought out a wheelchair to bring mom inside.  We were there for about four hours.   I was able to convey that I felt my mom needed more help than I was able to give her.  We were sent in to wait for a doctor and when the doctor checked mom out, he couldn’t find anything wrong, other that her age related problems.  He had absolutely no problem when he manipulated her legs.  She didn’t scream or kick out in excruciating pain. And when he felt her lower back for pain, when he asked “does it hurt here?”, you could see her thinking about it.  He looked at me as if to ask “why is she here?”  I explained about why we were there, that she’d told the person staying with her that she’d fallen and hurt herself.  And that she didn’t try to wake the woman up.  That mom needed someone awake 24/7 to make sure she was okay.  I think he started to get it.  Then he said “so, do you feel she needs to be in a skilled nursing facility, something along those lines?”  Ah, yes!  Yes!  I told him just until she gets strong enough to get around. That I didn’t want mom to lose her independence, but that she needed some help at this time in her life.

So, he got the process started.  While we waited, mom tried playing some of her head games with me.  Like telling me “I’ve still got a few tricks up my sleeve”.  Or “how soon is it until Christmas?”, because she gives us money at Christmas.  I know damned well that was her message.  I told her “we don’t care about your money, mom, we want you to get better”.  Brian, bless his heart, usually doesn’t respond to her goading.  I get irritated with it when it doesn’t stop and I do respond.  At one point, she said “I can take care of myself”. I told her, in a soft voice, although matter-of-fact, shaking my head “no, mom, you can’t, otherwise you wouldn’t be here right now”.  This time she got pissy and turned to Brian who was out of her line of sight.  Since he was on the other side of the bed, I mouthed “please, answer her this time, help me out!”  He told her “No, you can’t take care of yourself right now.  Dianne is right”.  What does she do?  She said “I guess you’re right”.  If it had been me who said it, her reply wouldn’t have been as polite. 

Once the paperwork was ready, we took her home, and got her into some different clothes (this woman really needs a wardrobe overhaul, or at least a good washing of all of her clothes, when I saw the state of her underwear, I started to cry, I tried not to, but it just made me really sad). 

Surprisingly, she wasn’t resistent at all about going.  When we got her sort of checked in (we’ll do all the official paperwork tomorrow) and the nurses came out to meet her, she didn’t even look back.  Which, I guess was good.  Or she was really pissed off at me. But we’d be back, because I’d been told they didn’t have the meds she needed, to please bring them back in. 

When we got back, we were taken back to her bed and she seemed to be doing fine.  She was all bundled up and happy.  She said that she knew she’d have lots of company because all the people would have seen the ambulance go to her home and get her.  I looked at her and reminded her that Brian and I brought her.  She had asked the nurse about a sleeping pill before we got there and she was told they’d take care of all of that.  This really surprised me because mom has never been one to pop pills.  Maybe she’s finally starting to understand that food, water and sleep are what she needs right now. 

And there will be rehabilitation.  Probably to help strengthen her muscles, because it’s been so long since she used them.  Oh, and while her blood pressure was high last Thursday, it was low on Friday and low today.  I hope they can get it regulated. 

Okay, why do I think what I do about her supposed fall this morning? Because I found out this evening, she hides her beer under the bed. So, she might have been looking for it.  And I wonder if maybe the doctor thinks her problem is alcoholism.  I dunno.  I do know that the vet told me that when a cat is dehydrated, it’s almost as if the cat is drunk.  This is because, without enough water, the body retains the toxins that should be flushed out. And it makes you ill.  And the lack of food most certainly doesn’t help.

We’re just hoping (wishing/praying) that mom comes home healthy enough to take care of herself and we don’t need to take more drastic measures.

Oh, and we’re bringing her two cats home to live with us.


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lisaviolet is sixty something, married with no kids, takes care of lots of cats, likes taking photographs, loves Southern California weather and spends altogether too much time avoiding her responsibilities.

In her spare time, she makes pretty things to sell in her store.

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