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      Thursday, January 31, 2008


tales from the parkside
03:57 PM - 01/31/2008

The topic: Mom update

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She started getting cards last Saturday.  And she got one card on Monday, but none since.  I knew they should be arriving, so I figured today I’d ask.
More on that later.

I’d been trying to get in to see mom at her midday meal, so I could make her eat more than she’d been eating.  Monday, Tommy, the guy who brings her meals said he was going to try to get her on another meal plan, one that would be easier for her to chew.  She wears dentures, got these a while back and they’ve never fit right, in my opinion, they never looked natural like her previous dentures did.  Because of the bad fit, she has a hard time chewing, I found this out last year when we went to WalMart and she couldn’t eat the muffin on an Egg McMuffin. And he said he’d watch her eat to make sure she ate enough. There’s actually a name for that, he called himself a “feeder”.  I’d brought my camera with me and I took a couple of shots.  I had an idea.

Mom has pictures of herself all over her home. I’ve always found this a little strange, but she’s always done it. Maybe a little on the vain side? Anyway, I’d wanted to take a picture of her at the beginning of this and she said “wait until I feel better”.  I wish now I’d taken one.  Tuesday morning, after I put up the Tummy Tuesday entry, I printed out one of the pictures and cut the extra off.  I found a push pin and planned on putting this picture up, where mom could easily see it.  I don’t know about you, but looking in the mirror everyday doesn’t drive home the fact that you need to do something about yourself like a picture does.  Pictures are why I started watching my diet last year.  (God, when did I get that fat?)  When I got there to see mom, I put the picture up on the wall by her bed.  She said “I’ve gotten so skinny!”  Yes, you have.  “I’ve got to start eating!”  Bingo!

The Kaiser doctor came in (the one who told me my mother was “dingy” - I guess a clinical term?) and spoke with her about her eating and the dentures were mentioned.  He told me he advised getting her to the dentist to have them checked out.  And also about getting the softer food (she was still on the normal diet).  She did a fair job of finishing the chicken and then we went for a walk to the lobby, she using the walker.  When we got to the lobby, she sat in one of the nice overstuffed sofas they have and just rested, then we went back to the room.  I don’t know how much physical therapy she gets on a daily basis and I hoped that having her walk in the afternoon would be a good addition to her current regimen.  Exercise helps circulation, circulation helps healing.  And the exercise might tire her out and give her a better sleep, a more restful sleep.  Besides strengthening her muscles (what muscles?).  It certainly shouldn’t hurt her.

When I got home, I made an appointment with her dentist for yesterday at 1:30.  And yesterday, mom got to go on a little outing.

At the dentist, she was found to have two cavities and the doctor advised bringing her in for a teeth cleaning, have the cavities filled and be fitted for new dentures.  This will happen next Thursday. 

After the dentist, we brought her by her house, so she knew it was still there, it hadn’t been sold and no one was living in it.  She walked up to the back stairs and up them without a walker!  We hung out for about an hour, she just laying on the sofa.  She did get up at one point and we got her to a bathroom where she shaved the whiskers off of her face.  Then we went back to the care center. And while Brian parked the car, mom and I went back into the facility, mom still walking without the walker (I was very close to her, though, so she could grab on).  We went back to her room and she laid down in bed.  She was one tired lady.  I put her laundry away and had Brian give her the calendar to mark off the day.

Today I went in a little later than usual, since I had paperwork to catch up on.  She was laying on her side, not sleeping, but her eyes were closed.  I said “hi!” she got up and I said “do you want to sit up?” since the bed was flat.  She said “no” and I just looked at her and she said “okay” and I raised the head of the bed for her.  We talked a little, I asked if she remembered what she did yesterday and she kind of remembered going to see a doctor, she said “it wasn’t Russell” and I said “yes, it was”. So, her memory is getting a little better.  We went for the walk down the hall, to the lobby and I tried to find out why she wasn’t getting her cards.  They were arriving, they just weren’t making it to the patient’s room.  They’d be delivered later.

While were sitting there (she likes those sofas), we talked and out of the blue, she said “I don’t know why I always tried to pick a fight with you”.  I told her “I thought it was because you never liked me”.   And then she talked of the bad financial situations dad would get them into when I was growing up and she’d look at me and think “if it wasn’t for you, I could leave this mess”.  She resented me. I told her she’d always picked on me and when she’d was drinking, it was even worse. And that’s why we never had a very good relationship, because I wanted to steer clear of her.  She said “when I was growing up, I vowed that no matter how many kids I had, I’d never treat them like my mother treated me; I think she treated me the way she did because I was the oldest”.  And I could tell she felt bad. She started to cry, but I changed the subject. I don’t know if I’ll ever be in a place to tell her it’s okay, what she did. Maybe never.

Anyway, we walked back to her room and she got back into her bed.  And shortly after that, the mail showed up. 

I handed mom the four cards that arrived this week and the first one was from England. Like before, I had her read them out loud to me. Her reading was better today than last weekend.  She smiled at the pictures on the card and said “that’s very nice” when finished. Then we went to the next one, full of pictures of kitty cats.  She read the back of each card and made comments on all of the cats.  Then she read the card to me.  Next was a card from another internet buddy and when mom got to the part where it said “I pray for you”, she started to cry.  It really touched her that someone she didn’t know would offer up prayers for her to get well.  And then there was the card from Texas, another beautiful card. She was overwhelmed by how nice they all were.

After each card, she was very careful to put it back in the envelope. She’s going to hang them up when she gets home.

And that was another thing about today’s visit.  She’s starting to talk in terms of “when I get home”. 

It’s good to hear.

So, I think there are a number of factors working together right now.

The antidepressants are finally kicking in.
She’s drying out from alcohol and nicotine.
She’s getting much needed rest.
She’s eating.
She’s getting more exercise.
I’m there every day.

I showed her on the calendar the day that we hope she’ll be going home.  February 29.  I hope it’s sooner.


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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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