Thursday, April 18, 2013

Dad Dad Dad Dad

At the end of my visit with Mom, she wanted to go into her room and lie down.  I helped her pull back the quilt and get under it. I put pillows under her head so she would be more comfortable.
She was yelling at me, she wanted something. "Black! It! Do it! Now! Yes, black!"  Somehow I figured out that she wanted to watch a dvd movie on her tv. (The tv is black, ah-ha!)  I started a movie. Then I went to the other side of her room, where she could not see me, to tidy up some things.

All of a sudden she started yelling my father's name. Over and over and over. Like she was expecting him to yell back from the other side of the house "Yeah, I'm over here. What do you want?"

I walked around to face her "What do you want?" I asked quietly.
She stared at me, confused by what she saw, of course I was not my Dad.

That was strange.

she's back

Yesterday's visit with my mother was horrible. Didn't I start another blog-post with that sentence. dammmmm

Since that post, last month. I went with Mom to her physician and had her medications altered. She was put on a medicated pain patch, that would hopefully ease her chronic pain, and then ease some of her anger, that may be a side effect of her chronic pain. The medication patch didn't agree with her. She became very lethargic and very shaky-twitchy.  She is now on a different pain medication that I think is working well. She was very active at my last visit, getting up and down from a seated position very easily (well, easily for her, she did it by herself, not needing two helpers.) And shuffling rather quickly up and down the halls with her walker.  And, not moaning and groaning whenever she moved her body.

However nice the lethargic docile person was to be around, she was definitely too sedated and too dopy and unable to do anything for herself. 

So... the mean nasty woman is back. She slapped me, I know she has been slapping her aides too. (Something we never did in our family.) She yelled at me for my whole visit. One third of her sentences were clear loud nasty sentences, the other two-thirds were loud nasty jumble words. She gave me the finger. (Something we never did in my house! And definitely something a second grade teacher would not tolerate!) She swore at me, in two languages, (Something also not tolerated when I was a kid.) 
"You're no longer my daughter." well that stung.
"But you're still my Mother."  I replied.

She told me to go into the hole (?) she told me to go into the black room (?)  She was SO SO angry.

"Why am I here?" Mom demanded of me. She repeated the question that her neighbor,Ten-minute-Tina asks every ten minutes
"Because you need help. You can't live by yourself."

"Yes I can! I am fine, there's nothing wrong with me!!!" she screams at me and stamps her walker up and down on the floor.

She is still refusing to take her medications, she is refusing to bathe or shower. She doesn't want to be with the other residents. She doesn't want to eat the "garbage... yuck...bla... bla.. no, no, no, no!" at meal times.

One of the aides found another of her rings, in her top drawer, sterling silver with turquoise stones.  She waves her hands at me and yells "Ring? Ungh? Ring? What ring?"  So I made an educated guess and told her she purchased it in Arizona when she was visiting there.  Then six or seven times throughout our visit she would yell at me "Ring? Hey, hey! Whose ring?"  So I repeat my story.  I recognize that ring as one of hers, but she does not remember it. And she knows it is not the ring she SHOULD be wearing on that hand. W's ring, the one that got too small.

Her doctor's aide called me today, they are adjusting her mood stabilization medication. We'll see.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


I've been inspired by Kate, to try NaPoWriMo.  Kate's poems are here.

The NaPoWriMo challenge is to write one poem a day for the month of April, because April is National Poetry Writing Month.

Yes, I know it's the 10th already... I'm slow to start. If your curious, head over to  try try poetry.

Monday, April 8, 2013

not my job

When I was first looking for an assisted living residence for my Mother, I toured many facilities.  I looked at many residences near to where I lived, some in the towns around where Mom lived, and many in-between. Some were large communities, some were very small. Some were in brand new buildings, some were re-purposed old buildings. No matter what the physical space was like, I mostly concentrated on two things: what did it smell like and what did I see on the employee's faces.

I want to smell fresh air, fresh flowers in the halls, coffee and cookies in the neighborhood kitchen, chicken and broccoli from the facility's kitchen, clean sheets from the laundry room. And most importantly I didn't want to be overwhelmed by the wet diaper smell.

There is no reason in this modern world of adult disposable incontinence undergarments to ever be overwhelmed by the smell of urine. We are so fortunate, in the 21st century, that our elders do not have to wear cloth diapers. As much as I hate "disposable" anything, I am SO very grateful for these magic pink and lilac panties that my Mother can wear, panties that give protection as well as a bit of dignity.

When searching for an assisted living residence, I want to see employees that are happy to be at work. I want to see people who like their job.  I want to see people who love working with elders. I want to see honest and real communication between the residents and their caregivers.

One facility I toured had a bad case of "it's not my job". At least that's the feeling I got. The employees were only doing what they were assigned to do. They weren't doing anything else. There was an old pile of windblown trash beside the front door.  There was a smelly resident, wining in the hallway.  Why did people walk by and not help or comfort this woman? How long did this woman have to be smelly before someone helped her? And if it is not your job, at least alert someone who can attend to her. What if it was my Mother?

Now that I know more and more people who are living in assisted living, or have family members in assisted living, they have reminded me of another very important thing to check on, as you tour and select a residence.  You should eat there. You should check out the food. Even the nicest residential living can be a sad experience if the food is lousy, if every day the food is like a flashback to the worse middle-school cafeteria meals.