Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Tuesday, continued.

I had trouble with that last post and at 4:15 am, I couldn't figure out the issue.
Mom's still in the hospital.  This is a continuation of those writings.
I speak with the nurse, who had just taken over. It's not a normal shift change, so I figure its a short staffed situation. Meagan doesn't know much. Moms been sleeping. She thinks mom had breakfast. I let her know about needing to not move things and let her know I'll call later. About an hour later, Lynn calls. Moms demanding a Safeway roast beef sandwich. Lynn refuses. I get a call and email about this.  I call the nurse again. I let her know mom is asking for food. She lets me know lunch was pot roast and potatoes and that mom has a sandwich ordered for dinner.
Today is when dad arrives. I take off to the airport. I use the time to call mom. For a woman who hasn't eaten in days, she sure can bitch about how bad the food is. Mom swears she heard my voice this am. She knows I was at the hospital, but wouldn't see her. I let her know I was home all day and that I was not there; that I called the nurse and spoke with her, but that I was not there.
She's met with a nutritionist (I know you and Lynn did this to me). She worked with a PT, who didn't like how she walked. Mom talks about not walking much even when she was "good, so she thinks she'll never be allowed home. She tells me she can't talk more. She's crying when she hangs up.
I call the nurse again. She confirms that mom may be discharged tomorrow. She assures me that the case worker will talk to us first.
I can't sleep, worried about mom. Hopefully writing this will help clear my brain and let me sleep.
I worry about paying for care. Mom only has social security. She may have a small nest egg saved up, but not much. Carol and Paul are opening his business. I'm sure they don't have money to spare. I have Jon in college, Ben applying, Morgan without full time work. I can cover my expenses, but not all of Mom's. Lynn, not sure what she can do.  She's cared for mom for 10 years. We'll need to figure this out. Soon.
I keep missing Dr Ross. He's called several times as have I. I feel bad for that, but I've not been free. 

The week of living dangerously

It's 3am. I should be sleeping, but the events of tomorrow are weighing on me. Since Sunday, the week has been worse.
Sunday night to Monday mom has fallen again. Her legs are shaky now. At 2am Lynn hears her yelling for help. She gets back in bed with Lynn's help. Lynn is exhausted and beyond her wits end. We've had a few family calls about how to proceed. We must do something. I'm going to talk with her doctor on Monday and seek out options. I also have emailed the city's elder services programs.

Monday morning 12/16: I have a work call at 8:30, mom knows this. I go to set up a new video/audio monitor just before 10 with Jon, as he's arrived home for the holiday break. Mom's worried about privacy, as the commode is now right by her bed, but I assure her she has some privacy.  White lie. After that's set up, I help her to use the commode, but she can't get up, even with me helping. I ask Morgan to get a bedpan from the medical supply store and he does. Mom has food and drink available. She looks much worse. She says she can wait a bit to pee, so she agrees I can go home and work some, but I'll come over as soon as I have the bedpan. I'm with her for about half an hour. I let her know I've called her doctor. She's clear she doesn't want to go to the hospital.
Shortly before 11, she calls to me, "call 911". The new monitor allows me to talk back to her. I ask her what's wrong. She feels like she's dying. I verify she does want to go to the hospital. She yells at me, "just call 911", which I'm doing while I'm talking to her. I head over to her house with Jon, so he can take Brodie to my house. I sit with mom. She starts talking about a quiet death at home, but she doesn't finish her thought. She's so weak, it's hard to talk. She talks about being too weak to make it to Dr Ross"s office. I just sit with her.
The team arrives quickly. Med lists and her history is relayed. She's taken with all her bedding away to Alta Bates.  I wonder if she will ever come home.
Knowing she'll ask for them, I get her teeth stuff, her neck pillow, her glasses. I pack up my work stuff, as I know it will be another long day in the ED. I send an email to co-workers, and then I steel myself to call Lynn.
We are both relieved she's out of the house. Some family members feel Mom's demands to be cared for at home are abusive of me and Lynn. We just know it's beyond what we can do and have any semblance of a life or freedom away from her. It's moms worst nightmare.
When I arrive in the Ed less than an hour after she left, I find her crying. She doesn't want to be a burden. I let her know we will figure it out. That we want her to get better, so she's safe at home, but she's not safe by any means.
The ED is busy. Seven ambulances are queued up outside. The waiting room is packed. I am allowed to see mom.  It's a small room. I sit by the sink, out of the way. The doctor sees her before too long. Nurses try for IVs and fail. They can't draw her blood, either. Finally an IV is started. A liter of fluid is given. Mom's cold. The room heat is on. It's a long wait. The doctor does an arterial stick for blood. Her potassium is critically low. That's probably why her legs were shaky. I sit and wait, trying to work some, to keep a semblance of normalcy and to keep my mind off what's to come.
Around 8, I see the hospitalist. Mom will be admitted. She's considered failure to thrive.  I leave when Lynn arrives. She's exhausted. I can see it in her face. I ask her to walk out with me to let her know I've told the doctor we can't care for her at home anymore. I finally get to have a meal at home with my family.
Tuesday:  I work from home again. I want to be able to leave if I have to. I want to help Lynn with Brodie. I don't want to cry at work. I call around noon, knowing that it'll take a while for am labs and ds to round. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

What a difference two weeks makes

November 27th?, I take my mom to the doctor as she's been sick with vomiting and diarrhea.  She's weak and she vomited coffee grounds material.  I'm told to take her to the ED and she will most likely be admitted, for fluids, at least.
She's kept overnight and given IV fluids. In the AM she gets an upper GI test to find the source of the bleeding.  It's an old ulcer that apparently got irritated from the vomiting.  She's released and comes home.

Week after Thanksgiving she drives Lynn to Carol's house.  There they all get gastroenteritis, hitting them all hard.  Lynn faints x 2. Dislocates her thumb.  Mom is disoriented and doesn't know where she  is. Because they are all so compromised, 911 is called. She's taken to Loma Linda in Murietta.  She stays 4 days. IV's, antibiotics, stool culture is normal.  It's called gastroenteritis.  Monday of this week, 12/9 she's discharged and Lynn drives home.  Mom's able to make it to rest stop rest rooms on her own power.  They need to stop often for her persistant diarrhea.

12/12:Thursday is her follow up visit with her doctor.  She's still weak.  No clue what's causing her illness and her decline.  It's a watch and see, with us to get to Dr her current meds, as they have recently changed.

that night, 911, mom's scared. She is in A-Fib.  She's taken to the ED.  EKG is abnormal, but not bad enough to keep her.  XRay shows some fluid on her lungs, but not bad enough to keep her.  Heart is enlarged.  She comes home around 11pm and she's able to walk from car to wheelchair on the sidewalk (about 5 ft).  She's feeling better, so she says she's fine and will sleep all night.

Friday: She's found by Lynn on the ground, cold and wet.  She got up during the night and used the old TV table to help support her as she was getting "something".  The table collapsed and she fell.  She couldn't get up.  Lynn got her back to bed (in the family room) shivering. She has an electric blanket to help keep her warm.
Later that morning, since I'm working from home, Morgan helps me set up FaceTime, so I can watch her remotely.  She's on the ground again.  I get her to bed.  I let her know I'd rather help her than have to get her up off the ground, especially since she's sore and less functioning after she falls.

Saturday: She seems better, somewhat.  She's made it to the commode 4 times, per her report.  She falls that afternoon, getting back to bed. I see it on FaceTime, so I help her.  I let her know it's important to FEEL the bed behind her before she drops down.  She's not controlling her descents, and just flops down.   I help her bathe with a tub bath.  She seems to be mentally with it and is adamant that she doesn't want to go to a nursing home.  She's able to remember phone number, addresses, and seems cogent

Sunday 12/15: She's thinking she went to the Albany pool.  She wanted to work out some to get stronger and get out of bed.  She has a whole story that she went to the pool but needed to call a cab to get home.  She wanted to fix the car, too, as it was jerky, but didn't know the make or model.  She relates to going to her eye doctor, but they were closed, to another dr's office (I don't recognize the name) and to the "good doctor", Dr Ross.  She's able to rattle off the doctor's names and addresses and phone numbers.  I know these are from memory as she can't see well enough to look them up recently.  Lynn and I let her know that it's not possible she was out of the house, but she is angry, "I'M NOT SENILE".  We let her know we don't think that, but we also know she didn't leave the house.  We suggest it was a vivid dream or a seizure.
I start looking up info on elder abuse and adult day care options.  Is it abuse to follow her directions and keep her at home, not to worry about her. If she falls, she falls and so be it.  She doesn't want to be a burden, but Lynn is crying almost daily from the struggles of managing her care.  

Saturday, July 6, 2013

How long has it been?

Almost a year since I last posted? Can that be true?  Where did the time go?
It went into lots of overtime, getting this enormous project completed. 
It went to miles driven.
To take out food for dinner.
 It went to general survival and time with the friends I needed to see.
 It went to working inside my old facility when my former colleagues were on strike.  How horrible that was. 7 strait days of 12 hour shifts.
It went to supporting Morgan, who has been out of  work for 6 months.  He has an interview on Tuesday, so I'm wishing him well with that.
It went to quick reads about sewing, rather than doing the projects.  That needs to change.  I need to work on some of my own projects.
It went to a year of never getting sick!  That's a first.  Maybe my lungs can heal.
It's going to see my dad this summer.
It went to helping Lynn with Bear's death.  Sometimes you just gotta miss work, ya know, even if the work is piling up around you.