Wednesday, December 18, 2013

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. 

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