Thursday, February 17, 2011

Another very long day…

The day started out beautifully. Warm 54 degree February weather. The sun shining and the ice melting. I was putting my laundry together to wash and looking forward to a calm and productive day. I could hear my mom walking into our living room and then I heard her voice and knew something was wrong.

She had lost control of her bowels while in her living room and she had tried to clean it up with the clothes she was wearing at the time.(Her night clothes)

This is the second time this has happened. The last time she had taken extra stool softeners because she was constipated. This time she says she hadn’t taken anything. It just happened.

She was calm, but obviously upset. All I could say was it would be okay and I would get it cleaned up. I told her she needed to get a shower. She thought she had cleaned herself up enough, but I insisted she take a shower. She said she couldn’t because her dirty clothes were in the tub. So I got some gloves and a plastic bag and got her clothes and put them to soak in the washer.

Dad woke up (in this case he is lucky he can’t smell much anymore) and I told him what happened. Mom got out some clean clothes and went in to take her shower. Mom told me she wanted to get some “diapers” so she wouldn’t have to worry about having this happen again.

My husband got down the SpotBot  and I got to work. Mom had her bedroom door closed. I peaked in to see if I could see any spots on the floor there. She had her bathroom door open and the shower running so I closed the door and planned on checking later.

Some time passed and all of a sudden I heard Dad yelling that Mom had fallen. I went into the bathroom and she was sitting on the floor in her bra and panties. She said she had fallen off of the toilet and hit her head and arm.

My DH had to come I and help me get her up and we got her walker. I called her doctor and they wanted her to go to the ER since she hit her head.

Dad wanted me to call an ambulance in case something was going on that we weren’t aware of. He was afraid if I tried to driver her she might get worse. So, we made the trip in the ambulance.

The ER was VERY busy and Mom was put in a bed in the hallway. I’m pretty sure in the ambulance the EMT did the basic tests for stroke and took her vitals etc. In the hallway, they took her BP (206/89) temp and put the Pulse Oximeter on. Her readings were in the high 60’s- right around 68. At one point it got up to 80, but quickly went down. Her Oxygen levels were above 95.

Of course we had to wait a long time, because of how busy they were. That’s when Mom told me I need to make an appointment for her with Pam to get her hair done! What??? She decided that her hair didn’t look good. Of course she hadn’t even had a chance to comb it that day. I’m not calling Pam!

The D.O. talked to Mom and tested her reflexes and looked at her arm.  Neither her nurse nor the D.O. seemed to understand what a cochlear implant was or that there was actually a magnet under Mom’s skin on her skull. Mom had said she hit that when she fell. The D.O. told Mom to put ice on her arm. Mom needed to use the bathroom and when she got up she was dizzy, so the D.O. wrote a prescription for Antivert. I was told it is a prescription med for vertigo or dizziness.

And then she was let go.

We got home about 2 pm and had lunch. Mom was really out of it by then. We insisted she use her walker and she got mad at Dad and I stepped in and told her Dad loves her and that is why he wants her to use it. She said she really didn’t think he loved her. When I said he did she calmly said, “Oh shut up.” I let it go and she used the walker.

I went to Pamida to get her prescription filled and to buy some Depends. The “prescription” turned out to be an over the counter med available OTC for the last 25 years (I was told) evidently its active ingredient is Meclizine- the same ingredient in Dramamine. I went ahead and got it.

I gave her a dose when I got home although she didn’t really want it. I’ll call Dr. P and see what she thinks about Mom taking it… And she said she can’t wear the Depends as they contain plastic and she is “allergic” to plastic. News to me. She said she would wear them if she needed them- and of course the AD keeps her from understanding there is no way to tell when she is going to need them.

She was quiet throughout dinner that night and when I got home from a meeting that evening Dad came to me and asked me to give Mom one of his pain pills. (Hydrocodone) I told him no. I’m not going to let them share pain meds! This was common practice when they lived by themselves, but I am DEFINITELY not comfortable with this.It’s illegal for one thing for me to give Mom Dad’s prescription pain meds and I have no idea how it would interact with all of the other meds Mom takes. Mom was not happy with me (again!) but some things I will not budge on.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Aggravating day..

Life gets in the way…

Mom had been up early, upset because she didn’t sleep well the night before.The night before she wanted me to wait to give her sleeping pill to her until later in the evening, but I always give it to her at 10pm so I can get to bed. She refused to take it at 10pm, so she didn’t get it. And she didn’t sleep well. And of course it was my fault.

My daughter has a bad cold and fell back asleep this morning. She was going to take Mom to daycare. I tried calling her when she didn’t show up at her normal time and got her voice mail right off the bat. Her husband’s phone was out of minutes so I couldn’t reach him. So my husband and I took Mom to daycare so her could see where to go and how to check her in etc…

Mom and Dad were both worried about my daughter and after my initial mad I was too.  Its hard when you can’t get a hold of someone to find out what is going on and in this day and age where we expect instant communication it makes it harder.

Instead of coming right home, my DH wanted to stop and do a bit of shopping, which of course made sense since we were already near the store. But it cut into my already busy and late starting day.

The good thing was I found out at the daycare how Mom and the hairdresser got along and I am sure this is going to work out. The daycare director had gone to the hairdresser and explained how with Alzheimer’s patients it is important for them to still have some control in the areas they can control and in this case it is how my mother’s hair is done. The hairdresser, even though she works in the nursing home, doesn’t necessarily work with AD patients. She was very willing to listen and to adapt. So the hair dresser used a hand mirror so Mom could see how she was rolling it etc and they got along just fine. Yeah!

I worked on my attitude all day. Life happens and while I’m human and get aggravated at the same things everyone else get’s aggravated with I’m also trying to remember that how I feel is my choice.

I’ve been working a bit with my therapist on this- actually we had just discussed it. So I was given the opportunity to be tested and practice… The  aggravation was the things in my nice green planner didn’t get done! But- tomorrow is another day.

Seems unreasonable to say my whole day was “ruined” by the way the day started out but that is what I was letting happen. I was grateful for prayer group on Wednesday night to get me back to center. Looking forward to Thursday! 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Mom went to daycare today and got her hair done and loved it! And it does look nice. She seems to have made nice with the hairdresser. Hopefully this will become part of the routine and we won’t have to worry about where she wants to get her hair done anymore…

Sunday, February 13, 2011

with and without her: like a child

I'm putting a link on my blog for an excellent description of how folks become more childlike but are not children...

with and without her: like a child

Friday, February 11, 2011

A Day Without Day Care…

Do you remember when your kids were little and they had so much fun on one day that they got so tired and the next day they were like little bears? I think that is what happened yesterday. I could tell when Mom got up. Grouchy. Whiny. Demanding. I took a look at my schedule (my schedule!) to find some time to take Mom to get Valentines. I decided 4pm would be good. I needed to go to WalleyWorld  to pick up a prescription anyhow. Its 20 miles away and I figured if we went then, it would be at the end of my work day and I could come right home and fix dinner. (Or pick up dinner on the way home.)

So first thing in the morning I wrote down what my schedule was and left it out for Mom and Dad. The idea that I have a schedule seems to be a little unsettling for some in the household. What happened to the idea I could be interrupted from whatever whenever someone feels like it? How in the world did I get by without one?

I take my green organizer where ever I go and that seems to reinforce the idea. Mom now has decided that she doesn’t want to get her hair done at the day care. She doesn’t like the lady that did it. She only put four rollers in her hair and either blew it dry with the hair dryer or she sat under the hair dryer for only a couple of seconds (can’t decide which), and because it only took 10 minutes for her to get her hair done and it cost too much. So she wants me to set her back up with Pam for her hair. So we discussed the idea that I have a schedule and I might have to make changes in her schedule to accommodate this… She wasn’t too thrilled with the idea. But she did say she would accept what ever day and time Pam could do her hair, even if it meant not going to day care. We’ll see how this turns out.

We went to Wallyworld and Mom and Dad couldn’t find the huge displays of Valentines stuff, so I showed them where it was. And then Mom couldn’t find the boxed Valentines (to take to a party at the day care.) and I took her back to the Valentine stuff to show her those.


We got in line (I’m condensing this part- getting in line was like a Keystone Cops comedy) and Mom decided she had to go to the bathroom. As we faced the front of the store- the bathrooms were just to the right of our checkout line. Dad and I got things paid for and bagged and put in the cart and Mom wasn’t back. We parked the cart in front of the restroom and waited. Still no Mom. I was getting ready to go in to see if she was okay when we saw her at the entrance/exit at the other side of the store. She couldn’t find us. Even though we were only a few yards away from the bathroom and my Dad was wearing a BRIGHT ORANGE winter hiking jacket (similar to this- only brighter)

orange coat

So, instead of waiting for us near the bathroom, she decided we must have gone out to the car without her. In sub-zero wind-chills. So she went out to the car. In the parking lot. In the dark. In the cold without a hat. When she didn’t find us there, she came back. To say I was upset- with her and with myself is an understatement. I have a Alzheimer’s Safe Return bracelet for her but she complains about it so much I took it off. It will go back on.



Thursday, February 10, 2011

Quick Catch-Up

A quick catch-up…


Mom has been going to the Adult Day Program and still loves it. She is going on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays. She missed two days last week because of the weather… Snow-ice-snow-ice-snow-ice… if you live in the Midwest you understand! Took her on Monday and she remembered everyone’s name except for two people! She couldn’t remember what she had for breakfast- but I think because this is so enjoyable she is really trying…or it could be that the pleasure centers of her brain are not as affected?? Who knows with AD?

I have been going to my counselor/life coach/therapist. I feel very good about this. Tuesday I took her my calendar for the next 6 months and showed her how I have it color coded for Dad’s stuff, Mom’s stuff, my son’s stuff and my husband’s stuff and she asked me where my stuff was?? I explained I try to work around everyone else… And after I said it out loud it really hit home. So we got our my new calendar and in it are all the things others do, but it also has My Stuff listed with the times… So if someone wants me to do something during study time, I can say no and have a reason. It is my study time. I can’t really put it off. It needs to be done. It is all written in pencil- so I can change things if I need/want to, but I can use it as a guideline so I don’t get caught saying “yes” to too many things others want me to do. My therapist gave me a pink mechanical pencil. I didn’t have any- but today when I go to WalMart at 4PM(scheduled!) I will pick some up! Thank you SM!

For those of you for whom this didn’t take 56 years to figure out, I envy you! But now that I’m catching on to it I just pray I don’t let it fall by the wayside. By doing this- I can look at my schedule and see that I can have my granddaughter over  this weekend and not be wondering in the back of my mind if I’m forgetting something. This is very freeing for me. I never thought a schedule would free me…who knew?

Now I have to remember to put blogging on my schedule…