Saturday, October 5, 2013

Big Changes

It's been a rough week. I think it's entirely appropriate that there's a tropical storm named after me right now (my real name is Karen, if you didn't know) because I am definitely caught in something much bigger than I am.

My mother has Alzheimer's, and her long time partner has just more or less left her. I've been scrambling to get things covered, planning on spending nights with her myself at first. On Wednesday, I got a call at work from my mother's daytime caregivers saying that something was very wrong. When I got to her  home, she was barely able to get out of bed. We rushed to the ER. Her diabetes had gone out of control and she near to entering a coma. After hours of treatment, she became stable again, but it was obvious she needed more care than we were going to be able to give her at home. Thus began a scramble to get her placed in an assisted living facility. Fortunately, I'd already done preliminary research, so all it took were some phone calls and then hours of paperwork and meetings. When she was able to leave the hospital on Friday, it was to move straight into her new home. In the mean time, I've been through three of the worst days of my life. Suffice it to say that she does not like change.

Some of my favorite moments:

Mom, looking under the sheets on her gurney in the ER:  Wow, look at that! Those are my feet down there!

For some reason, that struck both of us as hysterically funny and we laughed for half an hour.

Someone brought her several pictures to color and box of crayons. She was not and has never been remotely interested in coloring. I love to color and began to do so.

Mom: What's wrong with me when am I going home why am I here?
Me: What color should I color this fish?
Mom: Blue

Later:
Mom: What's wrong with me when am I going home why am I here?
Me: What color should I color this fish?
Mom: Purple.

Later:
Mom: What's wrong with me when am I going home why am I here?
Me: What color should I color this fish?
Mom: Pink

And so on

Variation:
Mom: What's wrong with me when am I going home why am I here?
Me: Right after I finish my bagel.
Mom: Oh, all right. Are you done yet?

A moment of drama:
My mother, running down the main aisle in the ER, gown flapping to the breeze, carrying her plastic bag with all her possessions in it, heading for the doors at top speed, people leaping out of the way. Me after her, a nurse after me, both of us doing our utmost to stop her without getting anybody hurt. Just before we reach the doors, I see a brilliant solution out of the corner of my eye.
Me: Mom, look! It's a Rose-breasted Grosbeak!
Mom, whirling around: Where?
Me: pointing at a photo: Right here!
Mom: That's just a photo! I thought you meant a real one!
Mom takes off again. But now she has turned around, and charges back to her room where doctors with meds are waiting.

Fletcher Allen at its best:

Me, upon arriving Friday morning to find my mom alone in her room: Where is the sitter she's supposed to have with her?

Fletcher Allen: She doesn't need one any longer.

Me: Really?

Fletcher Allen: If you want to move her into the Arbors, it's their policy that she has to be independent for twenty four hours first. So if you want her to leave tomorrow, she can't have a sitter today.

Me: But we're moving her to the Arbors because she needs 24/7 care.

Fletcher Allen with a confused look: Really?

Me to the Arbors: Why do you have a policy that my mother has to be independent at the hospital for 24 hours before she can move in to get 24 hour care?

The Arbors: That's the stupidest thing we ever heard.

Me to Fletcher Allen: Please reinstate the sitter. That is not the Arbor's policy.

Fletcher Allen: But if you want her to leave tomorrow, she can't have a sitter...

Me: What is that line about how do you keep your mind when everyone around you is losing theirs?


Anyway, she is safely there, and now we have to start thinking about what to do with her home and her car and all that stuff. But for today, the only thing on my schedule is to make brownies.

The Media this morning: The government has been shut down all week.
Me: Really?











2 comments:

  1. So sorry the man left. But I am glad your mom is safe and healthy. You have a lot of work to do , my advice, take it one day at a time, make a list, check it off as you go and ask for help when you need it. Take deep breathes and aren't you glad the Nutcracker is off the list (at least I hope so for your sake).. Love Rhonda

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  2. Glad you had done the preliminary work. So sorry her partner left. Such big changes. . .Thinking of you. Keep the humor. . .

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