Two years later part 2

When I left off last post, I was heading for thyroid surgery and mom was in the hospital and heading for a nursing home.

There was no damage done when she fell in the bathroom, so the next day she was transported to the nursing home she is currently in… a beautiful place that looks more like a hotel than a nursing home. We had picked it out months before as the place mom AND dad would go while I was recovering from surgery, and fortunately there was space for her. (Dad had improved so much that there was no need for him to go in during my surgery)

Mom had maybe one or two good days, and then the walls caved in. She became angry, weepy, irritable, unpleasant. Dad and I were taking turns staying with her most of the day to try to get her acclimated. It wound up being torture for us all.

Mom’s physical condition had deteriorated at home because of the injuries from falls – two compression fractures and a hairline crack in her clavicle – so she was not walking much and standing was reduced. At the nursing home, they tried using a sit to stand lift to get her to the toilet, but they found that she did not have the strength in her legs for the lift, or the stability to maintain a sitting position on the toilet. She had to use a bed-pan. This caused all sorts of grief. Did I mention the word torture?

We were constantly bombarded by requests to go home, and with stories of how the nurses and the aides hated her and were purposely leaving her places where she could not get help. There were things that frustrated all of us, but I was fairly sure that she was not left in the main lounge all night in her wheel chair (because the nurse wanted to teach her a lesson, according to mom). Put dementia with a very low self-esteem and depression and anxiety, and paranoia is the result.

My husband and I planned on going away for a night or two before my surgery, so I could relax. The day I came in to say goodbye to mom, she would not speak to me. I went into surgery the day after our mini vacation. I had one night in the hospital, then rested a couple of days at home. It was amazing how quickly I recovered from surgery, so I went in to see mom. With sutures and drain hanging from my neck, I went into her room. It did not go well. She thought she should be coming home, that we should hire people to care for her round the clock there (which is what would have been required. I don’t know how I managed for so long) and that we were terrible for leaving her in that place, selfish, uncaring. She threatened suicide.

Oh, yes, the suicide threats. “Give me a safety pin so I can slit my wrists” was a common theme. She also tried to reach for the trash can liner to put over her head, according to staff. This went on for at least a month. We couldn’t convince her that she was in the best nursing home in the area. Dad and I were getting worn out.

Part three next time.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. pollyann27
    May 10, 2013 @ 12:20:51

    Dear Caregiver, I mentioned in my public post that the last ten years were some of the best my mother and I had. What I didn’t go into in detail about is that during the earlier stages of dementia, it was not so easy. The less she knew, the better it became. At the end, the sadness was more in her very strong will to live, even in a barely breathing condition. However, our transitional stage was similar to what you describe. She had always said she wanted to never be a burden and to place her in a nice home. I didn’t want to do that and fought it for several months. My niece and nephew (my deceased sister’s children who were immensely supportive) urged me to find a place but I had two ladies coming to the home while I worked. And then I took over at night. It finally became necessary for physical reasons, both for her and for me, to find a place for her. I did, but we went through quite a period of her calling and crying for me to come get her, and hearing stories of abuse. I often stayed with her at night sleeping in chair, and then still going to work the next morning in order to assure her that she would be all right. We had seen from the beginning that her imagination was only enhanced with the dementia, but I was still careful to take her seriously and keep a check on things. Never had the suicide threats tho… probably because she still remembered for quite a while that my older sister had committed suicide and she didn’t want anything to do with it. As the dementia increased, I moved her to a home in which a wonderful lady took care of only three ladies. She had nursing skills, but most of all, she treated my mother like her own, and I think my mother finally got to the point that she subconsciously enjoyed all the attention – much like a child. Her own mother had treated her badly so this was a almost like having a loving mother in a second childhood. And I took a breath. She wasn’t too far from me so I could visit every day to every other day. Our family pitched in on the visits and that was a help for me. I hope your own health is improving steadily. As I mentioned also, I really encourage you to make . . . and that’s what you have to do . . . make some regular time for yourself when you do exactly what you want to do. Whatever it is. Your own oasis where you explore your own thoughts or have no thoughts at all. My best to you. Polly

    Reply

  2. caregiversnotebook
    May 10, 2013 @ 19:54:43

    Thank you. I haven’t figured out how, yet ;)

    Reply

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