Two years later part 3

Suicide threats, that’s where we were last time.

Mom insisted she wanted to move to a different nursing home, if she couldn’t go home. So we looked into other nursing homes, found one that was acceptable, and applied for her to move. The potential new place refused to take her because of the suicide risk. Fine with me, it was pretty far away, and I was not for moving her anyway.

So, we did all we could to make her happy where she was. I brought dinner in on several Sundays, and the family ate with her. I tried bringing in art materials but it never worked out. In November, I even brought the entire feast to her with all of the family as company on the day after (because Thanksgiving is very busy at the nursing home) and her response was that I was bringing “leftovers” and it was all in all an exhausting experience.

A few days before Christmas, her health deteriorated dramatically – she had pneumonia, so she was admitted into the hospital. It wasn’t looking good – she wasn’t eating, and was sleeping most of the time. We transfered her to the nursing home and agreed to hospice care. A couple of weeks later she rallied and recovered. We knew she was stubborn…

The result of a month of illness and absolute immobility was that she lost weight and muscle mass to the point where she was unable to recover her strength. And the dementia did not aid her at all.

From that point on, we spent less time at the nursing home. Dad and I needed to recover our strength, so we started really trusting the staff to do their job.

It has been over a year since then. I wouldn’t want to be my mom’s caregiver. She is sometimes physically abusive to the staff, sometimes verbally abusive. She hardly says anything to us when we visit. Occasionally “I love you”. Mostly “I’m tired, I want to go to bed” or “bed” “toilet”… often “go home” or “leave me alone”. How is living like this better than dying? It’s not.

So, up to date and current: Mom’s in a beautiful nursing home that is not perfect but I feel I can trust the staff to care for her. She is currently eating very little, but also doing very little besides sleeping. Her weight is below 120, and she used to be 5’5″. I jokingly tell people she would have been thrilled to be this weight when she was younger (even though she never seemed heavy to me) and now she can’t even enjoy it!

We visit her almost every day at lunchtime. The visits used to last 2 to 3 hours. Now, if she lets us stay for an hour, it’s a surprise. We were bringing fresh strawberries every day. Finding her cake when she asked for it.

I feel terrible, but I wish I could take a couple of weeks off.

Til next time.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. pollyann27
    May 10, 2013 @ 20:53:42

    Twinkies. Ding Dongs. Honey Buns. The diet most kids would love my mother had. And she fooled Hospice three times. They kept evaluating her. And re-evaluating. And she kept on living. A few years prior to this, a visiting nurse suggested to the doctor that Mother would benefit from Resperdal. Actually we all benefitted. We called them her happy pills, tho truthfully, I was the happiest beneficiary of their effect on her. Maybe they would help your Mom. I’m glad she is in a good place, and you can have a bit of normalcy, even if the definition of the word is not quite the same as it used to be. My best to you. Polly

    Reply

  2. caregiversnotebook
    May 10, 2013 @ 20:59:28

    It says that Risperdal should not be used in people with dementia… I kind of doubt there is anything that would make mom happy! She’s on antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds. She has tremors (but not Parkinson’s, my dad has Parkinson’s) and high blood pressure.
    Thanks!

    Reply

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