Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Hard Day's Night at the ER

Here's Mom about five years ago with a lap full of great grandbabies. She was beginning to have problems with her thinking then, but they were things you just passed off as getting older. Dementia was actually raising its ugly head, but we either didn't recognize the symptoms or didn't want to see them. I, for one, never thought Mom would have memory problems. I thought she'd be one of those little old ladies who soldiered on with some physical problems but that she'd be remembering things I'd long forgotten on her hundredth birthday.

Alas, that didn't turn out to be the case. Dementia invaded her mind and stole her life as she'd always lived it and would have wanted to finish living it should she have had that choice. 

But now she can't remember. She can't choose. And while in the picture above, she was having a good day but perhaps too big a load in her lap, last night she had a bad night. She fell at the Alzheimer's home. My sister and I went down to see about her and decided she was probably okay. We signed releases with the ambulance personnel and took her back to her room to bed. It's a long walk from the front of the building to her room. She barely made it on foot. And then once in bed, she was crying in such pain that we changed our minds, bundled her up and took her to the emergency room where they x-rayed, scanned and treated her with great care. The other times I've been in the ER with her were decidedly unpleasant, but this time they addressed her pain, were quick with the tests, and the several hours we were there weren't so bad. She slept most of the time and my sister and I talked about how sleepy we were going to be as we watched the clock spin through the wee hours of the morning. 

All the tests came back normal, but in the process of reviewing the paperwork, I discovered a mix-up with Mom's medicine. The prescription that is supposed to help with her agitation wasn't being given the way the doctor had prescribed it and the way she'd been taking it for a few months. The orders he'd written for the home weren't clear enough, and they had cut her dosage by two-thirds. Plus other over the counter aids we were giving her, at the doctor's verbal instructions, weren't being given because the doctor had not ordered those in writing. All that is straightened out - we think.  

On our visits to her before her fall, she seemed happy enough and didn't mention us taking her home. But she hasn't been sleeping and not eating very much either. There is an adjustment period for a move like this. I know that. But it is still very difficult to stand back and not do something to make things better. Of course, there are the prayers going up for her and for all of us, her family. You can't begin to imagine how I appreciate you praying for Mom that she'll have peace there in the new place. Looks as if she's needing more prayers than ever. We are going down for family night tonight. Perhaps the next time I write about Mom, it will be a happier post. 

Meanwhile, if I can stay awake after the all-nighter at the ER, I'm hoping to send out a Valentine newsletter tomorrow with info on a new prize giveaway to celebrate Summer of Joy back on the market dressed in a new cover. If you're not on my newsletter list, you can sign up easily by clicking here. You can also follow my posts here on One Writer's Journal by subscribing to the posts. If you enter your e-mail address, the posts will show up in you mailbox. 

Thanks so much for reading and thanks so much for all the support and caring messages you've give my family and me over the past few days. Prayer is powerful!

 

38 comments:

  1. A virtual hug and embrace.
    It's hard. It just is.
    Rest well tonight, this is a sprint journey.

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    1. That's what the doctor at the ER said too, Loretta. Thanks for your hugs.

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  2. Once my mom was in a home for rehab and they tried to give her all her meds at the same time first thing in the morning. One was three times a day, one was at night, one was with food etc. all clearly marked. She also insisted on looking at her chart and it was there too. But they said that's how they always did it and couldn't change for one person. She checked herself out and went to my aunt's. she also complained in person and in writing to the head there and the dr and the state. I don't know if they did anything about it or not.

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    1. The people at this place are very caring. It was an honest mistake and not theirs. The doctor had sent them the wrong information. It's just that I keep one to look over everybody's shoulder to be sure they're doing this or that. It's sort of like turning loose the care of a child since Mom isn't able to note her own care. It's good your mother was able to check on her own care and take steps to make sure she was getting the right medications, Ann.

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  3. Dear Ann,
    So glad to hear you spotted that medication mixed up. (You have actually done something few people take the time to do and yet it is so important since our elderly relatives are not able to do it for themselves)
    Here I am just catching up, apologies! You have experienced what most of us have yet to do I fear and I thank you for sharing these moments!
    Hugs and lots of prayers sent your way,

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    1. Always great to hear from you, Noelle. And I do appreciate your hugs and prayers.

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  4. I am very glad your Mother will recover from the fall. And maybe it was a blessing in disguise - otherwise you would not have known about the mix-up with the meds.Take care - may God bless you all.

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    1. You're right about it might be a blessing in disguise, Annette. Now I'm wondering if I should ask to see the medication charts to be sure it's right now. Mom has been very sleepy ever since we got back from the hospital. Sigh. Thank you for your sweet thoughts and blessings.

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  5. So sorry to hear about your Mom. Both my parents are in their late 80's, and it is so sad seeing them go downhill. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this time.
    susanlulu@yahoo.com

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    1. It is difficult to watch our loved one getting older, Susanlulu. My kids have been concerned about me because the caretaking has taken a toll and I'm not as young as I used to be. None of us are, of course. Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers. That means so much to me and to Mom too.

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  6. I am so sorry to hear of what you are enduring seeing the pain and problems with your mother. I had the same, but my Mom had had a few strokes and still knew what was going on, even if her body didn't allow her to do anything, she knew and that was so hard to see. You, your mother and your family are all in my prayers.

    Hoping that the medication changes will set your mother back on the proper track again; you do have to be on top of everything when parents are in a facility, unfortunately. No one, even the best care givers, have the time and the incentive to feel as we do about our loved ones. They need our help so much. Praying for all to get back to as good situation as possible. Hugs, Cynthia
    <3

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    1. There are so many hard things about getting older, Cynthia. Still, I think most of us would choose to keep our memories, but it must also be almost as hard to lose the physical abilities you need and want. And of course you're right. No one can take care of your loved one the way you want to. I do appreciate so much your prayers for Mom and all of us. Thank you.

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  7. Throw my name in the hat for the drawing. No Valentine story at this time since I'm missing my Valentine today. (late husband) It's a tough day for many, I'm sure! My heart and prayers go out to them!
    susanlulu@yahoo.com

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    1. It is a day that can be sad for those who've had to say goodbye to their special loves. Sending a hug your way. And I'll throw your name in my drawing hat.

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  8. Prayer is powerful and am sending prayers for you and your mom :)
    Spending Valentine's with my sweetheart and cooking at home :)
    Also, please enter me in the drawing. Thank you, Chrissey
    chrissey67@yahoo.com

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    1. Thanks for your prayers, Chrissey. Hope you have a wonderful Valentine's dinner. Home can be the best place for a good time together. I'll enter you in the drawing. Thanks.

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  9. Hope your mother get well soon.

    Could you thrown my name in the hat for the drawing. Thanks

    kmccandle(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Thanks, Kai, for the sweet thoughts. I've got you entered in the drawing.

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  10. SO sorry to hear about your mom's problems at the Alzheimer's Home, Ann!! There are inconsistencies, omissions, and changes in all nursing facilities, I feel - we certainly found it to be true when my aunt was in the nursing home and hospital. She quit eating/drinking, initiating a grooming routine, getting dressed (even wanted to go to doctor appointments in her gown), and even getting out of bed (once the therapy ended) - unfortunately, nursing staff refused to do these things for her (if she refused them) as even though she had memory problems, she was still coherent on a lot of things, and they couldn't force them to be done (even when for her own health benefit). So - that is one small consolation in your case, since your mom has diagnosed dementia - staff can become more involved in her care. The nursing staff, unfortunately, just has too much to do to give the individual attention, and sometimes - care, that is needed. It is so hard to accept putting/having a loved one in a facility, yet often there is no other choice.

    My continued prayers are with you, and your family - sending you a virtual hug!!

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    1. It has been very difficult for my sister and me who were her main caretakers, Bonnie. We feel like we are letting her down even though at the same time we think this facility could be a blessing for her. She doesn't seem unhappy when we are there visiting. We just worry about certain of her health issues that we could keep an eye on that they can't because limited time to give her the kind of attention we could.

      Thank you so much for the prayers and for the hug. I'm feeling loved on this Valentine's Day.

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    2. I feel your pain, Ann - I had more than one confrontation with the staff where my aunt was, for the same reasons you mentioned. In the end - there was nothing I could do about it, as she HAD to be there - as least until therapy was finished, and we could set up 24 hour nursing care at home. She has been home since 7/5/13 with 24 hour care, but as you mentioned, it's not known how long the money will last, so there's always a possibility of having to go back to the nursing home - in the future. But - she's happier at home - so will remain there for as long as possible. You and I are dealing with situations in which we will find NO perfect answers, Ann - I do all I can to help now, and then trust God to direct my aunt's future (and me, as her POA, if change becomes necessary) - turning it over to Him is the only thing, and the best thing, I can do, when all is said and done!

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    3. That's always true, Bonnie. But sometimes we're resistant to that, saying we can handle it on our own. That's the very thing we shouldn't try to do. Pray first instead of waiting till we say "all we can do is pray." Such power that, at times, we don't embrace. Hope things work out okay for your aunt and that her care will be good.

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  11. Thinking of you. Throwing my hat into the ring. I was the mother of the bride thirteen years ago today. A great day!

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

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    1. Congrats to your anniversary celebrating children, Melanie. Hope they are very happy. Thanks for your thoughts. I've got you entered.

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  12. I'm glad you've found a good place for your mom; I know it must be awfully hard.
    Please enter me in the drawing for the Hollyhill books. I read the first in the series recently and really enjoyed it. I don't really have a valentine "story" but will tell you I work as a special ed para at an elementary school. Today, Valentine's Day, was just a little bit crazy! The kids get so excited about their valentines and the parties in their classes. I even find delight in bringing home a bag of valentines from the kids. It's nice to be remembered, no matter what our age.
    pmk56[at]sbcglobal[dot]net

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    1. Thanks for sharing your valentine story. When my kids were in school and I was a room mother, Valentine's Day was my favorite party. All the kids had such fun getting cards from their classmates and the candy was nice too. And I can imagine the fun you'll have looking through the cards the kids gave you. I'm sure you're a blessing to the kids you work with.

      I've got you entered in the drawing. Thanks for you kind thoughts about Mom.

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  13. Being a nurse and working in nursing homes for many years my heart goes out to you and your family. It is very hard watching your parents memories slip away. Not remembering who you or family members are. The hardest thing for me was watching these wonderful people so confused and frustrated at themselves. because they do not know what happening. God Bless you and your family and your wonderful mom. Please enter me into your contest.

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind thoughts, Unknown. I'm sure you saw many sad cases because it is so hard watching once capable and happy people beset with confusion and unable to do the things they once did so easily.

      I'd love to enter you in my contest, but I need a name (first name or initials) and a way to contact you. You can write out your e-mail like this. name(at)emailservice(dot)com/net/org.

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  14. Sweet photo of your Mom with the grandchildren!
    Blessings on Mom and all of your family, this illness
    is (as my Daddy used to say) "a tough row to hoe!"
    We will keep you in prayer!

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    1. It is a tough row to hoe, and I do so appreciate your prayers, Pat. Thank you.

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  15. I hope you had some good moments of joy on Valentine's Day, sweet Anne. So sorry about your mom's fall. I hope things will go smoother for all of you soon. Just visiting the homes breaks your heart for the people there. And some homes are better than others. Glad you and your sister check regularly tho, for you can catch mistakes, like the meds, and I think they take better care when family might drop in just anytime. It's easier for them to give out all of the meds at the same times to everyone, I know, but they should follow the doctors orders. And, if they can't be sure of the docs writing they should call and ck. I don't have a big Valentine story, but lots of memories of small good times. Since my sweethearts gone ,my children are my sweethearts now, They make me smile too. They send cards and some of the granddaughters also. My baby lives here not too far from me, so always comes over and brings me love gifts. And, I have always loved getting cards, so they give me smiles when I read the love in them. I did go to a Valentine's Party tonight at church. We had a meal and lots of fun, trying to guess who people were in older pictures, of the ones who brought one. No-one guessed mine. :) So, I had a fun time. Would love to win some of your books. Have entered on GoodReads also. But have only won a few times since started entered there (a long time.) GOD bless you and all of the family. Will continue to pray for peace for your mom. (((Hugs))) and love to you. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

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    1. Hi, Maxie. Always good to read your comments. I'm so glad your children and grandchildren still make Valentine's Day sweet for you. Sometimes we think we only have to celebrate romantic love on Valentine's, but it's good to enjoy all types of love. It's also good to have your youngest child close to be there with love for you. That with the old pictures sounds like a fun thing to do at a church party. We'll have to try that sometime at our church.

      The home where we moved Mom is very nice. Our only concern is whether she's physically able to stay there. We'll see. Thank you so much for your prayers. And for the hugs.

      Good luck in the drawings. Maybe this will be your lucky time. Have your ever won from me? If not, you could be in the never won drawing. Odds are really good there so far. Everybody has either already won or they don't want a box of chocolates.

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  16. Ann, I don't have a Valentine's story, however, I do want to tell you that you are in my prayers as well as your Mom. Dementia/Alzheimer's is a horrible disease. The way it robs our loved ones of a quality life is heart wrenching. Your post brings back memories of my Mom and makes my heart ache. I miss my Mom so much. I don't miss what she was going through. Sometimes I think it is harder on the family, watching helplessly while our loved ones waste away in their minds as well as their physical bodies is too much to bear at times. I can't even count the times I cried for my Mom during the last 1 1/2 years of her life. I wanted my Mom back whole and complete! So Ann, I am praying, praying, praying for you and your family.

    Blessings!
    Judy B
    judyjohn2004(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. The Valentine stories have been few and far between. LOL. Not much love in the air, I guess. I should have asked for something different. But that's okay. A story isn't necessary to take part in the fun. I'll come up with something better this summer when I celebrate Love Comes Home with a giveaway.

      But I do very much appreciate your prayers. Those, like you, who have experienced the sad decline of a loved one do understand. I certainly felt like crying on my first visit to the home but then I often felt near tears when Mom was still at home and so unhappy there too. She actually seems a little more at peace at the home when I go to visit. Not sure how she is other times. It's been hard finding out information about how she's doing.

      So thank you so much for your prayers. Much, much appreciated.

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  17. Ann, (((((Hugs)))))
    I understand the frustrations with not knowing about med changes, etc with nursing homes. In our state the nursing homes are supposed to reduce pain and psychotropic meds but family can direct them NOT to change her meds without your consent. My mother in law had anxie
    heart disease with her reporting heart distress quit often. It took a couple of years of reminding
    the nurses to give her her meds to help her relax because if she is having a heart attack she will be anxious. I spent many hours in the ER during the last 7 years of her life with only a few times where she was admitted.

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    1. You're right about the frustrations about the nursing homes. Some of that is due, I think, to nobody can care for your loved ones the way we want them to, the way we wished we could. Those hours in the ER can be very long, can't they? But I can imagine your mother-in-law's anxiety. It's not easy to stay calm when you think you're having a heart attack.

      Thank you so much for the hugs.

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  18. Please enter me in the drawing, Ann !! I haven't had a "sweetheart" for many years, so no romantic, or cute Valentine stories - however, the women in my family often exchange small Valentine gifts, as well as give to the children, and a couple of years ago - I had a tea/brunch for everyone with full Valentine décor, gifts, and goodies (we watched a movie afterward) - it was fun, and so pretty, also!!

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    1. Got you entered, Bonnie. I didn't mean for the stories to have to be sweetheart stories, but that's how most are looking at my request. I just thought any kind of love would do, family love, brotherly and sisterly love, grandmom love.

      That tea and brunch sounds like a great idea. I'm thinking you had lots of fun.

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Thanks for joining the conversation. I like hearing what you have to say. Thanks for dropping by.