Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Yesterday I stopped with the kids to see my mother at the nursing home. Mom had been in bed for a nap. When I entered the wing, I didn't see any staff, and then an aide came out of a resident's room. This aide is someone my sister said, "I just don't feel right about her." I agree. One day I was in the day room, and a resident spit a mouthful of water on the floor. The aide walked over, looked at the mess, shrugged, and walked away. Because this was a slipping hazard, I asked, "Do you want me to stay here with the residents while you go get a towel to clean that up?"

"No, that's okay," she said, and walked away. I went to the director of nursing with my concern.

Yesterday, then, I was far from relieved to see that it was the same aide, obviously by herself. Which is like having no aide, in my opinion. The kids and I went into Mom's room to find her at the end of her bed, obviously agitated, and halfway out of bed, her feet on the floor. When you consider that Mom is not mobile anymore, it is pretty obvious that she had taken a while to get in that position, which means that no one had checked on her in a while. What, exactly, had the staff been doing instead of checking on my mother, who is at the far end of the hall. How hard is it to check on her every twenty to thirty minutes, especially if it is at the end of her nap time?:

I went back out and told the aide that Mom was halfway out of bed and agitated. She turned halfway away from me and rolled her eyes in obvious exasperation. I went out to the car and called my sister.

"You are remarkably calm," she said. "I would have been screaming."

After giving myself some time, I went back inside to talk to the nurse on duty, who signed an order to get Mom an alarm when she is in bed. I sat down with Mom, who was frustrated and non-verbal, shaking. I asked for an Ativan for her and then asked her if she was hungry. "No," she said at first. Then she said, "YES!" So I asked the nurse for something for mom to eat. I gave her a strawberry milkshake.

Then I went to the director of nursing. She didn't seem overly concerned, just saying that mom needed an alarm and verifying that an order was written.

So this morning, I called hospice and asked what I should do. They recommended that I talk to the administrator of the facility, and then they offered to send more volunteers to visit Mom, and of course to keep an eye on things.

The administrator listened carefully to what I said and took notes. She asked a few questions and said, "This will be taken care of RIGHT NOW." I frantically thought, "At least let me get out of the parking lot first."

I called my sister, who asked, "Is there a mushroom cloud coming from the facility?" She said, "I don't think I could be so calm." This surprised me, as she is the less volatile one. Then she said something which made me realize why we reacted the way we did. "I'm just so tired of this," she said, "and it colors everything." She is cranky, and I am numb.

When EG and I were cleaning the garage, he agreed that our reactions are affected by the long, hard time we have had. I told him about when I gave my mother a milkshake yesterday, and she choked quite thoroughly. I was bothered that part of me was scared for her, but part of me thought, "Oh, well. Maybe now this will be over."

This is no way to live. Mom would be the first to give up and leave us if she had any awareness of what is going on with her.

So my new year's wish is that those who are going through the same thing as we are find peace in their situations, however it comes to them.

1 comment:

Reverend Mom said...

I hope 2009 will be the year of your mother's homegoing. It is just so hard, and it is so easy to become numb. I marvel at the things I celebrate these days.