• Lisa

the deed is done, and then not

It’s happened. Sort of. Kind of. Not really, to be honest, which is why I haven’t been able to blog in so long.

Mom was scheduled to move into Place K last Wednesday. I set her up for several days beforehand, telling her how her doctor wanted her to go to rehab, et cetera. Remember though, when I said I was concerned about how cognizant—or not—she would be on the day itself? Well, she was confused as all get out for days prior. On Wednesday morning, she had one of her outbursts about how much she hates working here and she never wants to come back. So I seized the moment and said ‘oh really? Fine. I’ll get some folks over here to pack up what little you brought here with you, and move you out. I know a great place that needs people to work with the residents.’

We got it orchestrated like the landing on the beaches of Normandy. I busted a move packing up her clothes and toiletries while two aunts and a cousin took turns wrangling mom. We got cousin Barb’s SUV packed full and off we went. When we got there, aunt Connie sat with mom in the lobby while the rest of us got her things put away. The room turned out quite cute, I thought! Then they brought her upstairs, showed her her room, and took her down the hall for lunch.

I thought we might make it out of there with a minimum of drama, but just as we were about to slide out after lunch, mom’s caregiver took her blood pressure. And then told her what it was.

It was elevated a bit, but just hearing that sent mom into a tailspin, made worse when we started to leave. The administrator, bless her, came in and sat with mom, then took her for a tour of the grounds, freeing us to escape.

You think that was it? Hah.

45 minutes after I got home the phone rang. A nurse said mom wanted to talk to me and they hoped that might calm her down. I told them that wasn’t likely, but I tried anyway. ‘Mom, honey, remember Dr. P and Dr. H want you to get therapy and get stronger so you can walk better, and get your medicines right’, and so forth.

I tossed and turned all night. I mean, it was the first night I’d slept alone, not to mention in my own bed, in a couple of years! Every little noise made my hair sit up. I thought critters were scratching in the walls, till I realized it was my little Japanese maple outside the window, brushing its branches against the side of the house when the wind blew.

Thursday, 6:30 am, the phone rings. It’s the night nurse to tell me mom fell twice in the night but seemed all right. They had a staff person with her, as per their usual procedure. Sounded adequate.

2 hours later, phone rings again. This time it’s the day nurse, with a slightly different take. Apparently mom was up all night, yelling and wandering into other residents’ rooms. ‘We’re not equipped to give 1 on 1 supervision,’ the nurse tells me, ‘so we’re going to have to send her for a psychiatric evaluation to try and get her medications set where she will be calm and able to function’.

It really didn’t surprise me, but my heart sank anyway, because I was not looking forward to having to manage this mess alone. I called to cancel my long-awaited haircut, then called to let the family know what was going on. Thank heavens, my uncle David rode to the rescue. He met me at the psych hospital mom’s doctor works out of—yes, the one she spent 24 hours in, of a planned 30 day stay, several years ago—and had some choice words for said shrink. Uncle managed a staff of 200 before he retired, and nobody is better than him at dealing with people. Me, I was already shaky and weepy just from having left mom, plus tired and working off the pre-existing sleep debt.

By the time uncle got through, the shrink was only too happy to forward mom to another psych unit, part of one of the better hospitals in town, and the place mom’s nurse had wanted to send her to start with. So across town we go, to sit in an ER, then get mom admitted. Uncle handled her; he was concerned that seeing me might just send her into a bigger tizzy, and I was frankly not in any condition to argue had I wanted to. I talked to social workers and doctors and nurses, and signed documents and filled out forms.

(as an aside, I have to say, I haven’t been to any health care facility of any kind where all the staff, from the guy in registration to the housekeepers and nurses and floor techs, were so uniformly nice and caring! I’ll attach a name here, just so y’all know. It’s Saint Thomas hospital; Saint Thomas West, or if one is a long-time Nashvillian, the real Saint Thomas. They took over Baptist Hospital here, and now call it Saint Thomas Midtown. I call it The Hospital Formerly Known as Baptist. LOL)

Late in the afternoon, I asked the social worker I was talking to if I could excuse myself for a minute, so I could call and cancel my hotel in Atlanta before they charged me. Remember, this is Thursday, before I was planning to go down to the pen show. I was able to get a room a couple of weeks before, and the rate was even less than the ‘show special’, but as usual, I hadn’t let my hopes get up.

The lady was appalled. ‘We have your mom right where she needs to be, and we will take good care of her,’ she told me. ‘You need to take care of yourself. Go to Atlanta and have a good time!’

Gosh, this is getting long. How about I pause here, and bore you with the rest of this tomorrow? There is more drama, and some actual good times.

#placement #family #dementia #caregiver

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