Thursday, January 21, 2010

My Mom, part two

First, thanks to everyone for all the support and love you've given me and my family. We've all needed it, and we all appreciate it. Thank you. I'm not usually so out there with my emotions, but I had to unload.

Second, my sister spent a lot of time at the hospital and nursing home with my mom over her winter school break, and I am so grateful to her for that. It's not the way she had planned on spending that month, but she was such a comfort to my mom – and to me. Knowing she was there and having her stay at my place was a huge stress-reducer. We spent mornings chatting increasingly later, and she cleaned my microwave and kitchen sink! I told her to bring her clean-freak friend next time and take care of my whole house.

So, my mom just finished two weeks at the nursing home and expects to be there another week or so. She's been making slow but good progress in rehab. She was frustrated at how slowly they were taking it, but they explained that many exercises put strain on the heart, and with a new pacemaker, they have to very gradually increase the workload. She seemed OK with that explanation. Prior to that, my sister reported, she'd been a little snotty sometimes about the exercises she was doing. My mom tends to poo-poo things as silly or pathetic, but it seemed like she got more on board after being told why things were moving at the pace they were.

Despite progress, she's still very weak and increasingly dizzy and light-headed. We spent ALL DAY at the doctor today, and they're trying to figure out what could be causing the dizziness. It seems to accompany some pretty serious dinginess on her part. She couldn't find words today, and mispronounced a lot of them. It was as if she were totally hammered – like, about-to-pass-out hammered. (I've never seen her that hammered, by the way. She just falls asleep when she drinks.) She also couldn't remember her Social Security Number, which really, really made her mad.

It was nice to kidnap her from the nursing home for the day. We had an appointment at a clinic I didn't know existed with a doctor I'd met before at an urgent care. I think she might have been the one who took care of Eric after a bee sting. Anyway, she was fantastic, very kind, patient, and thorough. Most doctors can't seem to wait to get out of the office, but she really took her time, asked a lot of questions, and seemed to genuinely care about what she was doing and for whom. Nice.

The afternoon was spent at the VA hospital in cardiology. (I even managed to call a couple of sources while she was having an EKG. Smokin'.) Her pacemaker is working fine, but they changed a setting to see if it would help her light-headedness. We ended up spending a little more time there than expected because they really want to try to figure out the dizziness. We'll be going back in a month.

Between appointments we went out to lunch. She'd been so excited to go out to eat. Institutional food is just the pits, although she says the nursing home is better than the VA, which she considers a wonderful incentive to anorexia. Bummer that her food was a little cold, even after she asked them to warm it up again. She did, however, have two cups of real coffee, not nursing home coffee, which she suspects is really decaf even though they say it isn't.

Fussing with the wheelchair was a hoot. It has two different foot rests, which bugs her, and I had to figure out how to take them off and put them on again. I also had to hoist this wheelchair into my little bitty car. Cheap entertainment, folks.

Anyway, she made it through the day, tired but ticking. I guess that makes two of us.


Lola said...

I'm so sorry to hear all this. I hope things get better for you and your Mom as soon as possible. Thinking of you from over here.

MJ Krech said...

Glad to hear about your outing with your momma. I really believe this is what your momma meant when she talked years ago about her kids taking care of her. Just to know you will take her on the doctor rounds with a detour for food and COFFEE. You gotta deal with reality but you DID and you were THERE. With her. That's really all she wants. And your sister was there, too! I hope to be that lucky some day, too!