And Now For Something Completely Different…

This is for those of you who have faithfully followed my Notes from the Eldercare Underground.

A little over a week ago my mother fell, either in her bathroom or next to her bed (it’s hard to get a clear picture of what actually happened).  She was wearing her medical alert pendant but for some reason didn’t use it.  She did manage, however, to somehow get to her bedside phone and call me at home.

I live 12 miles outside of town and got to her house as soon as possible.  The EMTs transported her to the hospital where she was x-rayed for any broken bones (thankfully, none), but a CT scan showed signs of past “mini-strokes” and the blood work indicated that she had heart muscle damage consistent with a heart attack.  She didn’t complain of any pain or shortness of breath, but the evidence was there in the blood enzyme levels.

My mother was kept in the hospital for three days, which qualified her for twenty days of rehab at a nursing home in town, to which she was moved last Tuesday.  She had suffered from hallucinations in the hospital, probably due to new heart medications, and thought she was going back to California, not into a nursing home.

Consequently, she was not a happy camper.  At least to me.  She was pleasant and compliant to the great nursing staff and that’s okay by me.  I was willing to be the Devil as long as she got along with those wonderful individuals who were there to help her.

Now that she’s been there for several days, she has started to come around to the idea that it’s probably for the best that she continue to reside there.  In truth, there is no way she can return home on her own and it actually is better for her to be engaged with people all day like she is now.  She was ever the “loner” and loathe to initiate any friendships, but here she gets to indulge in her pastime of keenly observing people and coming up with the possible scenarios of their lives.

Just like she used to do while sitting at her big front window in her home and watching the neighbors.

Only now she has a bigger cast of characters from which to work.

We always knew it would take some kind of disaster to get her to admit that she needed care beyond what she could accomplish for herself, and that disaster has occurred—although it wasn’t accompanied by broken hips or worse.

In a way she was lucky.  And, understandably, in a way she wasn’t.

But—the situation is what it is and we all have to make the best of it.  I know I feel better that she’s being well taken care of by people who are good at what they do, selflessly, every day.

I think it’s something my Dad would have wanted for her too.

So, thank you for all your comments about our adventures in the Underground.

And, knowing my mother, I’m sure there will more before she’s done.  🙂

Granny and Omar, the camel

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30 thoughts on “And Now For Something Completely Different…

  1. I’m a half-orphan and feel for you. Parental aging is hard on them and depressing for us. My surviving parent, my dad, who is 84 and has a set of health issues, called me over the weekend to make sure I will visit him across the country for Xmas. For insurance, he tossed some guilt factor my way, “This might be our last Xmas together.” Fortunately, I was able to return serve and say, “I’ve booked my ticket.” Then, we were free to discuss sports. I enjoy your tales with your mom. You guys bring out the pistol in each other, but I suspect you’re a pistol 24/7.

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  2. (sigh) it was the installation of the pacemaker – and ensuing recovery – that finally tripped mom into accepting the need to move from her own home, and living alone. a difficult transition, at best.

    very glad your mom is doing well – and seems to have accepted the new arrangements with an open mind! hope to hear about her new “neighbors”! take care of yourself, Tex – ya done good!

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  3. When my Dad reached the final fall, he was wearing his medic alert button on a lavaliere. A lovely young woman had brought it to him at home some months earlier and taught him how to use it. When the time came, of course, he didn’t. Like your mother, he phoned me, four hours away, instead, with the classic line, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” (I’m still puzzling over how he reached the phone on the wall, then.) After I’d phoned the ambulance and, to keep him on the phone until they arrived, I asked why he hadn’t used his alert button. “I couldn’t do THAT!,” he said. “I’m in my UNDERWEAR!.”

    The young woman had said, “When you push the button, WE’LL be right here within minutes.” Dad couldn’t remember much, but he never forgot a pretty face.

    I’m relieved with you that Mom is being taken care of and that staff provides both a buffer for you and a source of support. It won’t take them long to catch on to Mom. Watch for it. At some point, some perceptive soul will say to you, “I don’t know how you’ve managed her alone ’til now.”

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    • Now that I think of it, Nance, my mother was wearing just the top to her pajamas and nothing else. Maybe that was a factor in not using the medical alert button. I had to quickly get her into some underwear before the EMTs came.

      Our mothers used to tell us to wear good underwear in case we were in an accident, but they didn’t say what to do if we’re literally caught with our pants down (or missing)! haha

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  4. I’m very relieved that your mom is okay and has accepted this big change in her life. Knowing that she’s surrounded by caregivers should put your mind at ease. On November 10, my parents are moving out of their home into one next door to my brother’s. I’m sure he’ll have many tales to tell, but I’m relieved that they’ll be closer to help. My mom fell and broke her wrist a few weeks ago and my Dad, who doesn’t have a driver’s license, drove her to the hospital. We’ve had many issues like this that keep us all awake. It’s a struggle to want to maintain your independence and to admit your need for help. I’m glad my parents have gotten one step closer to that.

    I’m sure that she’ll be quite entertaining to the community there! Keep us informed, please!

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  5. Your story is almost exactly mine. I am a little farther along on the trail than you. My mom has now been at an assisted living place for about 6 months after having not taken her medication for several weeks, and a stroke about 3 years ago. We have moved her from California to Virginia, and now to my area in the midwest. It has been very difficult, especially when the death of my sister (who cared for her while she lived in an senior living center in Virginia) died suddenly. She has a very hard time making friends, and sits alone in her apartment watching television and reading day after day. If not for the staff and the meals, she would be a hermit. The role of parent to a parent is a constant struggle, and exhausting, to boot. Good luck with the next phase……….and please continue to share how you both are doing. Support from others is key to surviving it without going crazy.

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  6. I love your blog. It calms me as my parents get older and I have to make more calls to doctors and really come to terms that they are now in their seventies.
    The rolls reverse and I hope that I deal with it all as best I can.

    Your mother is a pistol and you are a good daughter. I know that will continue. . .

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  7. Happy and healthy progressions to your mom and you. It’s so hard for older folks to give up their independence. I swear they don’t see all the bare spots where quality ought to exist!

    My mom and dad are both gone now, but mother used to get so tired of our father’s endless speculations about neighborhood activity. We found it better than a soap opera, but we didn’t have to live with it!

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  8. Your mom was very lucky there wasn’t a severe injury. Both my parents have passed away, so I can’t imagine how much you must worry about your mom. Hopefully, she will adjust to her new home quickly, because I’m looking forward to reading about more of her adventures!

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  9. Moving into a nursing facility was the best thing that ever happened to my mother-in-law. She saw herself as a grand lady of the south with all the staff as her personal servants. Once when I had brought her some new blouses, she acted as if she couldn’t put them on. I explained that she should be able to change her blouse. She did just that but told me, “It’s better to let them think you can’t do things. Otherwise they expect you to do it yourself.”

    I suspect you are going to have many more chapters to write about the Eldercare Underground. You will meet a new cast of characters and your mother will find new ways to take a jab at you. Wait until the first disagreement about who sits where in the dining room.

    I hope your mother adjusts to the surroundings as well as my M-I-L did. She resisted the idea far too long and I honestly think the last five years of her life at the facility were among her happiest. She loved to be waited on and felt superior to all the other residents because she was mentally sharp until the day she died.

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    • Ha! Your MIL sounds like mine. She would love to be surrounded by staff, but at age 93 she hasn’t had to leave her home yet because she has lots of unpaid “staff” in her grandchildren and son who do everything for her there.

      I’ve already gotten an earful about who’s who in the dining room. Very little escapes my mother’s scrutiny.

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  10. My ex-daughter in law is the activity director at the nursing home that I volunteer at and she is always telling me not to worry if I ever had to come there she would take care of me. Told her can’t think of anything that would make me take better care of myself than knowing she was going to be in charge of taking care of me..haha
    hope they have as great of a activity director as we do…too bad I can’t come and do a cooking show for them too.

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  11. Just make sure the nursing home she goes to is a good one. I have plenty of experience care giving facilities. If you want any info., please email me. I have been there, done that and if necessary, will print a T-Shirt to prove it. :0

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  12. I’m so sorry your Mom had a fall! But I’m glad you’ve found a good place for her to be, where she’s safe and sound. I’m glad she didn’t break a hip. The activity director sounds great.

    Have a hug…

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      • If only the ducks didn’t POOP so much! Ducky diapers, perhaps? Some of them are quite cuddly now and I find them very soothing and peaceful to be around (when they aren’t eating each others’ pinfeathers!) Certainly my 82-yo mother-in-law loves to sit and watch them for an hour at a time, so I think you are on to something here. Duck therapy!

        Speaking of which, when you have time you should write an entry for my duck limerick contest. You were excellent at hen haiku!

        Hang in there, it’s a tough road…

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  13. While I’ve always enjoyed the tales of your mother, this one hits in a different way, and I know just what you are going through having gone through it myself with my Dad.

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  14. I’m glad your mom is OK and happy with her new home.
    I have friends who are dealing with aged parents who refuse to leave their home and really should not be living on their own.
    One set of parents is in a nursing home. The dad decided to go, but mom refused. She had a stroke and fell and broke her hip.
    My other friends get calls all hours of the day and night. They are exhausted as both work F/T.

    There is no easy answer. My mother died at the age of 83. Had she survived, she would have ended up in a nursing home because of her health problems. She would have hated that.

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