Her Bowl Runneth Over

Update from the Eldercare Underground:  Moving Edition

As you’ll recall, dear readers, my mother had been in the nursing/rehab facility since the end of October after she suffered a fall at home; one which was precipitated by a mild heart attack.

She successfully went through a vigorous program of physical and occupational therapy during that time.  (As an example of the sense of humor all the wonderful people at the nursing home share, the therapist told my mother on her first day that “No, occupational therapy doesn’t mean we’re going to give you a job.”)

She later let me in on her joke by saying that if the patient “got” the joke, then she knew that they were with it enough mentally to be able to follow instruction on dressing, using the bathroom themselves, etc.

Of course, my mother smiles and laughs even when she doesn’t have a clue what the person is saying to her, so if she truly “got” it or not is anybody’s guess. 

But she did pass Toileting 101, so maybe she really did.

Things were going along swimmingly until “the roommate” arrived.  Poor Annie.  She never had a chance with my mother.  Even lying motionless in her bed and staring at the wall were considered suspect on my mother’s part. 

What was she plotting over there?  *sigh*

So.  After listening to the litany of complaints, I took action and got the okay for my mother to transfer to the Retirement Center that’s run by the same family that owns the other three facilities in town.  I have taken to calling the RC the “Hotel,” because all it seems to be lacking is a casino and a cocktail lounge. 

All the staff at the nursing home either had worked there at one time or knew of it.  They all spoke in reverent terms about the size of the walk-in closet space in each of the residents’ rooms. 

Maybe my mother could convert hers into a mini-cocktail lounge. 

If she added slot machines, I bet she’d be really popular.

Today was the big move, and after tearful goodbyes and thank yous all around with the dedicated staff at the nursing home, we took the short drive over to the Hotel.  My daughter came along for moral support and took my mother for a tour of the place while I finished putting some of her things away.

My mother holds back on the complaints when my daughter is there, but when she left my mother started to grouse some about minor things.  I figure she was somewhat overwhelmed by the whole change of venue, so I’ll give her a pass on that.  For now.

Before I left I wanted to be sure she could use the bathroom on her own, especially since she now wears those “pull up” incontinence briefs.  So I went into the bathroom with her and observed. 

Everything went fine until she flushed the toilet—which promptly started to rapidly overflow onto the floor of the bathroom.

As fast as I could, I reached down and turned off the water valve at the base of the toilet.  The floor was covered in water already but it hadn’t spread out onto the carpet of the living area.

I hurried down to the front desk and told the nurse what happened and after about fifteen minutes a very personable maintenance man named David came to the room to ascertain what had caused the overflow. 

He said he’d worked as a manager of a hotel/restaurant in the 80’s and the main cause of toilet blockages in those days was pagers—of all things.  David said they would fall out of people’s pockets as they used the toilet.  Nowadays, he said that cell phones are often the culprits.

On the floor of the bathroom he found a hearing aid battery which must have come out with the overflow.  Too tiny to cause the blockage, but who knows what else could have been down there.  A pacemaker, perhaps?  A set of dentures?  Some Depends that the resident tried to flush?

David was really grateful that I’d had my mother use the toilet before I left.  He said that one lady resident had gotten up in the early morning to use the toilet and then had gone back to bed—with the toilet overflowing.

The nurse’s aide came to check on the resident later (after about an hour and a half of overflowing water) and discovered the entire carpet was under more than an inch of water.

David laughed and said that this is the way he gets to meet new residents.  I told him I was glad that we’re on a first name basis so early, in case we need him in the future.

You never know.  Maybe my mother might need help sometime with the slots.

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7 thoughts on “Her Bowl Runneth Over

  1. will remember this bit of advice, should i ever be moving mom into a ‘hotel’…

    glad the move is done, and that she’s settled in! merry christmas to you and your entire clan!

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    • My daughter was there to see her today and found she had refused to eat lunch in the dining room, so they’d brought it to her in her room. When my daughter looked into the bathroom, she saw a plate with a piece of cake on it sitting on the counter next to the toilet. What do you want to bet David will find a fork in the toilet next?

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  2. DAng! I almost missed this one. I hope she’s all settled in now.

    Our whole family clips Depends coupons for my mother-in-law. not to mention that they’re online, too.

    Personally, I think your mother hit the lottery with you as her daughter.

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  3. Oh, an overflowing toilet, my ultimate nightmare! David was lucky you were fast-thinking enough to shut off the valve.

    We had a horrific overflow once, wherein we learned that “floaties” is a technical term in plumbing referring to, er, uh…

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