Mom was released from the hospital the day before Thanksgiving. Despite an unbelievable amount of tests and examinations from all kinds of doctors, basically they can’t explain why she is so weak, dizzy and unsteady on her feet so much of the time, or why she fell back and hit her head. One doctor’s words keep ringing in my ears: “We really can’t find any chronic condition or cause. Sometimes at her age the body just starts shutting down and there’s nothing we can do about it.”
The dreaded “A” word – Alzheimer’s – was again brought up and one doctor explained how that diagnosis is basically made after considering all the symptoms and excluding other possible causes test by test. Even though she hasn’t gotten to the point of not recognizing people, her memory and cognition is progressively getting noticeably worse all the time at an alarming rate to me.
Still no explanation for why her right eye is now almost blind – all brain issues due to fall have been ruled out, so I’ll be taking her to her eye doctor next week.
The one thing all doctors agreed with was that she needed daily physical therapy. Since she cannot get the level of care she needs at the independent living place (Englewood) where she lives, they recommend at least a couple of weeks at a skilled nursing facility (West Oaks). Since family was in from out of town, we were glad that move could wait until today and gave us the opportunity to have a weekend to celebrate all being together, which turned out great.
It broke my heart to move her today, though. All the way there she just kept saying, “I’m so scared – I don’t want to go someplace new. This is worse than the first day in a new school!” I had to keep reminding her that we’re hoping this therapy will put her on the road to being better able to get around so she could stay as independent as possible at Englewood. It is necessary for her to be able to get herself to and from the dining room for meals, etc. for her to be able to stay there and not have to move to an even more assisted environment or nursing home.
Since she moved from her own home to Englewood in May, she still insisted sometimes that she could manage perfectly living alone and did not want to stay in Englewood and didn’t like it there. By the time we got her all checked in to West Oaks, she was nostalgic about Englewood and just wanted to go back home there, which she now thinks is heaven in comparison.
At West Oaks, she has to share a room and a phone, and it is obviously a more sterile, hospital-like setting than her own cute little apartment at Englewood.
But after spending the day with her there, she seemed resigned enough and understood that she needed therapy to help her get better and promised to be cooperative with the doctors and therapists.
At this point, I still have a knot in the pit of my stomach when I think of the look on her face when she said, “I know what you’re going through because I had to do all these things for my mother, too. And now my biggest dread is coming true because I swore I never wanted my kids to have to do these kinds of things for me. I’m used to being independent and I hate to have to ask people to do things for me. I’m sorry to be such a burden on you, baby. I hope you know how much I appreciate all you do for me.”
Of course I told her I’m doing okay, that I love her and am just hoping she gets better so she has more time with us to see the great grandkids grow up, etc., but I couldn’t stop the tears in the parking lot. I admit I have gotten frustrated sometimes and feel so bad about the times I’ve gotten impatient with her. My empathy and sympathy for her is overwhelming right now, though, and I’m really trying to do better to be a more loving, patient daughter – God help us both through this…
Above posted on Facebook 11/28/10