Deep breath in…
Deep breath out
I just got off the phone with my mom, and a doctor from the hospital.
Deep breath in
Deep breath out
I didn’t realize I had been holding my breath for the last week. Damn it really has been a week. One more time…
Deep breath in
Deep breath out.
Last Saturday, my mom fell and split her head open. She was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. No one was allowed to see her. She has staples in her head and a serious sprain to her right foot/ankle. The initial scans of her brain came back negative for a brain bleed. The doctors could not send her home though because all things considered it wasn’t safe for her to be alone for more than a few moments, and we were not able to provide the care she needed. We talked about having her transferred to an inpatient rehabilitation hospital for a few days after the weekend, to assist my mom and the rest of my family with developing a safer living environment for her. * I will come back to this topic, since I have not talked about it before.
While ‘waiting’ in the hospital last weekend, my mom complained that her arms hurt and her fingers were growing numb. The doctors were also concerned with her confusion. Was this dementia? Did she have more injuries? After completing an MRI of her neck, they found that not only did she have spinal stenosis, but she had multiple fractures in her neck that would require surgery to fuse her spine. If left untreated another fall could lead to complete paralysis.
OK then do the damn surgery!!!!!!!
It should be that simple shouldn’t it? I wasn’t/ isn’t. As I mentioned before my mom has Dementia. She didn’t understand why she was in the hospital, how would she understand surgery? THAT was a game changer. The hospital realized that she couldn’t provide consent for surgery, that would fall to me. My test for covid came back negative, I had been taking antibiotics for this damn sinus infection for a couple of days, there was no reason (other than their hospital policies that restrict visitors) not to allow me to see her. I tried to explain that I wasn’t just a visitor, I wasn’t even just her daughter. I am and was her Power of Attorney. Most days I am my mom’s voice and ears. I’m her teacher and advocate. They finally let me come up with my Dad.
It’s a Miracle!!!!
No it’s not really. Within a couple hours of our visit my mom was able to grasp what had and was happening to her. She was able to tell the doctors (in her own words) that she understood she needed surgery and would have to go to a rehab facility afterwards. It wasn’t a miracle. It was experience. Lots of learning and mistakes, and time. My mom isn’t a 72 year old woman on the inside. She struggles to learn and retain new information. But if you talk to her slowly, directly facing her and allow her to ask all the questions she needs to she is able to grasp new things to a degree. After lots of repetition in small amounts she does understand.
The doctors and staff were amazed at the ‘transformation’ that happened while we were there. Again, not a miracle, experience and adaptation. I’m not really mad at them. I was, but I am not. Dementia is hard. It’s scary and it’s hard, even for those of us that deal with it daily. I am very grateful that they allowed us to visit. They allowed us to be with her before, during, and after surgery. They even tried to learn how to set up a video call to me to help when she was agitated or confused.
Not out of the woods yet
The surgery went well. My mom understands that she had surgery because she fell. She knows that she will be going to a new hospital soon, and she knows That “we’ve got this.” There is a different hospitalist on staff this weekend. I know that the nursing staff during the last week has heavily noted her chart that she does better when she can ‘see’ us. I pray they accept this and continue to allow video calls or a visit. I am spending the day trying to prepare for the next set of hurdles that I am sure are coming.
So much love
I was getting an overwhelming amount of messages and phone calls about my mom. I finally broke down and made a short post on her facebook account to keep people somewhat updated. The challenge is not to overshare, but at the same time stress the importance of letting her recover.