APAD Day 43 Breathe in Hold it Breathe out

Deep breath in…

Hold it

Deep breath out

I just got off the phone with my mom, and a doctor from the hospital.

Deep breath in

Hold it

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

Hold it

Deep breath out.

Quick recap of what I have shared so far in 5:50 am phone call and Priorities.

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.

Breathe in

Hold it

Breathe out

APAD Day 36 5:50 am Phone call

It takes me minute to realize that my favorite song is playing, not because I left the radio on, but because my phone is ringing. I open one eye and see that it’s still dark….. OH Shit! I’ve gotten enough of these calls in my life to know this is not a good thing. As I try to locate my phone, which has now stopped ringing, I realize I have been repeating “please don’t let anybody be dead” over and over in my mind. My hand is trembling as I try to remember the code to unlock my phone.

No One Died

OK! I have 3 missed calls from my dad, 2 from my sister in law, and a text saying, “call your dad, mom is hospital”. PUSH THE COFFEE BUTTON GRACE! I push the button and call my Dad. Thankfully he answers right away and there is no noise in the background. (I’m thinking no sirens or crash carts) My dad explains that my mom fell, split her head open, lots of blood and the ambulance is taking her to Hospital A on Blank Street. (Hospital B is on Blank street, hospital A is on not blank street?!?!? but ok). My Dad continues to say, “They have a no visitor policy, and if she is ok they will bring her home”…… Yep I’m gonna need that coffee!

Excuse me, I’m trying to find my mom

I asked my dad, “Other than trying to find her, what do you need me to do? Are YOU Ok?” He responded that yes he was ok, and to just find her please. In my family, this means “please take control and fix this”. Ok will do. My third call found her. She is at Hospital B on Blank Street. I am listed as her Emergency Contact, they have Power of Attorney on file, and they are aware that she has Dementia. They do have a no visitor policy because of Covid, unless….well we will not go there, but they will call me to keep me posted.

I’ve had some kind of sickness (upper respiratory thingy) since I came home from Colorado last week. Both of the boys were sick while I was there and all that cuddling passed their colds to me. I don’t want to go anywhere near people right now.

So now we wait.

Update*

They have admitted her to the hospital. Although the scans all came back clear, she did need stitches and is unable to put any weight on her legs. Because of covid, they will not allow anyone in to see her. I did deliver her phone charger and a laptop so that hopefully I can get a better picture of her current situation and calm her down later today/

APAD Day 34 The Perfect Calendar?

Is there a PERFECT Calendar?

Until a year or so ago, I guess I just assumed they were one size fits all. I mean I know there are wall calendars, huge 16×20 desk calendars, pocket calendars, page a day calendars, and phone calendars, but I DIDN”T realize that there are 100’s of each type. I am still in search of the ‘perfect’ calendar.

Because I never seem to know what day it is (they all blend together) and I am always on the run or have somewhere to be, I THOUGHT purchasing a calendar would help me become more organized. Yes, I have thought about using an online calendar or my phone, BUT I want something that I can hold in my hand. Let’s just call me old school for now. I thought I had found the perfect calendar last year only to realize I needed one that covered more than 12 months, otherwise I would be carrying 2 around. I’ve tried the 24 month “pocket” calendars and they don’t have enough room to write details in their little boxes. I HATE going to stores, but purchasing a calendar online is tricky because they only show so many pictures of what the insides looks like…. So I made a list.

What are you looking for in a Calendar?

  1. Fits in my purse- This is the most important because my schedule is constantly changing so I need to have it with me all the time. 5×8 will work
  2. Displays a full month on one page (2 if open)- This is important when scheduling anything so you are not constantly thumbing back and forth between pages
  3. Room to write on each individual day- addresses, phone numbers, flight times etc
  4. More than 12 months- Makes it easier to add yearly events bdays, anniversaries, scheduling your 6 month dental visit in September for the following year.

Those a my ‘basic’ requirements in a calendar. Now how the hell do you search for that?!?!??

Google Search * 5 x 8 2 year calendars *

The first link showed a 5 year calendar but it was 8.5 x 11. :/ Since I was already at Amazon, I decided to enter the same terms in their search engine. 2 pages of the wrong size calendars, followed by the right size but only 12 months. (I learned the difference between academic and calendar year searches but still couldn’t find 24 months….ARGH! I THOUGHT I had found one that would work and ordered it. Now I know why monthly tabs are so important….smh. oh that and removable pages…FUCK! Oh well, I guess it is what it is for now.

So then I went back to talking myself into using Google Calendar more. Looking at my list of requirements above showed me that using it would technically meet all of them.

Phone Calendar

  1. It does fit in my purse (finding it in there may be another story though)
  2. displays a full month or can be viewed on the computer
  3. provides room to add details
  4. definitely more than one year

Using the Google Calendar

I do like that I always have the calendar with me. Even though entering things on my phone (with numb fingers) kind of sucks, I can just as easily enter events on my computer and view them on the phone. Many of the appointments that I have marked on the calendar are not for me, but for my parents. Some I have to be at, some I just need to be aware of for payments, or follow up etc. ( I have medical and financial power of attorney for both of them)

I made each of them a google account and gave myself access to their calendars. It’s been a learning process for sure. When I started teaching them how to use the calendars my mom was excited about feeling “in control” of something in her life. She tries very hard to enter appointments by herself but frequently selects the wrong day or an all day event. That’s okay, we are all learning. She was so excited that she began using her calendar to write down what she did for the day as well. Sucks for me trying to sort it all out, but at least she is using it. The fact that she keeps track of what she did each day may help with tracking her dementia.

I had to ad another color to know which appointments were “real”, and which ones I had to be at etc. (I’m running out of colors)

Overall, I really can’t complain about using the Google Calendar. Other than now having to find a new place to stash my mask that is easy to find in the paper calendar, but I can’t blame google for that. Heh.

A post a day APAD Day 11 Putting the kids (my parents) on the bus for the first time

The county I live in has this wonderful transportation service that provides Bus rides to all residents of the County regardless of age. Door-to-door service and connections with other transportation services are available.  Donations are accepted for those age 60+ and low-cost for everyone else.  Drivers will assist riders over 60 and those with disabilities by unloading groceries and carrying to the door.

I think I mentioned before that my mom has dementia, but I don’t think I have ever mentioned that she had polio as a child and as a result has always walked with a brace or a cane. She falls alot and hasn’t been able to climb stairs for many years. My father is losing his eyesight, and while he is still legally able to drive I don’t believe that will be the case for much longer. When I was in the wheelchair a couple of years ago, I needed to use this service to get to and from my infusion etc. When you live in the boondocks like me, owning a vehicle is a must. Even physically fit people don’t walk to the store or out for dinner etc. There are no bus lines, taxis, or trains in the country.

My parents and I were supposed to take the bus to a senior center last week. Last minute circumstances prevented them from riding the bus with me to the center, but I did and they met me there. This week they rode the bus themselves!!!!! I was there to put them on the bus and answer all their questions, but they did it…and I was so proud I had to take a picture!

A Post a Day… APAD….Day Five …Just the facts

I woke up still tired this morning. (Even though I had gotten 8 hours of sleep the night before.) While I didn’t have a bad day today, I knew it was going to be long and it was. So all I have left to give tonight is just the facts.

I went to PT for an hour this morning. Afterwards, I immediately drove to pick up my parents in almost white out conditions. I had to take my Dad, which means both my parents, 2 hours into the city for an eye specialist appointment. Fortunately once we left the country visibility was much better in the city, but it was still cold AF. I hate winter….smh

We were going to be early so we stopped at Burger King to grab something quick. It was disgusting. I do like Burger King usually, though I don’t eat there much, but today…ugh. Different restaurant or the fact that I haven’t smoked for 4 days I’m not sure but again UGH.

We got to the Doctor’s office and I realized that I left my mask in MY car…. oppps. I tucked my face under my shirt and went in to ask if they had one. Debbie, the receptionist, ( yes we are on a first name basis now) handed me a mask while advising me that COVID guidelines had changed again….. Surprised? (I’m not, not even a little)…. Ok, What’s the deal today?” I asked. I was told that the waiting room was only open to patients. My dad could come in and sit, but my mother and I would have to wait in the hall or our car. Once they were done with all his testing though, they wanted me to come back in while he was speaking with the doctor…… :/ I answered, “Okay, call me when you are ready and I will come back”. BUT I THOUGHT…… “seriously I should sit in the hallway where 1000 people are going to have to walk right by me instead of a waiting room?!?!?!?” and I can come in to go a much smaller room with more people when the doctor is ready?!?!? How do people come up with this shit? I went out and relayed the info to my parents and my dad went in himself.

While I waited in the car with my mom for over an hour, I worried that when my youngest, Thing Two, has surgery tomorrow they might not let me in with her. Oh Fuck, I promised I would not leave her alone. This is her first time having surgery, while I have had over 50 of them, and she is scared shitless. Yes I said over 50. I stopped counting then. I called the hospital that she is having surgery at and they assured me that I will be able to come in with her. Ok. YAY!

I am really really trying not to worry about tomorrow, but believe it or not I would rather be the one on the table than to have to worry that something went wrong while she is under. My dog was spayed last week and the 5 hours between the time I dropped her off and got the call that everything went ok were pure hell.

Debbie called and said they were ready for me to come in. I did. They weren’t. They had me sit in the waiting room (yes the one I couldn’t be in an hour ago) with my Dad for 30 minutes until the doctor was ready. SMH

We met with the doctor for 30 minutes, made appointments for more testing and then started to 2 hour drive home. By the time I got home, I was exhausted. I was met at the door by Einstein and both dogs. All of them started barking at me and demanding my attention. I have nothing left to give. I made a quick dinner, played with the dogs for 20 minutes, and tried to listen to Einstein tell me about his last day of work. I’m exhausted. I’m actually ready for bed, but won’t make it there for a few more hours I’m sure. and I’m also sure that I will wake up tired tomorrow and do it all again. Odds are 50/50 that covid guidelines will have changed again by the morning. It may be an adventure…who knows?