Monday "Memories" With My Mom

The Adventures of Caring for a Mom With Alzheimer's Disease
     I am posting on Sunday evening instead of Monday because of the significance of today for me...and my mom.
     One year ago today was a life changing day for us.  February 26, 2011 was the morning my mom was found at the bottom of her basement stairs by her neighbor.  Her head was cut open and she was bleeding.  Obviously she had fallen, but we will never know for sure how it happened or exactly how long she was there (although we know it was less than 12 hours).
     I think it was about 10:30 am when the call came.  I was in the shower getting ready for my goddaughter, Sarah's, wedding day.  Sarah is my BFF Nancy's daughter.  Kristin knocked on the bathroom door and said, "telephone, it's Aunt Melissa".  I told her I couldn't talk right now.  Kristin said, "she said it's an emergency".  (Ugh!  My heart sank...I knew it was about my mom.)  The EMT had tried to call me on my cell, but I didn't hear it.  Melissa is my brother's wife and my sister-in-law.  She told me what had happened.  Then the EMT called me and asked me about meds and a hospital of choice, etc.  My brother is a firefighter in the same city as my mom lived, so they know of my mom and my brother.  Thankfully, they transported her to a local Henry Ford Hospital.
     Obviously, I was upset and frantically told my family and kids.  They all wanted to come, so we went in two separate cars the 20 or so minutes to the hospital where my mom was in an ER room.  She was conscious, though disoriented.  She was bruised up and her head was bloody.  It was a weekend (Saturday) and it seemed like forever to get things going at the hospital.  I gave them the medical history, list of medications,, etc..  Slowly but surely they ran tests, took x-rays, etc...
     All the while, my brother was in northern Michigan a few hours away.  The wedding ceremony time was getting closer, I was not ready, and it would take at least 45 minutes to get there.  Knowing how badly I wanted to attend the wedding just added to the stress of an already stressful situation.
     Hours later we eventually confirmed they were going to admit my mom.  My sister-in-law offered to stay with her at the hospital so I could at least make it to the wedding reception as I did miss the ceremony.  It was soooo hard to be convinced I could leave my mom to go to the reception, but I did so badly want to go at least for a little while.  (Did I mention it was snowing and the roads were a little dicey, too?)
     Thanks to my sister-in-law and a neighbor who sat with my mom, I was able to have a bit of fun at the reception although still very worried about my mom and knowing how disoriented she was about where she was and what was happening  To this day, she still does not "remember" the fall or what happened.  She was in the hospital a week.  Lots of testing and care as she slowly gained some strength back.  This was also the beginning of my mom moving in with us for rehabilitation and physical and occupational therapy (and of blogging) as you can see here.

    During the week in the hospital my mom often thought she was in a hotel.  I cannot blame her, as she had her own private room which was as nice as many hotels.  She also developed a fascination for the four stained glass window panes that were above her door.  I am not sure, but I think they reminded her of her some glass in the home she grew up in.

    Fast forward to now...a year later.  Although my mom's physical health is much improved, her overall health is still not good.  Yet we remain grateful she is living contently in a safer environment at a senior living facility getting the help she needs with meals, medications, showering, laundry, housekeeping, she's on Medicaid...and she even has a "beau"!

 Two Girls Passing Time at the Hospital
(both extremely tired with no makeup on)
    Here I am -- freshly tanned from a week long vacation (vacation posts to follow), relaxed and watching the Oscars.  This was probably the first vacation in years I was not  too  worried about my mom.  In fact, the few times I called my mom from vacation, she basically blew me off by saying, "Don's here.  How are the kids?  Love you!."  That's about it.  I did not tell her of our vacation plans for fear of making her unnecessarily anxious. 
So much can happen in a year!

Yesterday my friend, Alyce, had a party for her mother-in-law (Grandma Frog)
at the American House.  It was her 88th birthday!  She has become a good friend to my mom. 
 (Alyce sent me this picture.)


Heather (GurleeGirrl) said...

How scary it must have been for you all. I'm glad that your mom is now in a place where she can enjoy herself and you have the piece of mind that is safe and being cared for! Sounds like a win-win all the way around!

p.s. I stayed a few days at Henry Ford in West Bloomfield - it was the NICEST hospital ever! FOOD was amazing!

Kerri said...

YOu're right....it is amazing what a year can bring. That call you got must have been so scary. It must be a relief to know that your mom is looked after now where she is at. You can even take a vacation and she didn't even know you were gone! Good thing she has someone keeping her company! ;)