6.04.2012

Monday Memories With My Mom

The Adventures of Caring for a Mom With Alzheimer's Disease  
     Things were fairly quiet, so I took last Monday (Memorial Day) off.  As you can see from the pics below, we visited my mom the Sunday before Memorial Day.  I brought the kids and we had a good time.
     Then...
     Tuesday I received a call on my cell from the Medical Team (the in-house medical staff at my mom's place).  They basically said that my mom was in the hallway and seemed pale, sweaty and disoriented.  They took her vitals and said her sugar was normal and her blood pressure was slightly elevated.  They asked if I wanted to have her taken anywhere to be checked.  I said no, let me come over there and see how she is.  I also asked them to check her thermostat in her apartment to make sure her air conditioning was on when needed. 
     When I got there, she was at lunch.  I peeked over the balcony to see if she was in her normal place and she was.  I then went down to the dining room to peek if "the Don" was at his table (the one his family switched him to...to be further away from my mom and with men only).  He was not there.  I waited for my mom back in her apartment.  She did not seem any more "off" to me than usual.  I sat with her, held her hand, and tried to imagine what was going on with her and what it must be like to be in her world.  I was beginning to have some suspicions.  Once I felt comfortable she was ok, I left and told the Med Team to keep me posted and keep an eye on her.  I am so grateful that they obviously do this!
     The next day, Wednesday, I received another call from the Med Team who indicated that she appeared to be wandering the halls, seemed to have more of a loss of her sense of time, and a bit paranoid.  They said she wasn't up and ready to go to breakfast like usual and just more out of sorts.  They were calling for permission to get the behavioral nurse back with my mom.  (This is the same person who helped her when she first moved in...get her oriented and into a routine, etc...)  I said, of course.  I also told the Med Team person (who I have gotten to know a bit) that I was having suspicions that Don's family had switched his lunch and dinner mealtimes to keep him away from spending time with my mom.  I told her I was not certain, but if that was the case my mom may be extra disoriented because her routine has been disrupted.  She understood and agreed.  I asked that Kim, the behavioral nurse, give me a call when she could.
     I really started thinking about the series of events and was feeling very sad for my mom.  I decided to visit again on Thursday.  At one point, she mentioned that she ran into Don "leaving dinner" and so she sat with him a bit.  She said she cleaned his glasses for him and joked that they are always so dirty.  She also mentioned that "the Don" said he was going to grow a goatee for my mom!  Ha!!!! 
      I had brought my mom an orange cream shake from Arby's.  (She had seen an advertisement for it and asked for one!)  I decided to try to curl my mom's hair...there still isn't much to curl.  I then walked her down to lunch.  On the way, she said, "Don probably won't be there...he doesn't usually go to breakfast because he's a big sleepy head."  (Note to self, she knows she usually sees him at meals and she is thinking about him...)
     I stopped in the Med Team's office and told them I noticed a scab forming on my mom's knee.  She does not have any idea where it came from.  I am assuming she fell as I cannot figure how else that would happen.  I asked if they would check her out and they agreed.  In the midst of talking about my mom, I got tearful realizing that all of this was likely triggered by the change made by Don's family.  Am I an expert?  No.  Do I know my mom?  Yes...
     (Ooops, I know this is getting long, but it helps me to document these things...)  The behavioral nurse called me Friday.  She is very nice.  She is the one who told me that there was no reason for my mom and Don not to see each other.  She also said that if the family was so against it, they should consider putting him in an all male facility.  I updated her on what I know.  I like her and feel confident she will help.  She also commented that they are still going to see each other, even with the meal time change.  She made an appointment for my mom to be seen by their on staff physician today.  She will be back in touch with me after meeting with my mom a few times.
     Kristin and I paid another visit yesterday.  Kristin is sooooo good with my mom.  She is patient, understanding and loving.  I am so grateful for that!!  My mom mentioned that she wanted to introduce me to Don, but that he was a sleepy head and not at lunch...   I told her it was ok, and that I had met him before.  My mom was glad!
     On the way out, Kristin and I picked up the June edition of the American House newsletter.  On the car ride home I asked Kristin to look through it and tell me if there was anything exciting going on (always trying to get the kids to read).  Kristin said, "there's a picture..."Don and Mary Dancing at the Birthday Bash".  Don's birthday was in May and they have monthly celebrations.  I was so happy to see that they had managed to find each other...in spite of being separated!!
   If I haven't lost you yet, stay tuned..........!! 
    

Kristin Showing Grandma Pictures
Kristin Played "Sweet Caroline" for Grandma...and they sang!
Hanging Out in the Billiard Room

Grandma is Mortified By Kristin's Mint Green Nail Polish and has
declared she is going au naturale!!
I layed out my mom's flag shirt for Memorial Day...she still forgot to wear it until I called her on Memorial Day

Coming in from a chat on the balcony
Wish This Wasn't Blurry...Need to Read Camera Directions

Love Prevails!?  Stay tuned...

4 comments:

Kerri said...

So glad they were able to dance at Don's birthday bash! It really tugs at my heart to hear that Don's daughters are trying to keep them apart. No matter what your sitaution...everyone just needs a little love...what's so wrong with that? It's kind of sad really. Even in the midst of alzheimers or dimentia or whatever...it's nice to know that people still just want to be loved.
Your mom looks so happy in those pictures with her grandaughter.

Tinky said...

What wonderful pictures; your mother looks so engaged! It sounds as though the staff is working on a way for the lovebirds to spend some time together. Hooray for all sorts of love.....

RockinMom said...

I am new to your blog and do not know the back-history of your mom, but wanted to tell you that is was sweet to read about her and "the Don" and your visit(s) with her. Great pictures to document your visit.

Arlene - Caregiver ordinaire said...

Your Mom is very blessed to have you and your young peeps! Great photos... You need to take some of you and your Mom too! :)a