Monday Memories With My Mom

The Adventures of Caring for a Mom With Alzheimer's Disease:  Sleepover Edition
     Well, now that I have put a little distance between last week's ER trip and today, I appreciate even more the fact that I did not "panic" when I received the call that my mom had fallen.  This is largely due to the fact that for the first time ever there are people available to help my mom.  Me and my family are not the "first responders".  After years of worrying not IF...but WHEN something was going to happen to my mom, i.e. her fall down the basement stairs, this is a good place to be.  Of course, this does not take away my concern or feeling that I need to "be there", but a lot of the anxiety is gone.  I could go on and on about this, but you get the idea -- help is good!!
     So, after seeing my mom on Sunday, and then again on Monday I felt she was doing ok.  I called more and remained in touch with the Med Team.  I followed up with her primary care physician, called her Area Agency on aging case manager and tried to make sure she was getting some extra attention from the staff and from us.
     We have had a huge heat wave here in Michigan (this is Michigan! not AZ, TX, FL...).  There have been a few 100 degree days and I have also been checking on my mom because of that.  At one point, I had to make a sign for her thermostat asking that she leave it alone.  I have been there this summer when the heat has been on, when the a/c was set to 54 degrees, or when nothing was on...  This is not good and I just received a pretty high electric bill because of it.  I may have to get a lock box for the thermostat, but for now the sign seems to be working. 
     This year we spent 4th of July at home as we had done lots of celebrating up north the weekend before.  That ended up being a good thing since I got a call around 8:30 pm on the 4th letting me know that my mom's senior complex was without electricity.  They were asking families to pick up their loved ones.  Of course I told them I would be there within 30 minutes.  I think we were all a little excited to be able to rescue grandma and have her stay with us.  After all, she lived with us before, so this would be like old times only much easier since it would be short term.  Then the next though was...it will be short term, right!!??
     Jacob and I set out to rescue grandma.  We found her in her apartment reading a magazine with a flashlight.  It was just around dusk so starting to get dark.  She had started to pack her own bag.  I made some adjustments, took her and Jacob to the car with the a/c on, and then went back to retrieve my mom's medications from the Med Team.  I had to wait about 15 or 20 minutes since they were obviously very busy.  The facility had staff running around helping everyone as well as ambulatory assistance for those who needed it.
     Thankfully, my mom did not seem particularly anxious and Jacob did a good job chatting with her on the way to our house.  I had asked the family to help out and make sure things were ok for grandma.  I knew that we would likely be sleeping on couches as I would not want my mom to go upstairs to any of the bedrooms.  My mom was quite chatty and Kristin quickly knew that grandma would love to see her silly band collection.  My mom is a bit obsessed with silly bands and even though the craze left just as fast as it came, Kristin was able to play a "guess what silly band this is" game for at least an hour with my mom.  Kristin is very patient and my mom seemed to thoroughly enjoy the game.  We also tried to watch the movie "Hitch" although my mom's attention span isn't the best, especially for a movie.
     Then, I got us set up for bed with me sleeping on the nearby couch.  It became clear early on that my mom is still a very light sleeper.  I am not sure if she ever got into a deep sleep.  I tried to sleep with one eye open as I was afraid my mom would roll off the couch or wake suddenly and forget where she was.  That was not the biggest problem.  My mom talked to Lucky (the dog) every time he moved she would say, "Lucky, grandma's here!  Lucky, come see grandma.  Lucky where are you...come see grandma!!".  She would also wake me to ask where Lucky was...  Then, around 4;30 am the motion light on our deck went on and we had some very high winds come through and then a storm.  I turned on the tv to see what was going on and make sure we were not having any tornado issues.  The storm finally blew over about 45 minutes later.  I told my mom we were going to go back to sleep.  Although I am sure I got some sleep, it wasn't good.  I woke around 8 am, made my mom some breakfast, and tried to relax and watch some tv with her and my kids as the gradually woke up. 
     After checking the DTE power outage website, it appeared my mom's power was still out.  I was growing nervous about how we would spend our day with grandma in this major heat.  Around 11 am I called my mom's place and they indicated that the power was back on!!!  Yay!!  I really felt it important to get her back into her routine as soon as possible.  Kristin did not want her to go and my mom seemed to be in no hurry to leave, but I told them we would leave in an hour.  I am constantly having to remind myself I often have to talk to my mom like I am talking to a child.  (I know you want to stay and play, but we have to go -- no whining!).  This would be great...if I wasn't talking to....my mom!!??  I wanted to get her back there for lunch.  I find it easier to drop her off when there is something going on (i.e. lunch) as it is less noticeable than if I brought her back and just had her sitting in her apartment. 
     All in all, it was some good quality time with my mom and grandma.  It was also a definite reminder of how difficult it can be to care for her, constantly trying to anticipate her needs, avoiding anything that could be unsafe, give her medications, prepare her meals, and just generally be available to her. 
     She remains lucky to have a nice place to call home and we remain ever grateful that she does!!
Look Who's Arriving at Dusk - Grandma!
Jake Happily Loaned Grandma His Tiger Pillow Pet While Kristin Started the Silly Band Guessing Game
Kristin Would Lay the Silly Band In Her Hand and Grandma Would Guess the Shape...Sometimes Asking for a "Clue"
Oh, Good Morning Grandma!! (and her dog..."Muffin")


Arlene - Caregiver ordinaire said...

Cindy! I can so relate to this! It's really hard to take Mom out of her routine and then get back into it. What a great adventure - your kids have grown into such nice people. All a reflection of you! :)a

Heather (GurleeGirrl) said...

I love how involved the kids are with Grandma - mine worship my mom :)

I'm sure she loved the little getaway but was probably happy to get home!

Kerri said...

I agree with Arlene...your kids are so patient and kind...a true reflection of how they see you caring for your mom. Although it was so nice you were able to be there for your mom and take over for the night, I can tell it made you appreciate eve more that your mom is able to live in a safe place nearby. :)