Monday Memories With My Mom

The Adventures of Caring for a Mom With Alzheimer's Disease
    First of all, thank you all or your kind comments.  They truly lift me up and give me strength to continue doing the best I can to oversee my mom and her care.  As you may or may not remember, I ended my last post saying something about possibly not posting for awhile and giving this blog some attention in the other areas of my life.  While there are many other areas of my life, it was not to be.  Things are busy and tonight, my heart is heavy.
     As a reminder, I hope everyone understands by now these posts were never designed to exploit -- this is all designed to educate and raise awareness of what me and so many other caregivers are going through.
     I took Jacob and Kristin yesterday afternoon to visit my mom.  The minute we walked into her apartment, we knew something was wrong!!!

     My mom's apartment was like a sauna!!  She had the heat set at 90 degrees and by the time we were there the temperature was well on its way -- it was 88 in her apartment.  Her hair was wet and she was sweating.  Sitting calmly.  Awhile longer and I'm convinced she would have passed out.  The kids were a great help, and I asked them to help Grandma out to the balcony to cool off.  We opened the doors and windows.  I adjusted the thermostat and eventually turned on the air conditioner to cool off the apartment faster. 

     I went to find the staff to let them know what was going on.  Outlined in my posted Plan of Care it indicates for staff to check my mom's thermostat morning and night.  I can almost guarantee that has not been happening...along with lots of other things...again!!  It was hard not to get angry.  I could feel my frustration building!
     The staff on weekends is a skeleton crew to say the least.  There is no actual "supervisor", only kind of a "lead" medical staff.  I called their attention to my immediate issues.  I got an earful from the lead girl on the medical staff.  I think she was just blowing smoke...she happens to be the same person who I caught not doing her job in June.

     Once the temperature got back down into the 70s we went back into the apartment.  I did a lot of tidying up, but any hopes of coloring my mom's hair disappeared as the focus was on getting the apartment comfortable.  It took over an hour, and once the temperature reached about 75 degrees we had to get going as it was a school night.

I put this goofy temporary deterrent over my mom's thermostat in hopes of keeping my mom's hands off of the settings.  I used to have a sign on the thermostat, but it kept falling off.  My mom is not able to determine the proper temperature nor properly adjust the thermostat (obviously).
In spite of the heat spell, Grandma managed to provide a lot of laughs to the kids.  They do love their Grandma.
We made small talk about the Tigers and found my mom's Tiger hat.  She actually knew right where it was.  I was told to contact the Med Team supervisor in the morning.  I also learned last week that my new Area Agency on Aging Case Manager is acting as a liaison for the Medicaid residents in the building.  She now has an office on site at my mom's senior facility.  This could be a good thing if she listens and follows through.  The case manager checks in with me the first of each month for updates.  I told her that staff told me my mom had fallen on October 1st early in the morning.  I explained that I had concerns about their procedures.  I will save those details for another post.  I was encouraged that there is a liaison who has been placed there specifically for the Medicaid residents.  I took this also as a sign that I must not be the only one having issues with the medical staff and their services.

     At 1:15 am this morning I received a call on my cell phone from the Med Team.  My mom had again fallen.  They found her at 12:45 am.  The said she was on her way to the bathroom.  They said her nose was bleeding and she had carpet burns on her face.  They also said she "did not want to go to the hospital".  (By the way, who at that age says they "do" want to go to the hospital???)  She thought my mom was okay and said she cleaned her up and put her to bed.
     I could not sleep after that call.  For whatever reason, her sweltering apartment combined with this fall has just about got me waving the white flag.  I spent the morning on the phone with the various powers that be.  The powers that be that arrive on Monday mornings.  The staff doctor took a look at my mom and the nurse took her vitals. They also said my mom almost fell again when they got her out of bed this morning.  Later, the nurse called to tell me the doctor believes my mom's nose is broken.  They will order an x-ray, probably tomorrow.  It will be done on site.  They will see if there is any further damage to her face.  I don't believe any of these checks would have been made had I not called.
     Apparently, there is not much to be done for a broken nose.
     Lucky for me when I sent my brother a text to give him an update he happened to have the day off work and planned to go see my mom.  We met for lunch and caught up on some things.  He then went to see how my mom was.  I wanted to go but had some things to take care of.  I asked that he let me know how she was and send me a picture.  I am sure she was happy to get her frozen Coke!!!
      Here is the picture I got.  Tears filled my eyes.  I know it could be worse...  I'm trying not to feel defeated, but it's hard. 
     It is so hard to see her struggle and feel helpless.  Wondering if I could have done something last night during our visit to prevent this!?  How many falls can she endure?

Tonight I pray for direction, quick healing, support from the staff, and
that she doesn't fall again!



yaya said...

Cindy, I'm so sorry that your Mom and your family are going through this. I would certainly continue to be the "squeaky wheel" at that facility and make them accountable. Just knowing how diligent you are in checking on her care should make them double careful with her. I wonder what happens to those elderly who don't have caring family. I also wonder if there are ways of alerting the state board that comes and gives ratings to facilities? In any case I hope she is OK and you're right about fixing her nose. I'm betting they will let it go. I know when my Mom fell and broke her nose (along with her shoulder and pelvis) they didn't do anything. I also know my Mom thought her nose looked better broken! She does crack me up sometimes! I'll keep you all in my prayers and hope the rest of the week is a good one.

Kim said...

Cindy, I am so sorry. It breaks my heart to read this.
What is it about the thermostat?? We dealt with the same thing at home years ago and I had to tack a fake cover over ours so she would forget it was there. I would come home and it would be 90 degrees in the house.
All I can say is that you are doing the best you can for your Mom and she is blessed to have you in her corner. So many have no one to fight for them.
Wish I was closer to give you a hug.

Donna said...

Oh Cindy...started out making me smile with the cute pictures of your Mom and the kids and then the end brought tears to my eyes. I tried to bring my Mom to my house to stay with me for a few days last night so that I could make sure she's eating/taking her medication the right way but she wants to be in her own house...but then she calls me 5 times a day to tell me how miserable she feels and there's nothing I can do to make her feel better! Sigh...hugs to you...Let's make a date soon!

Kerri said...

Hi Cindy. Your moms face brought tears to my eyes...I can only imagine how you feel. Why is it just about every time you go to see your mom something just isn't right. What if you wouldn't have gone to see her when you did and found her apartment to be nearly 90 degrees? It seems your mom is needing more checking in on than they are providing her. I bet there are other residents whose needs are also not being met. :( I'm glad your brother was able to go check on her...you need a break sometimes.

The Pawlak Family said...

Thanks for the post. I'll update my mom and dad on the latest.

It seems like just yesterday your mom and I were at the civic... ordering extra buttered popcorn!

Hugs and prayers to you all.