Monday Memories With My Mom

The Adventures of Caring for a Mom With Alzheimer's Disease
     I was hoping this wasn't a trend...  Now, I'm not so sure.  This past Friday I saw that I had missed two calls on my iPhone...from the "Med Team".  Of course, my heart sank.  My kids were off of school last Friday.  I had run my daughter up for a salon appointment and realized I forgot my phone.  We let my kids know to call my daughter's phone if they needed us.  We ended up being gone about 45 minutes because my daughter started browsing at some clothes.
     I rarely forget my phone...  The two messages said my mom had fallen in her apartment near her chair.  She had about a 2 inch cut on her head.  They were transporting her to the hospital.  My heart sank again.  (Remember it was only about two weeks before that I was sent to the Emergency Room for another fall....)  They did not indicate which hospital so I had to track down the Med Team to get the information.  When I spoke to the Supervisor, she indicated that my mom had pressed her medical alert bracelet and also eluded to the puddle of blood that had formed when they found her...  By the time I found the message on my phone, it was a good hour and a half since they had initially tried to reach me.

     My husband had just walked in the door from a business trip.  I grabbed Jacob to come with me and we headed for the Emergency Room.  I also contacted my brother to let him know what was going on.  By the time I arrived it was about 5 pm, so a good two hours had gone by.  My mom was laying in an exam room with Muffin.  She was a bit of a bloody mess, her clothes, her hair.  I saw that she had seven staples on the top left side of her head.  She seemed relatively calm.  She was glad to see me and Jacob.  It wasn't long before a doctor came in and told me her CT scan looked okay, but to follow up with my mom's neurologist as there was some indication of NPH (normal pressure hydrocephalus).  She indicated my mom would be discharged shortly.

     I asked if she could be cleaned up a bit more before I took her home.  I had tried to wipe her face with water and paper towel, but soon after a nurse came in and did the best he could to rinse her hair with a damp washcloth.  The way she was looking, it was possible I would be accused of a crime if I got pulled over on the way home!!??  
     My brother was not getting off of work until 6pm so I knew the earliest he could meet me at the hospital would be 6:20pm or so.  Very quickly, a nurse or assistant came in with my mom's discharge paperwork.  She was very short with me and rude as I indicated I was trying to reach my brother to take my mom back home.  She basically asked me how I got there and if I had a car (in other words, no lady you're going to take her home 'cause we are kicking her out of here now!)  When she handed me the discharge paperwork I started to look into the envelope it was in to review it and she immediately said I didn't need to look at it and to just give it to her care facility.  She grabbed a wheelchair and suggested my son Jacob wheel her out.  I asked if we could have assistance getting my mom in the car and she said someone should be out there to help (nobody was).  

     So, by 5:50 pm we were being kicked out of the ER.  I am assuming 6pm was time for a shift change and this lady was determined to be long gone by then.  Who knows.  I wasn't happy with her people skills.  
     On a brighter note, it appears if you are bleeding you do get faster service at the ER!!!??
     We drove my mom back after I stopped and grabbed her a sandwich and some lemonade. The Med Team again was fairly helpful in helping us get her situated back in her apartment.  I was surprised when I went into my mom's apartment to see two carpet cleaners there who were just finishing up steam cleaning the area where she fell.  That's when I knew it must have really been a mess!  I grabbed her walker and went back down to the lobby while the carpet cleaners finished up.  I shared the discharge instructions with the Med Team staff.  They filled me in a bit on her fall.  We are assuming she hit the corner of the wall.  Also, she may have been trying to pick something up off the floor -- but God only knows!

     I asked my brother to come by after 8pm and sit with her for awhile..  The Med Team indicated they would check on her through the night every two hours.  We left her sitting comfortably in her chair knowing my brother would be there soon.  Of course, I hated to leave and my biggest fear is another fall, particularly before this one heals.  Yet I worry about these things on a daily basis and aside from confining her to a bed or wheelchair I am not sure how to handle this.  Not sure at all...
     When my brother arrived he found my mom was in bed so he sat with her for a bit.  I am assuming the Med Team got her into bed, which is a good thing.  The next morning I updated Sheri, my mom's private aide, and I knew she would take good care of her  It's sweet, she calls her "my Mary" and says how she doesn't want anything to happen to "her Mary".
      The following night me and my husband stopped in about 9pm to see how my mom was doing and I brought her a few things.  She was in bed but probably not sleeping.  Being the light sleeper she is, she heard us come in the door immediately and said "who's there"??  So, we came and told her we just were in the area and wanted to see how she was.  I was glad to see she was in bed, although it was relatively early and I'm not sure if she slept.  My brother went again yesterday to check on her and visit.  She seems okay and does not really talk about her head or the fall which I guess is a good thing.  Tomorrow Sheri will be able to wash her hair which will be a good thing!

     I also just got off the phone with the Med Team.  Home health care is going to pay a couple of visits to my mom and remove the staples next week.  I am glad for that as it gives me a little window to get her healed and follow up with her primary care physician and neurologist.
     I know this post is dragging, but I want to discuss the NPH possibility with her neurologist.  It could be a reason for her falls.  To be honest, I am quite sure I will get the speech that it is a normal course of Alzheimer's for my mom to lose her balance and even her ability to walk.  I am hoping he can give me a reason why he is sure it is not NPH related.  I will be walking a fine line to get him to entertain the possibility that there is more going on than Alzheimer's.  I hope he can give us some guidance on how to deal with these falls or the cause, but honestly I'm not optimistic he will have much to offer.  I know that sounds pessimistic, but past experiences have shown me that there is only so much the doctors or I can do....
     Prayers for my mom are being accepted and appreciated!!



Jennifer Anderson said...

Prayers for you, your family and mom are being sent!! This post is heavy on my heart. You are a wonderful daughter and such a wonderful advocate. I'm glad she is on the mend and I hope you are getting some rest and encouragement too.

Jennifer Anderson said...

Prayers for you, and your family and are your mom are being sent! This post is heavy on my heart. You are a wonderful, loving daughter and a wonderful advocate. I am glad she is on the mend and I hope you are getting some rest and encouragement too!

yaya said...

So glad your Mom is OK and no fractures were involved. That ER nurse should be horse whipped but perhaps they have a satisfaction survey..our hospital does for all departments...and you should give a full description of her non-people skills. Ok, so maybe a whipping is a bit harsh..we all have bad days. I always try to remember that maybe my day isn't so great, but the patient is the one with the injury and they are definitely having a hard day! I do hope the Doctor has some info to help you figure out how to continue to keep her safe and healthy. Hang in there!

Julia said...

I'm glad that your mom didn't had any broken bones and sad that she fell again.

I agree with Yaya, the Er nurse should be horse whipped. She has a bad attitude and needs to change it to a more people friendly one.


Kim said...

Ugh, that sounds like the nurse that discharged my mother after a 2 hour recovery time after a friggin mastectomy!!!! And nobody helped me get her into the car either.
Just from my experience, it seems kind of early in your mothers stage for her to be falling like that (and so frequently). I would suggest you have them check for a UTI. This happened to us a few times.
Sending you hugs and prayers.

Jennifer said...

I hope you didn't run into that lady again!