Monday Memories With My Mom*

The Adventures of Caring for a Mom With Alzheimer's Disease
     I do know it's Thursday*, and hopefully you guys don't really care if I don't always post on the "right" day!?  I purposely waited the couple extra days because there wasn't too much to post until yesterday when I knew my mom was scheduled for the MRI I talked about here.  My husband was lined up to leave the office early and pick up the kids from track and soccer and handle dinner.
     I am so thankful that we made it to this appointment date without any ER trips or injuries getting in the way.  Phew!  I also wanted to be sure we didn't miss this appointment for any reason so I went to my mom's apartment early with lunch around noon.  She quickly slurped down the orange cream shake I brought her, but barely ate the roast beef sandwich.  Not too surprising.  Of course, my mom had no idea I was taking her out until I got there and told her. I ended up telling her the MRI was an "x-ray" to make it easier to explain.  Oh, and I would be remiss if I didn't include this part of the story...  On the way out of my mom's building we saw one of the maintenance workers in her hallway.  He greeted my mom by name and then she told him, "my daughter's taking me to the doctor...then she paused and said, "to see if I'm pregnant"!  All I can say folks is...this IS my mom's sense of humor and has been for as long as I can remember!!  In the car, she did get a bit confused of why and where we were going but, as always, I just tried to roll with the questions.  Her neurologist referred us to to another neurologist who works out of a hospital building.  It happens to be my mom's "favorite" hospital and is where she was a patient for a week when she fell down her stairs a couple of years ago, which I posted about here and here.
     I had thought out my strategy ahead of time -- valet parking and using one of the wheelchairs** they keep in the lobby of the building.  This was a lifesaver as my mom walking even from the handicapped parking would have taken quite awhile and probably exhausted her.  Plus, there was a threat of rain.  This facility is pretty awesome (if only I could get that one nasty/rude lady out of my mind from this ER trip.)  A nice volunteer escorted us to the appropriate check-in area.  We were a half hour early, but I decided this was a good thing.  We were a half hour early and check-in was a breeze.  They also ended up doing a blood draw on my mom prior to the MRI.  They said it was to check her kidney function!? 

A Quick Blood Draw Before the MRI
     Our appointment was 3 pm, and finally around 3:20 pm we were taken back to the changing area.  (Can I just mention that I am not good at "driving" a wheelchair!?  I am just not used to it and I had my purse and some of my mom's belongings...  But no, I didn't run into any walls or anything!)  We got my mom into a hospital gown, removed her jewelry and Muffin's collar so she could bring "her" to the MRI.  
     My mom was getting a bit nervous, so I offered her a couple of magazines that were sitting there.  She looked at the People magazine, read a couple of the headlines and crabbily said, "ahhh, not interested"!  I then pick up the other choice which was some random photography magazine with a picture of a bride and groom on the front.  She said, "oh, George Clooney and his wife"!!  This cracked me up!  Apparently, my mom did get the latest Hollywood news this week, I'm assuming from her faithful tv watching.  However, even with "George Clooney" on the front, she wasn't interested.  Thankfully, the wait was not long and they told me it would be about an hour wait after they took my mom back. 
Not Even Interested in George Clooney!?

    So I went back to the first waiting room and did this.  I would have liked to walk around the hospital (you will see why in a minute), but I was afraid the staff or my mom would need me for something.

My Wait...
     It was a good hour before they told me my mom was done.  The tech did mention to me that my mom "moved" a couple times (not a surprise).  I got her dressed and we headed towards the exit, but I did have another idea in the back of my mind.  This hospital is set up to NOT look like a hospital.  There is a main street theme and a hotel/shopping mall feel to it.  It is that way by design and I love it for that reason.  I thought we would take a quick stroll down "Main Street" and see if maybe I could cross another item off my list...  You know I have been desperately wanting to get my mom's hair cut (and colored), but the winter, her recent falls and head injury have really put a damper on that.  I remembered there was a salon in this building, and I had the idea of seeing if anyone there could do a quick cut.  It was a bit after 5 pm and a sign said they were open until 6:30 pm.  So, we went in and the stylist agreed to give us a cut.  There were no other customers at the time and she was only expecting one more.  Although I knew the prices were not going to be the same as "Great Clips", the convenience and necessity would make it well worth it!  
The Fancy Hospital
She Seemed to Enjoy the Shampoo and Pampering

      Thankfully, Lashelle did a great job and was very good with my mom.  When my mom found out her name she said, "Wow, are you French?"  Also, at one point Lashelle said something about my mom's hair being "fuller" in the back to which my mom said, "Just like my a**!"  Anyways, Lashelle got a big kick out of my mom, and she also got a big tip!  I'm so glad it worked out and now my mom looks a little more like my mom!!  I hope to color her hair by Mother's Day, but want to make sure her head is a bit more healed before that happens (on the advice of the nurse).

    Sometimes, it is hard to get my mom to stop talking so I can take her picture.  In the picture on the right she is mad at me because I asked her to be quiet for a minute!!  (Lol...)  
     With the help of the valet, we got back into the car and headed back home.  My mom did want to go home.  Unfortunately, we got caught in some rush hour traffic, and since it was past dinner time at her facility  I picked up some food and got her back to her apartment by 7 pm.  It was a long seven hours, but all in all went pretty well.  Our appointment with the neurology specialist is Tuesday.  I pray that even if there is no solution to my mom's walking issues, he at least will provide me the insights I need to prepare for the next level of care.  I will probably wait to post after that appointment and let you know what he says.  Thanks for following along!

**As a side note -- after investigating the procedure to get a wheelchair, I faxed my mom's prescription for her own wheelchair over two weeks ago.  On that day, I called the medical supply to confirm they received my fax (even though I had a fax confirmation sheet in my hand).  They said they did not.  Soooooo, I faxed the prescription again.  This time when I called they said they did receive it and reviewed it with me briefly over the phone.  On a whim, I called them a couple days ago to check the status of the wheelchair as I know Medicare requires a bunch of red tape to get one (apparently).  Well, they said they "never got" my information. Let's just say I lost my marbles with the guy on the phone....  (Oh, and their manager is "on vacation"!)  Ultimately, I refaxed it and they do now have it, but this was sooooooooo upsetting as I feel I am constantly getting the run around when trying to advocate for my mom!!!  I was hoping she would have her own wheelchair before these appointments, but now that is not likely.  I don't think I could have been more proactive without getting a job there and doing it myself!!!???  (Normally I do write down the name of whomever I speak to, this time I didn't as I was in my car in a library parking lot and thought certainly my two phone calls and two confirmation sheets were enough!?)   Frustrating!!!!!!!