As I've mentioned earlier, or at least hinted, Mama has developed dementia. It breaks my heart, and I know that those of you who have seen a parent wander wide-eyed and lost down that same path... you understand the disbelief, denial, and excuses a daughter makes when she doesn't want to see it. I recall telling Mom many, many months ago that she wasn't waking up from her dreams quite fast enough. I told her little white lies about things to make her feel better about not understanding them. And I told those same white lies to myself. The trouble is, I think Mama knew all along. I was the one who fell for every lie I told. My son gently told me many times that his granny had dementia. And she does.
I hate it, and I won't go in to anything personal because if you've been there, you know, and if you haven't, God blesses you every day with that gift... The thing is.. He has blessed us with the disease itself, as well, because every day is still a gift.
To be honest, I was supremely tired and awfully crabby/angry/cranky... and when Mom developed a UTI on top of the dementia. Nobody was sleeping ... at. all.... I didn't realize what was happening, and I just got overwhelmed. A week ago Monday, she began to show signs of more infection (low grade fever, rash, lethargy) so I called 911 to take her to the hospital on my doctor's and home health nurse's orders. Mom has to travel by ambulance to and from the hospital (at $1200 a pop!!!) Her confusion and my exasperation and lack of knowledge had reached its peak, so I got everything in order and even talked to her about going to the local nursing home after she was released. She wasn't too thrilled, but she agreed it might be best. (That was a sure sign of her emotional condition because she really doesn't want to go at all.) With everything in place, I proceeded to feel a sense of freedom and surety I haven't felt in years. I admit it. I thought it would be the best place for her and the best situation for all of us. (And it might be. But...)
I began to cry. Now, those of you who think you know me believe I cry easily, and I do tear up quite fast. I have a tender heart and an empathetic streak that melts with TV commercials or memories or sad songs on the radio. However, it has been a long, long time since I cried all day. My bouts with tears are usually rather intense but over in a few minutes. I don't think I even cried long and hard when my precious Daddy passed away... I figured there was no need because I wouldn't ever really have a reason to stop crying about that since he wasn't coming back... so why start? Pragmatic Romantic?
But I cried, and I cried... I had no peace about it although I made all the phone calls to all Mom's friends to let them know, and I got nothing but support and agreement that it was the best for her. (and it probably might be, but...) So at midnight I texted my son and said I couldn't do it. He told me that if I thought it was wrong, it probably was... (Such a jewel, that one.) He said he was happy to continue giving up great, huge portions of every day to help me take care of Mama. So I prepared last Thursday to bring her home. Our doctor, who is known for his gruff attitude and intelligent decisions, as well as his impatience, decided differently. He put the paperwork in for an extended stay to assist Mom with some physical therapy and to give us a little breather to make sure her UTI had cleared. She could have stayed seven more days, and believe me, sleeping has been so wonderful that I thought about it. However, we decided to keep seven days in case she needs more help later on. Good old Medicare requires a sixty day wait if we use up all the days now...
Christmas above and six months later birthday below... such a long, physically and mentally challenging journey for Mom...
So.... short story long, she's coming back home today. She's waiting impatiently I know for an ambulance to be free. I just heard it will be after 3:00. I hope to have more patience, a better approach/shedule/diet/plan... whatever it takes. I just know that I couldn't give up the intimate knowledge of how she was doing every minute. When she puckers her mouth a certain way like she is thinking about a straw, I know she's thirsty. Shen she wrinkles her nose, I know it itches... When she is just plain silly with the idea that a little girl is trapped in a blanket over in the corner, and she yells, "I'm speaking on her behalf! Help! Help! I'm trapped in the blue blanket!"... I know it is the same woman who kept everything completely organized and in her head for almost a century... 92 years... and I check the blanket to make sure she isn't telling the truth...
I appreciate and understand all of you and all the decisions, hard choices you have made whether you have kept your parents at home or found good, caring nursing facilities for them... Both are excellent choices and both are blessed, I'm sure, by the loving Heavenly Father.
This is a catch-up, throw-it-out-there blog. I will resume my normal, erratic bursts of energetic seasonal decorating and half finished projects shortly.
Whimsy and Hugs!