Monday, February 16, 2009

Mixed Reports

We got quite a bit of snow yesterday, and 80's been chains-over-the-mountains all weekend, so we were right not to try to get to Palo Alto.

Dad's doing well: yesterday he used the portable concentrator and his scooter to get to breakfast and dinner -- he didn't have lunch, unfortunately, although he always has Ensure in the apartment -- and after dinner, he used the scooter to explore the facility a little bit. Hurrah for independence! Gary's suggested that we try to get a motorized wheelchair from the VA; I asked his doctor about that a few weeks ago and was told that it was very difficult, but I can't remember why. Maybe because he can still use his arms, which in theory means that he can push the wheelchair himself? Anyway, thank heavens he has the scooter! When the weather's nice, he'll even be able to go outside by himself, onto the beautiful patio overlooking the mountains.

Things in Philly are less positive, unfortunately. Mom's being discharged from the rehab aspect of the nursing home on Tuesday, because she simply isn't making any progress. She wants to go home, but my sister -- with full support from me, Gary, and Dad -- has reluctantly concluded that this is impossible, that taking care of her there will just be too difficult. At $20 an hour, around-the-clock home care is too expensive, and two flights of very steep stairs separate my mother's bedroom, on the second floor, from my sister and brother-in-law's, in the basement. Mom's bathroom is next to her bedroom, but at this point, she can't even use that without significant help.

Yesterday, I called her four or five times in the space of fifteen minutes. Each time she picked up, but I couldn't make her hear me (or answer; I'm not sure which). I had to content myself with saying, "I love you, Mom," and hanging up, hoping she'd heard.

This morning around 3:00, she fell out of bed at the nursing home. She's okay, but my sister's very glad this didn't happen at home, where she'd have lain there for four hours before anyone realized what had happened.

So the decision seems clear: Mom has to be admitted to the nursing home as a resident. My sister still feels guilty about it, though, and Mom's going to be miserable and feel betrayed. She just wants to go home.

I'm glad I'm not in my sister's shoes right now, although I could wind up there soon enough.

Every day without a crisis here is a good day. Yesterday, I even wrote a new poem, and plan to send it out when it's had time to age a bit.


  1. Anonymous6:42 AM

    A new poem - that is so wonderful!

    I am sorry that your mother's health is so iffy at the moment, but I am glad that you and your sister are feeling clarity and consensus about the necessary decisions on how best to take care of her.

    Keep up the good work,


  2. So glad your Dad is getting around a bit! Perhaps his antidepressant is already having some effect... Is your Mom hospice-appropriate, do you think? If so, she could perhaps get some services that would improve her comfort without any additional cost to your sister and you, which could be a win. Congrats on the poem!! Prayers continuing of course!


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