Jun 27, 2019 Latest post:
Nov 25, 2019
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.
For the past several years, we've noticed that mom's short term memory was beginning to fade a bit, but at 85, seemed natural. As the years progressed and she moved in with us (Blanca and Jim), we began to notice that the memory loss was increasing and spoke to the doctors about it. They did say that this was a natural progression for some people but unfortunately, it occurs more intensely with some, while little or none with others. Mom falls into the first category. Blanca kept her busy by having her help with her school work prep and collating, cutting and laminating school work for the kindergarten classes. She did very well and loved doing it because it kept her busy and more importantly, she felt she was contributing. This past year, particularly the past 6 months, her abilities to do the same work began to diminish. More and more often, she would get confused on what she was to do or how to do it. To add to the problem, mom began to get chronic infections that would also alter her thinking abilities. We ended up in ER 4 times this past year, each requiring a hospital and rehab stay from 1 to 4 weeks in length. During her 1st ER visit, the doctor did say he believed she had the early signs of dementia and it's effects would increase over time.
Two weeks ago, we again noticed early signs of the infection and back to ER we went. We caught the infection early and she seemed to recover quickly. While in the rehab facility, she had several setbacks. Last week on Tuesday, she slept all day and was having problems controlling her muscles while she slept. When she would wake up, she was very incoherent and said she just wanted to sleep. The next day, she was sitting up in her bed having breakfast as if nothing had happened. Her doctor explained that the dementia was beginning to take control and that she would experience some "good days" and some "bad days" and "in between days". There would be no rhyme or reason as to which days would be good, bad or in between. He then suggested that if the family was open to the idea, that when she would be released, it would be under a palliative hospice care program. This would insure 2 things: one, that she would be made as comfortable as possible at home where she wants to be, and second, it would save her from being brought back to ER and the rehab facility, both of which he said are extremely draining on people, especially the elderly.
Mom has said for quite a while now that she is ready to go be with Papa. We can all completely understand and respect that. It's been tough on her these past few years losing a lot of her independence and freedoms and needing help with all the basic necessities of life. We are now more concerned about her quality of life and quite simply, she's tired. So we have decided to take the doctors advice and she is scheduled to be discharged this Friday (June 28) in the afternoon and will be under the palliative hospice care with Sharp Hospice. The Sharp nurse explained that mom falls into the 1st of 4 categories of hospice. She is going to be receiving visits from the Sharp nursing staff 1 - 2 times a week. They will monitor vitals signs, check to make sure she is comfortable and will provide any nursing care that is needed. A CNA will come 2 times a week to help her with some of the basics like showering and also checking to see if she needs any support/equipment etc. to keep her comfortable. A doctor is available 24/7 if needed to answer questions or even stop by to check her. The nurse explained that there are people in category one of this hospice who are currently out on cruises and vacations so don't let the term "hospice" scare you into thinking anything is imminent.
As time goes on, mom will move into the next category which will be more frequent visits until she reaches category 3 which is the time when the body says its a few weeks away from passing. Category 4 is when the time is imminent and we are a few hours to days. There is no set timetable as nobody has an expiration date stamped on them. A person can stay in category 1 for months and even if she passes the "6 month" hospice estimate, it can be renewed for 90 days at a time. A person can also jump from category 1 to 4 in a short period of time. There is just no set pattern. Our family believes that when the Good Lord is ready for mom, she will know and she is at peace and comfort and ready to go.
As I said above, our main goal is to keep mom as comfortable as possible and let her live her remaining time with peace and dignity. Family and friends are more than welcome to call or come by and visit but we would ask that you call ahead just so we can make sure it's a good time for her. I'll keep posting updates here on a regular basis. If you have a question please feel free to leave it in a post and either I or my brother or sisters will provide the information if we can. Thank you all for all your support, love and friendship. Mom is very blessed to have such a wonderful support system and strong bonds with all her family and friends.
If you want to visit, please send me a text message or call me on my cell (619-322-5983) and I'll get back to you as soon as possible. We would also ask that we wait for visits until after mom has been back home for a few days so we can get her comfortable and settled.