Welcome to Caring Bridge! I have created this site to provide an insight into mom's state of health, as well as any other information that might provide solice to her children who cannot be with her during this final stage in her life. It is, however, not limited to those immediate family members, but open to all who have loved and cared for her over the years that may be interested in how she is doing. I will try to post as often as I can to keep you all up to date.
Mom has been diagnosed as suffering from demensia, which has progressed to Alzheimer's as well as acute kidney disease. Her condition has deteriorated rapidly over the past six months and she is in need of constant care, unable to maintain her balance when standing or walking without assistance and her walker, unable to wash or dress herself, and often even requires help to eat. Her speach is very limited because she cannot remember the words to express what she wants to say. As a result, she speaks unintelligible garble. She is switching back to German more and more, but it is my believe (although I do not understand German) that she is garbling the German words as well. If you have called to talk to mom lately, you are already aware of this. She is at a stage now where she doesn't even remember that you called, when you do. She also forgets visits and sometimes gets depressed thinking that no one calls or comes to see her. When this happens, I remind her of all those who have come to see her and who have called . I am by no means saying that you shouldn't call, I am just letting you know what to expect if you do. If you do choose to, please try to call in the morning. She is more alert and (possibly) able to talk (not guaranteed). As the day goes on, she tires and when she tires her symptoms become worse.
Most recently, it was suggested that I contact hospice to see if she qualified for the program. After an initial evaluation, she was declared eligible for hospice care as of last week. She now has a nurse who visits every week and one who comes twice a week to bathe and dress her. We have also enlisted the help of the "Visiting Angels" to come in twice a week to also help care for her and I have them walking and exercising her as long as she is still able to do so. This also allows me to get out and run some errands while they are here.
The worst part of her condition is that she also has arthritis so bad in her hands that she is unable to do anything with them. This woman who had lived such an active busy life, is forced to a life of sitting in a chair for most of the day. She gets so bored sometimes and I think that is why she fidgets. Yes, she fidgets! If she is not fidgeting with her clothes (usually with her dress until its up around her waist if not off all together), it's her food, or anything that might be sitting on the table next to her (usually the phone which she picks up, stares at then tries to return it to it's cradle, until eventually dropping it on the floor). I have tried giving her little things to do, like folding my dish towels or folding grocery bags, and she is happy to help. Ater folding for quite some time, she usually hands them back to me in a big ball. I thank her for her help and tell her she did a great job! For those few moments, she feels useful again and I wish I could think of other things that she could do. (open to suggestions). It brings tears to my eyes sometimes when I remember the strong, determined and independent woman that I remember her to be, to see her in this state!
This week has been a busy one for mom with visits from the nurse, the social worker and the chaplain to do an initial evaluation, as well as the normal visits. So far she has been very cooperative with the nurses that come and I think she even likes the company. They have issued her a hospital bed with bars and a bed alarm to prevent her getting out and falling as she has been. It appears to be working, she hasn't fallen all week! YEA mom!
Yesterday mom was obsessed with the words "Oh God" and would, out of the blue, sigh and say "Oh God". After about the umpteenth time, I told her that if she was going to say those words all day, she should add something to the end and make it a prayer. For example, "Oh God, thank you for allowing me another day", or "Oh God, let there be peace in the world". She just looked at me and chuckled in agreement. Five minutes later, I hear "Oh God......" with a sigh.
As for me, I will continue to pray for the patience to make her remaining days here happy ones. Amen!