Daughter's Eulogy

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Part Two: With God’s Help

On Memorial Day, I received a call from mom’s nurse saying that mom just laid herself down in the middle of the floor.  Mom did not ask for help.  The nurse said your mom must have been tired and just wanted to rest.  She told me that she just placed an alarm on mom’s walker for her safety.  The nurse assured me that mom was OK; I told her nurse that I would be right over.  I had to see mom for myself.

I went up to mom and sat right next to her. She asked me, “Did they call you?  Did they tell you I fell?”  I said, “Mom, they told me that you lay on the floor.”  “No, Julienne, my fingers wouldn’t work.  I was walking and my fingers would not close on walker.   I tried to scream for help . . . nothing came out . . .  no sound so I fell.” 

I asked mom to squeeze my hand.  She could not.  I asked her to try harder.  Her hand started to move a little.  I kept working with her until she could make a fist.  It took several tries to get her to do this.

Just then I saw her psychiatrist, I asked mom if she had talked with him today.  She said, “Yes, I told him I wanted to die.  Are you mad at me?”  I said, “No, mom, I am never mad at you.  I am going to go talk with him.”

After introducing myself as Gilda’s daughter, I asked him if he would give mom something to sleep because she is always complaining that she does not sleep through the night.  I told him mom complains that the nurses holler at her at night when she cannot sleep because she keeps pressing her call button. I thought that if she slept well she might experience less anxiety during the day. 

He said, “Your mom’s dementia is progressing rapidly; you cannot believe everything she tells you.  Your mom is addicted to Ativan. She has been taking this medication for so long Ativan no longer benefits her anymore. If I gave you the amount I give your mom you would sleep for two days. I am going to give her Desyrel 25 milligrams to help her sleep at night.  I will also be giving her 5 milligrams of Lexapro for her depression.  Let’s see if this helps her.” 

After speaking with him, I assured mom that he was going to adjust her medication and that she would feel better and sleep through the night.  I felt I had to give her hope.  When I left I prayed that those words would be her reality. 

My next visit with mom was last Friday.  I was scheduled to take her to the beauty shop.  I had given her a few days hoping I would find her in better spirits.  Before I arrived, I received a call from a social worker at The Community*.  She wanted to meet with me because mom has never stopped complaining and demanding that she be moved out of her present room.  The staff had a meeting this morning.  The only other room available is on the 2nd floor with two other roommates. 

The social worker informed me that mom said she will move anywhere. I explained that I would be there later today to take my mom to her beauty shop appointment.  I suggested that after mom comes back from her hair appointment we could show mom the room and let her decide.  The social worker agreed to meet us then.

When I saw mom, she was filled with anxiety.  She complained constantly.  I cannot remember what order she said the following comments:
“I want to just go to bed and sleep forever.
I get fits that I want to run away.
I am not happy; no one should live like this.
I don’t know why I do half the things I do.
I am always pressing the nurses’ button for help.
I’m afraid I am going to swallow the lemon drops and choke.
I can’t grab my food to eat.
I don’t have my taste buds; I wish I did.
When I lay on my side I go nuts.
Whistles blowing in the morning.
Guys jumping over ladies
The doctor squeezes my face.
I don’t want any ice cream; they ask me every day.
They tell me everything is good, but I am falling apart.”

Her hair appointment did not help much this day.  She kept complaining to Joann.  We both tried to calm her down.  I told her that she could make the choice, but if I were her I would stay in her beautiful garden room on the first floor and try to accept or ignore her roommate.

When we all went to the room on the 2nd floor and mom saw the middle bed in the same size room as she has now.  She shook her head no and said, “You win, Julienne, I won’t move.”  I said, “Mom, I am not trying to win.  I am trying to have you be in the best room possible where you would be more comfortable.”

 At that time, the social worker said we may have no choice.  Mom’s roommate had complained that she pushed her and that mom doesn’t remember to flush the toilet.  I tried to reason with the social worker and ask if she had any other options.  She was going to check and get back with me.

Mom and I went back to her room.  The social worker came back and mentioned that the CEO wanted to speak with me before I left.  I kissed mom goodbye.  I assured her that I would do my best again.

I met with the CEO and the social worker.  The CEO told me that when someone is pushed even if no one gets hurt they have to side with the accusing party.  They must eliminate any violent act or a possible reoccurrence.  The two new roommates need assistance to go to the washroom so mom would never have a problem with her roommates not getting out of the washroom when she needed to go.  Mom’s problem of not flushing would not matter because the nurses would take care of that since there is more nursing staff on that floor.

I said, “I am afraid that mom would go their kicking and screaming especially with her present anxiety level.   You are taking her from the frying pan and putting her directly on the fire.”  I told them that I had asked her psychiatrist to give her something to make her less anxious, but obviously the new medicine had not taken affect yet.  They told me that they would give mom till Monday or Tuesday to get her anxiety under control with her new medication, but they would still move her early next week when she felt better. 

Then I asked if mom is ready for hospice care because I felt she would need it if she was going to be forced to move again.  The CEO suggested I go back to the social worker’s office where she would give me names of different hospice companies.  The Community* would contact her doctor and see if he would sign an order to have her evaluated. 

Yesterday when visiting with mom, her anxiety level seemed to be much better.  However, she still complained that she did not feel good and that she is not happy. She said, “I know you don’t want to hear my problems.”  I said, “Mom, you can tell me anything.”   I told her that I am looking into additional care for her.

 Mom told me that my friend, Darlene, stopped by to visit her.  She was very nice to her.   Darlene is the hospice nurse evaluating her and reviewing mom’s condition. I stayed with mom until her lunch time.  Then I met with the hospice company representative and Darlene.  

Mom will be receiving a lot of extra care in the coming days and hopefully this will make mom happier.   I pray that God is guiding my decisions for mom.  

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