While I was in Marco Island, I received a call at 10pm on Wednesday night. Mom was extremely anxious all day, but became particularly worse at bedtime. The nurse informed me that mom keeps complaining about her roommate and wants to be moved. Mom had become aggressive with her roommate today and pushed her roommate’s wheelchair. The roommate went to the nursing station; she reported that mom crushed her hand in her closet when she pushed her. The nurse said she had to file the complaint with the staff at The Community*. When the nurse confronted mom, she told her nurse that her roommate was blocking her from using the washroom.
During my conversation with the nurse, I requested that mom be evaluated by their psychiatrist to see about reviewing her anxiety and anti-depressant medications. She told me that the next scheduled visit by their psychiatrist would be on the following Monday Memorial Day. She put my mom’s name on his list of patients to visit.
Saturday morning could not come soon enough. I was looking forward to visiting my mom and seeing what I could do to help her.
Mom looked like she felt relieved when she saw Ron and me. She was in a hurry to bring me up to date. The nursing staff had assured mom that when I came back in town I could request another room for her.
“Julienne, my roommate’s horrible. She calls me dirty names. She stays in our washroom cleaning her shoes and stockings in sink. She does not let me in to go to toilet. I can’t live like this.” I listened then said, “Mom, I heard you pushed your roommate.” “She was in her closet. I asked her to move, she ignored me. I had to go to the toilet. She wouldn’t let me pass.”
I do not agree with violence of any kind, but on mom’s defense when she has to go . . . she really has to go! Patience was never one of mom’s virtues. Mom has had many accidents in the past for not getting to the toilet soon enough. I informed mom that pushing her roommate is not acceptable. Her answer to me was “I had too!” I tried to comfort mom by telling her I would talk to someone about her problems and see what I could do.
While we were there mom complained about being thirsty all the time. She complained that everyone ignores her when she asks for water. Mom is still on water limitations due to her congestive heart failure which seems to be under control now. When I am there I hate to see her suffer so I always give her water when she asks.
While I was sitting with mom, a man rolled his wheel chair up to us saying, “Wait a minute, if it is comforting I would like to have it. Did you hear I backed into a car? Are the police coming? Is anyone related to anyone?” He was clearly delusional. He walked away mumbling.
Mom’s anxiety this day was through the roof. She told me several times that she wanted to die. She could not sit in her chair for more than a few minutes as she kept standing and wanting to leave and then sitting back down. She was clearly not comfortable in her skin.
I checked with the nurse on duty and she confirmed that mom was scheduled to meet with the psychiatrist on Monday. She had no idea what time he would arrive so I asked if she would have him call me after meeting with mom. She agreed.
Many times after I leave my mom, I find that I have a difficult time forming sentences. Ron claims that I have a lot on my mind and assures me not to worry.
Right after our visit with mom, Ron and I went to visit one of our Make-A-Wish children. Her wish is to go to India to see her grandparents. She is non-verbal and has no expression on her face; we are not sure if she can even see us. She is not able to hold her head up; her head wiggles like a bobbled head doll. I mean no disrespect to her or her family. Ron and I have had so many Make-A-Wish Children in over 18 years; we love them all. Ron and I are just so taken this day by the struggle this single mother has communicating with her daughter as we relate her situation to our struggle to help mom.
Our next stop was Costco; we were searching for outdoor flowers. On our way in we saw a young woman in a handicap spot who was getting out of her car. She held on to the side of her car as she tried to balance herself. She was having a very difficult time walking. Her legs were wobbly; she could not stand up straight. Ron asked me if I saw her. I could not have missed her. As we left Costco, in another handicap spot there were three teenagers. A girl and a boy were helping their severely handicapped friend or brother into the back of their van. Going through this chapter with mom has opened our eyes even wider to people’s struggles in life. We also appreciate what caregivers go through in order to help and care for their loved ones.