Wednesday, November 26, 2014

That's Grandma, That's Mom...

I arrived yesterday and Mom was sitting in her wheelchair, holding her baby and looking quite perky!  She asked who I was and I told her I am her daughter, Jeannie, to which she replied, "Oh really?" with a big smile.

Since she was in her wheelchair already, we cruised around the halls a few times and she watched as I took down her old torn shower curtain and replaced it with a new pretty curtain with blue flowers.  Once I had it hanging, she declared it "pretty" and we continued our cruising.

We settled after a bit and she told me that "she" would be by.  I thought she was talking about my sister so I pulled out my tablet to show her a picture.  I pointed out my sister, Pat (to the right of Mom below) and Mom told me yes, that was her. 

I continued to go through the family pictures, something I do quite often. This time she identified some, commented on others and a few times I had to keep from laughing.  :)

As almost always, when she saw the photo above, she immediately said, "That's Daddy." The next photo followed and she said, "That's Momma."

The next photo is always the picture below of Mom with her Daddy and Momma. Sometimes she's unsure when she sees it but typically she knows it is the three of them. It was one of those days when she knew.

The next photo sometimes stumps her but this time she immediately said, "That's Grandma."

I continued through the pictures, Mom sometimes reaching out her finger to move the picture around or point to a particular person.  Then I brought up the picture below.

I struggled to stifle my chuckles as she pointed first to me (center front) and very clearly said, "That's Grandma" and then pointed to my sister and also very clearly said, "That's Mom."  I love her!!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Standing up, falling down, edema here, edema there…

Life goes on, even for my 98 year old mom, but not without its ups and downs.  I just received the fourth call in less than a month telling me Mom was found on the floor in her room.  They haven’t seen her fall because it was always at night.  Last night they heard a sound and went in to check, finding her on her side near her recliner and wheelchair. As all the times before, they couldn’t find any injuries and she just wanted help getting up.  Thankfully, it seems she is still bouncing.

Falls during the day aren’t an issue at this point because she stays in her wheelchair or rocking chair in the living room.  She is watched over there and as I’ve said before, from her vantage point in either chair, she can watch everything that happens there including all the comings and goings.  If the activities don’t keep her interest, she just snoozes - by that I mean falling sound asleep.  :)

We aren’t sure what has her getting up at night.  They speculate that maybe she had to go to the bathroom but we don’t know because she has typically fallen by her bed.  Last night she was headed away from her bathroom given where she fell.  If the timing continues, I may contribute it to the cycle of the moon because the falls have occurred within a day or two of the full or new moon.

Floating edema is another interesting thing we’ve experienced with Mom.  Back in the 1970s she sprained her ankle while she and Daddy were camping.  That ankle always had a tendency to swell after that injury.  Fast forward to the last couple years and the ankle was swollen all the time.  Last year when she was diagnosed with a mass in her abdomen, both ankles and her feet were swollen.  The doctor thought it might be an indication that the presumed cancer was affecting her lymph nodes thereby causing fluid retention.

Interestingly, shortly after I bought her Foamtread slippers in May of this year, the swelling went away.  Then suddenly her left hand swelled up like a balloon!  The nurse at the facility initially thought it was cellulitis but we decided that wasn’t the case because the symptoms didn’t mesh.

Over the summer, her feet continued to be fine while her hand would swell and cause a bit of pain here and there, then suddenly, it would be almost normal.  Since the end of September, her hand and feet have been normal.  ??  When I visited the other day, her right ankle was swollen again although just a bit.  It’s one of the mysteries of Mom!

Last weekend a few of us were able to attend the Thanksgiving dinner provided by the facility. They provided a wonderful meal and I watched my sister very lovingly and patiently feed Mom the meal.  Mom can still feed herself but gets confused at times about how to go about it and I know my sister helps her eat when she visits in the late afternoon. Watching them at the Thanksgiving meal, I could tell that Mom enjoys the help and attention and it made me feel good to see the connection between the two of them.