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Respite!

03 Feb

10 days ago Mum had 2 falls in one day.  I came in at lunchtime and she was sitting on the bedroom floor, though apparently uninjured.  I couldn’t get her back on her feet so rang my sister to help but we still couldn’t get her up between us.  At one point she went quite pale and breathless so I rang an ambulance.  We laid Mum on the floor with pillows under her and a blanket over her….and there she spent the afternoon.  The ambulance took 5 hours to arrive!  I rang several times and it was always the same response.  There were higher priority emergencies apparently.

We managed to get her up before the ambulance arrived.  My niece came round and between the 3 of us, we got Mum up again but she was so unsteady on her feet, I was really concerned.  When the paramedics arrived, they gave her the once over but she was okay so they apologised for the delay and left.

She was very strange during the evening – forgot how to go to the bathroom and even when I helped her there, she couldn’t remember how to go to the toilet.  I got her to bed okay and went myself at the same time.

I was awakened at midnight as I heard her door closely followed by the bathroom door shutting.  I flew out of bed but was too late.  I heard a crash and a moan, and went into the bathroom (I removed the lock some months ago).  She’d fallen off the toilet and once again there was no chance of getting her back on her feet.  Maybe if she was a little frail lady it would be possible but Mum is ‘to put it politely’ rather a plump lady!

I rang my sister who came straight round and also rang an ambulance.  This time they were here within half an hour.

To cut a long story (and a long night!) short, my brother and I spent virtually all night in A&E with Mum and they finally told us that she had a water infection – that was why she was so unsteady on her feet and much more confused that usual.

Mark and I brought Mum home in the morning and I tried to get her to go to bed but she really didn’t want to.  I was almost comatose with lack of sleep and I just couldn’t stop crying.  I didn’t dare go to bed as I thought she might fall again if she got up.  I eventually threw myself on the mercy of Social Services.  I started crying as soon as they answered the phone so I guess they realised I had reached breaking point.

They suggested a few weeks respite in order to get her well again and give me a break.  I’d like to say that I hesitated but in actual fact I jumped at the chance.  It shows that Social Services can move quickly when they have to……..we had her visited by the Rest Home Manager, assessed and in there by teatime that day!

My sister couldn’t face taking Mum to the Rest Home so Mark and I took her in the car.  We told her that she was going to a convalescent type Home to assess her and build up her strength.  All the staff seemed very kind but we were really nervous about leaving her, particularly as the only room available was on the first floor and as the Home didn’t specialise in dementia, we did have anxieties about what would happen if she got up in the night.  Her room was accessed by a lift with the help of staff but she wasn’t too far away from stairs both down and up.

She was admitted on the Thursday evening and when we visited her on the Friday evening, Jean and I both came out crying.  I think it was just the shock of seeing our Mum actually in a Rest Home with all the other residents; she just didn’t seem to belong there – although we knew deep down that she did!   Also, she seemed really unkempt and when I went up to her room, her case hadn’t even been unpacked.  I had offered to do it but had been reassured that the staff would see to it.

By the Monday, we were really upset.  I didn’t feel that Mum had even had a wash or had her teeth brushed.  I complained to the Manager and by our next visit things had improved greatly.  She had been bathed and had her hair done and certainly looked more like her old self.  Also, her antibiotics worked fairly quickly and she was walking better and slightly less confused.

However, with the help of Social Services, the Day Centre, the GP and my family, we made the momentous decision not to take Mum home again.  It was incredibly hard…..every time we visited we just wanted to bundle her in the car and bring her back.  The bottom line is that I just can’t carry on as I have been doing…..it’s just too hard!  I am bone weary both physically and mentally and just don’t feel I can cope any more.

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4 Comments

Posted by on February 3, 2013 in Diary

 

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4 responses to “Respite!

  1. kimjoy24

    March 22, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    I’m glad your mother seems to be doing better. Often the decision about a care center has to be made after an incident such as you described, and you feel rushed and doubt yourself. But it sounds like you have done the best thing for everyone involved. It is never an easy decision to make, but I hope you will be able to find some inner peace.

     
  2. kimjoy24

    March 22, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    Reblogged this on The Memories Project and commented:
    I’ve been following the Two Socks on One Foot blog for awhile, and often see similarities in our stories as family caregivers of a parent with dementia.This post especially reminds me of how Dad suddenly ended up in a care center. It’s important reading for any dementia caregiver.

     
  3. Jane

    March 23, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    Moving my mother into a nursing home was one of the most difficult things I ever had to do, but like my mom, your mom is in the safest place possible. Not all parents can be cared for at home, no matter how much we want to be able to do this. You’re doing the best you can, and in the end, your mother will know this as well. My very best to you! Jane

     
  4. Kristen

    July 31, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    Beverly,
    I have spent the last couple hours catching up on your posts. And after reading this post, my heart especially goes out to you. I kept thinking, “wow, this woman is amazing… how does she do it?” and now it seems you are human like the rest of us. You need your time. There’s only so much we as humans can cope with especially when you add the stress and emotion of caring for a loved one. I really believe this was the right decision for you and your family.
    I understand completely about what you were saying about your Mom not looking as if she was cared for properly. It’s definitely an adjustment. My Dad progressed in his disease the moment we took him out of his own home. And he suddenly couldn’t brush his teeth or apply deodorant or any of the other things he used to do. He doesn’t always smell the best (especially his breath), but I do believe for the most part, the homes do the best they can… especially if you were really impressed with this home in the first place. (I will continue reading on though to see how the home works out). That’s not to say the homes don’t have their faults though. We’ve moved my Dad several times and we have to get used to a new home every time and the way they do things.
    It’s so tough.

    -Kristen

     

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