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.