Thursday, October 20, 2016

Day Two: Little Progress, Few Answers

I didn't get to see my mom today.

I did, however, take my dad and five of my kids (Josiah stayed with Jeff at the barber shop so he could catch up on some school work, especially biology) across the mountain to UVA; but when we got there and found the room that Mom had been transferred to late last night after her ER stay, we discovered that she was off having another CT scan.  Before she was brought back to the room, I had to leave to return to our side of the mountain and collect Josiah to then hand him off to another speech-and-debate mom who took him to the club meeting tonight.  It's been a little bit like a three-ring circus here recently.

At any rate, my dad stayed longer than we did at the hospital and was eventually brought home by his pastor who had gone to visit Mom, thus eliminating the need for me to take a second trip to the hospital today, something I had been planning to do.  I was grateful that I didn't have to make the long drive again in one day, but I definitely missed seeing Mom and am eager to be with her tomorrow.

Because of that, I didn't have any first-hand conversations today with any of the medical personnel who are treating her.  Dad did, of course; but to be perfectly honest, it left him feeling somewhat frustrated.  Some of the treatment feels unnecessary (a cervical collar, for example, that is very bothersome to Mom...and Dad is certain that her neck isn't in jeopardy of being injured more if she moves why force her to wear the collar?); and we haven't been told a clear plan of treatment or expectation of what the next few days hold, as far as when she could be released and what needs to happen to get her to that point.  The lack of straight-forward information is challenging.

I will hasten to add that all the nurses and so forth have been extremely kind, so if nice counts for anything (which it almost always does with me), Mom is in good hands.  I don't have any complaints about that!  But tomorrow while I'm there, I'm hoping for more information--and as a happy "coincidence," the mom who took Josiah to his speech and debate club this evening is a nurse who works in our hospital, and she stayed to chat with me after dropping him off here at home tonight.  She was able to give me some good pointers about how to make a meaningful conversation happen--with the right people who actually know what's going on and can make things happen.  So, we shall see...

As it stands now, when Dad left the hospital today, Mom was still being given oxygen, still had an IV, still had a pulse oximeter (attached to her big toe, because she kept yanking it off her finger yesterday), still had the cervical collar, was still lying flat on her back, and still hadn't had anything to eat or drink (I think that's correct).  They had tried to do an MRI on her last night, but it wasn't successful because she kept moving during it (because, of course, she didn't understand what was going on and couldn't remember that she needed to lie perfectly still--a consequence that Dad had warned them of before they did it).  They did another CT scan today, which, from what I understand, showed a skull fracture at the back of her head (like the scans yesterday) but nothing else too alarming--unless I'm missing something.  Because Mother kept trying to pull at the tubes and such, they put big mittens (almost like boxing gloves, Dad said) on her hands so she couldn't disconnect anything important.

It's pretty much awful to see her like that.

I'm holding strongly to hope that tomorrow will bring a change for the better.  I'd like to know exactly what the issues are that are keeping her in the hospital and what needs to be done before she can be released--or at the very least, transferred back to our local hospital or to skilled care at her nursing home.

Can you tell that my heart feels a little heavy tonight?  Well, let me lighten the mood by sharing some things Dad told me this evening.  :)  He said that at one point, when a nurse asked Mom her name, she replied, "Barbara."  Another time when asked that, she replied, "Barbara Winters" - her maiden name. :)  As Alzheimer's robs the mind of memory, it often leaves the earliest memories for last, so it's no surprise she could come up with the name she was born with, rather than her married name.  That's not to say she would respond that way tomorrow, but for today that was what came out.

But the thing that made everyone laugh was when someone asked her, "Where are you now?"

Mother's response: "I'm here!"

That's not a wrong answer, you know.  :)
~ a lovely sunset scene I saw this evening as I went for a walk (since my presence at the hospital to bring Dad home wasn't required, I decided that an end-of-day walk in the fresh air with my baby and my dog would do me good--it did!) ~

1 comment:

JDaniel4's MOm said...

We are holding you mom in our prayers!