RSS Feed

A day with Mom

Posted on Tuesday, July 20, 2010 in family, Mom

I didn’t really spend the day with Mom; it was more like 4 hours, but it felt like a day. I left the house late so didn’t pick her any flowers. I feel some guilt for that. Mom can’t read easily because of her macular degeneration. And she can’t watch TV or listen to the radio because she can’t figure out the controls. So she wanders about and she looks at things.

She loves flowers so they capture her attention. Both my sister and I try to bring her a bouquet when we visit. Mom doesn’t touch them so they are always without water and dropping petals when I visit. I feel bad for the cleaning crew who have to vacuum and dust up all the dropped pollen and petals and leaves. I gave her a hanging basket she can see from her window, but which she never waters. The maintenance staff isn’t supposed to water it either, but they do. (Thanks guys!) And when I visit I take her outside to deadhead flowers in the central court area.

Today I had to get there in time to pick up her nurse’s report and get her to the eye doctor. I hate the visit because it’s freezing in the waiting room, and the visits are always long because they involve eye scans and waiting for her eyes to dilate. But mostly it’s because they give her a shot in the eye. This is one thing Mom remembers, but she thinks she’s only had three or four shots instead of closer to a dozen. She forgets that the drops sting. She forgets that she always gets cold even with her sweater on. She does not forget that they always tell her “good job” which she thinks is something you should only tell a dog. She’s very polite about it, however, and the assistants seem to enjoy her.

On my way to Mom’s, I took a call from her doctor’s office. On Thursday (today is Tues.) she’d had a doctor’s visit because she had gained five pounds in two days. Being only around 90 pounds, this was a significant weight gain and could have meant a heart or lung problem. Apparently the lung x-ray showed some fluid so an antibiotic was prescribed. The nurse wouldn’t talk to me initially and wanted me to call her back once I got to Mom and she could ask for Mom’s permission to talk to me.

I returned the nurse’s call and finally recalled that the office has a copy of my power of attorney and one of their own documents giving them permission to speak to me. It’s always hit or miss if the bank or a doctor will speak to me about Mom or not. I still can’t convince Social Security to do it. Some places need both a power of attorney and a medical power of attorney and they want them as separate documents.

I wish I had inherited Mom’s lung strength. She has had pneumonia several times and never shows any symptoms like coughing or sleeping or even feeling worn out. I mentioned this to her and she told me that when she had it on the train she had felt terrible. She hasn’t ridden a train since WWII and she didn’t have pneumonia then so I don’t know what she was remembering. When I ask her about it she tells me, “I don’t know. I wasn’t there.”

Her memory issues make it hard for doctors. She can’t recall if she felt dizzy yesterday or not. Or if her eye sight has improved or gotten worse. Luckily she will complain to me of some things so I have an idea and the staff at her assisted living let me know about any complaints she has.. But she complains to me of things that aren’t true. For example, she has told me about several instances of bowel incontinence but the staff have never found any evidence of this and I can’t imagine she’s sneaking her dirty underwear out of the facility.

After her shot in the eye and lunch at McDonald’s, we stopped at the grocery store to pick up her prescription. It was $160. I didn’t pay it. I have a call in to the doctor to see if she can prescribe something less expensive. I am worrying about this. Maybe I should have just paid for it so Mom could begin treatment. But the doctor wasn’t in a rush to prescribe it and Mom has no discomfort. So maybe it can wait. But since I didn’t pick it up, I wonder if my sister be able to afford to buy it for Mom tomorrow and let me pay her back with a check from Mom’s account? Will that $160 put Mom in that odd “doughnut hole” otherwise know as the Medicare Part D coverage gap? The health care reform should have taken care of that issue, so maybe I don’t have to worry about that any longer. I don’t want to spend her money too fast because once she runs out, she’ll have to move into the nursing home. Hopefully I’ll get a call from the clinic before they close (half an hour from now.)

Luckily Mom doesn’t feel any of this stress. Today she asked again if I had seen my father. I reminded her that he died over 10 years ago. She shook her head up and down as she remembered. “I shouldn’t be so put out with him then,” she replied. She displays no grief, just the same amount of sorrow that I have when I tell her that I miss him, too.

I love it that she still take delight in natural things. We talked about size of the clouds as we drove back to her assisted living location, which she calls “the home.” We also talked about how the flag she saw outside one of the office buildings was not the same flag that flies outside her window. She’s very precious and I hope I do well by her.

Leave a Comment