We Keep Going and Going…
Despite all my fears, Hubby and I got away for five uninterrupted days. The agency we contracted with did exactly what they said they would do. Let me get away, while they took care of Mom. And so they did. The caregiver came a day early to learn what was what. In preparation I made a care plan so she would know when I do things for Mom. (Which upon my return I found she carried out like a drill sergeant much to Mom’s dismay. We are pretty laid back around here – I never run on a schedule – it would ruin my ability to procrastinate!) I let her take care of Mom the majority of the day while I concentrated on packing for vacation, a perk I hadn’t expected. Nor did I expect the little guilt nudge Mom gave me that evening when I tucked her in, saying slightly tearfully how much she missed me during the day! Hmmm, maybe Hubby is right, my sweet little old Mother is a little more manipulative than I thought. Boy, if she missed me while I was in the house, she was in for a really bumpy ride over the next five days.
I have to say it was very hard for me to leave Mom in the care of a stranger (let’s not even discuss a stranger having the run of your house when you aren’t there!), but I had to trust it would be okay. After three years of caring for her in my home, we have developed a pretty good support team. Our PCP had assured me if things got hairy at home he would throw her in the hospital until we got back. Our visiting nurse gave Mom her number to call if she had any questions and our home health aide was scheduled on her normal days to come and give Mom her shower. I also discussed with Mom that while Hubby and I were away I was not going to call to check on her. This was to be time away, for us. And I did – er – didn’t, call that is. Not that I didn’t want to, but I decided that if she was unhappy and let me know it when I called, then what? Would I go home early? Would I be upset that she was upset? Nope, I was not going to risk it.
So we had a great time doing absolutely nothing! We went out for breakfast. We went out for dinner. We ate seafood every day. We both read two books cover to cover. I blogged a little and did nothing a lot. What fun! And you know what? When we got home Mom was fine. The house was clean. The dishes washed and put away. The laundry done and the bed had fresh linen. And yes, I will do it again. In January, for a long weekend celebrating our 42nd wedding anniversary. Who says you can’t teach old dogs new tricks?
And now for Mom. Just to refresh, she slipped off the end of her bed July 9th and fractured her left pelvis. She was in the hospital for three days and then transferred to a rehab bed in the local nursing home. She spent about four weeks there and then came back home. About two weeks later she experienced pain in her right pelvis. X-rays were inconclusive, but the orthopedist believes she suffered a stress fracture in the right pelvis simply from relying heavily on it when favoring the left side. So before we left on the vacation I didn’t think I could pull off, she was still in recovery from the injury.
Our wonderful PCP (who makes house calls) saw Mom today and boy was he impressed. After taking me aside in the hospital and letting me know that about 30% of the elderly don’t survive a fractured pelvis and its possible complications, he came just as she was motoring around our downstairs for her daily exercise. Her blood pressure was an envious 124/60, heart and lungs sounded good and her pain is under control. Her only complaint (at 93) was she would love to get rid of the walker. How lucky can I get? As he was leaving she stood up and accidentally dropped a tissue. Carefully hanging on to the walker, she bent over and picked it up. He just marveled she could do that. So from the depths of “will she make it?” three months ago to bitching about using a walker just proves she is not human – she is the Energizer Bunny in drag!
- When You Care, How to Care for You, Too (caregiving.com)
- Keeping Your Seat at the Head of the Table (caregiving.com)
- Tell Us: Do You Make Controversial Decisions? (caregiving.com)
- Doctors’ Appointments, Hospital Stays: What’s Your Record? (caregiving.com)