When Your Caree Doesn’t Act Like your Caree

hand-36777_640Since her recent hospitalization and current stay in a skilled nursing facility (SNF), Mom has given us a lesson in Hallucinations 101.

Some of her hallucinations include:

  • Her pastor took her to a church auditorium, where children in white sang to her.  As she put it, “They were angelic.
  • The nurses were walking like penguins.
  • Aliens visited to take my younger brother (Jimmy) and they informed Mom before hand.
  • Mom thought I was in the hall talking with her younger sister Susie as I sat next to her bedside. Several times she looked right at me.
  • She saw Trish’s Grandma and Dad at the end of her bed singing pop songs. Both have passed away.
  • She has spoken with Trish’s mom.
  • She has yelled from her bed, “If you want to talk about me, do it to my face.” Apparently, a nurse at the SNF is also named Carol. Mom thought discussions that included this nurse were about her.
  • Mom called to asking if I could call Mark (my older brother) and tell him she could hear him talking about her with the nurse in the hall way. When I called Mark, I learned he was 35 minutes into his two-hour drive home.
  • Mom heard a nurse talking in the hall about a friend who had been in an accident and was being airlifted to the facility. Mom heard a helicopter land outside her room. When this nurse came to check on mom, Mom offered thoughts and prayers for her friend. With a wondering look, the nurse asked Mom what she meant? Mom explained what she heard. While backing up toward the door, the nurse explained, “Carol, we do have helicopters land here. None of my friends have been involved in any accidents.” Mom explained that she heard one land just moments earlier and that she heard the nurse talking a friend in an accident. The nurse again explained the reality to Mom, who would have bet dollars to donuts it truly happened.
  • Even after several talks with her, Mom still believes that the nurses (and one in general) tried to get her to take morphine so she sleeps all night and they will not have to deal with her.
  • I’m sure Mom would be embarrassed if I listed the other episodes so for her I will take the Fifth.

The question i: Who was she  seeing or talking to when we were not around? Just think what the staff and other patients thought about this crazy woman in the same room with them. The hard part in all this that the staff at the hospital and the SNF only saw Mom as this strange, mumbling, in another dimension, sedated, lady. They didn’t know her before the anesthesia, Tramadol and morphine.

Mom would never in a million years call someone a whale, much less a beached whale. She is an outgoing, welcome-to-the-neighborhood, I’ll-watch-your-kids-while-you-take-a-break, mother, mother-in-law and grandmother.

She has side effects from the narcotics she’s on. She transposes words due to her stroke. Her nerves making the stroke side effects worse. She’s in pain from a broken femur. Who knows? Maybe the staff thinks about fitting my mom with a straight jacket. Right now she is not acting like my mom.

As family caregivers and advocates for our carees, we need to do our best to be available whenever the doctor, hospital team, case worker, whoever may walk through the door who has any power. We need to have our caree’s back and let them know that the person lying in bed right now is not acting as she normally would.

I am in the process of making myself up some “Care Advocate” business cards (because this is a business), which will include all my contact information. The back of the card will include Mom’s medication list so I contacted in case I leave to run to the cafeteria, the facilities or to the car to grab a wall charger for my darn phone that seems to run low on battery right before the doctor visits. I will leave the cards with Mom on the side table in her room and on the message board so the nurses and doctors know how to contact me if I happen to not be there.

I am using Avery #5871 Clean Edge Business Card Stock, which I purchased from Staples for $17.99 for 200 business cards. If we run into each other at a show, conference, or other situation ask me for my card. I guarantee I will have one.

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Avatar of Richard

About Richard

My name is Richard (@kreisr1), I am a Tri-Fecta caregiver, for my mother who has COPD among other health issues. I co-care for my brother in-law who has epilepsy and co-care with my wife's for myself, I deal with Chronic Back Pain. entire life and now after living alone, in a care facility and a group home setting we had to move him in with us to provide him with the care he needs.  Finally, with my wife who is also my co-caregiver I care for myself, I have had chronic pain (mid-low back) for 21-1/2 years thanks to a drunk driver.  I write my own blog, pickyourpain.org where I share my pain with humor, as I see thing, "Pain Without Humor is Just Painful."  I am involved with caregiving.com in several ways, as well as participating in several of the weekly caregiving.com blogs, I also am involved in their Twitter chats, I also host the following groups, SPOT (Stamp Procrastination Out Today), A Task A Day, The Men's Group, Healthy Caregiver and several others.  I am also the moderator for the Caregiving.com Quiz Show and have a seat on the bi-monthly Hot Topic's show. I'm here to not only improve Roberts life, the lives of those I touch on caregiving.com and pickyourpain.org but to find a way to improve my own live.

5 thoughts on “When Your Caree Doesn’t Act Like your Caree

  1. Avatar of LarryLarry

    Business cards are great for this but they only work as well as the staff wanting to recognize your roll. I have found most staff are good but there are some that will dismiss your input all the time. So keep up your advocating and if needed replace the staff that do not want to recognize your input. We have had to do this with mom in the past but have a good team now. Do not give up.

    Reply
    • Richard (Kreisler)

      Larry, We have already performed this task twice and it is not that hard to do when a loved one is involved. You as the advocate have to maintain control or else it will get out of control. Thanks Larry

      Reply
  2. Avatar of PegiPegi

    Yay, Richard, you are so right. You have to advocate, especially when your caree is not themselves. Went through this a few times with my mother. Many med professionals have a tendency to try and “write off” people of a certain age. The only way they know what a kind, loving person your mom normally is, and how active or not; is if someone tells them. Just keep yelling…someone will listen sooner or later. Hope things improve and your mom gets back to normal very soon. In my prayers.

    Reply

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