The War Between the North and the South

jan

The War Between the North and the South

jan
My little mother looks like a Civil War refugee. All four of her limbs are bandaged. I can almost hear the Fife and Drum Corp warbling in the background. But she is definitely one small game token in a much larger engagement.

I had been caring for her at home with the help of Hospice since May. The Hospice Team had a conservative approach and never missed an opportunity to remind me that my mother was too high functioning to remain in their care after the 90 day review. It required some heavy-handed phone calling once in a while to get someone to visit. I had to remind myself, yes, there are other people who are actually dying, but Hospice gets paid the same daily benefit whether you're dying or not, so she deserves some attention. Overall I was very thankful for their attention, I learned so much from each Team member; they were caring and very kind to my mom, and I thought we were just chugging merrily along.

Then my mom lost her balance/tripped/fell/did floor exercise in our house (the truth remains out there), hit her face on the concrete floor, and we placed her in a temporary facility, which happened to be in another county. which meant another Hospice Team.

The assessment by the new Hospice Nurse took two hours. The first thing she said was, "You mother is starving". She proceeded to say that my mom uses too much energy chewing and going to the bathroom so she ordered pureed food and a reduction of laxatives. She ordered a wheelchair because my mom is too weak to walk and "she had been falling all the time."  She ordered Ensure to boost her nutrition and wanted her to be spoon-fed, not feed herself. She stripped off all the expensive high-tech foam bandages just placed by the previous Hospice Team, and re-bandaged her with copious rolls of gauze and elastic tape. She finished her evaluation by stating that my mother needed to stay in the facility, that moving an Alzheimer patient is very disruptive, and that she understood it was my intention to bring my mom home in September when I return to Florida, and it was not a good idea. I ventured to ask about my mother's 90 day Hospice review, and did she think my mother would be graduated out of the program? Her eyes got wide and her look said, "You MUST be joking. Not only are you misinformed, you are also inept."

Another opportunity to be caught off guard, surprised, and unsettled. One Hospice Team practically humors me and the next one almost ridicules me. At the end of the day it's not about me, anyway. Still, I felt betrayed. I could have fed her! I own a blender! I can push her around in a wheelchair as good as the next person, but no one ever said we needed to do that. And I can't seem to get anyone to believe that she is like The Three Faces of Eve, weak and cripply in the morning and a Speed Demon at night. It feels like we are treating symptoms and not a whole person.

The Hospice Team gives the orders and the facility attempts to fulfill them. So far they have worked together for my mother's good fairly well. Still, I am sad to see her there. I'm not ready to give her up to long empty hallways, sitting in the common room singing karaoke to "Twist Again Like We Did Last Summer". This week when I went to see her, her earrings were missing, she had a red mark on her lip, a new unbandaged 2-in. open gash on her arm, a cough, her teeth hadn't been brushed recently, and her hair....well, she had that white brushed-back fuzz-mat that all old ladies get. On the other hand, she smelled okay and her hands were clean, her room and laundry appeared clean and maintained, for which I was very thankful.

I can't do one single thing about her being in there right now, other than visiting her and filling in the gaps where her personal care is inadequate. I can't bring her home right now. Yesterday we found out the evaluation Hospice Nurse has now become her full-time Hospice Nurse, so it looks like a long-term ride on the Roller Coaster of Alarmism. If I do bring Mom home in September, it will be after much thought and preparation for her safety and well-being. AND BACK TO THE PREVIOUS HOSPICE TEAM, back in our home county. I'm trying not to think about it.

map-of-the-world-429784_640