Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Fine and Feisty

Mom's fine and feisty again, full of demands.
I arrived at 2 pm, took her out in the wheelchair to See's Candy and to a drug store to buy Calmoseptine for her stage one bedsore.
Then while she was at dinner I hung the large framed old family photos on her wall again and sorted the laundry baskets full of her toiletries, towels, clothes, etc.
After her dinner I continued working and chatting with her.
I explained to her caregiver, Jane from Nairobi, Kenya, that I had cut back on her private caregiver hours and that I hope the residence can provide all the care Mom needs. That means showers, mouth and denture care in the evening, evening meds (which she often resists), and putting her to bed.
After itemizing her care, I offered to do it tonight since I was already there.
At 6:30 pm I said to Mom, "Okay, let's go to the bathroom and put your nightgown on and take your teeth out. Then I'll let you watch tv or listen to music if you want to."
"That's big of you," Mom retorted sarcastically.
We both laughed at this state of affairs: me feeling generous about tossing Mom a few crumbs of her former life.
At 7:30 I said, "Okay, I'm going home now to eat dinner and go to bed."
"Come back tonight," Mom demanded.
"It is night!" I tried to explain. "I'm going home to bed."
"You come back!" she insisted. "If you don't, you'll be sorry."
"I'll see you tomorrow," I countered, finally leaving as she continued to use threats to try to make me return sooner.
A study of longevity and mental health released recently found that people 60 yrs. and younger live longer if they keep a positive outlook and are happy.
But for the elderly, those who complain and fight a lot live longer.
Last week at Country Villa, Mom had lost her ability to complain and demand her rights. She was listless. She never even asked for her wristwatch, which had been removed when she entered the hospital on April 19.
But back at Sunrise on April 30, she demanded, "Where's my watch? I need my watch!"
Within 24 hours she was back at her usual level of crotchetiness. After a day of looking for her watch, I ended up putting mine on her wrist just to quiet her.
She's doing fine!
Financial note:
Instead of having a private caregiver every day, 2-10 pm, I'm now having Connie Reysag come only two days a week, Tuesday and Thursday.
Racquel Estrada, who worked for Mom on weekends for 2 1/2 years, started two 12-hour shifts on Saturday and Sunday caring for someone else because I moved Mom to Country Villa and said I didn't need her.
These were cost cutting measures. I used to pay $14 per hour for 56 hours per week, $784, in addition to Mom's room at Ocean View Assisted Living, $150 per day, and her care $56 per day, about $7,000 per month.
I hope to give up private care altogether within a few months and just depend on Ocean View for all Mom's care.


jsong said...

Dear Anne,

I finally signed up so I could post a humble comment now & then to your excellent site. Those of us on this path continue to benefit from your heartfelt stories.

What a relief to have your mother out of a place that didn't take care of her! & back where she is well known.

I hope you'll let your mantra return to one of gratitude & hope instead of being hard on yourself for what you've called "Anne's Mistake." I, too, am wrestling now with a mistake & am determined to shed some emotional baggage & move forward quickly. I'm impressed at how quickly you moved to return your mother to a place she feels safe enough to grouse. May she forget she ever left there. & may her financial resources be sufficient.

I've been wondering if you have discussed with chaplains &/or hospice people (or her doctor) what the threshold for hospice services might look like for your mother? There is a financial benefit to her, & it means 1 or 2 more people attending to her each week -- powerful advocates to whom you can go with questions & issues.

"Come, sing a song with me, that I might know your mind."

Anne Eggebroten said...

Hi JSong, a fellow Carolyn McDade fan!
Thanks for your thoughtful comments. Yes, I need to stop being hard on myself. Just went to my 68th Al-Anon meeting in 68 days... am trying to shed those habits!
Her doctor told me a few weeks ago that she would qualify for hospice if and when we want to make that decision. Apparently one needs at least three qualifying factors, and she has them: serious drop in weight, change in behavior, and progression of her illness, LBD. She said you don't really have to expect her to die in 6 months--you can say that but renew it if she doesn't die that soon. So I expect that within several months if she continues to decline that we will start hospice. Yes, having visits from RNs and others, maybe even doctors, would be great. What is the financial benefit?

jsong said...

Dear Anne,
The financial benefit is that hospice pays for medicines. I hear they also can arrange for items that provide comfort or make her life safer or easier.

Anne Eggebroten said...

Thanks, JSong, for that information. We pay $200 or more per month for her medications, so that is an important benefit. I'll take that into consideration as we look at the hospice option.
Anne E.