Saturday, May 05, 2007

Midnight Mania

Just got a call from Susan, a caregiver at Sunrise, at 9:40 pm still trying to get Mom to take her 9 pm meds, which include Coumadin.

She thought that I could get Mom to take them if I talked to her.

I told her that recently even I can't get her to take them--even in person.

After reassuring Susan that it's okay if she can't get Mom to take the meds, I talked to Mom. She was raving about a man across the hall killing people, along with other distractions from the subject of taking her meds.

"This woman's husband shot a guy," she said. "He's a dope and--"

"No, Susan's husband did not kill anyone," I argued, falling into the trap. "That's not your business. Your job is to take your medicines and get a good night's sleep so you can go to church tomorrow."

"You don't understand what's going on here!" she insisted.

"I won't take you to church tomorrow if you don't take your meds and get a good night's sleep! "

"But they are killing people!"

Soon I was yelling at her over the phone: "No one is killing anyone! If you don't take the meds, fine. You can stay home in bed and not go to church. That's your choice! I'm going to hang up now."

I guess the Time magazine that arrived today contained something about the murders at Virginia Tech. I need to make sure she doesn't get hold of anything like that.

When I visited her this afternoon at 3 pm, she was about as sharp-witted as she can be--but now that I think of it, she was on the high edge of sharp (a little manic).

I took her to the grocery store and to my home, where we waited in vain for one of my two daughters or my husband to appear. It turned out they had been at the house earlier but had all three left to get a hamburger.

After an hour of cinnamon raisin toast, grapes, strawberries, a banana,and waiting, I made a few phone calls, learned that they weren't going to be around, took Mom back to Ocean View, and spent an hour organizing her room and toileting her.

Now she is agitated, refusing meds, hard to manage.

Such a quandry, what to do about her. I should just let the staff deal with it until the director of her residence decides she's too much of a psych case and kicks her out.


After calming down from the phone call, I decided to go over to encourage the staff and to instruct them in how to deal with her. I did not let her know that I had come; I definitely don't want to reinforce bad behavior by rushing over to see her whenever she throws a fit.

This is a transition week when she no longer has the private caregivers she has had every night for 2 1/2 years. I am keeping Connie Tuesday and Thursday evening only--the other five nights the Ocean View staff has to learn to cope with her.

I went to support the Ocean View caregivers, to thank them for their patience in dealing with her, and to demonstrate that I can be there in five minutes if they have a real emergency.

I need to cut back on the private caregivers, since she has only $100,000 left, but she needs a person experienced in dealing with her. On her agitated days she is hard to manage; on her sleepy days she is hard to lift.

I told them:
--Respect her wish not to take her meds. Just give up on the meds. Often she will take them after the fun of fighting ends.

--She has hallucinations: she sees things.
"Oh yes, she says there's a man in the room and points 'Right there!'" Tracy, one of the night caregivers reported. She was interested to hear these behaviors identified as hallucinations.

--She also has delusions, often rooted in nightmares that are real events to her. The Virginia Tech murders are right here; the murderer is a man across the hall.

--She often has an extremely sleepy day after an agitated evening like this. Her computer just doesn't boot up.

--All these behaviors are her Lewy Body dementia, very different from Alzheimer's.

--I am five minutes away. You can call me at any time and I can be there in five minutes if there is a real emergency.

--Thank you for dealing with her.

What a handful she is. I expect that she will have a sleepy day tomorrow and not even realize she is being taken to church.

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