Friday, February 28, 2014

Moving in the mother-in-law

Priscilla and I planned on bringing my mother-in-law to live with us, but Mrs. R. is not cooperating. She doesn’t know she isn’t cooperating; she lives in now, when 15 minutes ago or 10 minutes ago never happened.

Mrs. R. was in an assisted living place in Texarkana from last April until Christmas Day, when she fell and broke a hip. Doctors replaced the hip. Priscilla and I discovered from that episode of the damage anesthesia often does to dementia patients. Mrs. R. was out for a long time and then rattled when she woke up. Then, she developed pneumonia. Doctors also said she had a small heart attack.

Priscilla had Mrs. R. transferred to Twin Rivers Health and Rehabilitation, where Mrs. R. has had excellent care and attention. As an aside, the Texarkana hospital staff did not tell Twin Rivers staff of Mrs. R.’s pneumonia or heart attack. Twin Rivers staff was not pleased.

About three weeks ago, Mrs. R. decided she would get out of bed. She can’t walk, but she can fall. That is another thing we have learned: Dementia patients can and will work through obstacles put up for their own safety. We might consider safety obstacles beyond the realm of solving by a person with limited cognitive function, but a dementia patient sees the obstacle only as a problem that can be overcome.

After Mrs. R. fell, staff put her in a bed four inches from the floor and placed a crash pad on the floor. Last night, the facility called and said Mrs. R. had again managed to overcome obstacles and proved the worthiness of the crash pad.

Priscilla has contacted a home hospice business for moving Mrs. R. to our house and for two-hour daily visits by an RN or CNA. We have a place with tiled floor and of sufficient size for Mrs. R.’s bed and ancillary equipment.

We had hoped to have Mrs. R. here on March 3, but complications from a strangulated hernia and her latest episode of getting out of bed caused us to delay the move for another two weeks.

Meanwhile, Mrs. R. has recessed into a time when Mr. R. is still alive, her brother is still alive, her sister is still alive, and she is again caring for John.

There are times in everyone’s life when things necessary are not things you would choose to do, if you had a choice. Actually, we do have a choice, and we choose the right course of action.

It’s the family.

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