Monday, 31 August 2015

Mum getting worse

Today in the nursing home I decided to ask mum if she wanted to go outside into the park for a short period of time. She said she was tired, at first, and we remained in her room, but I asked again later and she nodded so I started to get her rigged up for the outing. After she had used the bathroom at some length I sat her on the bed and put on her jacket, cap and sunglasses.

Mum took the hallway toward the entrance ok but started to flag once we hit the elevator, claiming she felt giddy. I guided her out and around the corner into the nursing home's entranceway where there are a couple of couches. When it appeared that she was flagging badly I told her that we could take a break, so she sat down on one of them. We remained there for about five minutes and then I asked if she wanted to continue outside or go back upstairs; she chose the latter option. We headed back to the elevator.

By the time she had negotiated the hallways from the elevator back to her own room it was evident that she was really poorly and she was also vocalising her distress, so I guided her walker into her room and got her onto the bed as soon as possible. She lay down and took a brief nap. I sat down on the spare chair and waited for her to wake up.

This is the first time that mum has passed up on the chance to get outside into the park to watch the dogs run around. I noticed also this time that she has started to vocalise discomfort a lot more than previously, and has become quite short tempered. I remark on this because it strikes me as being something that has changed since her most recent hospitalisation, and it marks another milestone in her general mental retreat from the world. Instead of understanding what you are trying to say and engaging with you in a normal way, she has taken to protesting against you almost immediately.

It is not pleasant to be excluded in such a way from mum's interior life. But it's just something that I'll have to get used to. Just as I had to keep an eye today on the new pairs of socks that arrived last week in the nursing home addressed to her. I had asked the shoe store that mailed them to her to address the package to a staff member so that the socks it contained could first be labelled before being put away in her drawer. Unfortunately, they didn't follow my instructions so I had to instead fish around for the socks myself, and take them outside to hand to the staff for processing.

You have to compensate for people when they get very old, and this is one reason why nursing homes provide such an essential service. What with leg bandages now and significantly worsening fatigue, mum has become more of a handful for anyone attending to her needs. Better to pay professionals to do it than to simply shoulder the increased burden yourself.

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