Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Roller Coaster Ride

It's been an interesting few days on the in law front. Since last Thursday, there have been ups, downs, loops, reversals and all sorts of interesting things.

On Wednesday, a phone call that Mom had fallen out of her wheelchair. She tried to stand up and get out of the chair, but shecan't and ends up on the floor. The same thing happened Thursday after I'd visited her briefly and brought a requested sub. Her blood pressure was 80 over 54. When the doctor was consulted, he didn't like the numbers. I was called and asked if we wanted them to observe her at the nursing home or send her to the hospital?

I asked the nurse her opinion. She didn't give one until I asked "what would you do if this was your mother?" She suggested we send her-so I did and she was transported Thursday night.

Friday was really hectic and we didn't get to check up on her. Saturday, I kept getting put on hold at the nursing home, so I called the hospital. She was still there. I spoke to a very nice nurse and was able to tell her Mom's likes and dislikes, that she enjoys coffee. No one had been able to get food or liquid into Mom except this one nurse. I offered to bring a cup of the Keurig coffee.

When I got there, Mom was sleeping, so the nurse and I talked for a while. They had a consult request from Palliative care. We talked about feeding tubes. I felt it prolonged the inevitable, Jane was on the fence and Ed wanted her to have one. The nurse told me the unpleasant side effects of getting one and that sealed the deal as far as I was concerned.

Next up was telling Jane and Ed what the doctor's opinion was. Jane asked the next day how my visit went and I was honest about it. They wanted to get palliative care and hospice involved.

Monday morning, my phone rang early. It was a nurse who'd seen Ed's mom and we had a good conversation. The lack of eating, the combatative nature, the refusal to take medications are all part of the dying process. She felt that things would progress quickly. The request was made, could I get Ed and Jane over to the hospital to meet with her?

Jane was called first, she was fine with doing so. Next, Ed was brought up to date. They ventured over to the hospital, where they spent a very ugly couple of hours. Mom was rude, nasty and attacked the two transport employees who came to bring her back to the nursing home. She was going HOME and they weren't going to make her go back there. She tried to bite one and scratched the other.

Ed and Jane then went to the nursing home and asked if they could handle IV sedation if that is what was needed to keep her comfortable and from being a risk to others and herself. Yes, that could be done-and Hospice was called.

We met with them today. It was weird going into the nursing home and avoiding Mom's room-but it is probably better not to agitate her right now. She is officially a Hospice patient. What exactly this will entail is not clear-but what is certain is that she will be kept comfortable.

The next step is to talk to the doctor to see what his plans are. After that, I have to get Jane to more Assisted Living facilities. It's already making her nuts to be in an empty house (she's lived with Mom for all but 5 years when she was married), so new surroundings where Mom has never been might be healthier for her mental state.

For the rest, we wait to see where this coaster is headed...

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