No Sense of Urgency at the Nursing Home or Dogs Are More Fun Than Old People

When I get old, I hope someone leaves me at the kennel instead of a nursing home. I think I’ll get better care.

Nearly every day I turn on the news and someone had rescued a bunch of neglected dogs and lots of people come forward to feed them and nurse them back to good health. If there’s a flood, a power outage, a hurricane, an economic crisis — big pleas go out for help to take care of the misplaced pets.

Friday night,  I go to mom’s nursing home and they are serving peanut butter. Hey –don’t you guys know the big recall of peanut butter included shipments to nursing homes? What reassurance do we have that the kitchen has checked out the source? My mom’s “meal preference” says “no chicken.” Yet she was given a chicken sandwich on Thursday night.

At the kennel, dogs are walked and played with (for an extra fee), fed, oooed and aawed over.

I bet the pet food with peanut butter has been pitched at the kennel.

At the nursing home, patients are talked at:

“How’s your dinner?”

“What?”

“Good, I’m glad  you liked it.”

Mom can’t pull chicken off the bone when you serve the drummies. It’s not that she doesn’t like chicken. But  you’re not listening anyway — as you serve her chicken soup, chicken sandwiches, etc.

“Your mom keeps crying. We need to do something about her meds.”

Yea…like get ’em down her throat. Thursday nite, they plopped out on the floor. Friday — I wheeled her down to your station and showed you she had a full mouth of meds sitting on her tongue. I got ’em down her throat. ICE CREAM works better than apple sauce. It also takes more than one spoonful. You’re probably not supposed to be crushing all of those meds in the first place. Does anybody read the warnings?

Last night after dinner Mrs. G. is sitting in her room and she tells me she has a new problem.  She just got out of the hospital last week. She  hasn’t had her oxygen all day. Someone’s supposed to come. soon.  I guess her daughter was celebrating Valentine’s Day. She came in the afternoon and the flower arrangement was lovely. She usually comes after dinner. I see the aide and ask about the oxygen. “The nurse is going to take care of that.”

Mrs. G said her eyes are blurry. Eyes need oxygen. It’s even more important as you age. I go home wondering about the connection. I look it up this morning on the Internet. What kind of nurses are these? Who’s training them? Who cares about the elderly?

Give me the life of a dog. It’s gotta be better than this.

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The Coat Stayed In The Closet

Christmas has come and gone and now it’s on to a new year. I think I lot of us are ready for some good news.

I didn’t bother to put up a Christmas tree this year. There are plenty of nice trees of all sizes throughout Mom’s nursing home, so I really didn’t need one at home. I wheeled Mom through the halls and we stopped and looked at them throughout December. Mom’s eyesight isn’t too good — part of the dementia — so it’s hard to tell how much she could really see on each tree. She would agree they were pretty as I pointed out different ornaments on each one.

Even mom got tired of all of the kids singing groups traipsing through the activity room all month long. Come January, I’m sure there won’t be any more girl scout troupes or elementary school piano recitals.

Mom often comes up with witty little comments. Sometimes she makes observations that miss the mark. She’s still my mom and wants to share her dinner with me and tells me to eat one of her cookies.

It’s tough to come up with things to talk about. I ask Mom lots of questions about the past and sometimes her answers are surprising as she reached into her memory and comes up with a story I have not heard before.  I asked Mom about her memories of Christmas as a child. Her eyes were closed and a smile came across her face as she recalled that one year her big brother Robert had made her a toy kitchen cabinet. This would have been during the Depression.

The evening news on Christmas Eve carried a story about 95 year old woman who had been left outside to die in the cold at a nursing home the night before.  Someone wanted to turn up the TV to hear the details…but I shook my head “no” to protect my mom from the news.

There was a lot more excitement in the air and Mom sensed that Christmas was upon us because she asked me if she had a winter coat there. “I might need it to go out.” I didn’t  have the heart to tell her it was going to be staying in the closet.

Laughter Really Is the Best Medicine (for me)

The staff at Mom’s retirement community told us a local hospital has a program where they spend a couple of hours evaluating seniors’ mental and physical status.


Mom’s been taking an anti-depressant, but doesn’t seem to be feeling any better. On Saturday she tearfully told me she wanted to jump out the window. I told her not to as she was only on the third floor, and thankfully she said she is too much of a coward.

I called the hospital today to make the evaluation appointment. I took pot luck as far as which doctor to see…I just picked the best day and time for me. At the end of the conversation, I asked the appointment gal how many geriatric doctors were on staff. She starts reading down the list of names, “Morely, Thomas, Tran, Flaherty, KEVORKIAN”. I laughed, “Well Mom might want to see Dr. Kevorkian.” I guess she’s heard it all before as she had no response.