Where Were You When Your Mother Died?

I met your mom a few short weeks ago. She said she had just moved from a hoity-toity place that she really liked but she needed even more care.
 
Your mom asked me how many children I had. When I told her I was single and did not have any children, she said,”I’m sorry.” I  asked why she said that, and she replied, “Because I think you’ve missed a lot.”

I saw the photo collage on her door with your pictures and your kids’ pictures. Lots of faces on there.

Where were you when your mom was wheeled into the nursing home dining room wearing her purse  awkwardly around her neck?  (Old habits die hard.)

Where were you the last night I saw her when she cried out in pain as the nurse very gently rolled her to the dinner table? Where were you a few minutes later as she begged me to get  her a glass of water?

I  really wanted to  help her.  I could see how much pain she was in. I always said hi to her because she was one of the ladies who knew where she was and still had her mind. But I couldn’t get her  any water because  I didn’t know her medical condition.

Your mother was bleeding onto her terrycloth bib. It was so very sad to hear her helpless pleas fall on deaf ears. The  aides weres busy with other residents.  The nurse was off to another task.  I tried to get someone to respond. I think it was a weekend evening — you never know what to expect on on those shifts.

A couple of days ago I noticed your Mom’s nameplate was taken down. I checked the resident list and her name was gone. Your picture hung on the door for a few more days. I see the door is still closed today…I guess you haven’t had a chance to empty the room yet. Probably busy making  funeral plans.

Your mother must have loved you very much. I’m sure she was proud of you.  I saw your name in her obituary. Apparently she was pretty sick when you moved her there last month.

Where were you when your mother died?

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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.

There’s No Resting Easy With An Elderly Parent

A lot of people rest easy knowing elderly Mom or Dad is being taken care of in a nursing home or by home health aides. But let me tell you something, if you live across the country, or you are just “too busy” to drop by on a regular basis, you are kidding yourself.

If your relative lived several states away, and you visited once or even twice a year (or not at all)…you did not “go through it” when they were ill or suffering from dementia, etc.

My mother has some very kind care givers helping her get dressed every morning. But they are not going to take care of her like they would their own mother.

My sister recently bought mom three new bras as the old ones were pretty shoddy. I do the laundry every week to 10 days – yet there will only be one bra – or none – in the laundry basket.

Mom can wear them a few days, but a week or longer is too much.

The other day when I did her wash, another seemingly brand new bra appeared. I checked with my sister, and yes, she now has more than she bought. It’s curious because this bra was in her dirty laundry basket…I loaded it into the washer so I know it wasn’t left over from another resident in the washer or dryer.

The apartment community washes her towels and sheets. Maybe they brought it in another time…at least it’s the right size.

Today I’m going to post a note asking the caregivers to put on a clean bra when Mom gets a bath. I’m finding if I want something done a certain way – or done at all – I need to post a note. It’s not enough to make a verbal request. With staff changes and shift changes, I have to be pro-active and oversee the caregivers. You can’t do that across the country or from the comfort of your own home.