Saturday, July 11, 2009

July 11, 2009

I woke at 3:30 this morning worrying about Memaw. I left her apt. yesterday at around 6:00 pm. She was sitting up in bed and had eaten some of her dinner. She was refusing to feed herself and I had to coax her with every bite. She said "No" and "I'm just not hungry". I said "I don't care if you are hungry or not you are going to eat this bite!". I also told her to quit telling me no! After she had eaten some of her grilled cheese and part of her soup I laid some Frito's on the towel across her body. She ate everyone I put there (without complaint). I got an ice cream bar and put it in her hands...she ate that without complaining too!

Gary arrived while she was eating. He stayed until after 8:00. She refused to change into her night clothes and wouldn't go to the bathroom before he left. (which is why I woke up at 3:30, I started worrying that maybe it really wasn't the anxiety and she was seriously ill) was the anxiety. Gary went over to her apartment early this morning. She was mad and complaining. It was obvious that she had gotten out of bed during the night and taken care of her needs. Believe it or not we are happy she is mad and complaining. It shows she has some fight left in her! That is so much better than laying around and hardly communicating with anyone. It also helped to relay my fears that she was really ill and did need to go to the emergency room. My greatest fear is that we will not recognize when she really needs to go. If you listened to her she would go at least 3 times a week!

I am learning as we travel through this journey that you are never prepared. You dig deep and draw from the life skills that your parents equipped you with when you were young. Of course, it doesn't hurt that you realize this could be you some day and how would you want to be treated! It also helps to remember the person she was before the dementia and anxiety controlled her life. She was a very sweet, caring, christian woman that loved her family.

Friday, July 10, 2009

July 10, 2009 PM

I was hoping for a better day today. Memaw had made some progress yesterday. She called me at 2:00 and said she couldn't breathe and needed to go to the hospital. We had been to the hospital with her the night before with the same symptoms. They ran some test and gave her an shot for anxiety. She was much better a couple of hours later. We are realizing how handicapping anxiety can be for someone. It is painful to watch someone you love become incapacitated by anxiety and dementia. We feel so helpless. We continue to feel hopeful that if we can just get her medication regulated correctly she will have a better quality of life. The path to regulated meds is difficult.

The rehabilitation center dismissed her with home health orders. We have had home health approximately 5 weeks. We have only had one week with the medication correct. Tried to cancel home health last week and do the meds ourselves. We played phone tag with the agency. Home health came this last Tuesday and filled her meds. I double checked the meds for accuracy. Two days were missing some of the medication. We wouldn't have known if we hadn't checked! Cancelled home health. Meds are too important to let someone else be careless and mess it up.

Went this afternoon to check on Memaw after the phone call. Found out that home health gave her meds but left out her anxiety meds. Glad we cancelled home health. If I have learned anything it is that you can't assume people are doing their job correctly. You have to follow through on everything! The elderly and children are very vulnerable.

Praying that Memaw has a good night and that anxiety doesn't get the best of her.

July 10, 2009

I am starting this blog to help me remember the details of Memaw's care. I have made several attempts to keep this data organized. With every doctor's visit I realize the information was written down, in a journal at home, or in my memory. Unfortunately, I usually didn't have the journal with me or my memory wasn't working fast enough for the doctor's questions! Technology seems to be my friend and is always accessible! I am hoping this blog will help me keep all information in one place and provide access for family to keep updated.

Memaw was diagnosed in April with dementia. The diagnosis started with a trip to the emergency room because she was having trouble breathing. She had also fallen 2 times. Her blood pressure was high (stroke level). Memaw has had high blood pressure since I have known her. (I married her son in 1981!). She is a lovely, sweet lady. She had never been hospitalized (except to have children) until 3 or 4 years ago. It is hard to remember exactly when, which is why I am starting this blog.

Looking back, we realize all of the hospital visits began with the same symptoms, a phone call from her saying she couldn't breathe. Gary, my husband, would call 911 and start heading to her house about 15 minutes away. I would stay on the phone with her until the paramedics would arrive. In the beginning she would be hospitalized for several days. Tests would be performed and heart medications adjusted. This happened maybe once a year. Since, late 2008 she has been hospitalized 4 times. The symptoms were the same...she couldn't breathe. In April she had a harder time. This time she also had fallen 2 times. She could barely walk. Once again she was admitted to the hospital. She became very needy and Gary had to stay with her. Unfortunately, he was in charge of payroll at work and he couldn't stay the next day. Too many people were counting on receiving paychecks! I took off work to stay with her and listen to the doctor's reports. I will report on this in another blog.