Thursday, August 12, 2010

One of Those Times of Life

I haven't written in ten days because my head has been elsewhere. I haven't been able to write about frivolous things, because I've been tangled in a family problem, and I wasn't ready to talk about it. Today I think I am.

Mother fell two weeks ago at the adult community where she lives. Apparently she took a tumble in the middle of the night - on the way to the "little girls' room" - and she lay there about 12 hours until Security entered her apartment to check on her. First, a shout out to both Security and to the members of the Little Old Lady Mafia (LOLM) who insisted that they do it. Apparently, like me, Ma doesn't miss lunch!

(I should stop right her and say that she did not break anything - thank goodness!)

They did everything right: the nurse was called and Mother was delivered to the health care center to spend the night and be checked out. She had some minor issues and blood chemicals out of whack, but seemed ok - until the following day when she developed ventricular fibrillation. That wins you a trip to the hospital when you are 85. Naturally, Mitchell and I were out of town when it happened and my brother is 500 miles away, but they assured me that she would be fine and that I did not need to rush home.

On that Monday, tho, I presented myself at the hospital in time to meet the cardiologist and the internist who agreed that for reasons unknown her heart enzymes and rhythm had both gotten messed up, and that she would be fine as frog hair in a few days. Oh, and as soon as we get rid of the pneumonia. Now, there's a word to strike fear in the hearts of children of 80-year olds!

So, medically they are telling me she will be fine, but did I mention that she had had moved to LaLaLand mentally? She did know me, but complained about sleeping in a closet (fortunately, from my perspective, a closet with a private bath) and having a clock that rang every minute. (We finally figured out that she meant the heart rate monitor, which they silenced so she could sleep.)

As children we spend a goodly part of our lives knowing - on some level - that our parents will not outlive us. But, suddenly that time line looks mighty short! Bro and I are burning up the cell towers trying to stay informed, give each other moral support, and make decisions for her care.

To make a long story short, this was just a warning. Mother is back at the nursing center recovering her strength so that she can return to her apartment - maybe in a couple of weeks. Once the drugs were out of her system - and her hearing aids back in her ears - her mental state picked up remarkably. She has returned from LaLaLand and the LOLM is visiting regularly to help build up her spirits and to give her the mental stimulation of conversation.

But now that we have had this warning, we need to start looking at alternatives and making some serious plans for the future. In a few more days she will be able to help with the decision-making and we will have a serious talk about Power of Attorney. [Anyone have a good suggestion for how I say, "Mother, we need you to sign this now!"?]

Gee, I feel better just sharing this with you all. Ain't like I'm the only daughter in the world that will even go thru this process - right?