Monday, March 17, 2014


My mom has been in her new home about ten days. Unfortunately, it's not going quite as smoothly as we had hoped. The doctors assured us the surgery had been successful. That my mom would just continue to get stronger. And that she would be fine living by herself.

That's not been entirely true. Take yesterday, for example. I left Denver at 6 am and arrived at my mom's place around 7:30.  She was sitting at the kitchen table reading the paper and drinking coffee.
She needed a few things from the grocery store, so I ran to the store, then met my sister, Betsy, at my mom's old place to do more packing. On Saturday, we did the kitchen. Our goal for yesterday was books (I know where I inherited my bibliophilic gene from).

Betsy, my brother-in-law, Paul and I worked for about four hours, then headed back, with full cars, to my mom's new place. We had lunch, unpacked the cars, and hung some pictures. Things seemed to be going ok, but then the trouble began.

My mom was sitting in a chair in her bedroom watching us hang pictures. When she went to get up, she had a lot of trouble. She said her legs weren't working right. She seemed to be having problems using the walker correctly, even though she had done fine with it on Saturday.

My sisters and I weren't quite sure what was going on. Was something wrong with the shunt? Did we need to go back to the hospital? We decided to give it a few minutes and see what happened. We got my mom settled in her chair in the living room, then my middle sister left to go to my mom's place, to give away some furniture. We were afraid to leave my mom alone, so we decided that Betsy would stay. I headed back to Denver, crying all the way, to drop all of the books off at the Denver Public Library for their summer book sale.

When I got to Denver, I texted my sister and things seemed to be going better. My mom and sister had both had naps. My mom was sitting on the couch. Betsy left to go home; my other sister, Nancy, was going to stop and help her get ready for bed.

Shortly after Nancy left, she got a phone call. My mom had fallen trying to get into bed. She wears an alert button and Nancy told her to press the button, so that someone from the front desk would come up to help her. She wasn't hurt, just scared.

Both my sisters headed back over. Betsy ended up spending the night and most of the day today. She didn't go to work, again. She and my brother own their own company, so she can miss more easily than Nancy or I, but it's definitely less than ideal. At this point, we are wondering whether my mom really will be able to live on her own. We wonder whether she needs an actual assisted living apartment at this facility (right now she is in the independent living wing). We wonder if we should get a CNA, at least part time, until my mom gets a little stronger. I wonder if my sisters' lives will ever get back to normal. I wonder if I should try to sell my house and get a job in my mom's city, which is 90 minutes south, so I could help more.

The doctors assure us that things are going well. The occupational therapist reminded my sister, today, that my mom's brain has undergone a great trauma, and it needs lots of rest and quiet. More than two people in the apartment is too many. More than one activity (and just going to the dining room is considered an activity) per day is too many. She needs to take lots of naps. We need to be patient. She thinks she will be ok, but it will just take time.

In the meantime, there's a whole lot of wondering going on…


Tara said...

Oh Carol, I can't imagine what you must be going through. Such a trying time - waiting, wondering, hoping for the best. I am sending thoughts and prayers and hugs your way.

Linda B said...

Thinking of you, Carol. I'm going to comment more on Facebook!

Chris H. said...

Warm thoughts to you and your family. Take it slow, give it time. There is a lot to be said for taking one day at a time. Writing will help you to know what you think and feel, to have a better sense of time and progress, and to make informed decisions.

Michelle said...

Carol, I can't even imagine how difficult this is for you and your family. It has to so hard not knowing what to do. Continue to pray, Carol.

Chris said...

I hope your mom continues to rest up and heal. I'm happy that you have a full family of support.

Judy said...

What a trying time for your family. I wish you patience and prudence as you all navigate this together.