Lots of improvement
I guess I required a little break from blogging after the most recent posts about Mom’s pain and suffering. But I have seen Mom twice since that post, and she is doing much better. She was full of smiles on Wednesday of this past week:
I had a care conference with Alz center staff on Sept. 19. Mom has gained back some of the lost weight – 8.5 pounds in the last three months. Which I think is just fine. She is eating 75-100 percent of her meals. Some of her restlessness has abated, so she is more relaxed at meal time and willing to sit and eat. She doesn’t walk as much as she used to, either. One staff member said that Mom still can walk just fine – in the context of her recent injury, I had asked if she seemed to have any lasting effects. But this staffer said that some Alz patients lose the initiative to even stand up. I hadn’t thought of that, but I can certainly see that as an element of the disease’s progression. Mom isn’t immobile by any means. She still walks quite a bit. But she doesn’t walk obsessively anymore. And given the calluses that formed on her feet, I think this might be a good thing.
The activities director said Mom’s attention span is poor. Not necessarily a new thing, but perhaps becoming more pronounced. Mom still enjoys music and dance, but requires more extensive cues to participate in most activities. Mom’s relationship with Mr. R is also being observed a little more carefully now. The staffers in the conference and a nurse, when I ran into her a little later, told me about bruising on Mom’s hand – a result from Mr. R trying to pull on her recently. I’m not allowed to know any specifics about his care, but the staffers did want to assure me that Mom will be safe. And I appreciated that.
At the time of the conference, Mom was still on her second round of antibiotics for her eye infection. But even on that day, she was looking better. I went to see her after the conference. She was lying on a couch with her feet resting in Mr. R’s lap. Both were asleep. I didn’t stay long. I examined her hand, and there was bruising from the middle of the back of her hand all the way over to include her thumb. I imagined that Mom had let out a good yell when Mr. R did that to her. Mom stirred as I stood over and she said a few things, but I encouraged her to go back to sleep.
And then I got super busy at work and with a weekend of events with Patrick’s family plus two freelance jobs. I finally got back to see Mom on Wednesday. When I got to the center, a staffer told me Mom was asleep in a chair across the room. But Mom was awake when I got there. Her hair looked really greasy, which I found upsetting. But then I realized she was all cleaned up, and her hair was wet because it apparently had recently been washed. This was early afternoon, and I wondered if this meant Mom had gotten really messy at lunch. But a family member told me later that she thought it had just been shower time and it was Mom’s turn.
A pianist was at the center playing music, and I encouraged Mom to move over closer to the piano so we could enjoy the music. We sat next to each other, and I rested my hand on her leg. The music was classical, a previous favorite of Mom’s. Mom talked quite a bit, and was really acting out the personalities of the people that I just assumed she was describing. She pretended to cry, she pretended to get mad, all to make the story more dramatic. If only I knew what she was telling me. I found it very entertaining nonetheless, and I consistently reacted, mostly laughing. Mom’s eyes were clear and she showed no signs of pain. It was such a relief to see Mom looking so good and to just have a peaceful visit with her, listening to music. Eventually I kissed her goodbye and went back to work.