Archive for June 15th, 2009|Daily archive page

Sleep meds

I went to see my doctor today. After the middle-of-the-night almost-panic attack plus general problems of all kinds with sleep – trouble falling asleep, trouble staying asleep, waking up too early – I thought I’d talk to her about anxiety. I also think stress is affecting some other various body parts and I’m tired of that, too. I thought I might benefit from an anti-anxiety medicine, such as Xanax, the only one I’m really familiar with because Mom took it off and on for years. I was feeling anxious before I went in to my appointment. I guess admitting anxiety is getting the best of me is an uncomfortable thing, even though I have always been pretty open about my mental health history.

The doc focused on sleep instead. She said if I am helped by a sleep medication, my anxiety might be reduced as a result. I didn’t really expect this outcome, but I’m willing to give it a try. She prescribed 2 mg of Lunesta daily, about a half-hour before I go to bed. Of course, I have been looking at Web sites to see what the low-down is on side effects. Message boards are full of people complaining about a bad taste in their mouths. But the clinical trial results show fairly low percentages of so-called “adverse events,” and chances are better that I’ll be side-effect free than that I’ll be riddled with headaches, indigestion, sleep-walking, drowsiness and a bad taste in my mouth, some of the most common minor problems with this drug.

Meanwhile, Mom seems to be doing pretty well. I stopped in Thursday last week, two days after the cat had died. Mom was at an exercise class. I didn’t want to distract her from that. I had a lunch date with my co-workers, so I didn’t stick around too long. I did talk to the nurse, who said Mom had been pacing around the first floor a lot, and talked about her dead cat with her friends. But her mood was OK and she was still engaging with her usual friends, hanging out in the lobby. On Friday, I tried again before lunch. Mom was in the exercise class again, on the second floor. While she was in there, I used some pet-odor remover on her couch and an ottoman in her apartment, and sprayed the whole place with various air freshening products. Then I went upstairs and watched her exercise for a little while. The group, instructed by the activities director, ended with a final stretch of the O-H-I-O cheer and a “Go Bucks.” Pretty cute.

Mom was glad to see me when she came out of class. We went to her apartment and I coaxed her out of one outfit and into another. I don’t know if changing her clothes makes her feel better, but it makes me feel better. I combed her hair and saw her off to lunch in the dining room. I returned Sunday for a similar visit before lunch. I found Mom walking the halls and when she saw me, she said, “Oh, hallelujah. I’m so glad to see you.” She had on a bulky fleece jacket over a purple fleece sweatshirt and gray pants I had dressed her in two days before. I took her back to her apartment and once again disrobed her. She’ll do anything I suggest, pretty much, so this isn’t a big deal. I washed her face and her underarms and put deodorant on for her. This time, I dressed her in black pants and a black sweater with a pretty pink T-shirt underneath. I also suggested she brush her teeth, which she did. And I combed her hair. I kept telling her I was freshening her up. A staff member stopped to tell me Mom was doing well, and that other residents are looking after her. I am so glad they are doing that rather than rejecting her as she gets more and more confused.

She seemed a little confused on Sunday, actually. She said lots of things were changing, and that a bunch of people had been taken away. I assume the facility took residents on a shopping trip or something like that. And I told her it was the weekend, so the staff was smaller and the schedule was not the same. I told her things would feel normal again on Monday. “Oh, OK,” she said. “That would be good.” She doesn’t like change. But she also said, “Would you move me somewhere else if I wanted you to?” Eek. I told her I want her to be happy and that I thought she usually was happy in her current location. I don’t know what this might mean about her readiness for the nursing home: will she welcome a smaller space, a roommate and more staff around, or will it represent more change than she can handle? Either way, it’s just about five weeks away. When we had finished freshening her, I sent her off to the dining room again, and told her we’d go out to lunch this week. Nothing brightens her more than that these days.

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