Archive for August 25th, 2009|Daily archive page

Dog/cat is missing

Yesterday, Monday, was the first day in nine days, I think, that I didn’t see Mom. I went back to work, and I was sort of busy, and we had a special staff lunch, and I wanted to go to an exercise class after work, so I just didn’t make time for Mom. I called her nursing station late in the afternoon to see how she was doing. I said I was wondering if Mom had had “a reasonably not terrible day.” That made the nurse laugh. Mom is back with a one-on-one at all times, or at least during waking hours. The one-on-ones are now staying back when Mom approaches a door to see what she’ll do. Often, she will just look outside and then walk away. She did have one moment yesterday when she bolted out the main front door, which automatically opens when a person walks by. She apparently told her aide there was nothing she could do to stop Mom. This aide coaxed Mom back in and by the time they got around again to the nursing station, Mom was fine. The nurse I was talking to was the same one I had talked to Friday night. She is gentle and kind, and I appreciate the concern she expresses, and her high hopes for Mom to continue making progress. “Watch out,” I said, “or you’re going to be my favorite. You’re so nice to me.” She laughed at that, too. I can imagine the staff members have many and mixed emotions about family members. I’m hopeful that I am doing things as “right” as I can as far as they are concerned. Being there, not being bossy, giving them relief, asking them questions, giving them information that might help them. I continue to come across people who knew Mom on the assisted living side for one reason or another, and that is a comfort.

My weekend visits were shorter. On Saturday, I visited Mom about an hour before dinner. I frankly sort of forget how it went. That’s a good sign, that it was rather uneventful. She seemed to be doing OK and I dropped her off at dinner at her table with Zolie and Ruby, the people my sister and I sort of picked to be her dining companions. I do recall that on that day, Mom was just having 15-minute checks. So she was sort of on her own, with staff hunting her down to see what she was doing every 15 minutes. And she didn’t try to escape.

Sunday is more memorable. I visited Mom shortly before lunch. She was lying on her bed. There was a one-on-one in her room. She informed me that Mom was back on the one-on-one schedule, in part because of what she had done the night before. Sometime after dinner, she had walked into a man’s room, sat in a chair and took a dump, right there, in her pants. This would be the third poop accident I know about that has occurred somewhere other than in her own bathroom. If she’s anything like me, she has intestinal issues when she is experiencing a lot of stress. I wonder if that could be a contributing factor. Or can she not find a bathroom fast enough? She is eating the same food, so I imagine she is not adjusting to a new diet. I wonder if she is just becoming more incontinent all the time. It is dreadful to think this way, but I wish, if that is the case, that she were less mobile so her accidents would be less likely to occur in such distant places. She had objected Sunday morning to have any help with grooming on the lower half of her body. The aide had managed to change her shirt, but Mom wouldn’t budge about the pants. She had, however, had a nice shower on Saturday, I was told. I agreed to change Mom’s pants and disposable underwear. After that was taken care of, we went to the lobby to read part of the newspaper. We walked in the courtyard a little bit. She seemed fairly typically confused but her mood was pretty level. I dropped her off at lunch and as far as I know, she was fine the rest of the day.

Today, Tuesday, I did visit, after her lunch and my lunch. I found her walking in her hallway with an aide, one who had been with her last week. She said Mom seemed to be doing OK. I asked Mom how she was and she said, “It’s really bad.” But she just about immediately forgot that, because she never said it again. She looked a little messy. Her hair was all crazy and I think she was wearing the same socks from at least Sunday. This isn’t typical, but I wonder if she is putting up a fuss when an aide is helping her get dressed. I noticed right away she was not carrying dog/cat. She had a black stuffed dog instead.

Scooby Doo, where are you??

Scooby Doo, where are you??

I asked, “Where’s cat?” which was stupid, because Mom would not be able to tell me. The aide pointed to her room. I told the aide I’d be there for about 45 minutes. We went to Mom’s room. I brushed her hair and put some lipstick on her. I looked everywhere for dog/cat – in the two closets, the bathroom shower stall, under the bed, in Mom’s drawers, in the laundry basket. I thought he might have gotten dirty again. He was not in the room. I didn’t want to alarm Mom. I know he’s got to be in that building somewhere, and many people know he belongs to Mom. I gave up and asked her to take a walk. We were going to go to the lobby and look at the newspaper, but when we got to the aviary lounge, Mom sat on the couch there. There was a songbook on the piano this time. I asked Mom if I should play something. I can read music, but I no longer trust I can play both left- and right-hand parts of songs anymore. I played the melodies of a few songs: “We’ve Only Just Begun,” “Singing in the Rain,” “Try to Remember.” I sang along a little bit. A housekeeper came by and sang along, too. It was fun. Mom started to sing the words to “Edelweiss,” just the first word, really. I would have played it for her, but it wasn’t in the book. She can remember song lyrics every now and then.

Mom seemed sort of befuddled today. Not fretful, but sort of flat and at the same time talkative – but talking nonsense. She said she doesn’t have anyplace to sleep, something she used to say in assisted living. She was asking about her money, saying she had some out in the world somewhere. I told her I use all of her money to pay for where she lives. I think she was trying to say she wants me to use her money to move her back to assisted living or someplace else. I wonder if someone said something to her about money, maybe a resident. When I knew I would need to get going I tried to think of where to take Mom that would make it easiest to say goodbye – something to occupy her. We went into the activities room, where there was going to be a Bible reflection discussion, but the teacher hadn’t arrived yet. Mom’s roommate was in there, and I said hello to her and Mom said, “Hi, Honey” to her. I sat Mom in the back of the room, but she seemed uneasy, so I suggested she watch TV in a lounge instead. I walked her there and arranged a chair to face the TV, and she sat in another chair instead. I told her I was leaving and kissed her goodbye. As I was walking out, a new aide was walking toward her. At the nursing station, I asked if anyone had seen the dog/cat. The nurse and aide both had seen it yesterday and even this morning. The aide said she would try the dining room. I had looked at Mom’s table, but not anyplace else. I have not written Mom’s name on it – that is something I need to do. I’m supposed to write it on all of her clothes, too. For some reason, I find that annoying. But it’s a good idea, I suppose.

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