Archive for September 24th, 2009|Daily archive page
The social worker at the Alz center invited me to attend a care conference about Mom on Wednesday morning. Apparently staff members hold these every three months about each resident and family can choose whether or not to attend. I was very glad to be invited. I was curious to hear what they had to say about Mom and just to learn more about the philosophy of the place.
The center is starting something new – the “Guardian Angel” program. Senior members of the staff will be assigned to serve as guardian angels for a set group of patients. They become the central point of contact for questions and concerns about the patient. A nurse named Rachel is Mom’s angel. This struck me as quite something. As if department heads don’t already have enough to do, they now are responsible for knowing just a little bit extra about their assigned group of residents. I think it’s great, myself. I just hope they think it’s great, too.
During the conference, each staff member told me her impressions of Mom. All the departments heads there on this day were women, and that might be the case about the whole place. There are very few men around, though I know the neurologist medical director is a man and I have seen at least one male aide. The social worker said she thought Mom’s adjustment to the new center had been among the best adjustments she has ever seen. She sat on the couch once with Mom and they talked about how they both had Crocs on. Rachel was assigned to Mom because of her new location in the program wing of the building, so I don’t think she knows too much about Mom just yet – she just moved there on Tuesday. Penny the nurse talked about how much she likes Mom – she is the one who called her an angel. She also noticed that Mom doesn’t carry around dog/cat as much, and she wonders if Mom might be weaning herself from that security item – considered a good sign. Meg the activities director said Mom does pretty well with most activities. She sometimes gets frustrated when she has trouble following instructions. Mom is also picky about who touches her. Apparently it’s OK if staff members touch her, but Mom has been resistant to being touched by other residents. I found this interesting. They all noticed that Mom doesn’t like having anyone hovering around her too much. She becomes suspicious. I think that is one reason she had such a hard time at Whetstone. There was a staff member with her at all times and that drove her nuts.
I told the staff members that Mom had become her old self essentially the minute she walked into the center. She had become more relaxed. She stopped complaining. Her generally good nature returned. Her ability to sleep on the lobby couch tells me a lot about her comfort level. Mom’s lobby naps are definitely part of the everyday routine now, and everyone agreed there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. As for medication, the nursing staff will probably start to wean Mom from the antipsychotic, and I completely approve of that idea. Mom has been transferred from her Ohio State neurologist to the medical director of the center, so that will reduce the need to take her out for doctor’s appointments. And those two neurologists know each other and have similar philosophies. I said I just want Mom to be as happy as she can be, and that I didn’t think the antipsychotic actually did anything to improve how she feels. I think it just flattened out her behavior. I forgot to say I never want her to feel scared. But she hasn’t shown any signs of that lately. She did say when I was visiting with her Wednesday that she is lonesome when I’m not around. I think that could be related to her adjustment to yet another room. But I also told her I would try to visit more often. We ran into my neighbor in the program area, and she asked Mom how she’s doing. “About medium,” Mom said. I thought that was a funny answer. This was when she said she is lonely, too.
I briefly saw Mom before my meeting. I walked back to the program area and could see her sitting in a chair facing the hallway. “There’s Emily,” she said. I liked that. I don’t think she always knows my name even if she knows my face. I checked out her new room and reminded her of its location. It isn’t as nice as her previous room – it is older, I believe. I think the other wing is a newer part of the building. It’s just a little run-down looking, maybe slightly more institutional. But it’s just fine. It’s still roomy. And I really don’t think she will spend much time there beyond sleeping. Just outside her door is the large and active program area, virtually always full of people during the day.
I left Mom in her room when I went to the meeting, and when I returned about half an hour later, Mom was asleep on her bed. She woke up when I walked into her room. I told her it was almost time for lunch. I had noticed when I first saw her that she had on a pair of pants I didn’t recognize. She also had on eyeglasses that weren’t hers. I told the staff members these things. I said I am not really worried about this stuff at all, but I just wanted to be sure other families won’t accuse her of stealing. I figure it will all get resolved eventually. The staff members said sometimes residents take off their glasses and never put them on again. So that could be the next thing that happens. One wonders where Mom’s glasses are. I didn’t notice them on anyone else’s face.
I got a little blast from the assisted living past; I ended up changing Mom’s clothes for her. Mom said she had to pee so I directed her to her bathroom. She pulled down her pants, and I saw that the unfamiliar yellow pair of pants she had on were pulled over a pair of gray pants that I did know were hers. The gray pants looked a little…soiled. I wondered if it had been her idea to conceal that by covering them with another pair of pants. I’ll just never know. Her underwear didn’t look so good so she started taking everything off. I threw the pants into her laundry basket and threw away her underwear, and gave her a fresh pair. She is still able to complete the task of going to the bathroom, but she has a little bit of a problem with the cleanup. I could tell she was giving it an extra effort this time, even showing me the status of the toilet paper, and I gave her encouraging words about that. And I picked out some white pants for her to wear. She’s wearing the pink Crocs these days with no socks. The staff members like her pink Crocs.