Out of sorts

I am concerned that Mom has taken a turn for the grumpy. I visited Sunday just after lunch. She was sitting in a chair by herself, arms crossed and legs crossed. She said something in a huffy way. I pulled up a chair next to her and said I was sorry she was having a bad time. She recited a few syllables that didn’t really tell much of a story and then she said, “Shut up! Shut up!” I wondered if the music was bothering her – she was sitting right below the boombox. But the songs were oldies – real oldies, like Dean Martin types of songs.

I started rubbing her shoulders and arm. “I used to give you backrubs all the time,” I said. I tried to be gentle but also to exert a little pressure that could feel good. She would drop her head. I figured she was tired. At one point, she opened her eyes and looked at me for an extended period. I was a little worried that she might hit me so I backed away. She put her head down again, and I started rubbing again. I stroked the back of her head. This did seem to calm her. Eventually she started to try to sing along with one of the tunes, and she waved her arms as if she were dancing. I snapped my fingers. I thought we might have turned a corner in her mood.

Her aide came up and asked Mom if she’d like to go to the bathroom. She coaxed Mom out of her chair. I told her I’d stay behind unless she wanted me. Another aide went along. I went and stood outside the shower room door to listen. Mom screamed twice. I was glad they were changing her, though. I had noticed her diaper seemed to be bunched up around her left thigh. She came out and I greeted her and we walked around a little bit and she made her way to a couch. She reclined immediately. At this point, I studied her face – I had noticed she had some bruising on the right side of her forehead. It looked old. No one had ever told me about it but there was no bump and it didn’t seem to bother Mom when I touched it. She quickly nodded off. (A nurse looked at Mom on Sunday and another called me today to say Mom had been acting fine and no one knew the source of the bruise. I know it can be hard to track residents’ movement, so I’m not upset that Mom has a bruise. I was just surprised not to get a call informing me of it.)

Mom rested her head on the couch. The bruise was already sort of yellowish, not black and blue, so I figured she had had it for awhile.

Because I have noticed her wearing the same clothes over and over, I went into her room to check her closet. I found her new roommate in bed, her son sitting in a nearby chair and two hospice nurses tending to the patient. I apologized for disturbing them. This woman had just moved in the last day I had visited, on March 1, and was upright in a wheelchair. I said hello to her and she said hi back. She had deteriorated rapidly, and did not look good. The man said Mom was a little put out by the hospice situation. I said I wasn’t sure she even knew this was her room, and that I imagined she was not bothered by other people in there. But he then said she was being moved to another bed for sleeping but that she had made an effort at least once to return to her own bed. This was a surprise to me. I haven’t said anything to staff yet about this – I am stopping in tomorrow after I get my haircut and hope to find out what’s going on. But this, I really don’t like to hear. This is Mom’s second or third roommate since my friend’s mother, who was also Mom’s roommate for more than two years, passed away. With Mom acting out a little bit these days, I wonder if the source of her irritation is the Grand Central Station situation in her room. Mom has a reputation for being pretty easy-going, but I don’t want staff to take advantage of that, especially if it threatens to alter her generally good disposition.


5 comments so far

  1. Megan on

    Sounds stressful for both of you.

    Hope things settle soon.

    Like you, I’m amazed every so often by what Mom’s facility decides not to tell me (or just forgets to report). My mother refused her medications and food 3 days in a row and I didn’t hear until a week later. She also called 911 six times in one day, with a full response from the paramedics 3 of those times. They confiscated her phone (understandably), but I’d been trying to call for days before I figured out why it kept ringing.

    Once we knew about the issue, it was easy for us to disable the 911 button so everyone could get their needs met.

    Always a challenge to figure out what to let go of and what to fight for. I feel for you with the roommate carousel.

    Take care,

  2. Jeff on

    Hi Em – Did you find anything out about the new roommates. I agree that it would be a disappointing development if they were using Mom’s generally agreeable attitude as an opportunity to keep changing her environment, especially if that included her sleeping in another bed in another room. We were lucky when a spot opened up and you could move her there, so of course want to be sensitive and appreciative of all sorts of circumstances. But…..

  3. momsbrain on

    Hi, Megan – The things they didn’t tell you are pretty remarkable. My mom’s facility is inconsistent, but I made my point and hopefully I’ll be called the next time there is a reason for me to know something. I did not want to put up a huge fuss. I should have made a bigger stink in the past, when Mom had pinkeye. That was an enormous shock to me to see without any warning.

    Hi, Jeff – The roommate in this case died on Tuesday. I was probably overreacting with any suggestion that the facility is taking advantage of Mom – the bed situation is always changing there, but I talked to the social worker and just expressed that some stability would be nice for Mom. She agreed I should have received a call about that, too.

  4. patwhite67 on

    It was very needed that you called the bruise to Staff’s attention. We have to be the squeaky wheel on behalf of our loved ones.

  5. momsbrain on

    Pat – so true!

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