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.)
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.