Archive for September 23rd, 2013|Daily archive page

What a difference a pill makes

About a week after I complained about Mom’s mood without her Zoloft, the nurse called again. The doctor had been in for the behavior meeting, and he agreed to put her back on the medicine – but at a lower dose. Mom had been taking 150 milligrams a day, and he started her back on 50 milligrams daily. I thanked the nurse with enthusiasm.

About a week or so later, I went to see Mom on a Sunday, not knowing what to expect. She was walking around the program area, and I just popped in front of her and said hello. She greeted me with a smile and a laugh, so we were off to a good start. We walked a little, and talked a little. She seemed a little unsettled, but eventually parked herself on a couch and relaxed for a little while. She was very cheerful, so much like her former self. I was relieved. She said very few coherent sentences or words, but she was in a good mood.

We stood again to walk, and she took my hand. Another good sign. It was almost lunchtime, so I guided her to a table. Turns out, though, that it was the wrong one. Since the state last visited to assess the Alz center, some things have changed. Among them: Each resident now must sit at an assigned table for every meal. This is standard in most nursing homes, but in a facility for patients with dementia, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. However, rules are rules. The husband of a patient pointed out Mom’s assigned table. An aide passed by to confirm it, but said it didn’t matter which chair she occupied. With some effort, I convinced Mom to sit down.

I got a bib to put on her and sat down next to her. I had seated Mom prematurely. It was taking awhile for her tray to arrive, so I had to keep her entertained. She was restless and wanted to stand up. I grabbed her hands and encouraged her to stay. She raised one of my hands and kissed it and said, “I love you, honey.” This sealed it for me, that Mom was feeling better now that she was back on her meds. I kept talking to her with a big grin on my face, telling her how glad I was that she felt better and that I loved her, too. She continued to try to get up, so I stood behind her with my hands on her shoulders and just patted her and rubbed her shoulders a little to keep her still. And it didn’t make her mad, thankfully. Sometimes, she is very willful when she’s being instructed.

Finally, her tray arrived: roast beef, mashed potatoes and cooked carrots. Plus cherry pie and strawberry ice cream. Classic Bonnie food. She ran her fingers through the potatoes and took a bite. She took a sip of her hot cereal. And then she lifted her fork to eat some of the meat. I was stunned she could still use a utensil. With her finally occupied, I decided to leave. I hovered my face in front of hers and we pecked each other on the lips goodbye. I haven’t been back in a week, but I look forward to more of the same on my next visit.

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