No visitors allowed

I tried to visit Mom last week after a doctor’s appointment (more aches and pains-tendinitis in my foot), which was in the same general neighborhood. But I was stopped at the front desk. The receptionist was turning away another visitor right before me – she said staff members were trying to contain a rampant flu in the program area, so visitation was put on hold. I had a flu shot in the fall and Mom did, too, so I wondered about the overall risk but didn’t want to put up a fuss. I asked if Mom was sick, but she didn’t know for sure. I guessed not since I had not received a call. I returned yesterday, Sunday, to try again. The weekend receptionist said visitors were allowed but that a lot of residents were still sick. And it wasn’t influenza, it turns out, but an intestinal virus. Lots of vomiting and diarrhea. She hadn’t heard that Mom was one of the sick ones. I dosed up on antibacterial hand gel and headed toward the program area.

Mom was sound asleep on a couch just outside her room. I actually had another task – I checked her closet to see how her wardrobe was faring. She has too much money again, by Medicaid standards, so I have to go shopping for her. I’m going to focus on lots of pants. Her pants always seem to disappear. And her clothes in general take a beating because she is such a messy eater – her clothes are laundered very frequently. I’m always looking for a bargain when I shop for myself, but for Mom I’ll strive to pay full price so I can quickly get her checking account below the maximum allowed. Seems odd to me that I need to spend her money, again, but I don’t think I would have predicted in August 2009, when she went on Medicaid, that she’d still need it in 2014. That’s also odd to think or say… But even as little as the $40 per month she’s allowed to keep from her retirement earnings eventually adds up over 4 1/2 years.

After checking the closet, I stood over Mom and looked at her. She was wearing a Buckeye sweatshirt and a pair of old gray fleece pants that she has had for many years. Her color was good and her hair looked clean. And she snored, and flailed her arms a little bit as if she were having a dream. So I didn’t think I should wake her from such a deep sleep. I know now that she’s OK. And I hope she avoids the virus. I hope I do, too – I lathered up twice with antibacterial gel, once in the lobby and again in my car.

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2 comments so far

  1. Liz Palika on

    One of the care facilities I visit with my therapy dogs was closed to visitors for a couple of weeks in January. They had illness (respiratory and/or gastrointestinal) going around. It was a bad winter.

  2. momsbrain on

    Hi, Liz. It has been a bad winter here, too, for snow, cold and influenza. This was just the first time I had encountered this rule at Mom’s nursing home, after all this time, so it took me by surprise. But it certainly made sense. I’m amazed Mom hasn’t gotten sick, but she is less social than she used to be so maybe she isn’t touching people very much. Thank you for taking your dogs to see patients!!


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