Beau, the Health Services Director at mom’s community called me this morning. Mom fell in the hall on her way to breakfast. A staff member saw her hit her head on her way down. I didn’t get whether it was the wall or floor. The only thing that might have been injured was her pride. Her forehead was a little red. Beau walked her down to breakfast where some of her friends greeted, and welcomed her. The incident went from one of potential dismay, or even heartbreak, to lovely social camaraderie over a meal.

Beau and I talked about a number of things over the next 10 minutes.

He asked what services he could provide mom to support, no pun intended, her needs. Explaining to Beau that this situation is currently one of the most difficult manifestations of my mother’s illness, led me tears. I tried to help him understand that my mama spent her career in academia, had a brilliant mind, and now can’t, due to dementia, sprinkled with the irascible side of her personality, understand what can help her retain her mobility, much less act on it, that being PT.

We discussed:

  • Beau let me know they had circled back again to Dr. O for a PT referral.
  • After Beau explained my mother’s rejection of help (in general) I let Beau know that I completely understand my mother doesn’t want, and denies needing help. That we can’t do anything about this, and that it may, sadly, lead to a debilitating fall. Adults are allowed, legally, in our state to make their own poor decisions. To illustrate to Beau that I understood what he was trying to convey, I told him this little story:
    • A neighbor on the Island, when mom was still living there, called with deep concern that mom had been swimming in the lake, and on her one story, almost, flat, roof. I thanked the neighbor for her concern, and said there was NOTHING I could to do stop mom from engaging in those activities, even if I was right there with her! If she drowned while swimming, or rolled off the roof while caulking the oven’s vent, she would have been living her best life. There is where a place/time/point in a given situation, as care givers/family/loved ones, we have to acknowledge we have zero control.
  • I shared with Beau that since mom has been in care, my anxiety surrounding her imminent demise has reduced 1000%. That when she was living independently, her opportunity to do herself in, probably zero exaggeration, occurred multiples times an hour, more when she was driving, and exponentially more with alcohol consumption, and fire tending as the evenings wore on. I said writing the checks each month for mom’s care is very exciting (not in a good way), and sends me back over the accounting so I can sleep at night, her being in care is SUCH a good thing, and is SO much better than her being lonely, living in isolation, screwing up her medications, drinking unchecked, letting food rot in the fridge, and not being able to manage her overall medical needs.
  • Given all our doubt that mom will accept additional help from the community, I suggested that PT give her some tuition on using her cane. I say frequently in my horticultural life, “No one is born knowing how to water (plants).” Well, no one is born knowing how to use a cane, and if all PT can get through to her is some cane tuition, that’ll help.

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