Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Fall

I'm writing the story of the loss of my mother and brother, a great lesson for me in love and living.  You can find day 1here and day 2 here.

 After my dad's funeral we were really at a loss as to how to proceed. Mother had obviously suffered a traumatic breakdown and her short-term memory was gone. She had no recollection that her husband had died. She was very weak and refused to leave her bed.  Constant care was being provided, as Jerry and I had to return to work. But, it became obvious that a big change was coming.

Prior to all of this happening we had attempted to get my mother to sign documents. A Living Will, Power of Attorney,  etc... She had refused, thinking that she would always be able to make important decisions.

 So let me pause here and give you a little background about my mother. She was the youngest of seven and a beautiful redhead. Born to a very poor family,  she was always confident that she would rise above her circumstances. After graduating from high school she attended business school and met my father and married him when she was 20. When my father died, she became a single working woman in an age where that wasn't the norm.  Many would say that my mother was very opinionated and at times I wouldn't disagree with that. But when you look back on what she lived through and had accomplished, I see her personality as one being more of confidence than opinions.

 I interject that here because that confidence/opinions comes very much into play as we navigated through how to care for her. She absolutely refused to sign any documents, stating that she was perfectly able to care for herself. Of course we knew she wasn't, and of course we knew it was not her speaking.

 Finally, Jerry and I had to make a decision. We had to return to work and there were not enough funds to continue providing around-the-clock care. So we told her that the next morning she would be on her own, but we would be checking in on her. The staff at the assisted living ( where she and dad had been) would look in as well.

 The next morning I received a call at work from my husband. Mother had fallen in the kitchen and the paramedics have been summoned. I could not leave work immediately but Jerry could and his forward thinking was amazing. On the way out of his office he grabbed the copies of the documents that mother needed to sign and spoke to the paramedics on his drive down there. He told them under no circumstances were they to move her off the floor. Make her comfortable, but do not move her until he got there. Now this next part may sound rather cruel, but in all honesty it was a very necessary decision. When my husband arrived and  determined that mother was comfortable, he told her that he wanted to be able to get her back into bed and make some decisions about her care, but he would not let anyone move her until she signed the documents that we needed.   There was no argument from her and the documents were signed giving us the ability to care for her in the best way possible.  I know that must have been very difficult for my husband. But to this day I am grateful for his professional side.

 The next step was to have my mother evaluated so we could see the physical issues that we were dealing with. She was moved to a dementia facility for testing. In the two weeks since my dad's death my mother had lost a tremendous amount of weight and not only was she diagnosed with dementia and early onset Alzheimer's ,but also failure to thrive. All of those diagnosis gave us access to hospice care.

After arrangements had been made for care and changes made in our home we brought her here.  There was never a question about where she would live and who would be responsible for her.  It's what we do.  We care of our own.  The next 3 years are extremely difficult and I will begin to share that tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. wow, a lot of trauma here. I am glad that you can articulate it and by this move to further closure, etc. It can take a long time, I think. much love to you. will light a candle for your family, included those who are departed.