Medical update – 031209 The Late Report

I’m here.  It’s not 85 degrees.  I ate dinner at Stamey’s.  I’m dog tired.  What else do ya wanna know?

Oh, yeah…Mom.

I arrived at Wagon Wheel Ranch at about 3:30 and spent about 2 1/2 intense hours with M&P.  Mom was still in bed and very quiet, but alert.  She eventually relocated to her armchair.  Her broken 10th rib hurts her A LOT when she coughs or laughs.  There’s not a lot of humor in play right now, but coughing is a natural thing to do…as in when she was trying to eat an orange and had to cough twice.  I observed her in a great deal of pain, and there is nothing anyone can do about it.  And her hip hurts, even lying still in bed.  Could be that it is deeply bruised.  I’m sure it was x-rayed for breakage.

I asked her what she thought was going on with her.  She said she thinks Parkinson’s is taking over and that’s what’s causing her to fall more often over the past couple of weeks.  I asked if she thought this cause/effect would get better.  She thinks it’ll get worse.

So she understands that.  But on another level (pride? fear of dislocation?), she still thinks her mental focus is what’s needed to get her successfully from here to there (i.e. across the room).  I acknowledged that her intentions were obviously good, and that her mind may be working fine, but that her body was not cooperating.  She agreed that this is true, and said it may degrade even more in time.

Without playing doctor (or putting the cart before the horse), we discussed the possibility that the medical community might say that Assisted Living is no longer the level of care that Mom needs.  They might say she needs Skillled Nursing Care (SNC).  If that’s the case, I said, it would be necessary to move her to a nursing home (like Maryfield).

I talked about the identical process we went through four years ago when Docs told both M and P that their house was not a safe place for them.  While I was busy conducting the business of moving them, I said, I was also keenly aware that she (not Pop) was suffering for having to be dislocated.  I asked her if that was also true for when she left Lakeview Drive or Northern Pkwy, and she said yes (deeply) to all.  So we must all understand that Mom puts roots down deeply wherever she lives, and hurts badly when she has to leave.  This is her nature.

It doesn’t take a shrink to figure out that the trauma of dislocation grows exponentially with age.  There is simply nothing in her now that makes it alright for her to leave WWR; not even a medical mandate.  She wants to stay there and make a go of it, logic be damned.  And she knows that moving again would hurt her.  And we should understand that, if a move is indeed medically mandated, the hurt could exacerbate her physical condition and harm her spirit.  (I’m trying not to say something too dramatic here.)

So my objective here in Greensboro is to learn what assessments the medical community has made, to present them as compassionately as possible (assuming the worst), and to take whatever action is necessary to ensure that Mom is medically/physically okay while being as gentle as humanly possible with her spirit.

For his part, Pop is very much engaged in this, and displays (what for him seems like) great compassion for Mom, particularly in this situation.  Moving is not an issue for him at all.  But privately, each of them told me that if moving was necessary, they wanted to be living together in the same room – not just in the same building.  So Michael, you’re right: Pop needs Mom more even that he’s willing to admit.

My agenda for Friday is to talk with as many medical professionals as I can find.  I am most interested in Mom’s long-time doctor who has always been her strong advocate.  (Remember 5 years ago when I took her in about giving up her driver’s license?  the good doctor nearly jumped down my throat that I would assert myself against his patient.  Nevertheless, it was he who asked Mom the right question which brought the answer: ‘No, I should not be driving.’)

I will also be seeing Pop’s new doctor, and will be having a roundtable discussion with M&P and WWR’s head nurse, and administrator.  I’m really hoping for a productive day.  The weekend is lost for business purposes.  My current plan is to leave next Wednesday, so if proactive works needs doing, it’ll be done Monday and Tuesday.  Of course, I will extend my stay here if necessary.

Well for a tired person, this is many more words than I had planned to write.  But I always want you to be informed.  I always want to maintain transparency and accountability.  I think it’s important for you all to know this stuff.  No surprises.


About FredMarx

Old enough to have wisdom; young enough to learn.
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