I didn’t write yesterday because I returned to the grid very late, and because I was physically and mentally spent.
Yesterday had its lowlights (two visits with M&P), and a highlight. Marsha and Jamie generously offered the use of Betty’s wheelchair for as long as we need it. Marsha’s mom passed away a couple years ago, and they’ve decided to hang on to her wheelchair for family members as the need arises. So I drove up to Virginia and the three of us spent a wonderful four hours catching up. I had a great time, and a surprisingly delicious dinner with them at a locally-owned Mexican restaurant. This visit is the happy highlight of my trip (so far, at least).
On the other end of the spectrum is the reality of life at Wagon Wheel Ranch. My morning and evening visits yesterday were the most tension-filled of all. Our new arrangement with WWR broke down eight hours after it was agreed to. Neither M&P nor WWR is living up to its end of the bargain. M&P are not pulling the nurse-call cord because a) she doesn’t want to trouble anyone, and b) he doesn’t believe they will answer expeditiously. She’s wrong, and he’s right. Of course, his right-ness makes Pop livid and he is only too happy to share in great volume and frequency.
Apparently, he released much of his vitriol yesterday. Today was much calmer (not good, but better than yesterday). Dixie came by for about 90 minutes. Her energy was notched way back, and the folks had a lovely visit. It was, nevertheless, a struggle for Mom in that she’s fighting her pain and the stupefying effects of the drugs.
A speech therapist came by this afternoon (yes, on Sunday). Mom scored well identifying nouns from pictures (cat, ball, banana, etc.), but poorly in identifying verbs (man eating, girl crying). She knew today’s date, day, month, year, and her birthdate, but couldn’t remember her teddy bear’s name (Cuddles. Yes, she has a teddy bear.).
So Pop is doing the care-taking when I’m not there, and he’ll be the first to tell you that he shouldn’t be doing it and that he doesn’t like doing it. He’s right on both points, of course, but creates enormous stress for himself and everyone else by choosing this behavior. Mom is keeping up on her fluid intake which means FREQUENT bathroom visits. Three times since returning to WWR from her hospitalizations, she has had middle-of-the-night “accidents” either in bed or before reaching the potty. This infuriates Pop who believes if he doesn’t clean it up, it won’t get done. And frankly, he has a lot of evidence on his side.
Mom receives information, and 20 seconds later, that information falls out of her head completely. She’ll receive it again as if it were new information, and it will fall out of her head yet again. I realized this yesterday and became increasingly convinced that this and other indicators made Skilled Nursing Care the responsible route to take. I chose to tell them how I am seeing things. Mom mustered all of her energy, looked me square in the eye and said, “I’m not leaving.”
The hole-in-the-brain syndrome is also true for Pop, though to a lesser degree. I was at WWR for about eight hours today. I went out for pizza at lunchtime at Mom’s request and returned with it 30 minutes later. I did have several extended phone conversations with Elizabeth and Lisa in a private room, and came back after each one. Toward the end of the day, I kiddingly asked Pop if he was yet sick of me being around so much. He answered that I had hardly spent any time with them at all today. He wasn’t being critical; he thought he was expressing fact. And this is just one example. I won’t bore you with others. Bottom line: neither of them can be trusted to give reliable information. They both have holes in their brains. Why couldn’t we have learned this sooner?
Tomorrow, I will be spending less time at WWR, indeed. I will try to secure another meeting with the head nurse and the administrator to re-address our needs. But I also have a number of off-site goals for the day. The plan is still to depart on Wednesday. We’ll see.