After a week in the hospital, Mom is home again at Piedmont Place. On the way there, I offered to take her to a beauty parlor (she had missed her usual Wednesday appointment) and after the myriad medical tests, looked a bit mussed. But – as is her custom – she didn’t want to “be a bother.” So home we went. After settling in just a bit, she decided that she was indeed unacceptably mussed, and asked if I’d take her to the beauty parlor. While we were out, we stopped at the Post Office, bought a roll of first-class stamps, and stopped at a card shop where we bought close to a hundred cards. Mom loves writing cards. Pop would have been severely irritated with our purchases.
Mom’s return to Piedmont Place was an odd mix of rock star recognition and respect for the wife of a recently-deceased husband. She accepted it all with her usual grace and spent as much time talking with anyone who wanted to. We listened to the voice-mails collected on her phone and I wrote each one down. She probably spent the entire evening on the phone. She loves talking on the phone.
There’s a recurring theme playing here. It happened before and after the funeral on Sunday, and it happened again today as she took on a new status at home. Mom is free. That might sound cold to some, but given the nature of the relationship and the physical demands of Pop’s last months, Mom is unburdened, happy, and eager to begin this new phase of her life. Pop is in heaven, she says, and she has a new life to live. It doesn’t take her much time to convince everyone she talks with that this is true.
I, for one, am more than a little interested to see how this plays long-term. I will closely watch for signs of sadness and depression. My mother is a champion feeling-hider.
As for Mom’s stay at the hospital, well, every conceivable test was performed in search of a cause of her falling episodes. Here’s the current operating theory. You know how sometimes you get up from a chair and get light-headed? That’s not happening to Mom. Instead, her blood pressure is dropping as she moves from point A to point B. This has been proven over two days worth of tests, and it may explain why the falls occur so frequently at or near the bathroom; it takes her a few steps to get there.
It could be that there is a heart-related component to this, and a consult with a specialist is pending. It could also be that Parkinson’s Disease is growing in its influence on Mom’s medical condition. But for the moment, the name for the current condition is orthostatic intolerance (I think). This is frequently seen in smaller women and could be, itself, related to Parkinson’s. It often presents as a fall in blood pressure after standing or walking for a few minutes.
The course of action is to ensure that Mom’s fluids are always at a high level, and that the fluids are retained by virtue of a salt tablet (or the modern-day equivalent of it). There will also be adjustments made to her BP meds.