I’ve been writing ElderBlog for several years now. In that time, I have told, in great detail, of Mom’s medical challenges with Parkinson’s Disease, Dementia, Strokes, Heart issues, and a bucket of other maladies large and small. There have been lengthy hospital stays. There have been times when we thought she was on her way out only to witness — in the most dire of moments — her return.
Every word I’ve written has been true. And yet, when you see her now, you’ll wonder what I’ve been smoking. My mother is a picture of health.
Mom’s eightieth birthday is coming up, and lots of her friends are coming to visit. They’ll find remarkable how sharp her mind is; how well she remembers small details from years gone by; how quick she is to smile and hug and be the person she’s always been. They’ll leave feeling like they’ve had a meaningful encounter with the same woman as thirty, forty or fifty years ago. They’ll question my mental health. Why?
Mom walks for exercise through the hallways of her Assisted Living facility for up to two hours a day. She pops through open doors to spread sunshine to residents therein, and then moves on to the next open door. She has developed meaningful relationships with the medical staff and others who watch after her. Everyone knows Mom, and Mom knows everyone.
If you thought of her as if a diamond, you’d notice that Mom has a few new facets. She has crafted her schedule of daily activities to include viewing the evening news. She really wants to know what’s going on in the world and she likes to discuss what she’s seen with whoever’s available. Mom still plays bingo twice a week not just because it’s fun, but because it exercises her mind. She even wins, sometimes.
She’s reading a biography of St.Francis of Assisi. Next up: The Pilgrim’s Progress (pub.1678) by John Bunyon. No light reads, these two.
Mom is excited about seeing so many of the people she’s known for so long, and I’m excited for her. Mom’s in a place where she can fully appreciate the love to be poured out to her. And she’s just giddy with the prospect of giving that love right back.
ElderBlog serves to inform you of Mom’s goings-on. It also serves to record data to better inform me for when I’m asked questions by medical professionals. With that in mind…
Mom’s ankles were very swollen as I drove her to church two Sundays ago. I honestly don’t know how she even got her shoes on. Mom, of course, said it was no big deal. But I know that such things are often indicators of other underlying problems.
I brought the issue to the staff who made some adjustments to Mom’s medications, but the ankles were still swollen last week. I shook the medical tree once again and a doctor paid Mom a visit yesterday. He discontinued two meds — Norvasc and Florinef — and started a new one: Enalapril 5mg. He has also re-ordered that her blood pressure be taken every day.
This, I suppose, is why medicine is called a practice: you keep trying until you find the treatment that works best.