Overcoming Technical Difficulties — 040512

As if hospitalization for her human maladies wasn’t enough, Mom returned home to find a deactivated voice-mail system. It’s part of her phone — the very simplest I could find at the time of its purchase. I figured that if it ever needed fixing by me from a distance, even Mom could push the buttons as I instructed.

Wrong !

I spent most of two hours trying to talk Mom through the simple process of turning the answering machine back on. This worked about as well as climbing a slide coated with Jello: it couldn’t be done. So I called in the facility’s management team and, with my instruction, they fixed it.

Problem solved…

…until three hours later when Mom called to inform me that the answering system had turned itself off yet again. How does this happen?

I have reached the limit of my vast communicative resources. I am now calling in the one person on the planet who, with a keen eye for problem-solving, will linearize the variables, parse the user manual, and laugh in the face of adversity. That’s right…I’m calling in my Baby Sister.

Elizabeth will be spending Easter weekend with her mother. In the meantime, you may find Mom’s telephone answering system willing to accept your message. Or not.

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Medical update — 040312

There was no fever overnight. The kidney ultrasound was normal. The UTI antibiotics have been prescribed in pill form, and a little home-health physical therapy has been prescribed to help regain full control of balance. Transportation is ready, and the ranch has been alerted.

So, it’s all set…Mom gets to go back home this afternoon. She’s a happy camper.

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Medical update — 040212

Mom had a fever overnight and, as a result, did not sleep well. This is a matter of some concern for the doctor with whom I have spoken each day. He has ordered an ultrasound of her kidney and will likely have the interpreted results in the morning.

The doctor wants 24 hours without a fever. That, and a slight imbalance while walking, will keep Mom in the hospital for at least another night. So, since she’s staying there, the IV is staying in. The correct antibiotic is already being administered.

As before, Mom wants to focus her energies on getting well…so she requests no visits or calls. Thanks.

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Medical update — 040112

A hospital stay can be a lot like a roller coaster ride – but in slow-motion. That seems to be Mom’s experience. Last night, she was having slight cognitive issues. Today, she’s back on her game. Yesterday, and again early this morning, she had long spells of chills and shaking. Tylenol and extra blankets, and all is well again. Her blood pressure was way up early today. They’ve adjusted the meds, and her BP readings normalized.

All things considered, she’d still rather not have visitors or calls.

Still to come: results of the blood and urine cultures will become known tonight or early tomorrow. If all goes as predicted, Mom will be released to her own independent living apartment on Monday or Tuesday.

I will update as new information becomes available.

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Medical update — 033112

It’s not a turn for the worse, but Mom is certainly less than peppy today. And when you understand what she’s being treated for, this should be no surprise.

The operating theory is that we’re dealing with a urinary tract infection (UTI). You may recall that Mom has a frequent history of UTI’s and, for her, these are usually quite serious. She’s being treated with IV fluids and antibiotics, and as I’ve pointed out in previous such situations, “antibiotics” translates into “against life.” By that I mean that the drugs are fighting a battle against germs (a form of life) inside the body. For the healthy among us, this can be draining. For the elderly, it is much more so.

The evidence of this fight was impaired cognition when Mom was admitted to the hospital yesterday evening. And this morning she experienced uncontrollable chills while having a normal temperature.

That said, the doctor reports that Mom is “doing quite well.” His greatest source of optimism is that she has a good appetite. Blood and urine cultures were taken last night and in a couple of days we’ll know the results. Then more specific medications can be applied, and they will likely take the form of pills. That means the IV can be removed, which then increases the chances of Mom being released from the hospital. At this point, it looks like Mom might be going home on Monday or Tuesday.

Contrary to her assertions to me yesterday, Mom does not want to receive guests or take telephone calls today. She wants to spend her energies getting well. I’ll report any change of mind as it happens along with medical progress.

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Back In The Hospital Again — 033012

I think it would be fair to say that the past year has been among the happiest and healthiest of Mom’s life. It was, after all, just twelve months ago that she (and we) thought she was on the stairway to glory. After that, there was an amazing recovery, an 80th birthday celebration, and a transition back to independent living.

Mom’s been fighting a bug for the past several days. Today it became necessary to call in the nurse who read a temperature of 103°. Sherry transported Mom to an urgent care center where she was given IV fluids and antibiotics. After that, a trip to Wesley Long Hospital in an ambulance and, as is her custom, Mom slept all the way.

So far, I’ve given the hospital pharmacist a list of Mom’s meds and have left instructions at the nurse’s station for them to call me after any diagnosis is made. I’ve also talked with Mom a couple of times and she seems not that bad, really. Her temp is back down to 99° and she feels almost normal. How bad can she be? She’s willing to take calls (832-1305).

I will update as new information becomes available.

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Granville — December 13, 2011

Granville met Mom & Pop almost forty years ago. He married Sherree in M&P’s living room, and spent countless hours being the best of friends to both of my parents. Together, they shared the strongest bond any four humans could have.

Granville was the kind of man who spoke his piece, but never dismissed yours.  He was an upstanding man who lived his principles.  He’d do everything he could for you; well beyond the capacity of others.  Indeed, I and members of my family have enjoyed accommodations and many, many meals with Granville and Sherree over the years.

Only a month ago, I spent an afternoon with Granville clearing trees from his property. He worked hard, loved his country, and served as a model of the love of God here on earth. I’ve written about him many times in ElderBlog‘s pages. He was a man as close to our family as family could be.

We lost Granville early this morning. I am surprised by the tears in my eyes, but shouldn’t be; I loved Granville and can hardly believe the earth can continue to spin on its axis without him here.

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