Tuesday, August 28, 2012

"I wish I could die!" Please don't say that. "Why not?"

A wonderful picture of my loving brother Johnny and my adorable almost always happy Aunt Blanche.  Let's face it , MOM wouldn't want me to even take a picture of her right now much less post it. 
 Mom has been complaining for 5 weeks. She has a UTI and 2 compound fractures in her spine. Very common issues for an elderly woman. They were being treated but she also had to be changed to a lift because of her weakness when being transported. She hates a lift because it takes away "the toilet" and changes her routine.  She could not be distracted from her misery, not even on her birthday, not even to comfort me when I started to cry about my son being deployed, not even when I bought her a new outfit. This was not the loving, caring, mother that I know and love . Her demeanor had changed significantly. She just kept saying she wished that she could die. I'd say, "Please don't say that ." She'd say " Why not?"

This started a long list of meetings formal and informal to find a solution to her unhappiness. I met with the supervisor, the administrator,psychologists, social workers, physical therapists, nurses and nurse aids. Some felt there may be no solution, So pretty soon, I started to feel as though few people there wanted to see me coming. They didn't say so, but...frankly I didn't blame them. I have a feeling a new name for me around the Wesleyan could be "daughter downer."

Last week, the 4th week, one of the nurses trying to figure out something to relieve her and me,  thought of putting her in a rock and go Wheel Chair. It's much bigger, more room, looked more comfortable. I said, "Go for it!" Unfortunately, Mom got worse. She hated the chair, hated that she had to be moved from her usual table at meals, hated every little thing about it. The nurse supervisor called me the next day and said, "She hates it and wants to get out of it, do you want to keep her in it?" I thought about it and said "I think she looks much more comfortable, it's just the change she doesn't like, let's keep her in it for awhile and revisit it after the weekend." When I got there that evening, Mom was livid. " I hate this chair, get me out of it, I want nothing to do with it! I hate that table , I want to go back and sit with my friends at my old table. This chair rocks and that gets on my nerves. I just wish I would die!"

 That's when I saw the opportunity!! You know, one of those Oprah Winfrey Ahh Haa moments!  I said, "Mom, they can't make changes like this over the weekend. The supervisor has to tell the staff to give you back your old chair. On Monday, I will ask for your old wheel chair back but you must promise something. You must be happy! If I get your chair back, will you be happy then?" There was a moment of silence. She considered it and then answered, "Yes." I reminded her of this every time she complained about the Rock and go chair over the weekend.

Yesterday was the first day with her old chair back, she also got moved back to her routine dining table and friends. Is she happy? Well maybe not thrilled, but there is a definite improvement! A noticeable improvement!

I hugged her as I left and said , "I love you Mom." She patted me and said, "I love you too!" :)