Lost in your own home town


My Mom still lives in the house she and my Dad moved into when they got married. They moved into it right after they were finished building it. The neighborhood was still under construction.

Now, just over sixty years later, she is one of three original residents. I’m surprised there are that many.

Last week on my Sunday visit to Mom, she told me that one of the other originals had been found wandering about a mile from home. He’d gotten lost. I could totally understand why. It doesn’t look much like it used to. Neighborhoods have a life span. In the last five or ten years a lot of the shops and buildings have been torn down and replaced.

I feel for the guy. There’s more going on there than just unfamiliar buildings, but it would be so easy to sort of recognize a place and sort of not recognize it and get confused. The same thing has happened a couple of times when I’ve been driving Mom through areas she hasn’t been to in a while. Part of it was just because she was anxious to get home and part of it is just that she will never see me as an adult. I just had to bite my tongue and hang on tight to my patience.

Tag! You’re it!

Youngest sister and I are tag-teaming Mom’s care right now. FSM knows that the frustration is just too much for one person.

We’re trading off visiting. She goes one day, I go the next. She’s been the one who’s been most flexible with taking a day when I can’t. Tuesdays are days that I have to stay late at work and are very busy besides. So we switch days around.

She’s been taking calls from Mom; I put Mom’s cell phone ring on silent after that night she called at 3:30 am and again at 4:30 am. Funny she hasn’t called me at all since that night. People tell me that telepathy doesn’t work, and I’ve seen no concrete evidence that it does, but things like that kind of freak me out.

I take calls from the facility. They call every time something significant happens, and I’m grateful that they do. But they do call a lot. Twice a day sometimes. And on weekends. Still beats having Mom call.

The whole thing with Mom is enough to drive you mad. She’s mostly all there, but only mostly. She still thinks she’s in Arizona. She talks about people playing poker in the office next door, it’s a men’s room. Then she said that the poker players are upstairs and she saw them when she was up there visiting. There is an upstairs, but I think it’s a business office. I’ve never seen anyone go up there. She also talked about someone going downstairs. This being California, basements are almost unheard of. She talks about walking in the park. One – she can’t walk, two – what park? The grounds are nice and there’s a portion of the lot with grass and trees and I can see how it might morph into a park in your head, but it’s only about a hundred feet square.

We have to wonder if she is ever going to get past this. Will she improve or is this as good as it’s going to get and we have to deal with almost imaginary stuff forever? It’s hard to deal with when you just don’t know if none of it was real, some of it was real or all of it was real.

And we don’t really have anyone to ask. They did do a psychiatric evaluation which basically said she was depressed and not eating. Yeah, been to see her on a regular basis for almost a year now, and yes, she is depressed and yes, it does affect her appetite. Come on! Tell me something I don’t know, please?

I know they really can’t. They couldn’t tell us why it was happening. Possible reasons were too numerous to mention. And as they can’t tell us why it was happening, they can’t tell us if it will ever go away.

It’s frustrating for her, too. She’s lost control of her life. I wish to heck we could give it back to her, but I don’t think it would safe to do that now, if ever.

I’m just worn out

Told youngest sister today that I feel like I’m on a not-so-merry-go-round. Round and round and up and down. Good days, bad days, sensible, delirious.

And today, so sad. She remembered calling me last night in the middle of the night and apologized for waking me.

Then she cried. And I cried. She never thought she would end like this. She thought she would die at home among her own things and her own family. And she’s where she is. Among people she doesn’t know and people who don’t know her.

I hate this. I sooo hate this. This is not how anyone should end.

Updates on Mom

The past 11 days have just been horrible. I feel like we’re headed down the same road we went with Dad just a few months ago.

The surgery went as well as it could have. She made it through, it wasn’t as complex as they were afraid it might be. They just had to wire the bone together.

But we’re almost a week past the surgery now and she’s still out of it. She keeps talking about her mother needing to go to the hospital and her mother has been dead for forty years. It wouldn’t bother me so much, but Dad did the same thing in his last days. Calling for and talking to people that were long dead. It may not be the same thing, but it sure feels like it and it’s frightening.

They put in a feeding tube and iv fluids yesterday afternoon. We all agreed that she couldn’t go without nutrition much longer. She’s barely eaten since they brought her in. This morning they took both out again. She had fluid in her lungs and was seriously short of oxygen.

I feel like they’re trying to make milimeter adjustments with a sledgehammer. It’s going to cause more problems than it solves. She hasn’t been eating or drinking much for months. I’ve wondered if it wasn’t partly a sort of automatic response to her heart failure. She doesn’t drink a lot because it makes her feel crummy. She doesn’t overload her system with water that her heart isn’t strong enough to pump around.

It’s just gotten so I don’t know if there’s much else that they can do. I’ve been at the hospital every day but one since she fell. I can’t keep it up forever, it’s wearing me down. And I kind of felt like a nub before this started.

I have no patience at all

Got a call from the hospital this morning as I was going out the door to work. I saw the number and knew it was them immediately.

For the next three minutes I stood there with my phone in my hand and my heart in my throat, waiting for them to tell me whatever it was they were going to tell me. It took that long for the guy on the phone, the social worker, to tell me who he was and what he wanted. By the time he actually got to what he wanted, I was ready to shake it out of him.

People that dither drive me mad. Tell me what you need and I’ll figure out how to get that done.

I finally realized today that the reason that they’ve put her on oral pain meds is not because she’s too weak to stand anything else. They can’t move her to rehab while she’s still on an IV. They want to get her out of the hospital as quickly as they can. If they do that and something happens to her there, she won’t drag down their success rate numbers because she’ll no longer be on their watch.


Over the past week, every evening, a dozen times, I think, “I should call Mom.”. Or “I should tell Mom.”

But I can’t. She’s unconscious in a hospital room.

We all hope she’ll come back to herself. Have some semblance, some pleasure in life.

The doctor in charge of her pain medications has decided that she’s too confused for strong pain medications. So they’ve been giving her pills. Except that the pills have been few and far between. And the betweens have been filled with her suffering. And her suffering spreads out through her family like the rings from stone thrown into water.

Hospitals have gone, in my mind, from places of healing to places where my loved ones go to die.