Monday, July 11, 2011
More bad news this morning.. after thinking there was some improvement with my mum as she had been sent back to her nursing home from the hospital, it seems it is a really grave situation.
She’s got fluid on her lungs so is having difficulty breathing. She’s unconscious and on a morphine drip but she’s relaxed and comfortable. She is not able to eat and is getting weaker so this doesn’t look like there will be a very good outcome. She is 66.
My mum has been in the nursing home for about 6 years I think now. She had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes which had caused some mini-strokes and the hardening of arteries in her brain, causing her to have vascular dementia. She also has Alzheimer’s now and hasn’t been able to speak for some time. She’s also been a wheel chair for a while. I have not spoken to my mum for about 2 years as the last time she was very confused and got quite upset. I also got very upset and felt that it wasn’t benefiting anyone by my calling her as she would forget that I’d called immediately afterwards anyway. At the time I was also hormonally challenged because of breast feeding so after our calls I would be a dribbling mess.
She had undiagnosed type 2 diabetes for a while. When she visited me in 2001 in Sydney, Australia I noticed that her memory was definitely not as good as it had been. I talked to my dad about it and he said the same – he took her to the doctor, pretending it was for him but to talk about her memory which did not go down well at all. It seemed ages before she got an official diagnosis that anything was wrong with her memory... My dad passed away in 2002 (he was quite a bit older than her) and this made her situation more difficult. Luckily her brothers and sisters-in-law live close and they were able to organise help and finally a placement in a residential care home. This was a difficult battle with the local health authority but in the end, she was placed and the home was a good one.
When she first got to the home, she looked about 30 years younger than all the other residents and although she had dementia, she was relatively capable of most tasks and believed that she was there to “help the old people”. The staff are kind and considerate and helped her to “help the old people” for as long as she believed that this was the case. When I spoke to her during the first year at the home, she had mood swings and would often be quite depressed as sometimes moments of clarity would cruelly remind her where she was and why she was there and that her mind was not working properly. Other times she would want to go home and she was fed up with her “job”. As her illness progressed, it was more and more difficult to talk to her. She would drift off onto some other train of thought but she would not be able to communicate what she was trying to say. She would get very upset with herself but then lose the train of thought again and drift onto something else.
My last visit was when my oldest daughter was only 8 months old, about 4 years ago. She was very excited to meet her first grandchild but would lose the thought and wonder who the little baby was every now and again. She was proud of our daughter and showed her off to some of the other residents – and even tried to give her to a really old and frail lady to hold which would have ended up with baby on the floor if we’d not got there soon enough! She was happy at the home and the staff obviously cared about her a lot. Recently she’s needed one on one care.
I am at work today. I’m not really very focussed on my tasks but after I finish this blog I will get stuck into them as it will help to keep my mind busy. By seeing what has happened to my mum over the past 10 years, I am more determined to keep my body and mind strong. I need to be so careful and keep type 2 diabetes away as I am high risk. Clean eating really is the way to go and I have my snacks and lunch with me today, the clean eating way. I hope to go to Circuit training tonight too. It will do me good to work out.
So, to my sparkly friends... it is so important that you look after yourselves as this is the consequence of poor food choices and little to no exercise. My mum was always overweight... I believe she had undiagnosed post natal depression after my brother was born and would often be a bit depressed in her life. I am determined to be around longer for my children and hopefully grandchildren... Missing out on talking to my mum after my babies was born was very sad for me. There were so many things I wanted to ask her but it was all gone... I am determined that I will be there for my daughters to ask me questions and help them in the best way I can as they go through their lives.