Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Visiting Mom

I went up to visit my mother in the nursing home on Monday, the day after Christmas, and stayed over one night.  It's 175 miles, so I can't make the trip on a whim.  While my daughter and I were there, my mom was relatively lucid.  They sorted through pictures to put on my mom's bulletin board, and we went through her clothes and organized her wardrobe and chest of drawers.  And when we found her stash of candy, she said, "Give me that!" and proceeded to munch away until her dinner tray arrived (except for the root beer barrels -- those went straight in the trash)!

My mom is starting to lose language, sometimes able to circumlocute to get her meaning across, sometimes giving up, saying, "Don't listen to me; I don't make any sense."  She hasn't lost her hearing, and trust me, she hears everything.  She can hear the food cart coming from around the corner and down two hallways!  She is also distinctly bothered by the sounds and movements of everyone there, whether staff, patients, or visitors.  The lack of control and privacy inherent in nursing home settings is debilitating to her, and her own mental health history intensifies her anxiety and responses to it.

She goes to the cancer doctor again today, so we should know more soon.  The current statement of her medical condition is that she has Stage 4 bone cancer that is progressing rapidly.

I saw my sister, brother-in-law, and brother on this trip.  We had some things to talk over and some decisions to make.  My siblings are both geographically closer to our mother, and they've borne so much more of this, visiting, transporting, being there.  They're exhausted.

After meeting with them and visiting my mom, my daughter and I went back to my mom's condo and took care of some housekeeping projects.  We organized the linen closet, moved the durable medical goods out of the living areas into what is now a storage bedroom, made it closer to ready for my uncle, who is coming to visit in a few days.  We also found a few more things to take to my mom at the nursing home.

We stopped in to visit her quickly on our way home, wished her a happy birthday (early), and drove home in the rain.

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