Friday, 1 July 2011

A Tough Old Bird

My 89 year old Mum is proving to be "a tough old bird" in more ways than one! The last few weeks, as I mentioned in my previous post, have been hectic to say the least, indeed, traumatic would probably be a more accurate description of recent events.

Some of you may recall that mum had a bowel cancer operation shortly before last Christmas. She was in hospital for 5 days, came home and in spite of a very severe cold, recovered very well and very quickly. In April the hospital said all was well and they didn't need to see her again. However mum didn't seem to continue to regain her strength and was spending longer and longer periods of time in bed, not like her at all. I was going in to see her each day, 2 or 3 times on some days, preparing her meals and doing whatever was necessary. She also kept having falls but each time, thankfully, it was only her pride that was hurt. On the days that I only went in once she was not averse to telephoning me to summon me to help her, once waking me at 7 in the morning.

I eventually called her GP and he said that she should be admitted to the local hospital in order for them to assess her to try to find out what was wrong. So she had 2 weeks complete rest, even though she hadn't been doing very much in the lead up to being in hospital. However, blood tests showed she was again anaemic, even though she was supposed to have been taking iron tablets. All further tests and scans proved that there were no other problems. The OT department thoroughly monitored her mobility and when she was discharged from hospital she had some extra aids to take home with her. Still very lethargic and seemingly unable to do anything very much for herself, I was back to my twice daily visits.

Husband and I had a holiday booked and it was quite worrying to know what to do. I felt I couldn't leave her alone as she seemed unable to cope with day to day tasks so I tentatively suggested to her that she have some respite care in a local retirement home whilst we were away and to my surprise she readily agreed. So all was arranged, we took her to the home 3 days before we went away. The plan was that the staff would assess her needs and mum would try life there with a view to it being a possible permanent situation. When my daughter and I visited the day before my holiday mum declared that this was just what she needed and felt that she would like to stay permanently! Early days I thought!

However husband and I had our holiday (more of which another time) and I was able to thoroughly relax. We returned home last Friday and on Saturday, full of trepidation, I called at the Home to visit mum, anxious to know how her week had been. "Not for me" she declared. "I don't want to live the rest of my life here". Fair enough. She has to like it enough to stay permanently otherwise we will both be unhappy. So this week I have been trying to set up a care package for her which will mean that someone will call in a couple of times each day to make sure she is OK and do whatever needs to be done at that particular time. I will still do things for her (bed changing, washing, ironing and making meals for her freezer) but will not go in every single day and certainly only once in any day. It will mean I can get my life back and not be constantly at mum's beck and call.

Today she told me that she hopes she can cope on her own once she is back at home as she dislikes the thought of someone going in to do things for her!


A Heron's View said...

Well good for her to reclaim her independence and long may she do so !

jabblog said...

Good luck with the care package. I hope Somerset is more generous and sensible in its care for the elderly than some other authorities.
(I was wondering the other day where you had got to. I hope things settle down and you have more time for your own life.)

DeniseinVA said...

Ah, that's a tough situation Anne. I hope the care package works out okay. Also glad that you were able to get away for a few days.

Maggie May said...

I have been wondering how she was, Anne and have thought of you both often.
I hope that she will grow more independent as the time goes on.
You seem to have handled things magnificently.
Hoping you get your life back very soon!
Maggie X

Nuts in May

fizzycat said...

Ah I'm glad you are all ok. Cood luck with the care package.Its good, your mum will have some time to herself and so will you but you won't be worn out.Hope its sorted out soon.

Jay said...

Your poor Mum - and you too. It's absolutely no fun when people start to need help and they really, really don't want it! Mum was the same; she did NOT want a nurse coming in to help her no matter how bad her mobility was. No, no, and thrice no!! She'd never have agreed to go into a home either .. I'm so glad your Mum did so, even if only for a week to allow you a break.

Perhaps when you go away next time, you could arrange for her to try out a different place, and maybe she'll like that one better?

Meanwhile, I hope she manages to cope well by herself, with your good help (we found that Mum could, providing she had all the available aids, walk-in shower etc that could be provided for her). I hope also that you manage to persuade her to get - and wear - a call button .. but good luck with that! :p

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

Again, thank you for your messages of support - very much appreciated. A x

cheshire wife said...

The comments that elderly parents come out with can be quite amusing! It sounds as if the respite care was just the tonic that your mother needed. The best of luck with arranging care for your mother.

Anonymous said...

I saw your comment on Maggie's blog and came over to meet you.

As a full-time caregiver of a disabled daughter, and having helped my mother through her last years, I can certainly relate to what you go through when faced with such a situation. You want to see your aging parents stay independent as long as possible. I hope it works out for your mother to be able to do this. And you need to have YOUR own life too!!
Ann Best, Memoir Author

Gill - That British Woman said...

a sort of good news, bad news post I guess. I also hope you can get the care package set up so she is able to stay in her own home. It's worrying when a parent becomes older and needs more care.