Friday, July 17, 2015

home, finally

Crazy week -- I had my "teachers on the estuary" class at Waquoit Bay, and it was awesome.  But that meant that I was in class from 9am - 5pm Monday-Wednesday (well, Monday had a 10am start), and until 3pm Thursday.  It was awesome that the class was just up at the research reserve, which is literally a 3 minute drive from Mom's house, but being occupied for 8 hours each day meant that my time to visit Mom was limited to the evenings.

So after school I'd visit with her for a couple of hours, and then have a late dinner with the kids.  We have necessarily been doing a lot of eating out: British Beer Company at Falmouth Heights is great for dinner, because we can park in the Heights Beach parking lot.  On Tuesday, Bastille Day, we had a fabulous dinner at Bleu in Mashpee.  Wednesday the kids settled for pizza from Pizza 1 Subs 2, but that's not exactly settling.  

Wednesday, I called the nursing center to speak to the nurse practitioner to hear how Mom's re-evaluation went, and learned that they were set to discharge her on Thursday!  When we met with the hospice representative, the date was set -- that was not clear to me, and necessitated a flurry of phone calls and furniture moving and what-not, but I managed to get everything straightened out.   Very late that night my brother and his family arrived from Louisiana, and that helped because they were here to receive delivery of the hospital bed and wheel chair on Thursday morning.  

One of my Boston-based brothers came down with his wife Thursday morning and oversaw the discharge process, which was awesome because I got to attend my last day of class (only a half-hour late because of phone calls and logistics). The hospice sent the intake nurse to look over Mom and treat anything (like bandaging her heel), and they sent her home with her current medications.  Today her nurse manager will be by and we will discuss which medications to continue and which to drop.  Yesterday her blood pressure was the rather alarming 110/104, even on 2 different blood pressure medications.  Now I understand her headaches!

Mom enjoyed eating a big cream-filled donut from Dunkin' when she first got home, and later she enjoyed having crab rangoon from her favorite Chinese restaurant.  She had more calories yesterday than she had had in the previous three days, and she was obviously happy to be home.  She stayed in her wheelchair until about 7:45pm when she was falling asleep, so we moved her into the bed, and she has been sleeping ever since - 12 hours now, with a bit of wakefulness about 11pm when I gave her her night medication.  The hospice sent a variable-pressure bed which inflates and deflates to help prevent pressure sores.

I'm a bit at a loss as to how we're going to manage -- my brother helped me get Mom onto the commode, and then to transfer her from the wheelchair to the bed.  She has some strength now but that will fail quickly.  She hasn't attempted walking since Monday, and her knees would not hold.  Toileting if only one person is here to help will not work, and I do not know how some of my siblings will feel about changing her incontinence briefs.  The hospice intake nurse said home health aides are scheduled for 3 times a week for an hour each time, but that will be for bathing.  I'm not sure how often skilled nursing will be assigned; we'll find out today when her nurse manager comes by. 

In the meantime, the kids are very much enjoying being together again, and last night we all played cards together for hours.  Mom is sleeping in the living room but did not mind the commotion, most likely because she couldn't hear it. Yesterday, she seemed better, but I think that was the psychological effect of coming home and having everyone here.  We'll have to take it day by day.   

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