Saturday, September 12, 2009

It's time to move mom.

Mom doesn't think it's time to move mom. She has lived in her retirement home for 16 years, ever since she lived with me and Jared for eight months after moving up here from California.
She has been the queen. Everyone knows her. She's the centenarian. She's the special one. The managers love her. The housekeepers know her. It's a beautiful place. She has her nice little apartment. She knows her routine. It's hard to leave.
I get that.
I also get that she falls--twice this week, which resulted in a six-inch bruise on her arm, a blood blister on her shin where they plan to start lymphedema treatments Monday, and a twisted foot that required a two-person trip to the doctor's office for x-rays.
Then she had a TIA--a transitory eschemic attack--a mini-stroke, Thursday night. She couldn't speak for a couple of hours. She was dizzy, agitated, and "didn't know where she was."
The next morning she forgets that she had the TIA. She forgets that she is up every 15 minutes for several hours off and on through the night, before she finally settles down to every half hour.
It's not always like this. Typically the caregiver goes home at 2 a.m. and mom is on her own until morning, with the LifeLink button her salvation. The caregivers used to be able to stay longer, but they have both returned to college. I'm working on caregivers until morning, but mom doesn't want that.
Mom is in denial about her falls. There was the one where she fell in the bathroom and got a eight-inch gash on her arm that required an emergency room visit (twice), stitches, and a slow healing process, which is characteristic of the elderly, whose skin is friable.
She forgets about the wounds on her legs that took weeks to heal. She forgets about the broken tailbone that required hospitalization, morphine, and three-week respite care.
She forgets because that is her survival.
I remember.
But I'm only the daughter. I'm just the primary responsible family member.
I am sad, frustrated, angry, cynical, and determined that mom will be in a safer environment. She is equally determined, her will as strong at 100 as it ever was, that she will do it in her timing, not mine.
I try to turn it over, to "let go and let God," and then she falls and I'm scrambling to make sure she is okay, that caregivers are in place, that she gets to ER, or the doctor, that she has everything she needs.
The servant's heart. But at what cost.
Where does wisdom usurp empathy. Where is fear of change overcome by reason.

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