An Unexpected Trip - Part 3

January 20, 2011

Twenty-four hours before I can wing my way back to NJ (insert happy dance here), I am taking stock of the last few days.  I have been to the doctor with my mother. He very kindly spent almost an hour with us and answered all the questions I thought needed to be asked. We ruled out other possible reasons for my mother’s pain and concluded that it is indeed her back that is the problem. I asked for and she received prescriptions for physical therapy and a walker and we changed her medication to something which suits her needs more specifically. I persuaded my parents to buy a better, more supportive chair for Mom to use in their living room. I was able to get a PT appointment right away and accompany her to the evaluation and I ordered the walker. I was very busy.

I have never before found myself solely in the position of caregiver for my parents for any length of time. The things that I did for them previously had been intermixed with all of the other duties in my life. So the focus on them alone, has been interesting and enlightening. Most of the care I need to provide for my mother is exactly the same care Lauren needs. Just as I get Lauren dressed and ready for her day, I get my mother dressed, fed, and put together for each day. I prepare meals, handle her medication, deal with medical personnel, and problem solve the impediments in her life. I am trying to instruct my father, her other caregiver, on how best to take care of my mother while still encouraging her to do as much for herself as possible. The biggest difference is that Mom is a lot quieter than Lauren….and she takes naps.

We did, indeed, get that storm in NJ on Tuesday night. N pointed out to George that she would not be able to get in on Wednesday because he would not be able to go outside to plow (we have a really long driveway) since he could not leave Lauren alone in the house. So, N had to stay overnight. And, then Lauren had a seizure on Wednesday morning.

I have been sleeping, or I should say trying to sleep, on about four inches of something or other spread over a springy frame, in other words, a pull out couch. My back is now a disaster and I’m dreaming of a long, uninterrupted sleep. But sleeping at my parent’s shares the same problem as sleeping at home – the night is often interrupted. My mother is having trouble getting out of bed when she needs to during the night. She has to ask my father to help. My father has hearing problems so their conversations are loud and cantankerous. I’m just too tired to be cranky.

Unfortunately, even though I’ve been able to accomplish a lot in the time I’ve been with them, my mother really isn’t any better. I don’t know what more I can do. They need to come back to NJ. They need more help from me than I can provide in a couple of days. I have to be where Lauren is. She has to be my priority.

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