My mom is once again in the hospital. The nursing home called my sister on Friday night to let us know that she was running a fever, had slight breathing difficulties and was confused. Best to send her to the hospital.
There they determined, after bloodwork and x-rays, that she had pneumonia and admitted her. She seemed in good spirits and actually not feeling too badly. The doctor thought that they would keep her till Monday.
On Saturday afternoon, my sister, brother, daughter and I were all in to see her at the same time. She was slightly confused, but not too bad. In good spirits, still. Sunday again, the same.
Yesterday (Monday), she called me and was so totally “out there” that I could not follow her mostly one-sided conversation. I visited her later in the day and she was actually worse. Still not terribly ill feeling, but oh so confused. Most of what she says is amusing and the only way to keep going is to see the humor. That’s how my sister and I have dealt with the situation for the past six years. Usually, though, she starts the illness with the confusion and it gets better, not worse.
While I was driving home last night, I was wondering if she (her mind) was going to come back. It is a very difficult realization. We have seen more and more signs of the Alzheimer’s advancing, but she is quite often still “with it” enough to hold a real conversation with. Not so, for the last couple of days. The pneumonia that she has is also caused by aspiration which is a common cause of death in the elderly. Two realities that are difficult to face. I thought I had come to terms with the Alzheimer’s. I have grieved the mother that she once was. She is no longer that person. But I guess the reality doesn’t hit until it is actually there, right in front of me.
I wasn’t planning to visit today. My sister and I typically take turns because it is so mentally exhausting. Does that sound selfish? It is sometimes the only way that we can keep our own sanity intact! Mom has called me twice today. She is so far from reality right now and it has not been possible for me to steer her back. Last night she saw a polar bear on a moving church steeple outside her window. Today she is telling me to watch out for the blond cardboard cut-out woman. She looks so real. There are bugs (she doesn’t know if they are jello or real) in her room. There’s a sparkly gray-haired doll that one of the aides made…I could go on.
My brother once talked about feeling bad for her being so confused sometimes. She doesn’t realize that she’s confused though. It’s her reality. She said to me today, “I’m the only sane one!”
We’ve been joking about her little quirks and confusion. We communicate through facebook with our family down south so they can know what’s going on. Quite often in a funny way, making light of the situation.
It just doesn’t feel so funny today…