Monday, Mom started some rehab exercises. That evening, she called me to let me know that an employee had tested positive for COVID and they were under a two weeks’ quarantine. The policy was that only two family members were permitted to visit, and they had to be masked, gloved and gowned when they went in. (!)
Tuesday, the occupational therapist played bingo with a group of patients including Mom, and Mom had a bingo — but didn’t get her prize! (She did get it later — it was a snack.) During physical therapy, it was noted that her feet were swollen and they gave her Lasix, which is a diuretic. The physical therapist wanted Mom to have some sweat pants and sweat shirts for physical therapy so she could move freely (and modestly!). She also needed some closed house shoes with nonskid bottoms and adjustable closure, which I ordered.
When I talked with my cousin JP Tuesday night, who has already been down this road with his own mother, my Aunt J, he suggested I make a copy of both powers of attorney — health and financial, as well as a copy of her physicians’ directives to keep in my purse as well. That is a very sound plan. Also, I was to meet with the admission supervisor of The Garrison Wednesday to sign papers, and they also wanted copies of those “instruments” as they are known in the legal profession.
July is not exactly a good time of year to go shopping for sweat suits in Texas! I did find some at Target, though. I got her a matching top and bottom in pastel pink, and a pastel yellow shirt with pastel aqua bottoms. They were a little pricey, but then they were nice. She liked the colors and thought they were pretty, and I was glad she liked them.
I called mom Wednesday morning because I wasn’t sure where her powers of attorney were — of course, they were in the flat pack filing cabinet in the computer room filed under “P” — (Duh!) Just as I was walking out the door, my oncologist’s office (I have an appointment on the 9th) called to tell me that when they called the VA to get the insurance numbers, the VA said I was going to use Medicare, which is not true. I spent half an hour frantically trying to get hold of the person I needed to talk to at the VA, left a lengthy message and gave my cell number (they keep calling my land line, and I’ve been in and out — mostly out — helping Mom, and I miss the returned phone calls!).
I met with the admissions supervisor of The Garrison on Wednesday, and we got about half an inch of paperwork (no exaggeration!) sorted and herded all the ducks into a row. I had brought her the sweat suits and when I walked into her room, she was lying in bed receiving IV fluids because she was dehydrated again (Lasix!). She liked the sweatsuits. She seemed tired and a little lethargic, which was likely due to dehydration, but she was in fairly good spirits.
On my way home, I stopped by her bank again to order a debit card. (Mom is old school. Up until about two years ago, she wrote checks for everything she didn’t buy with cash. She had a credit card but she never used it unless she just had to. Finally friends convinced her that she should use her credit card to buy groceries and pay for things she would usually write checks for, because it was faster, easier, and she would get points (!) with every purchase which could be redeemed for gift cards to local restaurant chains. She has had the bills that were the same amount every month paid by draft, but she still paid her electricity bill, credit card bill, and some other bills by check.) Now, having a debit card on her account will enable me to pay her bills on line and save her (and me!) the bother of having to write checks and send them through the mail. Wednesday evening, the house dresses we’d ordered came. I got them washed and marked and ready for today.
This morning, I had to do the “hospital hike” again to get to Covenant Hospital’s radiology department for a CT scan. I thought it was going to be the standard scan my oncologist always wanted — neck, chest, abdomen and groin — but it was just of my neck. I was pretty upset about this because I knew my oncologist was going to want the full scan, and when I got the rest of the scan, I’d have to undergo a second dose of IV contrast, instead of having it all done at once. When you have IV contrast, you need to “consume mass quantities” of water to flush it all out of your system as soon as possible as it’s potentially toxic to your kidneys. Kind of hard to be drinking all that water while you’re out running around, never mind finding places to “undrink” it all.
As soon as I was finally done with radiology, I headed north. The VA clinic happens to be next door to The Garrison, and that was my next stop. I managed to catch my PCP there only because she was supposed to do a teleconference with a patient, and he didn’t answer the phone. She and I got everything hashed out. The new consult to my oncologist had just been approved. I am supposed to get a chest, abdomen and groin CT sometime next week hopefully, because I see the oncologist on the 9th, and it would be very helpful to have all those results available at the time of that visit. He needs to know what’s going on, and I need to know what happens next.
I then went next door to bring Mom her house dresses. She was eating lunch — which looked good. It had some ham and some cornbread, and some mac and cheese, all of which she likes, She has not been getting much rehab because they are trying to rehydrate her. I’m afraid she’s becoming a little disheartened. Hopefully, they can find a balance between the swelling in her feet and her tendency to quickly dehydrate, and help her get her strength back. She was having pain in her feet earlier in the week, but they restarted one of her medications (gabapentin) and that greatly improved her pain.
Fortunately, she has her cell phone with her, because she will be under quarantine for another 10 days and while she is quarantined, only CK (her recently adopted “niece”) and I are allowed in to see her. I suspect once she can start having visitors again and her friends can cluster round, that will help improve her mood and lift her spirits. She is very much a “people person” and this enforced isolation has been hard on her.
She’s usually right on top of things and in her element. It’s been hard watching her struggle to cope with a situation that has her so stymied. Still, to have gone nearly 97 years without any major illnesses, surgeries or ongoing medical conditions has been a tremendous blessing. This is going to be a difficult transition for her and I need to be able to be there for her and help her over this hump as much as I can. Again, my major concern is to get mom into a long-term situation where she is safe and well cared for. The results of my appointment with my oncologist are going to have a major influence on my ability to do this.
Still, I’m not one to borrow trouble. There’s no point in worrying until I know what I need to worry about. So here in a little bit, I’m going to kick back, listen to some music, knit, and go to my happy place for an hour or two. It’s what helps me stay calm and strong.