Apologies for going into such detail about mom’s troubles, but as I have noted previously, mom is a social butterfly loose in a meadow full of flowering friendships. She is also the 12th (and only one still alive) of 12 children, and I have cousins whom I reckon by the dozens. And everybody wants to know, “What Happened?” It makes my life easier to aim them at this space. I think I have texted more in the last 4 days than I have in the past five months!
Mom continues to improve as her kidney function returns to as normal as a 96-year-old woman can manage and as the antibiotics clear the infection. This morning she put a battery into one of her hearing aids by herself (you have to warm it between your fingers before you put it in).
(Above: View from the 10th Floor, where her room is.)
I brought her some of her newspapers and she browsed through them.
I teased her a little about her “striptease” (becoming confused and agitated in the evenings, pulling out her IV line, pulling off her gown and trying to get out of bed three nights in a row) and at first she confabulated about not knowing she had one of those little gizmos that control the TV and call the nurse and later about not being able to find it, and needing water, or a bedpan, seeing people go past in the hallway and calling out to them for help, and nobody coming, and that was the reason for her actions. You can tell she’s trying to make sense out of what has happened to her and is understandably confused, distressed and frightened by it. It’s difficult to have to watch. She tires very easily and her mental state tends to wane and she becomes more confused as she gets tired.
She gets cold. She had a sheet and a blanket when she got there. Monday, I got a second blanket for her and left it folded double lengthwise when I put it on to give her an extra layer. Today, I noted that it had gotten taken off the bed and put on the bench/sofa seating area. She complained of being cold shortly after CK had come by, and when I put this blanket back on her, we noticed that it had “Property of U. S. Government – NNMC, Shiprock” printed on it in black indelible ink.
Turns out that blanket belongs to the Northern Navajo Medical Center (NNMC) in Shiprock, New Mexico, which is on the Navajo Reservation way up in northwestern New Mexico. (Shiprock is located in what is called the Four Corners area, where the corners of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah come together. This area contains tribal lands of the Navajo, Hopi, and Ute nations and is under the governmental oversight of the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs. The Jim Chee Navajo detective novels of Tony Hillerman take place in this area.) I suspect that blanket was air-evac’ed over with a patient from Shiprock. New Mexico is a very medically under-served area and we have two major hospitals here, a level I trauma center, and high-level specialty care. I used to live near both hospitals, and the helicopters would come roaring over bringing patients in at all hours of the day and night to one hospital or the other. But I digress.
The big event that happened today was the neprhologist (kidney doctor) bringing up the idea of mom being discharged and what would happen next. She readily accepted the idea that she would be going to a skilled nursing facility (“I’m going to need something to wear. Did you do my wash?” — she doesn’t remember the several times over the past two days that I’ve told her I had), and made the comment that it might be time for going from there to an assisted living facility. I was dreading the potential uphill battle of convincing her of the unfeasibility of her living in her house. The nephrologist is the only one of her doctors who’s mentioned discharge. We have not seen the social workers yet, who are supposed to be arranging all this. One day at a time.