Sorry for the dearth of updates. Here is a progress report.
I have been instructed by the physical therapist, the occupational therapist, and the social worker that the very worst thing I can do for her is to do everything for her. I’m to make her do as much as she can for herself. I am not to fetch and carry for her, but make her get up and get things for herself. Lying in bed/recliner all day and being waited on hand and foot is how she went from living totally independently by herself and walking without any assistance (and driving!) in May to being wheelchair-bound and being “maximum assistance” in all her activities of daily living by July, having a sore bottom by August and a bedsore on the back of her heel by September.
Earlier this week, the home health person that changes the dressing on her heel requested that she be taken to a wound care doctor (which I was going to ask about anyway — she’s had that open wound for over a month now). She got us an appointment and we went yesterday. It was a big production. Carillon has wheelchair vans and will take you to doctors’ appointments. It was “freezing” yesterday (46 F/ 7.7 C) so we had a fleece jacket over our sweatshirt, and a lap robe over our legs. We go down to the lobby where they pick us up, put her in the van and lock down the wheelchair with straps and lock her in it with a seat belt. Off we went to the doctor. (Oddly enough, the driver, who has worked for Carillon for 6 years, already knew the address of the doctor we were going to.) Since we were new patients, we had the usual ton of paperwork to fill out. (I made her fill out most of it.)
The purpose of the visit was for the doctor to assess the wound and cut away all the dead tissue to minimize the risk of infection. The wound bled freely after he did this, which is great. That means she has a good blood supply to her foot and the chances of the wound healing completely are good. He ordered an x-ray of her foot (to make sure there is no infection in the bone underneath the wound), and an ultrasound of her leg (to make sure she has no clots or blocked blood vessels in her lower leg). But, he commented that the fact that her wound bled freely suggests there are no clots or blocked blood vessels in her leg, which she is at risk for because she spends so much time in her recliner. He also wants her to get what is called a “Multipodus boot” to offload the heel as much as possible when she walks.
At some point, the home health folks are supposed to come out with a portable x-ray machine and a portable ultrasound machine and do both these tests in the apartment, so that will be exciting. (You can bet this service won’t come cheap!) They will also get the boot for us. Once she has this boot, she can start wearing a shoe on her right foot, which means she can graduate to the Rollator. Once she’s built up enough stamina, she can start using the Rollator to walk downstairs to lunch. (I’m sure she’s noticed she’s the only one in the dining room in a wheelchair, but about 20% of the people there use 4-wheel walkers of some kind. I’m hoping her desire to “fit in” will help us make the transition.)
It’s such a big production for her to use my computer (She had to get up and go get in the wheelchair so she could sit at the desk, my chair had to be moved out of the way, I had to change to another mouse because she can’t work the one I use, etc.) that I’ve gotten her a (reconditioned) Kindle Fire 10-inch tablet. I’ve gotten it all set up with her email, Facebook, and a web browser. I’ve uncluttered the “desktop” as much as I can, putting all the zillion icons she doesn’t need or want into a folder called “Stuff.” (Amazon, like Apple, considers you a captive audience and constantly bombards you with “buy me!’s.” Of course, the programs that do this can neither be deleted or disabled.) I also put her some solitaire games on it, too. The new skills she gets to master is to learn how to use a touch screen, and how to get into and out of programs. I had gotten a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse to connect to my TV for when I set the TV up with a Bluetooth dongle, which I haven’t had time to do. I was able to get the keyboard to talk to her tablet (when all else fails, read the instructions!) so she can type on a regular keyboard instead of poking at letters on the touch screen (which, for a touch typist, is incredibly frustrating!). I’ve ordered her a lap desk, which comes tomorrow.
She still spends 60-70% of her waking hours vegetating in her lift chair, and consistently resists my attempts to get her to do anything for herself, like carry her glass/cup back to the sink, get her own water, etc. It’s an uphill battle. I’m the one who catches flak for trying to get her to follow her therapists’ treatment regimens. I have succeeded in getting her to dress herself and hanging up her gown in the morning, although I do have to put her socks on and help her with her slacks. She is so kyphotic and has lost so much flexibility and muscle tone due to age and inactivity that she can’t get her foot up high enough to put her socks on, and I’m afraid she would pitch over onto the floor if she tried to lean over to get her feet into the legs of her slacks.
So. That’s where we are at nearly three weeks out. There is no knitting news because I haven’t had time to say boo! never mind sit down long enough to try to knit. Sorry. I doubt there will be any knitting news for the foreseeable future. It took me three days to put this post together.
3 thoughts on “All the News That’s Fit to Print”
All I can say from over here is a repeat of what my buddy Varnish John told me about recovering from hurricanes: “Do what you can do, not what you can’t.” I know how frustrating all this is. I went through it, and my cousin is going through it with my aunt. Fortunately, my aunt is physically fit and still living independently (sort of) but inertia can take a variety of forms. Excelsior!
The motivation to fit in with peers does seem likely to up the probability of your mom eventually becoming more mobile and independent. Good luck!