The long and short of it is that mom is going back to Carillon House on December 13th. As previously mentioned, she has severe degenerative scoliosis with a slipped disk in her lower back (L2) that has been putting pressure on a nerve (what is, in effect, sciatica). We thought we had it sorted and that she was going to be able to live in an apartment with me to take care of her. However, there is no treatment that will improve the situation with her back.
She had a pressure sore on the side of her left heel which was preventing her from wearing shoes, which kept her from graduating from a wheel chair to a rolling walker. That has been much improved over the past two months, especially by her recent weekly visits to a wound care doctor, and it is nearly healed now. However, the major barrier to her mobility remains her back. When she was attempting to build stamina so that she could progress from a front-wheel walker to a rolling walker and cover longer distances, her back began to act up again, causing her significant pain. Pain medications help, but they are sedating, which increases her fall risk. The simple truth is that she needs a higher level of care than one person can provide, and that she needs regular access to nursing care.
While she has become stronger and more mobile since she has been living with me — she can now get up unassisted and walk short distances with her front-wheel walker, dress herself, and get to the bathroom on her own — pain has become a significant and recurring issue. She needs to be more mobile in order to continue living here with me, but getting her more mobile aggravates her back. It’s a vicious cycle.
The upside of the situation is that once she gets moved, she won’t have to move again. The room she moves to at Carillon will be hers until she doesn’t need it any more. She will have her lift chair, we will hang her pictures, etc. She will have skilled, round the clock care, and there will be nurses on hand 24/7.
Also, at some point in the (very?) near future, I will be moving to a one-bedroom apartment — it’s just around the corner, in fact. That will give me a chance to settle in and rest up, because there’s an elephant in the room that I’m going to have to address — my own health issues. I had a CT scan in August that showed that my lymphoma has recurred and that some tumors were already an inch in diameter. I am to have a PET scan in January to see how big they are now and how fast they are growing. However, I can read the handwriting on the wall, which says I am looking down the barrel of another round of chemotherapy, probably in February.
COVID-19 has affected the kind of chemotherapy I can take. The best and most effective chemo drug, the one that would do me the most good, would also hamstring my immune system and destroy my immunity to COVID; if I were then to get COVID, it would kill me. Because of all the unvaccinated *BLEEP*s that are running loose in the world, the risk is too high. Therefore, I have to go with older, less effective chemo drugs — which are like using a 10-pound sledge hammer to swat a fly. It’s going to be all I can do to take care of myself, never mind take care of anybody else.
This is not an unexpected development. It was always a case of when rather than if. The whole point of mom and me moving to Carillon and getting into the Life Care program was so that we both would have access to whatever level of care we needed for the rest of our lives. That was a wise move. This will just be another wise move.
I will close with another “Little Wisdom” I forgot to mention: Keep a pair of bamboo chopsticks or large bamboo skewers handy for getting stuck toast out of the toaster. The last thing you want to do is to be digging around in an electrical appliance with metal silverware — it may actually be the last thing you do!