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MORE FAMILY DRAMA
6 Apr 2016
Well. No cleaning got done today. None.
The day started at 7:30 with a phone call from my mother, in great distress. She felt terrible and she just didn't know what to do. I told her I would be right over.
She answered the door, but staggered trying to get back to bed. She kept slapping her arm and saying "stupid, stupid, stupid" because she didn't know how not to feel the way she was feeling and felt it was her fault for not being able to feel better. She told me she hadn't eaten in 2 days and that she felt like she had nausea all over her body. She also told me that she "tried to walk and would find herself on the floor." I don't know if she has fallen or not...you just never know which of her stories are accurate and which are things she remember, but never really happened.
I went to call the advice nurse at Kaiser. During the twenty minutes I was on hold (the pre-screener told me that average wait time was 15 minutes but in this case it would probably be less time. Yeah. Right.) my mother staggered into the living room, hanging onto wall furniture to keep from falling over.
She sat in her chair for awhile, head in her hands moaning, then moved to the couch, she lay down, again slapping herself and calling herself stupid-stupid-stupid.
I finally got the advice nurse and she ran through all the possible symptoms for stroke and other obvious things. She talked with my mother, who could speak clearly, but feebly and couldn't answer all the questions. We decided she should see the doctor and made an appointment for the afternoon, but said she'd try to get her in in the morning and would call me if she was able to..
Then I went to the Atria front desk to check their records and miss "haven't eaten in 2 days" had 3 meals yesterday, which was nice to know. I went to the dining room and got her a piece of dry toast and a cup of coffee. She sat up to eat and it was like she was back to normal again.
My phone battery was running down, so since my mother seemed fine, I went home to recharge the battery so I wouldn't miss the doctor's call. Good thing I did because the doctor called on the house phone, not my cell phone. We changed the appointment to 11 a.m.
I went back to Atria and she was sleeping on the couch. I let her sleep until she woke up and when she did she was disoriented and "sick" again. But the one thing she was adamant about was that she did NOT want to see a doctor. Maybe we could go tomorrow when she was feeling better. I finally asked "do you like the way you feel now?" That seemed to convince her to let me take her to the doctor.
The exam went exactly as I knew it would: She tells the doctor she's great, everything checks out fine. She isn't dizzy. She doesn't remember falling down. She isn't nauseous, etc. We went and had labs drawn. I told the doctor that my non-professional diagnosis was that there was an anxiety component to all of this. I think she woke up not feeling well and not sure what she should do about it, and that made her anxious so she called me and it escalated from there. When I took charge and got on the phone with the advice nurse it took the onus off of her for "doing something."
I think if there is anything good that is happening with all these "I'm fine; she's just exaggerating" meetings is that Kaiser is finally beginning to realize that you can't trust what she says. (Today she could not remember her last name and had to ask me.) Never ask her a "when" question because she'll just make up an arbitrary date, and people will believe her. I never did believe that she hadn't eaten in 2 days and am so grateful that Atria keeps records on that!
While we were waiting for labs, I kept thinking what she really needed is to go to a nice lunch. But she gets confused in the atmosphere of a restaurant. She hates the noise of crowds because she can't understand what's being said and the last time we went to a restaurant she ended up so agitated that I realized it really isn't a treat for her to be taken out to lunch. I tried to think of a place where I would take her that she would like.
Then I came up with the perfect idea: Osteria Fasulo, a little Italian restaurant out in Village Homes, which is like being on an estate of a big mansion -- lots of gardens with trees (she loves trees) and flowers. They have an indoor eating area, but I asked for the patio. The weather was perfect, warm and slightly breezy, and there were almost no people on the patio, so it was like having the place to ourselves. From where she sat, under a grape arbor, she could look out across the grass to an eye-blindingly beautiful iris garden.
The birds flew in and around the arbor and she just loved looking at all the beautiful trees.
That coral rose bush was right next to our table and when the breeze blew the air was filled with the fragrance of the roses...a scent you get so seldom from hothouse flowers.
I didn't give her much chance to look at the menu because that always confuses her. I told her I was having braised romaine with Dungeness crab and she decided that sounded good to her. The woman who looks at every plate and complains that it's too much, actually ate more than I did and loved it. She cleaned her plate; I did not.
When asked if she wanted to look at the dessert menu, she gave a hearty "SURE!" so we both had a lovely creme brulee.
By the time we had finished our lunch, you'd never know she had ever been sick. In fact, she had forgotten she had been to the doctor. She was bright and chipper and raving about what a lovely afternoon we'd had. When I dropped her back at Atria, where she usually gets out kind of dazed saying that she isn't sure she can find her apartment, she was sure-footed and didn't complain at all about fear of finding her apartment.
The downside was that it cost nearly $100 and we had the cheaper things on the menu! I need to find something similar...or MAKE something similar where she doesn't have to walk (which her back pain prevents her from doing--and she refuses to use cane or wheelchair), but can commune with nature and not have an expensive meal in the bargain, but I can bring a picnic lunch.
But then, since her moods flip flop more often than a politician, who knows if a return visit would be as positive, You can only take her day by day, sometimes only hour by hour. But right now I'm feeling pretty good about how the day went, even if it DID take 7 hours!
TOMORROW I'll get back to cleaning.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
She has become obsessed with her nails, specifically her
thumb and little finger,
She also hates the brown spots on her hands because they are
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