Life with Mom this week has been one big roller coaster ride. As a caregiver, it was self-hypnosis that helped me survive the ride. We started out the week on a high. Mom was doing great. She was stronger, more stable, walking more and in a great mood. Mom continued finalizing details on paint colors, vinyl for the kitchen and ordering carpet. Mom lost another 2 pounds and was excited. Saturday night we went out for a great dinner. At dinner we talked again about her decreased pain and inflammation since she stopped eating dairy products and other animal proteins.
Later in the evening we were all watching the tube. I had taken Mom’s blood pressure, it was a healthy normal. At about 10:00 PM she got up and went to the bathroom. I heard her call me from the bath room. I tore into the bathroom to find her passing out sitting on the toilet. She was too weak to stand and quickly became non-responsive. There wasn’t enough room for me to lift her and safely get her to the floor. We called 911 and they arrived amazingly quickly. Two EMTs got her to the dining room and laid on the floor. In a few moments they got her conscious. Soon it was off to Bremerton to the ER. Marilyn and I followed. After a battery of tests they thought maybe Mom had a urinary track infection – but not certain. We got home at 4:15 AM and to bed at 5:00 AM. I checked on Mom about every hour, she slept peacefully.
Mom got up at 10:30 AM and wanted (and needed) a shower. Marilyn helped her with her shower and when she was dressed I came in to help her with her shoes. Mom started talking about feeling woozy and said that she wanted to lay down. So with her sitting in her walker, I wheeled her into her bedroom. I was helping her stand when she passed out and so I laid her on the floor. Shortly after calling 911 she became conscious. The same ambulance crew arrived from the night before and so it was like a reunion. The EMTs were so great with her. They were very gentle, caring and kind – and very professional. Once Mom was stabilized they left with her for Bremerton (29 miles away) – she was on her way back to the same hospital she had left a few hours before.
Marilyn and I cleaned up and left to be with Mom. We got there to discover she didn’t have her glasses, so Marilyn stayed with her while I made the round trip for her glasses. Sunday night Mom was very weak and tired and drifted in and out of sleep. We left and got home about 8:00 PM, exhausted physically, mentally and emotionally – and very hungry.
When my alarm went off at 4:30 AM to go to spin class, I shut it off. I am aware that I really need to give care to me and that sleep is especially important right now. It was nice to give myself permission to take time off from the gym.
I canceled my Monday afternoon appointments and it was back to the hospital. I had had several phone conversations with Mom and the nurses throughout the morning. Mom said she had had the worst night of her life with so much pain and that she could not sleep. When we arrived, we found Mom to be in a lot of pain and very weak. She looked pale. Our fear was that they would want to discharge her. We were revealed when the doctor said she would evaluate Mom for discharge on Tuesday. We want Mom home with us, but not in this condition that we cannot give her the care that you need.
Marilyn and I were talking with Mom’s nurse about her prescriptions and wondering why she was in such pain. We discovered that they had the correct medications, but were low on the dosages. We got the dosages corrected and hopefully that will give Mom some pain relief. In the midst of all of this I am dealing with ordering the carpeting and vinyl for Mom’s house. Mom had only had a little bit of oatmeal for breakfast at 11:30 and then no lunch. At 5:30 we insisted that she order dinner. She says she wasn’t hungry and nothing on the menu sounded good. She finally settled on tomato soup and a half sandwich. I told her we wouldn’t leave until she ate. Mom ate maybe 6 spoonfuls of soup and about half of her half sandwich and insisted that she did not want anymore. We sat there for awhile and watched Mom sleep and then when she woke for a few moments we told her were going to head home, kissed her good night and told her how much we loved and missed her.
The drive home gave Marilyn and I time to talk and compare thoughts, ideas and questions. Mom had been out of bed only once all day long – the goal the hospital had set for her was at least 3 times. At about 10:30 Monday night I called and talked to her nurse. They had gotten Mom up one more time after we left and she said Mom surprised her with how well she did walking with her walker. She seemed stronger.
Our big fear is that when Mom goes home to her own house that she will only be able to enjoy her new paint carpeting for a short while. She does not want to go to a care center and her hope is that she leaves this world to be with her Lord and my Dad before a care center is the only option.
Tuesday brought a whole new day! Mom had a great night of sleep and her blood count had improved. She had been getting in and out of bed on her own. Mom’s day nurse said the improvement was remarkable. Mom’s voice sounded strong. I had my Mom back! It had been confirmed that she had a urinary track infection and the antibiotics were working. By mid-afternoon, her MD had released her and we were on our way to spring her from the hospital. The smile on her face when we walked in was one that I shall always cherish. She was dressed in record time, she said her goodbyes and we were out the door.
The staff at the hospital made a point of telling us how sweet Mom is and that she was a delight for them to care for. They had heard the stories of her 70 years with my Dad, her 3 kids, the house fire and even knew about all of her rings. (Even when she was feeling her worst she made it clear that they were to not muck of her finger nails!)
We stopped in Poulsbo on the way home and dropped off her prescriptions, drove home for dinner and then I got back in the car for the 30 mile round trip to pick up the prescriptions . It was good to have some quiet time by myself, even if it was in the car. I felt as if the world was off my shoulders. Only then did I realize how scared I had been. I am still in awe had how quickly this all came on. She was fine one minute Saturday night and the next minute she had passed out. She went to bed Monday night sick and weak and woke up Tuesday as if nothing had happened.
Throughout all of this I have been doing my best to remember that I have to put on my own oxygen mask first. In other words, to give care to Mom, I have to give care to me so that I am able to give care to her. Self-hypnosis has been one of the ways that I have been able to give care to me. Self-hypnosis allowed me to create a space of equanimity within me that allowed me to talk with the nurses, CMAs, and Mom’s doctor from a place of compassion and yet making sure that I was advocating for her. Hypnosis allowed me to navigate after having been awake for over 22 hours, sleep a few hours and continue the roller coaster ride.
If you are a care giver, please comment and share your story of giving care. How do you cope in times of health crisis’s and other stress?
For the full story of our Life With Mom, begin with Fire & Orange Blossom ~ Extreme Stress & Self Hypnosis
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