Mom’s stay at Chilton lasted several days. I was afraid she’d be discharged over the weekend. Her delusions were staying with her and she was in no condition to go back to Emeritus. Her gout flared up on Sunday morning making her left foot too sore to walk on. I diagnosed the problem over the phone as soon as the neurologist described it to me, but it took until late Sunday afternoon to get her anti-inflammatory prescribed. (I resisted the temptation to bring her medication with me; I still have all of her drugs in the rolling cart I bought for her in my kitchen). And that turned out to be a good thing. The hospital’s social workers are only in during the week, not on weekends. This gave me time to make sure Mom would be taken to a rehab facility to get stronger and hopefully, somewhat grounded in a more widely accepted version of “reality.”
After a few calls on Monday, Chilton arranged to have Mom transported to Wanaque Care Center. They are “in network” for her insurance and pretty close to my home. I asked the social worker what she knew about the place and she assured me she’d heard “good things.”
Tuesday morning, I went to Emeritus to pack a bag for Mom. I was told to bring a week’s worth of clothes. I packed extra underwear, Poise Pads, toothbrush and toothpaste, hair brushes, moisturizer, make up, slippers, shoes, night gown, blouses, slacks and a hoodie. I also spoke to one of the Emeritus staff members who filled in some of the details about the days leading up to Mom’s hospitalization. She had indeed shared her suspicions about her dead husband living at the home and this was noted as an abrupt change in an otherwise delightful resident.
When I got to the rehab center, I gave Mom’s suitcase to the receptionist for labeling (they label all of the contents with the patient’s name). I was sent to the third floor to see Mom.
Mom’s roommate is lucid and seems nice. She loves to look out the window (nice view of a mountain). She told me Mom was in therapy. I asked at the desk and was told she was in the dining room. Sure enough, she was in a wheelchair, dressed in a blue scrub top and brown velour pants (not hers; these were loaners meant to tide her over until her own clothes arrived).
Clearly glad to see me, Mom asked me to wheel her to a different part of the room. She wanted to talk to me away from the AC vents.
Her mind wasn’t any clearer. Now, her dead husband is “a broad.” Yes, that’s right, Dad is now a transsexual woman. When she pointed her out to me, I simply said “No Ma.” She smiled and said “Not buying it, huh?” I could only smile and shake my head.
A social worker from the rehab center had phoned me en route and she came over to join us. A nice Jewish lady with eastern European roots, she conversed easily with Mom, sprinkling her language with some choice Yiddish expressions. I mentioned the delusions to her, and she said, yes, a UTI will do that. Yeah, but will she be coming down from orbit any time soon?
I left Mom eating lunch and told her I’d be back. She wanted to come home with me. I told her gently that she’d be there a few days to get stronger so she could go back to her apartment.
Downstairs, I met with the director of the place to fill out paperwork; pretty straight-forward, but lots of it. They’d exercise her, get a psychiatrist to chat with her, feed her, give her meds, do her laundry, even cut and style her hair (I gave them some money to doll her up if she got inspired). Her primary doctor is on the board of the place, and they are developing a relationship with Emeritus, too, so I’m anticipating a well-coordinated effort to transition Mom back to assisted living.
So now, we wait. A few days of evaluations and therapy, followed by conferences with the folks at Emeritus to see if she’s ready to go back. Meanwhile, I’ll visit her and make sure she’s getting the care she needs.
I thought this was supposed to get easier. Not having to be hands-on with her daily certainly is. But I can’t help but think that maybe if she’d have been with me, I’d have noticed the UTI sooner. Maybe not. At least I’m not flying down to Florida to deal with this. Yeah, that’s it; the bright side!