It seemed like Mom was doing OK on the Seroquel. She was calmer. The delusions were very much with her, but she wasn’t “acting out.” At least until Sunday.
A call came from the psychiatric hospital. Mom had fallen in the kitchen and hit her head. They CAT scanned her, and she was fine.
Monday, I visited and found out WHY she fell. Mom was upset with her favorite nurse for attending to another patient, so she grabbed a package of crackers from a cabinet. She threw it, lost her balance and fell. Acting out. Again.
The psychiatrist showed up. He changed her medication to Risperdal, another drug Dad had been given. They would keep her for a few days and see how she responds.
Mom looked good. She had color in her cheeks. She was happy to see me. She wanted to tip her favorite crew member (nurse). She had good energy, but she did have pain on her left side. She’d been tested thoroughly and they could find no reason for it, so acetaminophen was prescribed.
When I got home, I decided to research Mom’s psychiatric medications. At the top of the Risperdal page, a huge scary warning was posted saying this medication was extremely dangerous for elderly patients with dementia. WHAT?
Further research revealed that ALL drugs of this type are dangerous for people like Mom, but they’re ALL that’s available. That’s why she needed to be monitored in the hospital. If she had a bad reaction; they could treat her.
I braced myself for another week at the psych hospital. When I called on Thursday to check her status, the caseworker picked up the phone and gave me the news: the nurse from Emeritus and Mom’s shrink had seen her that morning and agreed she could return to her apartment. Deep breath. Really?! Thank you!
Later that morning, the nurse from Emeritus called me directly and confirmed the decision. She cautioned that Mom was still clearly delusional. I told her I didn’t expect that to improve and was prepared to discuss moving Mom to the “memory wing” when the time seemed right. Meanwhile, we’d give it a try and see if being surrounded by familiar objects might help stabilize her. Socializing with less disturbed people might also help.
I had to see clients that day, but I could carve out about an hour between appointments. I headed over to Emeritus and went right up to Mom’s apartment. She was sitting in the club chair in her living room, staring like a deer caught in the headlights.
“Hey Mom. How are you feeling?”
Her eyes met mine with no expression.
“Mom, it’s me, it’s Tracey. Are you OK?”
“Is Dad waiting in the car?”
“He’s got a 16 year old now you know.”
“Mom, Dad doesn’t have anything. He’s dead.”
She told me she was tired and very thirsty. I got her a bottle of cold water and poured her a glass. She wanted a housecoat and I got one out for her. I helped her change, hung up her clothes and helped her to bed. I told her I had to go, but someone would be up in an hour or so to check on her and bring her to dinner.
“Next time, don’t pull any tricks on me, OK?”
“I didn’t pull any tricks, Mom. Mother Nature and that bitch, Old Age, have been doing all this.”
She looked at me and recognized the truth of my words. I kissed her cheek and she snuggled into her comfy bed for a nice, soft landing. I left for my appointment, concerned but hopeful. What tricks does Mother Nature have for us next?