Oh Look, He’s Licking My Toes!


Mom Recovers

As I headed to my office, I went through my mental checklists. I was grateful that the weather was clear, even if it was frigid. I would go home around noon, and pick up Mom’s fur for her to wear so she would be comfy going to see the retina specialist this afternoon.

My phone rang; it was Jane*, the head nurse at Mom’s home. Mom had fallen and bumped her head. She didn’t seem badly injured, but she said her head hurt.

“Please send her to the ER. I’ll meet her there.”

I went to my office, rescheduled my morning phone conference, touched base with colleagues, cancelled Mom’s appointment with the retina doctor and headed to the hospital.

Mom was there, having her blood drawn. I asked the nurse if a urinalysis was done.

It was on the list. Could Mom use a bed pan?

Good question. Her capabilities have been on the decline, but I thought we should try. A catheter isn’t fun.

The nurse helped Mom roll onto a bed pan. I talked to her and tried to get her to pee. She amiably jabbered to me. She was glad to see her big sister (she often confuses me, her child, with her older sister who passed in 2003).

After a time, we asked Mom if she was able to pee.

“My husband is frannish.”

I looked at the nurse and said, “Hey, I was wondering, do you think maybe she has dementia?”

She laughed and rolled Mom off the pan. No pee. A straight catheter would be employed.

The procedure was professionally administered but tough to witness.

The tests were all done pretty quickly; CAT scan, EKG, blood, urine. Then we waited. And waited.

Mom got antsy. She kicked off her blankets and wanted to get up. Her eyes were glassy. She pointed to people and critters I couldn’t see.

I got hungry, made sure the nurses knew I was stepping away and made my way to the café. I bought two cups of chicken soup and a pannini. I went back to Mom’s room and found a table so she could eat the soup without wearing too much of it. She ate well.

Finally, after about four hours, the doctor on call came in. Mom had another UTI. Nothing broken, no other concerns. So she would get Bactrim and a ride home.

I thought about taking her home myself, but aside from the fact that she had no coat, she was not mobile. She couldn’t go to the bathroom without two strong helpers. She was like a 170 pound infant.

Once I got transportation arranged, Mom sat in a wheelchair, donning hospital gown, diaper and hospital socks (she had peed on her own socks and I gave the nurse permission to toss the soiled ones). I kissed her good-bye, and she giggled, pointing to her feet. “Look, he’s licking my toes!”

I’m so glad her hallucinations are happy ones!

I went to Mom’s home, dropped off the prescription and release orders with Jane, and comforted Mom’s girlfriend. Jenny* loves my Mom and always hugs me when I visit. She seems so lucid, until you chat for more than a few minutes. I reassured her that Mom was fine and coming back. For now.

My concern is that with Mom’s history, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out when she’s having a UTI, and I may have to move her to a place that’s more observant and proactive. I have a friend who’s a geriatric care manager, who knows and loves my mother, and has other places I can consider. Next week, we resume exploring options.

Meanwhile, I’ve made sure Mom gets her meds and physical therapy. Her active imagination should take care of the rest.

*Not their real names.


About traceysl

Digital Artist, creative technologist, problem-solving lover of life. Having cared for my mother, who died on April 14, 2015 after a long fight with dementia, I have refocused professionally to helping others through my experience. I have started a company called Grand Family Planning to provide unique Family Support Services. In this way, I share my knowledge and give meaning to the tragic turn of my parents' journey through the misery of dementia.
This entry was posted in aging, caregiving, delusions, dementia, Family, life changes, psychosis and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Oh Look, He’s Licking My Toes!

  1. justkmm says:

    Mom has UTI’s all the time in fact I asked if they were ever getting rid of them in the first place ? I was told she needed a med for chronic UTI’s , communication in the facilities Moms been in are awful !!

    • traceysl says:

      I’m so sorry to hear that. As our parent’s advocates, we have to continuously monitor their care. I try to form partnerships with the people I choose to work with. It’s not easy.

  2. justkmm says:

    Your right about the partnership , that’s what I need to work on more , thank you for your reply you have shown me how I can open the communication more myself … sometimes the easiest remedies are the hardest to see .

    • traceysl says:

      My pleasure. Caregivers are often blinded by the monumental tasks before them. I am dedicated to helping people refocus so they can accomplish what they need to without destroying themselves. We have to learn to ask others for help. Good luck and please take good care of yourself!

  3. dementedgirl says:

    Hi there,

    I am a fellow caregiver and just came across your blog – sorry to see you are in the same position, but if you are anything like me I hope your website provides some sort of outlet…

    I have been a young(ish!) carer for my mother-in-law, who suffers from dementia, for the last three years now.

    I am in the process of creating a new poetry site primarily aimed at carers, but also people with dementia as well – http://dementiapoetry.com.

    The blog is an honest account of my experience of caring over the last few years in poems – some silly, some exasperated, some happy, some sad – of my last three years caring for my mother-in-law, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, and is aimed at helping to support other caregivers in a similar position.

    If you would be happy to link to me, I would gladly return the favour!

    DG x

    • traceysl says:

      Hi DG,
      Thanks for the note. I understand and empathize. My mission in life has become the education of families to prevent their destruction by dementia and other long term illnesses. I have started a business called Grand Family Planning to promote action to begin the necessary work sooner than later.
      I wish you strength and fulfillment in your journey. Always prioritize your own needs. If your health suffers, everyone else does, too.

  4. Susan says:

    I couldn’t agree more about prioritization. It is easy to put off your own needs and issues. Having an area for support is very important for caregivers. I have just recently created my own website that focuses on caregiver support. http://hearttoheartcaregiving.com. I am so glad that there are people out there that are taking notice about how difficult it is to be in the “sandwich generation”. Now that people are living longer, there are more of us out there now than ever before!

    • traceysl says:

      Thanks for commenting, Susan. It’s wonderful to here from others who understand, reach out and embrace others who need to hear from us. Wishing you peace and fulfillment on your journey.

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