We found your Mom on the floor

ambulanceThe issues are starting to snowball now. I got a call from the community to let me know that they found my Mom on the floor and have called 911. I let them know I’m on my way.

Before I can leave, I get a call from the EMT asking me some questions about my Mom. She doesn’t want them to touch her. The EMT asks for permission to assess my Mom. After I say “yes” she asks if I could get to my Mom’s apartment. I let her know I was planning on coming after I got the call and hope that it will only take me 30 minutes to get there.

After 40 minutes, they call again as I’m finally walking into my Mom’s apartment. She is laying on the bed now. My Mom is now asleep. I find out that when they found her she was asleep on the floor. She thought she was asleep in her bed. We assume she fell, but it’s another mystery.

I try to get my Mom to wake up and get out of bed. They tell me she was complaining of her back hurting when they moved her. I explain that she has been complaining of a back ache for more than a year on and off. When we have seen the doctor, she denies having back pain.

The EMT offers to take my Mom to get an MRI to make sure there is no injury. I recall how they did this for my Dad when he fell in the bathroom a week before he died. I suppose it’s standard operating procedure, but I would think you would first find out if she has pain.

I hesitate to go down this path because I feel like we are checking the boxes, not really following up on an issue. I also know the new environment will only bring out mean Mom (the lion). I work to get my Mom out of bed which takes time. She just wants to sleep and asks me to come back later. The EMTs have already been her for 50 minutes now, so I can’t let her finish her nap. I ask if she will get up and help me. She tells me to “buzz off and come back later.” I try to convince her that I need her help making sure it’s her clothes in the laundry and she tells me she doesn’t care. I finally get her up. We all watch as she slowly sits up with trembling arms.

The biggest concern for me is that my Mom can’t verbalize her pain. I tried and failed to find why my Dad was slurring for months before he was finally diagnosed with a tumor on his tongue.

The only way to really tell is to have my Mom get up and walk around. After she’s up, she walks across the room and out the door. She seems to be her same frail and stiff self and says nothing hurts.

I decline to send my Mom off for an MRI. She crawls back into bed and goes back to sleep. Eye-witnessed.

10 thoughts on “We found your Mom on the floor

  1. I remember getting those calls when my dad was in the residential facility. So stressful and like you said, it is so hard to know if a person with dementia is in pain.

    The facility that my dad was at eventually placed my dad’s mattress on the floor because he kept falling out of bed. I’m not sure this was the best solution, but it did eliminate the risk of those particular falls.

    1. I wish for an APP that could tell me what my Mom does all day. I’m sure someone is working on it. I’m getting worried because the calls don’t really even surprise me anymore. Thanks for the note.

  2. That is always a bad phone call, I hope that your Mom is OK. I was there today and missed seeing her but it was right around mid-day when I peeked into the Terrace Club. I assumed she was at lunch. I hope all is well.

    1. Mom seems to be fine — in terms of a fall victim issue that is. This happened over the weekend so I have been visiting almost daily. She’s just in a down-cycle which makes any complication even more difficult. Someday’s she just doesn’t want to get out of bed and sleeps all day. ; < We know it's not going to get better, but its painful to witness.

  3. Hi Kay
    Hi Kay
    Vickie from Maryland with parents in Seattle (both passed away 3 months after I returned home – They died within 3 weeks of each other this month)
    But I wanted to comment on your Mom wanting to sleep more – My mother at the end slept 12-16 hours aday. The residential home she was in called and asked my opinion – she already was only 80 lbs. – I said let her sleep – the alternative of moving her to a hospital for intervention for a food IV was against her DNR – she talked to me when she was more lucid and signing the Doc – no intervention – she wanted to pass.

    I asked the residential home to respect her wishes – and she died in her sleep.

    I wasn’t there and my father had just died – he was in a nursing home.

    I know this doesn’t help you with your mother – but remember when she is asleep she is not in pain.


    1. Thank you Vickie – This does help me. In putting it all out there, I know some won’t agree with the choices we are making, but I feel like they are in line with what my mother wanted. My mom told me to “push over grannies chest on her if she ends up like grannie.” Can’t and won’t do that, but won’t pursue options to extend a poor quality life.

      I’m sorry for your loss. I recall how difficult your situation was.

  4. An anxious time while you made your way to your mothers. From your assessment, its not really clear if she fell or fell asleep on the floor. Are you left wondering, is she ok? did you get information from the paramedics about what to look for should she have hurt herself or her head? Thank you for sharing, Patricia

    1. I am surprised that these calls don’t make me so anxious anymore. I feel like my nerves have grown calluses! I usually find that anxiety hits after the incident. The paramedics focused on any changes and continued to ask me if anything was different. It wasn’t and I didn’t see any redness or bruises so am not really sure my Mom fell. I have had my Mom call to tell me her “boob” hurts so bad she is crying and when help arrives, she is curious why I even asked for help. We did find that she has systolic heart failure, so I only imagine she has chest pain , but when it passes she can’t recall or report on it. The current model where the doctor relies on the patient to raise issues and describe symptoms, just doesn’t work when someone has no short term memory.

  5. Kay, you are doing the right thing with your mom. Sleeping a lot and lethargy when awakening is very common as AD and dementias progress. Like you, I don’t think your mom fell (and sleeping on the floor is more prevalent than I would have imagined since my mom didn’t do that – it has to do with changes in depth perception and visual cliffs: http://goinggentleintothatgoodnight.com/2013/07/22/i-see-dead-people-vision-perception-and-hallucinations-in-alzheimers-disease-and-dementias/), but the floor was the one place where she could easily lie down and go to sleep.

    Just wanted you to know that you’re not alone…lots of prayers, hugs and love as you all go forward.

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