Another storm passes

storn cloudI return to visit my Mom a few hours after she was found on the floor. We aren’t sure if she fell since no one saw what happened and my Mom doesn’t remember. Within an hour of the “fall” that resulted in EMTs being called, she gets up and is moving around. For several months she has been walking more stiffly and taking shorter steps. There appears to be no change in her movement, speech or behavior. I discuss with the staff that I would just like to keep an eye on her and let them know I would be returning later in the day.  When I return she is still sound asleep and the night shift has set aside a meal for her should she awake and be hungry.  For several months, she has days that she sleeps through. So this isn’t out of the ordinary either.

I return to check in on my Mom the next day. The EMTs had asked if I noticed any changes in my Mom when they were assessing her. While she seemed to have more trouble sitting up in bed initially, I wonder if we just haven’t seen her try lately. I remember being surprised when I realized how long it was taking her to dress now. There seem to be no other changes in her movement and the day after she is back and engaged in the morning and afternoon activities the community offers.

I know that as the family member, I am probably going to be the first one to notice changes in my Mom. I remember being dumb-founded at how long it took for any doctor to initially diagnose my parents. A month before my father passed away and well into moderate Alzheimer’s, he got a 29 out of 30 on the mini-mental or folstein test often used as the first gate down the pathway to a dementia diagnosis. I tell those that ask that if you are noticing a change in behavior, you need to pursue your concern. It’s important to request a Neuropsychological Evaluation that will take at least two hours and is administered to understand where there might be cognitive decline.

My siblings and I will continue to keep a vigilant eye on my Mom. I can’t imagine how our health care system can effectively manage those individuals without someone who can be their medical advocate.

For now, I feel like the skies are still gray, but the thunderstorm has passed. I feel a butterfly in my gut as I imagine what the next crisis might be. Squeamish.

4 thoughts on “Another storm passes

  1. Dear Kay, a brief reply, so true, without an advocate, one wonders what happens to other people who don’t have the extra support and people speaking for them, in their bests interest.

  2. I just started reading your blog so I apologize that I am not familiar (at this point) with your story. But the issue of falls struck a chord with me. When my mom first went into the nursing home, we tried several times to graduate her to “assisted living,” thinking that from there she would regain her independence and be able to go back home. But each time, within a few hours, they would find her on the floor.

    The social worker referred to them as “staged falls” and I was insulted (for her!)…but he explained that her falls were gentle and she didn’t hurt herself, and these types of falls are in essence a “cry for help”…our mother’s way of saying that she could not live in the assisted living area (even though of course she talked about going home all the time).

    I have never investigated the concept of “staged falls” but I thought the social worker made sense– though of course it made me very sad. I am telling our story on my blog called “A Swift Current”…I look forward to reading your posts, Hallie Swift

    1. Hi Hallie – Thanks for the note and I look forward to hearing your story (just started following you). My parents both had dementia and moving them from independent living to assisted living was incredibly difficult and I’ve been writing about our journey since early 2012.

      A few days after this happened, my Mom’s neighbor teased my Mom that she just wanted her daughter to come visit so she fell. My Mom was so insulted (and I was too since she made it seem like I never visit!)

      Thanks for sharing. We are thankful nothing serious happened and hope to not have a repeat of events going forward.

  3. Hi Kay, Thank you for following A Swift Current. I look forward to catching up on your story. When I first started writing, I did not look at other posts on the topic as I was apprehensive that I would inadvertently “take” ideas or phrases, but I was well into my tale and feel that the interchange is beneficial rather than not!

    I know exactly what you mean about the neighbors; people can be very hurtful particularly when they only know a fraction of the story. I have described some of the actions of my mom’s neighbors in the post about packing up her house (Feb. 2014). I hope you will see that you are not alone!

    Again, I look forward to getting to know you here and sharing ideas. Thank you, Hallie

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