Your Mom Refused to Give Blood

bloodMy mom is very thin and as you might suspect, her nutrition poor. She has been taking vitamins to help bring up her numbers which is monitored with periodic blood tests.

The nurse on duty calls at 6:45 a.m. to let me know that my mom refused to allow the lab technician to take blood this morning.  When I call to see how my mom is doing, she says she is doing fine. I ask her how she’s walking today — on my last visit she refused to join us for lunch because she felt too unsteady on her feet. She tells me her foot still bothers her a little, but taking off her shoe helps.  She doesn’t remember that the day before she was so dizzy she stayed in bed most of the day.

When I ask about the blood test at first she doesn’t understand my question. I let her know that I believe if  some of the numbers have gone up, she won’t have to take as many pills — which she hates. After a few minutes she admits that she doesn’t like the idea of having her blood taken in their apartment. “If something goes wrong, they have no equipment for any emergency procedures!”

When we were moving my parents from Independent to Assisted Living, the Executive Director shared some ways to phrase things to illustrate the benefit. I have used this suggestion many times and today I respond by telling my mom how lucky she is to have “concierge healthcare”. I share with her the last time I gave blood I had to drive to the clinic and it took over an hour just to have them draw two vials of blood. How lucky she is to have them come to her home and get it done in a few minutes.

I am surprised and humored by my mom’s response. This would be at least the third time they have taken blood from my mom in her apartment. I’m quickly reminded how her Dementia can bring on other types of mental illness which today presents itself as anxiety. Schooled. 

My fear is a tornado

tornadoI recently saw a speaker who put together a book called “Put Your Big Girl Panties On and Kick your Fears in the A**!” The speaker discussed a four step process in which you name your fear, describe it, draw it and then face it.

I realized that I have quite a few fears as I face this journey with my parents. I left a steady job so I could launch my business and the needs of my parents are impacting the life of my family.

As I started to think about my fear and closed my eyes, I envisioned a tornado. I am afraid that something will come out of nowhere and devastate our lives.

In following this process, I realized that much of what I fear is unfounded. There are many early warning signs when it comes to dementia as with many other catastrophes. I brought up my mom’s cognitive issues with my siblings nine years ago when we got together for Christmas. At the time, I was the only one that spent enough time around my mom to notice the changes in her thinking and behavior.

There is a lot I can do now to better prepare for, recognize and hopefully avoid following in my parents footsteps. Any sudden health-issues for my parents would only necessitate the support from others they are so resistant to accept.

As the new year approaches, I’m looking forward to moving us all forward. I know it won’t be easy, but I’m learning and ready to face the challenges in front of me. I won’t let any fears hinder my pursuits. Emboldened.