Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Memere

My Memere is 90 years old. She has been living in her own apartment until very recently. About a month or so ago (right before Easter) she hurt herself when she moved some furniture to mop her floor. She went to the ER and was sent home with a diagnosis of muscle strain and a UTI.This was on a Friday night. They also sent her home with medications for both the UTI and the "muscle strain." The wonderful doctors in the ER apparently had never heard of drug interactions...or they didn't bother to check the list of medications she was already on for various conditions of old age. My father caught the duplication of some things and pulled them out.
On Saturday and Sunday my parents and uncles and I took turns sitting with her as she could not even stand. On Sunday evening, my uncle and I stood her up so I could change her and clean her up a bit before I left to come home and care for my family. She was in such excruciating pain that my uncle had to hold her up and her whole body shook as he did. By Monday morning, she had called an ambulance and returned to the hospital.

Lo and behold, her "muscle strain" was actually a fracture of the sacrum. No wonder she screamed in pain and couldn't stand up. She stayed at the hospital for a couple of days and then went to rehab in a nursing home. She did very well in rehab and was sent home. She promptly fell and landed back in the nursing home for rehab again.

I am saddened by this next part of the story even more than I was by the rest. My uncles and my father have decided that she can no longer live on her own. They feel that there is not enough money to have help for her in her apartment. They have decided to keep her in the nursing home. My Memere is not a very social person. She likes her privacy and her space. She will have to share one of these very small nursing home rooms with someone else. I cannot see this as a good thing. Granted, she will not be alone, but I think she will be miserable. She has always (in my memory) been a bit cantankerous. She wants what she wants. I am so upset because I feel like she is being pushed aside because of the inconvenience of caring for her. My parents participated in the care of my maternal Grandmother in her own apartment with PCAs until her death. She could do even less for herself than my Memere can. My Grandma had sever rheumatoid arthritis and was crippled by it all my life. She was a tenacious person, and worked as a PCA herself until she could no longer work at all. She also was a gentler spirit than my Memere. Maybe that is why Memere is being cared for in a nursing home. I feel like I am letting her down. I have a very small house and there is barely room for my family. I wish I had an extra room so I could take in my Memere. We are not close. We never have been. It would be difficult. It would mean even more sacrifices. It would be such a wonderful learning experience for my children.

Dear Lord,
I am attending the meeting at nursing home in the morning. Help me to advocate for my Memere. Give me the questions to ask that will guide the caregivers to give here the care she needs. Help me to let her know that she is loved. It is so difficult to get up to see her as she is almost an hour away now. Help me to make visiting her a priority. She has so much to offer if we can only coax her to talk about it....

Amen.

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