(Posted May 1 for April 26, 2011 - A to Z)
Vigilance was not my original topic for V. But after the hospitalization and the current rehab, Vigilance is all I have been doing.
The role of a caregiver in a medical setting is pretty much to inform, to be vigilant, to ask questions, to be vigilant, to monitor, to be vigilant, to be persistent, to be vigilant, to be patient, and to be vigilant. Did I mention Vigilance??
It began with a trip to hospital ER with her shortness of breath. Her history and current problem are repeated, and repeated and repeated as each new medical person enters the ER room (I am not sure why they have medical charts.) Sprinkled between those repeats are my questions, making sure they haven't slipped something in to her treatment that she is allergic to or cannot tolerate. And to monitor the ongoing treatment, to report her ongoing symptoms, to request changes to treatment (frequently - because asking once doesn't seem to count).
And that was just the hospital. Rehab has been more of the same! Not with medications so much. They seem to be able to read the chart! But her diet was wrong (no salt means no salt - not just taking the salt packet off the tray) and that took 4 days to correct. Congestive Heart Failure most definately is a salt free diet!!
And then there is the vigilance of keeping mom's spirits up. She tends towards self-pity and discouragement - and if I was 85 and frustrated beyond measure and afraid, I might have alittle of that myself. But thankfully she has a daughter who has no patience for that, who reminds her daily that she is one lucky lady - who has family who is with her constantly through this trial, that she is healthier than most of the people in rehab, that she is getting well, that she is in a beautiful facility (believe me, they have some rehabs that are terrible), that she will be going home (some people live here and won't be going home.) Now all that great stuff doesn't come without a price - she needs to work! No work and she stays longer.
We have had that conversation several times, sort of a tough love talk. She is not happy that I am now saying to her - oh, no, you can button your pajama tops yourself, you can adjust your own bed, you know how to work that TV remote. Vigilance. Persistence. Reminders that her glass is half full!
Anyway, that is my life now!
Thank God I am good at Vigilance!!!
Oh, and did I mention that I am pretty tired? That goes with being a caregiver too - but I already did the letter T.
I want my life back, I want her life back, and she will work and improve if only to shut me up!!