Once again we crossed the threshold of that wonderful nursing facility that we visited about 10 months ago.
I couldn't help but compare the two visits.
In December 2010 mom and I were both new-bees to the rehab experience. We didn't know what to expect and what would be required. We were both tired and anxious that month. Mom had been pretty sick and was very weak. Neither of us was standing tall on that first visit. Thankfully we landed in a wonderful community that propped us up and got us back on track - health wise! And I learned a lot about what high quality rehab care was all about.
Now, 10 months later, as we returned, we were different people. Yes, we were both bone weary from the last week at home. Mom is not sick but she is injured ... and desperately weak again. But this time we were greeted by many familiar faces who welcomed us back. It felt comfortable. The first day procedures were the same. We were walking a familiar path. There was also a sense that we will once again climb ourselves out of the current hole we fell into and come out the other side at a "new normal."
Always a "new normal."
Always less than before.
It gave me comfort to see mom adjust so fast to this new but not new environment. She had been anxious the days leading up to this admission. No amount of talk could settled her mind. She didn't remember her last experiences. This was "new" to her brain and she was scared. But as the day rolled on she remembered. The staff was open and welcoming. She had exactly the same room as before. She ate her meals with gusto (I think she has gotten tired of my cooking. Me, too!). And when the time came for me to leave, she appeared at peace with it. She said her normal goodbyes and I almost felt dismissed.
The elderly can be surprisingly resilient.
And I am different too. I know her rehabilitation is required. I can't do this at home. She must stay as long as it takes to get her moving again. There will be no early discharge like the last time. Elderly issues can't be rushed. Health and strength are not regained over night. And my presence at rehab, while great as a visiting daughter, doesn't have to be 24/7. She is in good hands.
Returning home, the house seemed empty. Too quiet. I already missed her and it had only been 8 hours since she left. But I have a long list of things I need to do while she is gone. I'll keep busy. I will visit her often.
And I need to recover a bit myself.
Thankfully, I am resilient as well.
Care Giver and Daughter