How to begin.
My mom was never one to express preferences in life. She usually went along with life - adjusting to whatever was put in her path without much resistance.
With one exception!
She never wanted to be placed in a nursing home.
Today she sits in a nursing home - because her physical and mental abilities do no permit her to continue in an assisted living environment. She is getting physical and occupational and speech therapies ... and it is hoped that this caring environment will help repair the damage to her dementia that that hospitalization caused.
It is hoped.
But as I look back over the last 7 or 8 years of being there while she aged - it breaks my heart to know she is now in a nursing home.
I console myself with the knowledge that this nursing home, Brooke Grove Rehabilitation and Skill Nursing Center, is an excellent facility. This retirement community is number 1 in the county and in the top 5 in our state. I have been there with her through several rehabilitations 2 years ago and during this admission as well. The staff is very stable - with many of them remembering her from other times. And since her hospital discharge she has improved markedly because the environment is very much less stressful.
When I am feeling very down, I remind myself of those facts.
But how do I overshadow some of the memories from the hospital ...
One memory is burned in my brain. It brings tears to my eyes even now. After one especially difficult and frightening hospital procedure my sister and I returned to the room and found mom quietly very upset - trembling. We stood on either side of her bed - trying to be there for her. I don't recall if she was aware of our presence, but she pulled the covers up and began performing the sign of the cross on her person. She silently repeated the sign of the cross over and over again.
In her mind there was no other help for her except God.
I felt helpless.
My own belief in God is less traditional than mom's and certainly not as intense. But in that moment I desperately hoped that the spirit of God was standing by her with us. She deserved at least that much.
Today her medical record has an order ... no ambulence transports, no hospitalizations.
Finally I have found the silver lining of dementia ... hope that dementia has lost that memory in her brain.
Now I must find a way to cope with that memory in my brain.