Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Friday, March 21, 2014

Through My Caregiver Eyes - Hospitalization

Short note - she is hospitalized!

Mom's rash continued to grow and spread and generally make her miserable.  All efforts to treat seemed to fail.  Finally she was hospitalized last Tuesday with the intent that an Infectious Disease Physician take control of this condition and aggressive treatment started.

Carbuncles is the initial diagnosis.  IV antibiotics and a surgical lancing of one of the boils has been ordered.  She is on pain patches and morphine.  It has been a difficult time.

My days are now consumed with her care once again. I am with her from early morning until evening.  She is too weak to stand or even to adjust her position in bed.  She is too weak to feed herself.  Her pain medicine is a mercy but also a poison to her health.  Without the morphine she has bad pain, with the morphine she has some relief but sleeps the entire time which only continues to weakens her.  And even when she was healthy, she could not respond to questions of the doctors so I become her voice.

Although hospitalization is meant to focus and intensify the process of disease identification and treatment ... vigilance becomes the caregiver's main job.  Nurses are busy people.  They don't have time to meet every need.  They cannot note every change.  And they can't come when needed if the person can't remember to push the Nurse Button.  I become her hands.

And when ordered tests conflict with the current needs of the patient, you have to step in and say "no." Early in the admission mom's ability to void stopped.  A catheter was ordered - but not immediately done.  And then after a time transport arrived to take her for additional testing in the hospital - and I flipped.  The poor transport guy must have thought I was nuts when I said she wasn't going anywhere until her bladder was drained and I went to find the nurse.  I made her aware that everything - including testing would be halted until she put in mom's catheter.  She complied.  Mom's pain was reduced by half.

All these people mean well, but they only see their little part of the process.


My time is now not my own.  Blogging will cease for now.

If you are a praying person, I ask for your prayers.  Hospitalization, while sometimes necessary, often negatively impacts the patient who is 88 and can start a downward slide that cannot be controlled.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Through My Caregiver Eyes - a quick update

It is amazing to me that mom has been relatively stable with no serious issues for over 2 years.  It shows what good professional monitoring can do in an excellent retirement community.  True, it isn't home, but at home mom was hospitalized 4 times in one year with many rehabilitations ... all ending in admission to Assisted Living ... so they must be doing something right that I wasn't doing!

The last few weeks, however, have been worrisome.  She developed a rash on her left leg that increased in size and intensity very very quickly - despite several medical interventions.  When I say it is intense, the center portion is like an open wound.  And the whole rash is extremely painful.  Last week another similar rash started to develop on her right leg.  By mid-week, there was a place on her back that appeared to be cooking up the same rash.

I started making noises with the medical staff about what I thought she needed a week ago - before the spread to her back.  This community stellar in many respects, but ... they are a bit slow to family observations and recommendations.  I understand that they deal with many families who think they know what is best.  No matter.  This lady is the only mother I will ever have ... and I have been proven correct with regards to her medical care many times.

I think, however, we are finally on the same page.

Yesterday my sister and I took mom off site to a dermatologist for a tissue biopsy - in an effort to clearly identify the problem and make sure the treatment is correct.  It was an exhausting and painful visit for her.  It was exhausting and painful for me too.

Now we wait! Unfortunately results aren't instant and cultures take time.  But at least I feel we are taking the right steps.

AND, thankfully I feel confident in the Dermatologist we visited.  I know she must report back to the medical staff at mom's Assisted Living, but when I asked if she would call me back directly with results as well, she quickly responded, "I will be calling you first to discuss treatment."

This doc is a "keeper."

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Shawl

I started knitting in 1997.  In all those years not one project drove me as crazy as knitting this shawl did.  It was a challenge.  And when I got to the lace border (the one designed to go with this shawl), I finally caved.  I decided that the pattern provided was beyond my skill set and I picked something else.

This project taught me patience and perseverance ... qualities I thought I was generously endowed with ... but discovered were not sufficient to get to the end of this shawl ... it really did stretch my boundaries.

And so, here are the pictures of the shawl that I am pretty darn proud of ... and that snagged my interest in doing other lace shawls ... something that I thought was totally unbelievable just a few months ago.  I know another lace shawl is in my future.  I am hooked!!

These outside pictures show the true color of the yarn.

Same shawl but taken in doors one evening.  Amazing difference in color.

Draped over my daughter's arm the day the shawl came off the blocking board.

The cute model is my beautiful daughter.

Another option for how it can be worn.