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APRIL 14, 2012 3:59PM

Conversation with an Invisible Mind~

Rate: 33 Flag

 

"Kenny, I got to tell you something."  "Yes Mam, what ya' need?" "You know my gray car?" I didn't know her gray car because she doesn't own a gray car, but I wanted to keep here calm. "Yes Mam. What about it?"

"There was some boy who wanted to rent it, or something, and he didn't bring my car back" Do you know him?" Again, I didn't know him or the car, so I said "Yeah, I know him. I know where the car is too. I'll get it from him and have it back in your driveway tomorrow, OK?" 

"Thank you Kenny, I've been worried to death about my car all day?" I kissed her and left the hospital room.

 

Since Monday my 82-year old mother-in-law has had a break from reality. This was the first time she had recognized me in a month. I think this was only because my wife and her sister had to take out IVC (Involuntary Commitment) papers, and I drove her to the hospital and told her she would only be here a day or two.

Lies. Everything is lies when you deal with people with Alzheimer's. To my wife, having to have her own mother committed was the hardest thing she has ever had to do and the tears were flying. A smart mouth nurse felt the wraith of a redhead when she had the nerve to say to my wife "You want to just throw her off on us?" Of course not, but where's the recourse? What else can we do? She has fallen through the cracks.

As I write this, my mother-in-law is being tied down to a bed at our local hospital. She has finally gone off the reservation. The reservation where you need 24/7 eyes on you for every moment of everyday.

Wednesday, she disappeared walking and luckily a man she knew brought her to her daughters house. It could as just as easily been a bad man. Thursday she left out the back door and had to be hunted down. It took 2 hours to find her. My wife and her sister took her to the hospital, but they can do nothing for dementia patients. Nothing.

Yesterday, after being up all night at the hospital, her daughter left her alone for just a few minutes and she was gone again. She was found this time in a bad part of town, in the hot sun with a hurt foot. She had pulled all the kitchen drawers out and left walking again. She seems to have super-human strength at times. She refuses go to a nursing home and even with a letter from her doctor that says she is a danger to herself and others, the hospital can do nothing.

They said she had a urinary tract infection last night so they could keep her there. At 4:00 a.m. this morning she went nuts and they had to strap her down to keep her in bed and Terri is there now. No one, not her doctor, the nursing homes, the police or Medicare have a place for this wonderful woman.

Alzheimer's or dementia is not a sickness and it is not an addiction. Just because she can't be left alone for one second out of a 24 hour day does not mean she can be hospitalized. According to the doctor, even though she has both Medicare and Medicaid, it is fraud for him to admit her to a hospital without being sick.

So, she had a urinary tract infection that was cured last week that got her admitted. If they can keep her 3 days, with no restraints for the last 8 hours and if there is a bed in the over-crowded nursing homes that keep people physically locked up, maybe next week she will be safe from hurting herself or others. 

Right now, she has bruises all over her body. She has been taking blood thinners so long, every bump is a bruise and walking down the hot roads and stepping in holes and off of curbs has her feet swollen. Yet, she can walk for miles without getting tired. She sneaks out like a thief in the night, thinking her family is the enemy and is holding her hostage. She wants to go home, yet she's in the same home she's been in for the last 25 years.

 

Doctor:  How did you get here?  

 

Her:  My husband (dead over 40 years) brought me.

 

Doctor:  Where do you live?

 

Her:   With my mother, I have to go home. (she's 82, her mother died many years ago)

 

Doctor:  Do you know what month it is?

 

Her:  March?

 

on and on and on and on and on and on and one and on and on nothing is real anymore. Nothing is real and everything is a Lie. 

 

This could very well be your future or my future or a loved ones future. What in the hell do you do? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I don't know. But I do know this is in many of our futures in one way or another. Hugs to you all, for I am without much more.
Scanner, me and my brother have been at this with my folks for over ten years, thank heaven we caught it early while they still had moments of clarity... we got all the Powers of Attorney, Medical Powers of Attorney and necessary bank stuff done. My Dad passed five years ago and Mom's got maybe another eighteen months or two years left. Last year we went through the same routine with our older brother... I don't know what you can do with your mother-in-law except to go to court and get a conservator-ship, then get her in line for placement in a nursing home.
What you can do for your own family is to get your own ducks in row... not something anyone wants to do but something we all need to do as time goes by.
Pray. Scanner. Pray.
You are describing my mother and so many others.
It is the plague of the elderly.
I am sorry for this.
For one thing, Scanman, urinary tract infections can cause delusions in the elderly. I learned this when my mom-in-law was slipping into dementia and her other health problems worsened. She always seemed to rally after the infections were stopped. Oddly, she, too, worried about her car, so we always took it when we visited her to take her for rides or bring her home with us for a holiday visit. She knew enuf not to ask to drive it, or maybe she had forgotten how. Always seemed content just to ride.

These are trying times, my friend, and I wish you and Terri strength and loving patience.
Oh I am so sorry for all the trouble. There will be a nice nursing home that will take her in and drug her. I have done that so many times and it is such a relief when the patient quiets down. Sometimes the drugs are too much in the beginning but then they all get adjusted and things drift into the Nursing Home Routine.
I wish people would not think that nursing homes are evil. People take one look at all the crazy people in wheelchairs at the entrance and they panic. But once you work in one you will see miracles. You will see people getting cared for who no one else can handle. No one. I have helped so many people and their loved ones deal with this kind of thing that I wish I could be there to help you and Teri.
My best wishes and hope that things are ok in the future. Don't bother to try to find the right nursing home. Just get one close to you so you can visit. They are all terrible on the outside. It is whatever you make it and when you get the bed make it as nice as you can and settle in. Turn on the tv and just watch the human parade. I thank this modern world for the drugs that are available.
Wow. That is both frightening and sad. I've seen this but I haven't been there. I wish I had advice for you, but all I really have is commiseration. Zanelle is sounding really logical. I pray that things work out for y'all.

Well, actually I do have one piece of advice for you, but it's more about you than about logistics:

Keep writing. It is one of the things that will keep you sane. Trust me on that; I'm unfortunately in a position to know.
I watched my mother do the same and fought every inch of the regulations on hospital stays and then nursing home stays. Its like they want to wear you down and break your back.
All my love and prayers to your family,
rated with love
Very hard row to hoe..we will all walk down that road. She can't help what her mind is doing to her. It is hard to picture that person sometimes as your Mom, but she is, and she is only doing what she can..as you already know, It is hard to see this and live with it. Sorry for how hurt you and Terri are.
TWO invisible minds if you count the STUPID mouthed nurse adding insult to injury-
I hope the redhead taught her a lesson she won’t soon forget…

Also, this on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKDXuCE7LeQ
Old Man In Nursing Home Reacts To Hearing Music From His Era

Music is the Quickening Art-Kant
Scanner, I'm with you in spirit. I know I will be there one day, sooner than I'd like.
Nothing to offer but good thoughts. Take care.
If this happens to me, I hope I have an awareness that my mind is going, and the courage to do myself in.
So heartbreaking, Scanner. Loving vibes of patience and courage are sent to you and your wife.

PS WTH is with that nurse?!
Right now, I don't really think there is anything you can do. It's such a sad world when mental illnesses don't count as an illness... For the record, if I end up with dementia or Alzheimer's, I'd like to be put down like a suffering animal. I'd be old, I'd have had a good run, and I know it'd be hard for anyone who loves me to do but the way I see it, if I can't remember anything, there's no point in trying to make memories. I've spent enough time in the past - I don't want to go back. It always happens to the sweetest people (so I think I'm safe). Maybe when she's put out of harm's way, thing's will get a little better. All the best, Scanner.
Hi Scanner
She's beautiful. I've worked with elderly people on and off for years. This is ringing a bell for me. I have some advice if you are interested?
First try to get her to a gerontologist-the medicine and the infection might be causing the problem. Doctors forget how little elderly women can weight. At least get 2 doctors to agree about the diagnosis. If my memory was better I could tell you why it sounds so familiar. The same thing happened to a client I think. It was not Alzheimer's or demetia but the medicine and an infection. That's my two cents. Hope it turns out well.
Man, this is scarier stuff than cancer -- at least you have your head to rely on. I have seen this in our family,many others as well. It is starkly real, even surreal, as you so aptly portray these frustrating trials. Not that many years ago, my brother tried to make a pact with me: If I'm just there, a vegetable, if you really love me, you'll find a way to just off me .... How terrible is that? I never gave him the answer he needed. But I could not say what was needed. Maybe, a lie. This is the kind of thing that we ought to find the cure for as much as any other illness out there ... If you have your mind, you always have a chance. With the stuff that you describe, you have no viable option. Hang in there, you'll find a lot of supportive people out there -- that bitch of a nurse is put in a place that she can not handle. I'm a guardian for a family member; soon, I realized that I had to bribe people to take care of my responsibility -- rather do that than worry. What's money for anyway? Maybe some day someone will look out for me.
All the prayers and best to your family. Just hang tough, stay with it. You'll get through it. All the best, Scanner.
How sad it is that our society has never learned how to deal with the ending years of life in a decent and respectful manner. With no accepted social guidelines we each have to deal with situations like yours as individuals. It is so difficult to know what to do. One has invested many years in "deny, deny, deny; it'll all get better if we wish hard enough or pray hard enough or leave it to the doctors."

Being of sound mind, rational and fully aware of the consequences, I'll never go through what your mom-in-law is going through. I can't get any agreement as to how aware a person in her circumstances really is about her situation. I cannot trust that I'll recognize that I'm ill and have become totally irresponsible. I have tried to take care of that possibility (probability?). I have devised ways to test myself. Any time I fail my tests for a week running, I'll do what ought to be done.

THE BEND IN THE ROAD

There is a bend in the road ahead.
It beckons me.
Is it the Final Bend?
Long have I journeyed!

Aeons have spent themselves
As I made my way through all the Lands of Life.
My companions now are few;
Most have, reluctantly it seems, gone on ahead.

I feel not worn nor tired of this world.
It beckons though, that bend. O how it beckons!
My step is firm, I will not lag;
Not hesitate nor hold back from fate.

I rejoice that I have known Life;
That I am clay, made self-aware.
Yet every journey runs its course
And clay returns to clay.

Eyes open, heart full of joy, I approach the Bend.
My mind, my soul, leap forward!
It is my time
To re-unite with the Universe.

.
This is a really sticky wicket and the best you can do is make them feel comfortable and wanted. I am so glad that you have weathered the moments so far and are expectant for more time with her remembering what comes around goes aground and being there for them is the best anything anyone can do.
Alzheimers is an illness that eventually kills you. US hospitals refuse to admit Alzheimers patients because they have a health care system in which medical care has been transformed into a profit making commodity. If the treatment doesn't provide a profit for some insurance company, you don't get any.
Sounds like living hell to me for all involved Scanner and it must be stressful as well.

Geez this is hard to think about..

Hope things get better soon...
Bless you for this. r.
They just took the restraints off, and we shall now she if a nursing home will take her. She is still drugged, but when it wears off and she doesn't start using profanity and threatening people, and if a home has a bed (a big if) they will take her. But, if she goes ballistic, all bets are off.
You do the best you can and make sure you don't blame yourself for not being able to do more. It's a hard thing to go through. Take care of yourself too.
Fuck, Kenny, how did I miss this one?
“Lies. Everything is lies when you deal with people with Alzheimer's”
Not exactly “lies”. Truth is variable.Truth, even if it is Untruth, is a process.
One can calm an Alzheimer’s patient by following their fallacious logic.
To a good end.
The fact that the medical establishment will tell you that she is totally unable to communicate is a damn lie. Her husband. Yeah? What was he wearing, my dear gal? How did he look?
By God, these old people have been fountains of wisdom in the past, when they had their wits. They contributed mightily to “Society”. Now they are weak and tired in the Head….but never ever illogical….there is logic in them….i say this because my father
Suffered
From this ..alzheimer’s…

I was fortunate enough to be what Society calls an “unfortunate”, a wrecked boychild,
At home…
Tending my Father. And my mother. I regret not one f-ing instant of it.

They said dad had alzheimers. Me and mom wondered at this. He still knew us! He didn’t wander!

Ok, sorry he’s got vascular dementia..they said, two yrs later………….

Wandering, some poor souls do, I know. But where, we must investigate, are they going? Why?

No human being becomes unhuman even in dire illness. There is always a reason, no matter how unreasonable, for actions…

Train people to deal with this.
Lock em down, the poor wanderers, til they do not need to wander.
I really believe it can be done…we f-ing owe it to our old folks.
…………………………
Me: dad!
Dad: jimbo! What?
You got dementia!
Oh dear! What can we do about it?
Doctors.
Ach, hate em. They want money, that is all.
Well, they got good drugs for it, your confusion, yknow…
Oh ? drugs? I do not approve of drugs.
Well, this is more like medicine.
Medicine? Hm. Alright, jim , I will do it , if you say so………

Arg.
Dear Scanner, I'm so sorry. It sounds like you're doing what you need to do and I hope the bed comes open soon. Zanelle's advice is very good - she certainly would know!
I don't think that nurse is in the right profession - she doesn't have any empathy - it's all about her. At people's most difficult moments, for her to say something like that!
Thanks for this story. As for the future, I do not know what we are going to do, with a massive group of Baby Boomers entering before long the Alzheimer's danger zone and a country lacking both the coverage and medical facilities necessary to deal with such a possible epidemic. Wishing you the best with your family. That is all, unfortunately, that most of us can do at the moment.
This is very hard. I am also grappling with something like this but with my child. I just look at each day...I can't project into the future.
What can you do and why is there no better answers for something that affects SO MANY!? I think you are doing what you can do. I hope a better solution offers itself up to you soon! Hugs.
Sorry to hear this. This sounds like a very painful situation. Hope that it get better soon. Ouch, life is a bitch.
Heartbreaking. My best wishes to you and your family. Alzheimer's is my worst nightmare and it seems like it is reaching epidemic proportions. R
I'm afraid my dad is on the same train.

You do what you can do. Wishing you much strength and a bit of humor (cos if you don't laugh you'll start crying and never stop).
First, in all seriousness, there was a nurse stupid enough to cross a distraught redhead?

Second, ScanMan, I'm very sorry to hear this. It seems there ARE no good solutions. My Dad, while confused at the end, still knew who and where he was; my Mum died many years ago. I cannot imagine how devastating this is.

My best to Terri, and to you.
Scanner,I have always feared Altzheimer for my mother..Doctors say activities helρ..sρeaking,drawing...do not know...words never have helρed me..esρecially when I am sick...I know it is hard to have your ρarent away...This is the case with my father..he is dead now..And believe me..I regret the day that I said yes for him to be in the hosρital..I always think that if he was home..the love that I would have given him..would be only for his best..The limeted visiting hours is just a hell..To see your loved one only for half an hour a day in the most needy and ρainful time..I think that I have not been a good child..cause I have left him with strangers..And what is the use in my tears now..;Ι know it is difficult in all ways,emotional,economical,simρle everyday life,safety...But the regrets I am having..is a lesson for me..At least I should have been more wiser to take him home when nothing else was to be done with his health..He would have been hugged and loved..and he would have just sleρt in his bed..So sorry to read about the situation you and mostly your wife have to deal..It is an emotional breakdown..the time when you-the healthy,I mean-must be strong and make the right decisions..How sad..that exact time..that me at least..I felt like a child..wanting the helρ of my father...It is difficult..and in all cases regretful..Cause if I had my father in my house...now maybe I would have written all the oρροsites..Sometimes my regrets..are my just invisible mind..that drives me out of my mind..Strength and best of luck...to this sweet woman..and to you and your family..Rated with wishes for health!!
You've got a tough road to hoe. My sympathy.