3 Months Into The Mission After The Hospital And Still A Long Way To Go - Healthy Eating, Cooking, and Baking Blog at Allrecipes.com - 311558

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3 Months into the Mission after the Hospital and Still a Long Way to go 
Sep. 26, 2013 1:19 am 
Updated: Sep. 30, 2013 1:36 am
It is now 3 months since my mother got out of the hospital after getting shingles in her eye, and we still have a long way to go to get back to where she was before the shingles and the UTI she got at the hospital. I think we finally beat the bowel incontinence, but urinary incontinence is still a problem. Bed sheets are washed almost every day, and furniture has had to be shampooed a few times.

On the plus side, she is sleeping a bit less, is eating better, and her ability to walk and get up from a chair is very much improved. What is discouraging is that her mental capacity has slipped quite a bit from what it was before the hospital. There are times that I don't see anything behind her eyes, if you know what I mean, but she does seem to have more times that she remembers things. Eating with silverware is still a problem unless she is eating ice cream, one of her favorites.

Mental exercises that used to be easy for her, she can't accomplish at all. I have been trying to reteach her things, but it is so hard to know how far back to go. Things so simple as how to recognize colors are difficult for her. How do you teach someone colors?? I am pretty good at teaching, but I am beginning to think that I don't know enough to help her. This is all so terribly frustrating. I think I could use some help so that I can help her more, but I don't know where to go. I have contacted a number of agencies that deal with dementia, but they all believe that you have to deal with it and can't help it.

I feel so bad for her because she knows something is wrong, but don't know what it is. When she wets the bed, she cries because she feels bad that she did it, but she can't help it. She wants to get better, and really tries to do what I want her to do, but she doesn't always remember or understand. I am trying to keep in mind that it took us 9 months to get the improvement that we did when she came here from the nursing home, and it has been only 3 months since her illness and the hospital stay. I really have to stay positive and give her more time.

Through all of this, we are still very close. We have always understood each other, even without words. Now that she has aphasia and can't talk, I can still usually understand what she is trying to say. She tries so hard, and gets tears in her eyes when she can't do something. Even though I tell her how much I love her and how proud I am of her, she knows when she wets her pants or can't do something, and it makes her cry. My heart is breaking for her. This is something that no person should ever have to experience. It really scares me that my husband and I have no one to care for us if this should ever happen to us.

I will be 67 in a month, and, with this experience, the prospect of getting old is really beginning to scare me. Even though I am in good health, and plan to care for my mother to the end, what will happen to my husband and I when we can no longer care for ourselves. This is really a scary thought!!
Sep. 26, 2013 2:43 am
I'm kind of dealing with the same issues, Judy, and infirmity is indeed a scary thought. Our only defense is to guard our health zealously. It is our most valuable asset. Your sweet dedication to your mom is remarkable!
Sep. 26, 2013 6:44 am
I feel for you, I really do. It is a tremendous responsibility to care for someone. You are doing great! and your mom is fortunate to have you. I too share your fears. My DH and I have no one to help us and the future scares me. We are doing what we can to put things in place but how can anyone really prepare without knowing what the future holds. And every couple years we revisit our plan only to conclude what is in place now won't work and again look to put supports in place . Very frustrating but a part of life. Blessing to you and your mom.
Sep. 26, 2013 9:20 am
Judy, I am sorry that you have to go thru this. we went thru it with my Mom and my aunt. It is frustrating and scary, especially for your Mom. Keep reminding her it is the illness and not her fault. There are some heavy duty overnight Depends with extra inserts that at least will keep her clothing and bedding dry. Ave you considered having waterproof pads on your Mom's bed and her part of the sofa. Have you looked into having having Visiting Nurses come and help you out, because as much as you want to take care of your Mom, you will need to take a break and take care of yourself, also. Since your Mom loves ice cream, are you adding Ensure or protein powder in the ice cream to give your Mom more nutrients? I know that your Mom is blessed to have such a loving and caring daugher and son in law. God Bless both of you.
Sep. 26, 2013 11:27 am
Judy, your care and love for your mother is so heartwarming. I appreciate you sharing this journey - Thanks! Maggi
Sep. 26, 2013 12:59 pm
I don't know who this is harder on - you or your Mother? She knows what's going on at times and has to suffer through the bad episodes she is so powerless to stop - heartbreaking for her! And for you, too, seeing your once-strong Mom in this terrible state of mind - heartbreaking for you! I've just turned 65 & gone on Medicare, so don't know what all they provide, but got the impression there is out-patient care coverage? And I had a friend that got help cleaning his house, shopping & cooking through Visiting Nurses, which I think was paid by his benefits. I also have no one to nursemaid me, and am already somewhat disabled with COPD, but we can't cross that bridge till we get to it, so don't worry too much! There's no guarantee that we will/won't have to deal with depending on someone, and like LMT says, things are always changing so it's not much use to plan very far ahead. Have you ever seen the movie "Folks" with Tom Selleck & Don Ameci? It will give you some much needed entertainment, I think. You are working so hard without any "days off" - I hope your birds give you some pleasure, too! I have a 37 yr. old Amazon parrot - I worry most about what will happen to her when I'm gone...I will pray that your Mom improves & you keep your strength - you are such a blessing for her.
Sep. 26, 2013 2:33 pm
judy you are an inspiration to all who have been through the role of care-givers. i pray your mother will continue to improve!
Sep. 27, 2013 10:24 am
I am so sorry for what you and your family are going through. I went through it for several years with my Mom. We finally had to put her in a nursing home with frequent hospital stays. At one point a nurse and an on call doctor asked us to think about hospice. Why we never thought of that earlier I don't know, other than I was trying to care for her as much as I could by myself. Hospice will care for them for quite some time and then re-evaluate to see if they still need to be there. They will also come into the home if you prefer that. Her dementia( possibly from renal failure)and other medical problems just finally otherwhelmed her. She was in hospice for only 3 days before she passed. Think about it. Your story sounds much like mine.
Sep. 27, 2013 12:00 pm
Judy, the way you're caring for your Mom and your love for her is truly inspirational. We (my family and I) will remember to keep the both of you in prayers. Much love, prayers and blessings.
Sep. 27, 2013 2:57 pm
Shingles is awful! I'm sorry to hear that for her. My husband had it a year ago and it put him out of commission for almost 3 months. His brain swelled and he had to have some seriouse treatments due to it. My moms had it 3 times. Not fun at all. Hope she gets better soon!
Sep. 28, 2013 1:04 am
vanillabean, We do have waterproof pads under the sheet, and also a waterproof covering on the mattress. If this continues, we can put another waterproof pad on top of the sheet so it doesn't have to be washed every day. We have a regiment of supplements that she gets twice a day. She can't take pills, so we open them and mix them in drinks. In the morning, they are added to 4 oz. of Boost, and in the evening, they are added to a protein shake made with mineral water. I recently learned that the majority of the elderly have aluminum in their blood that can cause or accelerate dementia. Silica in the water helps to eliminate the aluminum. We are using Fiji water instead of faucet water for her. We have a nurse that comes to check her vitals every couple of months, but nursing care covered Medicare can't be much more than this unless she needs hospice care. Her assessments have deemed her to be far from the need for hospice. Our only other option is to get elderly day care that costs, on an average, $22/hour. We certainly can't afford this, and I am trying not to use up her estate for things that we can manage. Other than dementia, she is healthy and on no meds. She may have many more years, and we want to be prepared for them.
Sep. 28, 2013 1:14 am
Hi Scootersandi, Medicare cover 80% of both doctors and hospital after a deductible if you have A & B plans. I don't remember the amounts, but the plan for doctors has a much smaller deductible than for hospitals. My mother also has a supplemental plan with BlueCross BlueShield that generally covers 100% of what Medicare doesn't cover. Since my husband and I are healthy, we both got a BlueCross Blue Shield supplemental with a $2000 deductible. After the deductible, it pays 100%. We figured that $2000 wouldn't kill us, but the supplement will cover any possible future hospital stays. Getting Medicare and trying to figure out supplemental plans can be confusing. I hope this helps you.
Sep. 28, 2013 1:24 am
Sassyoldlady, My Mom has been assessed for hospice care, but has been rejected. Other than dementia, she is healthy. She is on no meds, and her doctor said that her blood work is that of a 20 year old. I still have hopes of helping her brain to regrow new cells. We saw a lot of improvement before the hospital stay that was a terrible setback. We continue to see little improvements. So hopefully, we can get her back to where we had her before. It's interesting how tiny, little things can provide hope of improvement. Little things like, she blew her nose today or she ate a meal with a fork instead of her fingers. Every little thing is a source of encouragement.
Sep. 28, 2013 4:02 pm
Thank you, judy2304. I should have known you'd be "up" on all this. I'm happy you have Blue Cross. I hope you have much better news about your Mom the next time you write! Your positive attitude is an inspiration and I'm sure she feels it.
Sep. 28, 2013 11:55 pm
Thanks Scootersani, I'm sure she does. Tonight she got up after being in bed for 3 hours. When I got her to the bathroom, she had a smear of feces on the pad. When she saw it, she started crying. I changed the pad, and told her how proud I was of her that she made it to the bathroom to do both. When I got her back to bed, again I assure her how proud I was of her, and told her she was getting better. Mind you, she can't talk, but she clearly said "I hope so.". I then told her that we would stick together to beat this, and together we could do anything. That made her smile, and she hugged me. I love her so much, and what has happened to her breaks my heart. One way or the other, we are going to beat this.
Sep. 29, 2013 6:41 am
Judy, I read Dr. Mercola's articles and thought maybe you might find something insightful or useful. It sounds like you've explored the topic thoroughly but here it is anyhow. http://search.mercola.com/search/pages/Results.aspx?k=dementia
Sep. 30, 2013 1:36 am
Thanks, Linda. I am familiar with what was mentioned in Dr. Mercola's artile. My Mom is getting only mineral water in case aluminum is the problem. Most of the article is for prevention of dementia, but any information can be helpful.
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About Me
I breed large parrots, like to write, raise most of our veggies, completed my AS degree at 65, enjoy cooking specialty dishes and baking bread. I have done extensive study of cooking and eating healthy. A few years ago, I started researching healthy eating for my parrots, and it has since changed focus to the diet of my family. At this point, I make all of our bread using fresh milled flour that I make. We eat primarily pastures fed meats and eggs, and I make many of our condiments. We also avoid GMO foods and ingredients as much as possible. Since my 93 year old mother has moved in with us, we have eliminated the 10 medications she was on, and her physical and mental condition has improved considerably. I totally believe that we are what we eat. What is really best for us is a constant learning experience.
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I get bored with cooking daily meals, but enjoy making specialty and new dishes. I also enjoy baking breads from scratch using freshly ground flour made from various grains that I buy in bulk.
My cooking triumphs
One of my cooking triumphs was baking whole grain breads that are light, tasty, and healthy.
My cooking tragedies
My latest cooking tragedy was recovered with some effort. I made the Navy Bean and Ham soup that I posted and after the cooking time, much of the liquid had evaporated. I was tired when it finished and put it into containers and froze it as it was. The next day we had it for dinner and it was way too thick. As much as I didn't feel like it, I thawed 8 containers of the soup, added more broth, and repackaged it for freezing. It was really a pain, but I'm glad I did it. The finished soup was so much better.
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