caregiving

Happy Fall Ya’all

So much has happened since I last published. Pumpkins and mums are decorating porches. Sweatshirts and jeans are the norm. Temperatures are enjoyable. The pandemic is still very real and has hit our home.

The symptoms that began in our world, hit within one hour. I had left to take my son to the tutor and my mom was on the couch watching HGTV and brushing her dog. Within an hour I received a call from my husband, my mom’s cognitive abilities were extremely compromised. He had asked her to come inside, as a storm was approaching. There was a glaze over her eyes but she complied. Once inside she engaged in a verbal disagreement with her husband and told him she was late for church. She left their space and went to a bathroom in the main house.

In the bathroom it became crystal clear, something more was wrong. She sat on the toilet, seat closed and proceeded to relieve herself, while fully dressed. Unaware of any error on her part. Her husband couldn’t say anything right, no matter how he tried. So, my husband stepped in graciously, got her cleaned and in fresh clothes. Took her to our sofa and turned on a show she enjoys. Additionally, brought her a beverage to help increase blood sugar. He husband sat closely by her side.

I arrived home shortly after to find them laughing at the program. Holding hands. Mom had finished her soda and everyone that had been at the house, looked like they needed a decompression chamber! I decided to see if my mom was up to running a singular errand with me. She was. I held on to her as we walked from the car into the store. She chattered away. My order wasn’t correct at the store and I needed to come up with an alternate solution. When we got out of the car (literally across the street), I looked at her face. There was a large lump under her eye. What is going on?! She had zero sensation associated with the lump. She encouraged me to keep on task. Within the hour we found what I needed. I glanced and my mom, she just looked off. Then the bottom fell out, she was no longer ok. As this escalated, a woman walked into the store and seemed very interested in mom. My thought -“Lady just keep on walking! I have no space to try to deal with you and mom! ” I know – I am a horrible person. Long story short- she was the safety officer for the store, off duty. She was a tremendous help! By the time I was able to get mom into the car – she was beyond confused.

That lump?! It wasn’t there ten minutes ago in the last store.

As I was standing at the back of my suv and the guys were loading flooring, she was sitting in the front seat yelling that someone stole her purse. Her panic was escalating. I got her home fast. As we walked back into her kitchen, and I was explaining to her husband what was happening she glanced at her ring finger and panic hit an all time high – “They stole my wedding rings!”. Oh no they didn’t. Convinced she was, (channeling my inner Yoda) so angry that we didn’t agree wholeheartedly! Calgon was not going to help her, Xanax take her away.

I am sure you are thinking that I am so far off topic, I may never recover. Wrong!

My mom’s sudden change in behavior had to be the result of something. Whatever it was, it was escalating quickly. My mind searched for answers, reviewing each and every action, meal eaten and medication. Maybe a bladder infection. Plan set. Since we had access to Covid testing that came to the home, I scheduled that for first thing the following morning. I would call the doctor and ask for the urinalysis as well. Mom slept.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is covid-sick.jpg
Day 1 Still color in her face, but not quite there.

The test came back positive for Covid19. “Oh, this isn’t real,” was my first thought. Time for everyone to be tested. Granny’s husband, my husband, myself, and the morning caregiver. Mom’s husband was immediately positive. The rest of us were negative. Isolation and calls to the doctor began. A virtual visit was within hours. Mom now had a temperature and was weak. She had completely lost the sensation of knowing when to go to the bathroom. Accidents were now our new norm. Cognitive confusion continued – yes, it is different than her dementia.

The doctor told us he had not been able to get any patients the infusion treatment for Covid in six weeks, but he would try. Success, he found it and set it up. Mom was scheduled for the following morning! A urinalysis was ordered just to rule out a bladder infection as well. Now a plan for the immediate issue – how to use the bathroom! We started with a timer and taking mom to the bathroom every hour and a pad specifically for incontinence. Why so frequently? The thought was, since we are pushing fluids, let’s keep her bladder as empty as possible. So if there is an accident, it will not be a flood. This was extremely successful solution. Only overnight remained the bigger challenge but we could deal with that.

Yep – Infusion Drive Thru! Who knew?

The following morning, I drove my weakened mom to the facility where the infusion was performed. Back home to rest and monitor vitals. That afternoon her blood oxygen level dropped below the threshold. Panic – not going to lie. I desperately did not want to take my mom to the hospital. There is an inherent fear of the hospital these days, definitely didn’t want her to be exposed to something worse. I needed to increase her levels. I got her up and walked her around their part of the house. With each weakened step, my heart raced. It felt as if EVERYTHING weighed on my success of elevating her blood oxygen number. We did it. Much to my mom’s pleasure – she was allowed lay back down.

Within the next few days, it was obvious that downward progression had subsided thanks to the infusion. My mom was still very sick. By the fourth day, my sister arrived to help. On the sixth day, I tested positive. I remember very little of the next 7 days except isolation. My husband had moved into another room and our youngest had already moved in with a friend’s family. My sister took care of my mom, her husband and myself. After a week, my sister returned to her home to isolate and test. My aunt arrived to help for the following week.

Not pregnant and no longer positive for Covid!

With the love and dedication of family, doctors and friends that were quick to respond, all of us have recovered from the major symptoms (my mom has regained the ability to use the bathroom) and no one else in our home tested positive including my sister and my aunt.

So many have had this infection to much greater extents. My heart goes out to all of them and their families. Like any infection or illness, take care of yourself and those close to you. If something seems off in someone, follow your intuition and seek care.

Thanks for being here with me,

Marguerite

“Appreciate where you are in your journey even if it’s not where you want to be. Every season serves a purpose.”

Zazzle

2 comments on “Happy Fall Ya’all

  1. Cathy McPhilamy

    Thank you! I have been praying for you & your parents, and waiting to hear
    from you again. I feared it might be Covid related …

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cathy, Thank you for your prayers. Keep them coming. It wasn’t all Covid thankfully. Somedays I had to just call it a win, if everyone ate that day and was safe in bed at night! Writing happened. Posting did not. I hope you and yours are staying healthy.

      Like

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