Dementia Diaries: A Journey With Dementia: Monday 7/24

Last night I slept at Mom’s house, just in case Dad needed me in the night. She seemed to sleep pretty well, until the morphine wore off around 3:00. As soon I heard Mom’s bedroom door open across from my old bedroom that I was sleeping in, I sprung awake. I met Mom in the hall, who was being guided by Dad as she shuffled slowly down the hallway. Dad was bracing her, but she was very wobbly and looked very weak. Dad carefully walked her to the living room and back while I got her next dose of morphine ready. After giving her her meds, and changing her diaper, we were able to get her back into bed and Dad laid on one side of the bed while I laid on the chair next to her. It seems like 4 is the lucky number; she is content for about 4 hours until she due for her next dose of morphine. At 7:00, she sat up in bed (while we prepped the meds) but she didn’t get up to walk this time; she was too weak. The next time she sat up was 10:00, and still she was unable to walk. It took great effort for her to even stand up, and that was with her arms around our necks and us bearing her weight to help her stand. We brought in the wheelchair and got her and took for a short walk outside. Our dear neighbors from down the street (whose daughter was my best friend all through grade school) were coming over to visit Mom at that same time, so they walked with Dad and me up the street until it started raining and retreated us back into the house.

Throughout the remainder of the day, Mom was unable to regain her walking ability. We took her for a few walks in the wheelchair, but it is a great effort to get her in there and I fear that tomorrow it may be too difficult for her. Luckily, her hospital bed arrived today and that has been helpful in positioning her more comfortably and getting her up into a sitting position. The nurse also made a visit. She has had a few low-grade fevers off and on but not high enough to warrant the Tylenol suppository. Her heart and lungs sounded okay, but her oxygen level dropped a little too low (87) so the nurse told us to keep oxygen on her. I thought she was going to rip the tubes out of her nose and she has fussed at them a couple of times, but she’s actually kept it on most of the day.

Mom had quite a few visitors today and to be honest, it was a nice distraction for us. Mom laid and slept with her visitors sitting by her side. She was peaceful for most of the time, until the meds started wearing off. When the meds wear off, she starts to get restless. Her faced has looked a little more pained and she’s been rubbing at parts of her body that seem to be hurting. I (and others) have been rubbing her back and legs to help her discomfort. I rubbed her legs and feet with lotion hoping that it might soothe her. Some of the older grandkids have been trying to help her get comfortable as well: stroking her hair, holding her hand, adjusting her pillows, and giving her rubs, which has been really sweet. She seems to enjoy the rubs and on several occasions her hand will slowly slip out from beneath her blanket to reposition my hand on a particular spot that she wants me to rub. There is one spot on her back-hip area that she keeps moving my hand to. If I even slip a few inches below that spot, she will move my hand back where she wants it! At least we know that she’s finding the comfort in the rubs.

For now, I have kind of moved myself in to Mom’s room. My husband brought in my comfy recliner from home and it’s parked next to her bed. Dad has set up his mattress on the other side. Dad’s taken his leave from work and my husband has been very understanding with my need to be beside her. Luckily, the kids all want to be here too (along with their cousins). I think they are finding their strength and courage in each other. If there’s one thing I want them to learn from this, it is how to come together as a family to help those we love.

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