Mom's Turn for the Worse

Friday, May 11, 2012

Unfortunately, things have taken a turn for the worse with my Mom. To give you a summary, we've been working with a psychiatrist in the last few months trying to get Mom’s Depakote
(anti-psychotic, I believe) to "therapeutic levels". We seem to finally have reached a level where she was not so manic with her pacing and such and hasn't been so aggressive to other people. So that has been a positive. She has mostly lost her ability to communicate other than minimal responses like yes, no, nods, etc. She might start out with a few words that make sense and sound like it's going to be a sentence, but then it just turns into gibberish. She definitely recognizes us, though, and you can see her brighten up or gesture as soon as one of us walks into the room.

The first week of April the memory care facility (Lincolnshire) found her on the floor in her room. Not sure if she fell or what, but she was pretty much out of it and acted as if she as in pain. She held her arms and legs very stiffly, but the unusual thing was that she wouldn't attempt to walk. They sent her off to the ER where she was evaluated with x-rays, CT scans, etc. All seemed to be ok. When she couldn't stand (she was basically very rigid and just tipped back on her heels when we tried to stand her up), they admitted her to the hospital. By the next morning she was mostly back to her usual self. She didn't have any meds while she was there, and by afternoon, she was
anxious and mean and pacing and attacking people, trying to pull out iv's etc. She was released to go back to Lincolnshire, and we all basically chalked the whole thing up to a little stroke or some kind of "event". Although she mostly seemed to snap back, we have seen further small declines.

We got a call last Friday that she had had another kind of "episode". She wasn't acting herself, wasn't really using her right arm, leaning to the right, didn't have a lot of balance, etc. We could have raced her off to the ER for them to evaluate but instead of jumping into that and distressing her, we spoke to the doctor to see if that would really accomplish anything for her. He basically said that they would test to see if she'd had a stroke or a seizure. We decided that really wouldn't gain us anything, so opted not to send her and see how she fares. They ordered a wheelchair, which she didn't fight being in (shockingly!). Not
much change Saturday morning, although Saturday evening she took a tumble out of the wheelchair when she'd tried to get up and couldn't stand. She was none the worse from that, but they called Sunday morning and said they'd found her on the floor by her bed again, so she'd apparently attempted to get up on her own once more. We’re still not seeing a lot of
change. She basically went rigid again and we couldn't get her to stand at all. Now, a few days later, she can stand and shuffle a little (with assistance) to and from the wheelchair. The doctor has authorized hospice to bring in whatever assistance might help her be able to stay at Lincolnshire for as long as possible. Not end-of-life hospice yet, but interim care to help her stay in assisted living as long as possible. We had an introductory meeting with the hospice gal Sunday, and met with their social worker Wednesday. They were supposed to evaluate yesterday and can provide assistance to L'shire a couple times a week, any medical
equipment (hospital bed, wheelchair, etc.). Unfortunately, we are seeing some pretty significant declines. Of course, we don't know if more "episodes" will occur in the near future, but I think we are all on high alert.

It has been an emotional, wearing week. Hoping for a quiet weekend...!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I'm so sorry that I didn't read this way back when you wrote it. I am so very sorry to hear this about your Mom. I can't even imagine what you are going through. I just hope you have a very strong support system group to help you throughout all of this.
    It is such a sad thing, to see our very strong parents that we have always leaned on to become so weak and unhhealthy. I just hope that all they things we here at Sparkpeople are trying to do by eating right and exercising will go a long way to help us when we grow older.
    I pray that you are able to stay strong and endure this very trying time. I really wish there was something I could do to help out. Just know that my thoughts are with you and I'll send prayers for your Mom.
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3228 days ago
    Please take time for some quiet space while this is going on. It's easy to put yourself on the back burner as the level of care goes up. I took care of my MIL for about 5 years and completely lost myself on many of the days when mom was at her worst. A little walk around the block or some quiet time in the hospital chapel goes a long way in restoring sanity. For what it's worst, I think that you were wise in not taking her back to the hospital.
    3255 days ago
    I am sorry about your mother prayers are with you and your family
    3259 days ago
    So sorry you and your mom are going through this! I'm send good thoughts your way. Remember to take some time to take care of yourself too!
    3260 days ago
    Julie I am so sorry to learn of what's been happening with your mom .My father went through something similar when he was on those anti phychotics as well.For him they defined it as small mal seizures .Nevertheless it is heartwrenching to watch a parent deteriorate like that . The feeling of waiting for the shoe to drop surrounds you day and night .
    I hope you can take some time for you to take care of yourself in the midst of all this . I know it's hard scarey and sometimes more than we feel we can bear but know that you are supported in this .
    May your mom and you and the rest of your family find some answers and some peace in your lives
    Hugs and prayers my friend .
    3261 days ago
    I am so sorry for the stress you are going through. Those are tough decisions to make and then watch. I try very hard to go by is it going to cause more harm than good. Am I doing it for me or them. My thoughts and prayers are with you as you deal with these occurrences.
    3262 days ago
    I just read your latest blog. I am so sorry to hear what's going on with your mom. I didn't know. You must be beside yourself. It is so hard when someone you love is so sick. I will remember her (and you) in prayer. Hang in there and remember your friends here are there to listen.
    3262 days ago
    Julie, so sorry that you are going thru these stresses right now. I worked in a care facility for a number of years (not as a care giver or nurse) and watched many residents move from the assisted living side to the full care side. It is hard to watch them decline but by the time I was finished working there I just saw it as another cycle of life and it definitely didn't take away from my opinion of them. The people who work directly with the residents are very amazing and caring people and have dealt with all personality types so not much comes as a surprise to them. I haven't had to deal with this situation with my parents but I know that my experience of working in a care facility will make it much easier for me when the time comes. I wish you the strength to deal with all these changes in the Mom you knew.
    3262 days ago
    Have you read the side effects Dapakote? Some of them sounds like some of your Mom's symptoms.The pacing, ,restlessness,memory etc etc.I will be praying for your Mom & you & the rest of the family.
    3262 days ago
    I am so sorry you are going through this. I watched my Grandfather go down a very similar path and it is never easy, especially when it is a parent. Take care of yourself!
    3262 days ago
    Praying for you and your Mom! emoticon
    3262 days ago
    I am so sorry and my thoughts and prayers are with you and your mom. emoticon
    3262 days ago
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