Grandma revealed to me the other night as I was putting her to bed that since she fell four weeks ago she’s had this sharp pain in her left chest at times depending on how she turns. I immediately suspect that she has a cracked rib from the fall. She says she doesn’t want to get it x-rayed nor does she want to go to the doctor because in her mind they won’t do anything but wrap it. I pointed out that if she is still having pain after a month, her bone may not be set properly and may not heal. She didn’t want to hear it.
I discussed it with my mother, who noted that Grandma hadn’t said anything when she was at the doctor a couple weeks ago. We’re both concerned though that if she does have a crack or fractured rib, that if she falls again it can possibly puncture her lung.
A while back Spyrunner dared me to put a bra on a chair and undo it with one hand. I talked about doing that with Grandma regularly, but most nights she was undoing it herself. That’s changed now. Now she expects me to undo her bra every night. Another sign that she is deteriorating.
Grandma’s back has been sore since her fall a couple weeks ago. Mom talked to her about maybe using her wheelchair for a while when she’s feeling weak. She accepted the idea and for a few days stayed in the wheelchair all day. Now she’s spending the morning in the wheelchair, then switching to her regular chair for the afternoon then returning to the wheelchair before dinner. This reduces the amount of walking she has to do, specifically from her bedroom to the bathroom in the morning, and bathroom to bedroom at night.
I’m glad that she was open to this, but I am concerned that this will continue the weakening of her legs and eventually she won’t be able to stand and walk. When that happens, she won’t be able to remain at home.
This morning while Grandma was walking from her bedroom to the bathroom after getting up, she fell. Her morning caregiver was there but wasn’t able to keep her from falling. Grandma has to consciously think to pick up her left foot as she walks, and this time she didn’t get it up high enough and her toe caught throwing her off balance leading to the fall. Grandma refused to go to the hospital, but the caregiver did the right thing in activating Grandma’s life alert and requesting an ambulance. My parents also came and were there when the ambulance crew got Grandma up off the floor and checked her out. She has a large bump with bruising on the top of her head, and I’m concerned that she may have a brain bleed. We’ll be monitoring her closely for the next few days to see if there are any indicators.
Grandma had only been out of the hospital since Saturday morning. Still this is her first fall since April, so that’s a good thing.
Last Wednesday night Grandma yelled for me from the other room. I went out and she said she wasn’t feeling well. She was very pale and was about to pass out. She had what appeared to be an absence seizure to me where she wasn’t responding to me at all. I called my mom and told her to come over, and we then called the ambulance to take her to the hospital.
Three days later Grandma is back home but there’s no real diagnosis or reason for what happened. She had a similar episode a year ago where she fully passed out. The theory is that it was another vasovagal episode, which is plausible. I had considered food poisoning, but she never vomited this time and it resolved pretty quickly. Plus I had eaten the same food and had no symptoms.
I’m glad that my plans had changed for the evening or Grandma would have been home alone during this episode.
One of the challenges my Grandmother faces regularly is swallowing. Things have to be of a certain consistency for her to be able to easily swallow them. Mashed potatoes can make her choke. The same with pasta.
Grandma has this concept that she has to drink milk daily to get her protein and calcium. She drinks it for breakfast, lunch and dinner; a cup each time.
Lately Grandma has been coughing up a lot of phlegm. It’s getting to the point where she has to stop eating her dinner for breaks because she just can’t get the food past the phlegm. I finally said to her one Thursday night over dinner, that milk is a phlegm producer and she should consider switching back to soy milk. She played down the suggestion and said she was fine.
When I returned home the following week (as I work out of town Friday through Monday) I discovered that all the cow milk in the fridge was gone and it was replaced with soy milk. I guess she actually did listen to me. (Of course soy milk reacts differently when boiling so the tomato soup I made that night boiled over.)
My Grandmother’s birthday was this past Thursday. My parents left town for a trip that day, so we actually had her birthday dinner the night before. Both of Grandma’s children were there with their spouses, but I was the only grandchild that attended as the other living grandchild apparently had something better to do than to celebrate his grandmother turning 89.
On her actual birthday, a bunch of her friends came together and brought a cake over and helped make the day special for her. That was a nice surprise for her since I was the only family around on her actual birthday.
So last week when I put Grandma to bed, she started to take off her hose but only got them partway off. She then told me I had to finish taking them off. I did and asked her if she was going to work on getting them off herself again. She snapped at me and said she pays people to do that for her. I don’t get paid, but I didn’t go there. I explained that before she went into the nursing home she was doing this herself, so I just wondered if she was going to get back to doing it or not. I told my mom about it.
This week when I went to put Grandma to bed she took her hose off herself. When I commented on it, she said that I had ordered her to do it. I asked her to explain and she told me that Mom had told her that I had said she can do it herself. That is what I had said, but not in the tone that Grandma and Mom apparently construed. I meant that Grandma is capable of doing it herself, not that she had to do it herself.
At the start of the week, we weren’t sure it was going to happen. We had tentatively scheduled Wednesday as the day Grandma would come home, but she hadn’t found her caregivers yet. She was holding out for one person, but that person finally got back to her on Tuesday that she wasn’t going to be able to do it. So that meant we had to push it back until Thursday.
On Wednesday we brought her home for the afternoon and tried to come up with ideas of who she could get. We had the morning shifts covered, and Friday and Monday nights but still needed Saturday and Sunday nights. Grandma wasn’t happy with any names I threw out. Finally mom suggested someone that Grandma liked. We made the calls and finally settled on things on Thursday.
So Friday Grandma came home. She’s excited. I made her boiled cabbage for her lunch which is what she had requested.
We brought Grandma home for an overnight stay this week. She had no problem getting up and down from the toilet, or her chair, or the bed. She did admit to being apprehensive with my mom alone helping her. She’s going to have to get over that because she can’t afford to pay two caregivers, and I’m not going to quit my jobs to take care of her full-time.
She wants to come home for good this coming Wednesday, but she hasn’t arranged her caregivers yet. She is putting her faith in God to make it happen. I would be more proactive because you can’t expect to talk to someone on Saturday and have them start on Friday.