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24 March 2016 @ 05:12 pm
The Long-Awaited Mom Update.  
So, I owe you all a Mom update. This is long, I have to go back to, uh, January, I guess it was. There was a Wednesday when my sister went to visit Mom at rehab and her breathing didn’t sound very good. Sis wanted to know what the doctor said. “Oh, I haven’t seen a doctor,” Mom tells her. Then on Sunday, Sis takes Mom to visit a sick friend. After they leave, Sis says, “So, shall we go to the ER?” Mom is taken aback, why would they? Sis is like, “If I sounded like you, I’d go to the ER.” Mom pooh-poohs her.

Then on Tuesday, the nurse from rehab calls to say that Mom can’t breath without tons of oxygen and they want her to go to the hospital, but Mom is refusing. There’s definite swelling and they suspect congestive heart failure. The next day rehab calls Sis to tell her that if Mom won’t go to the hospital - as she is still refusing - that they need her to sign a DNR and a waiver so, basically, we can’t sue them when she dies, because, as they say, she will die. So Little Brother is like, “Mom, listen, it’s not ‘go to the hospital, this is terrible, rush you away,’ it’s that there is a pill for this, but your levels have to be monitored constantly and they can’t do it at rehab. There’s so much bloodwork and they have to constantly check your organs and stuff, so just go to the hospital so you can take this simple pill for a few days.” He made it sound like it was not a big deal, so she was not so overwhelmed. By the time Sis got out of work, Mom was at the hospital. (She wanted to go to the cardiac hospital, but the ambulance refused to drive her that far, so she went to the local hospital, but no one told us the ambulance changed their mind, so for about 45 minutes there, we lost our mother!)

Anyways, she was bad. On a respirator, unresponsive, bad. I saw her Thursday and when I got home, I called Canadian Brother and told him to come. He did, drove 14 straight hours on Friday to get here. We weren’t sure she’d still be alive when he got here, but she was. She is, still, don’t worry. By the time he went to drive home on Monday, she was off the respirator, aware of her surroundings, better. But we really thought that was the last thing her body could handle.

Fast forward to now and her congestive heart failure is relatively under control, the pneumonia is gone and she is released from the rehab. Not because she is well enough to be released though, just because her insurance won’t cover rehab anymore. She is still weak, using a walker, can’t use her right arm at all because she refused proper PT after her shoulder surgery, BP is way low all the time. She is half not-well because her body is kicking her ass and half not-well because she won’t do the work.

When she goes to get released, we had told our uncle who was dropping her at my aunt’s where she will be staying for a month or so, “Do not leave her until you have witnessed her putting the Life Alert bracelet on.” Okay, he says, but when they get to Aunt’s house, they can’t find the life alert bracelet, so instead off bringing her to my house or anything, he leaves her there alone with no life alert. 1 ½ hours into her release from rehab, she falls off the toilet. Apparently it was too low and she couldn’t stand up off it by herself, but since she couldn’t just push her life alert button, she instead slid to the floor and then crawled back to the living room and pulled herself up into her chair. Then she had to go to the bathroom later, but refused to call anyone for help and yelled at me when I tried to find someone to help her. No, no, she’ll just hold it all afternoon.

So, yeah, she’s out of rehab now, even though she shouldn’t be. She won’t do her exercises or eat and she lies to all her doctors about that stuff. She keeps talking about when she goes home, which I never see happening, but she can’t live on a cot in my aunt’s living room forever, so…idk. But she refuses to wear her life alert half the time or ask for help for major things (only for little things that she freaks out about like how she need stamps!) and basically, it’s time for me to take my own life back.

So I call her once a week on Fridays now, to get the list of errands she needs Sis to do for her that weekend and I don’t answer the phone when she calls, I wait and see what she says on the message. 9/10 she just says, “Are you there? Can you pick up?” and doesn’t say what she wants, so she doesn’t get a call back. I’ve been through this with her enough times that she knows she has to say what she wants - years of drilling that into her and if she can’t get it, well, that’s not my problem. It’s sad to kind of reach this state with her, but she won’t do for herself and you can’t help someone that doesn’t want help and the day we reached the 6 month anniversary mark of her broken shoulder/heart attacks/surgery, I basically decided it was time to wash my hands, as best I could anyways.

What’s next for her? She can’t stay at my aunt’s forever, so idk. Maybe she really will go home. But one thing is for sure, she can’t have Winston back. He’s my puppy now!
dodger_sister: apocalypsedodger_sister on March 26th, 2016 08:43 pm (UTC)
Hugs. Sorry to hear that she's not helping herself. (I'm wondering if a psychiatrist or psychologist could go out there, assess her, and maybe some therapy and some anti-depressants would help? It's also got to be frustrating that your body is rebelling against you, and you can't do what you used to.)

Mom actually has untreated mental illnesses that she has always refused to get diagnosed. Bipolar for sure, but possibly Borderline Personality Disorder. She has told her GP several times that she is depressed and he keeps saying, "Well, of course you are, look at what you're going through!" and then not doing anything. I mean, just because her depression is 'warranted' (whatever that means, all depression is warranted) doesn't mean she shouldn't get treatment for it. Something to take the edge off, and someone to talk to about her frustrations, so she doesn't put it all on us kids. We tried to get her an assessment in the rehab but they said they don't do that kind of thing and since her GP is being uncooperative, we're kind of at a stand still on it. Her GP could prescribe something like Lexapro but Mom refuses to ask for it. It's the mental illness cycle - when you are in the thick of it, you like it, you thrive on it, you don't see how bad it is, so you won't ask for the help you clearly need. There's a part of her that knows this isn't the right way to live - every once in awhile she'll admit it to us - but the rest of her loves the drama and craves it and doesn't really want change.

Also wondering if there is some way you and your siblings could get together and have her sent to some sort of assisted living facility. That way she'd have someone around to talk to (other residents) and there would be staff to help with her needs.

We can't afford it. It cost over $3k a month and is not covered by Medicare/Medicaid. She either has to medically qualify for a nursing home (which she is just a shy bit too healthy for) or she has to go home and rely on nonprofits and family to help her. We are trying to see if she qualifies for Chore Care (home help) that the government would pay for (the way they pay my sister to do my shopping and bathing, etc) so hopefully either we can take some of the chores/etc off of my aunt's shoulders or my aunt can keep doing it but actually get paid for it.

OTOH, those places can be expensive. Y'all might have to sell her home and such to get her enough funds.

If we sold her home, it would only pay for about 20 months of living costs at assisted living, if that even. Which she may not live that long, but she very well may.

And Medicare sucks. My mom does better when she has psychical therapy, but Medicare doesn't want to pay for much. Or they want to see great improvement, but my mom is never going to be able to get out of a wheelchair on her own.

Mom is getting home physical therapy, but a lot of times they get there and she tells them she doesn't feel good enough to do it and they won't push her the way the rehab physical therapists did.

Omg, I know about the 'not paying without improvement' thing. Back in the day, I remember my PT doctoring my file to make it look like I was showing improvement, just so I could keep coming, because insurance doesn't understand about 'maintenance'. Like I won't get better, but keep me in PT and stop me from getting worse. Because if I get worse and can't walk, then I end up in a nursing home and a nursing home is hella way more expensive for my insurance to pay for then sending me to PT once a week. Now they have loosened the reigns a bit and allow for maintenance PT, but only up to a certain $ amount. I had to pay for 2 months worth last year because I ran out of $ on my insurance, but luckily my clinic has 'emergency circumstance' payment so my cost was less and I pay on it for the next two years on a plan.

edited for major typo

Edited at 2016-03-26 08:48 pm (UTC)