Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Three years on...

From time to time I've come back to this blog over the last three years. Came back to read my memories of caring for my mum, to have some tears and some smiles as I read my old diary entries. Three years on and I feel it is time for me to share my diary here again. I need a safe place right now and so here I am again.

So what has happened since I last posted...

My mum was moved into the locked dementia ward and very quickly deteriorated. It was distressing to watch and frustrating as someone who has run dementia wards. The ward was understaffed and  not trained adequately in managing dementia behaviour problems. Mum continued to gain weight and was often distressed and crying in the ward. The response was to medicate her and of course that affected her mobility which frustrated her even more.

During this time I became very ill and was unable to work at all for almost 6 months so I could not visit. I had added complications of 2 episodes of pnuemonia and a partially collapsed lung. I lost my voice for a long time and so was unable to communicate much at all with anyone, let alone try and resolve the problems with the nursing home. Of course this added even more financial pressure and I ended up feeling very depressed.

Once I was well enough to visit and try and sort out things out I moved mum to a new nursing home that is dementia specific, well staffed and the staff are very knowledgeable. If there is a heaven on earth for those with dementia then this place is it.

Within a month mum went from being unable to walk unassisted to walking independently. They immediately put her on a monitored diet and she steadily lost the excess weight. All the medications were stopped except for her Aricept. My mum went back to being calm, happy and agreeable. Thats the difference between those that are educated and staff facilities properly and those that don't.

She stayed in that unit for about 9 months and was very happy there, but she reached the point of being unable to mobilise or feed herself or engage in the activities and the decision was made to move her to the high care ward.

And that is where she has been for the almost 2 years now.She is like a tiny, frail baby new born bird. Her body is shrunken down and curled up. She no longer chews her food but sucks it from a cup. She sometimes chatters away but it is unintelligible and most of the time she dozes between second hourly turns. In the evenings the staff open the windows to let the lovely bush air in and the sounds of the birds and morning kookaburras. They play her church music softly for her in the background and they tuck her up, all clean and sweet smelling like a newborn babe. I have often gone to visit and they do not know I'm coming. I have never once found her distressed or uncared for. They are angels and there are  no words to thank them for their love and care to her.

I have twice been called to come quickly as she was not expected to live - but she pulls through.And we go on in this journey together.

I miss her. I really do.