Category Archives: growing old

Family Time..


Just isn’t what it used to be…

I am a waitress. Have been for, well, a very long time. 

A few days ago, a mom came in with her boys – about 10 or 11 years old. They ordered their drinks and she asked if we had a drink menu, she needed alcohol.

I could relate – I mean, I do have two children after all…

I looked at the boys and grinned –

“Ok guys – what did you do?”

Mom- Them? Not a thing – this is the best part of my day.

I was thrilled to hear that.  It has been such a long time since I have seen a family out to dinner really interacting with each other. It is a very rare sight.

People come in with their children, of all ages. They immediately set up a tablet with cartoons or something for the toddler to watch. The 6-year-old or so is given one to play games on and the tweens and teens are staring at their phones – Facebook, snapchat whatever it is these days.Then the adults pull out their phones. They stare at their phones or call someone and talk to anyone but their family. 

Aside from the pain in the ass this is for a server – 

“Hi, how are you guys doing today?”

((( crickets)))  

“Can I get you all something to drink?”

(((crickets)))

It’s crazy. 

When I was a mom to younger children, we all talked. We used the crayons and that activity sheet/ kids menu all restaurants seem to have. We begged the toddler not to throw his pacifier on the floor again. We laughed at the faces made by the 3-year-old when we gave him a lemon.

 Now? Parents don’t even realize that the kids menu is on that paper. The crayons don’t get opened. The paper ends up on the floor. The child throws his pacifier on the floor and no one notices. 

When did this happen? 

The DirectTv commercials…cell phone companies – they offer the ability to “take your tv with you” and show families camping ..sitting around a fire with their tablets and phones watching television. Why even bother going anywhere? Isn’t the point of going somewhere to do something different?

I have quit taking my phone into the restaurant when we go to dinner. There is nothing going on that I need to interrupt my family time for. There is no one I can not call back in 30 minutes when I am finished eating. 

I wish everyone would. I am tired of trying to talk to people who can’t look up from their phones… or talk mumble while looking down at their phone and expect me to hear them. 

This is the modern family –

I do realize that all families are not like this – I wish none of them were. 

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..Spoke too soon…


Monday morning, the nursing home calls and the are sending Mother to the ER. Same thing, different day. She had just finished the last antibiotics she had been on three days before.

I met her at the hospital and they had already ordered antibiotics. I put a halt to those and after a few hours, a long talk with hospice – part of which was telling them about her DNR and living will – we decided to send her to the Hospice facility.

Hospice doesn’t work exactly how I thought it did. I always thought you get close to the end, you move there and well, basically they keep you drugged up until you die – no matter how long it takes.

Throughout this process, I have found that while that is true – it is not that simple.

Hospice took over care of her major problems- basically, bluntly, the disease that is killing her, faster every day it seems, her COPD.  While the nursing home doctor still takes care of the other things, her blood thinners, blood pressure meds, thyroid, stomach meds, the hospice doctor takes care of her lungs and pain. The hospice doctor has a great deal more leeway with the pain meds and narcotics than the nursing home doctor as he provides for end of life care – the part about keeping her doped up until she dies.

I followed her to the hospice facility and as we got her checked in, went over a bit of her meds, etc. Filled out her menu and I went home. I assumed that they would follow the med list that she had been ob and that the word had been passed about no antibiotics. Remember the saying about that word, “assumed” – ass out of u and me – well…

I got there Tuesday morning, after voting (I voted, did you?) and before work. The nurse came in to give her the morning meds – timing, huh?

This is the kicker. She told me they had done a urine culture and started her on an antibiotic for a UTI. NO. She is not to have antibiotics. “The dr. started her on them just in case of a UTI”  No antibiotics means NO ANTIBIOTICS. PERIOD. ” Is this the rule at the nursing facility? The ER? Because those do not apply here”  NO. This is in her living will. “why not? It is for the UTI. You are going to need to talk to the doctor”   No antibiotics for anything. The antibiotic for the UTI is going to also treat the pneumonia and she will get better(ish). Then in two weeks we will be right back here. Which is what she does not want. She is tired of the merry go round.

She held it, but gruffly told me I needed to speak to the doctor. Fine. As I left, I put a note on her table with a message for the doctor to call me. I am still waiting.

I went back up after work, and the chaplain was there, so I didn’t stay long with mom. I found the nurse in charge and we went over the med list. I have had to learn to reign in my temper. These things make it difficult. Everyone is not on the same page and I really though that is how this was supposed to work. UGH.

They changed some meds, they don’t have some of her meds on site. These meds are not necessary.  Grrr. I walked away, with a stern look and asked her to please have the doctor or LPN call me. I forgot something and turned around – she was on the phone with her and said she is at the front office if you want to talk to her.

I meet her ….she tells me about the meds not on site – her stomach meds – without these meds she can not eat. She put her back on 2 that she doesn’t need to be on because the CDIFF seems to be returning, but they don’t test for that. They changed one because mother said she had been on it forever and it didn’t seem to work – so they put her on one that she took before that does NOT work . The  one she has been on  – that DOES work. The paperwork says that they have to talk to ME for changes. ARGH!

When I went in yesterday morning, she seemed to be feeling better. The afternoon, not so much. She said she felt worse and looked like she was feeling worse.

I am fairly certain this is because she was on the antibiotic and then she wasn’t.

How crappy do I feel now? Very. I know this was her decision. We talked about it between ourselves and with the staff at the nursing home. Still. She was feeling better and 8 hours later….

I thought hospice was supposed to help make all of this easier.

Of course, nothing with this experience has been easy.

But she’s my mom…


(Very to the point here or this could go on and on…Reader’s Digest version, so to speak)

Mom.

Her health had been much better for a while, after going into the nursing facility.

Not now. She has been in and out of the hospital throughout her time there, more and more as time goes on.

Beginning last November, she has been in and out of the hospital averaging every two weeks, for pneumonia.

We had gone to get a pedicure and she was fine, better than in a while, as a matter of fact- or so I thought. That evening, she was rushed to the ER. Pneumonia – again.  They did a bronchial lavage. They found spots on her lung. The doctor said probably cancer, but her health puts her at a point where there would be no point to treat it. They did other tests and found a spot on her colon. It is most likely an ulcer. Again – nothing to be done.

She had been in the hospital the beginning of October, and was in rehab at the nursing home. The day before the pedicure, she had scratched her foot on the pedal of the exercise bike. Was no bigger than a cat scratch. Three days later, her foot was blood red and twice it’s size. The scratch had gotten infected. She had to have surgery to remove the infection. It was quite scary, and is still healing now, 2 weeks until Easter.

She was released right before Thanksgiving and was in isolation for MRSA, which she had had before, and probably got again this time from the foot infection.Thanksgiving dinner was spent with her in the isolation room, in gowns, face masks and gloves. Much fun.

She was released back to her room, and two weeks later, back in hospital. Same routine until about the middle a February, the worst case yet. There was a day that I truly thought she was going to die. Then the next day – back to her normal self. That’s my mom…The next day, she was diagnosed with C DiFF, and back into isolation she went. Finally released back to nursing facility, and this time, while still isolated, they moved her room mate out so she could be in her own room.

Throughout this last stay, she made the decision to allow hospice to take over her care in the nursing home, and to not treat the pneumonia if it comes back. No more antibiotics or emergency room visits. No hospital stays. If she gets ill again, hospice takes the place of the hospital, she moves to their facility until she either gets better, or passes.

I understand, but am still not sure how I feel about it.She has finally gone blind, so there is that. I know she is tired of the pain. She is tired of depending on others for everything. I know she is tired of being sick. Tired of all the hospital stays. Tired of all the poking and prodding she goes through with each stay. To be honest, so am I. I hate seeing her sick and in pain.

But she’s my mom.

http://www.cdc.gov/hai/organisms/cdiff/Cdiff-patient.html