Friday, April 24, 2015

It's Not Easy: Part IV - In Home Care / Send In The Clowns

Continuing on, two days later, Saturday morning, right at 9:00 AM, the phone rang. On the phone was the head nurse from the company the doctor had signed Mom up with that I'll call HHC, (Home Health Care), instead of using the real company name. The nurse wanted to come out and get Mom enrolled TODAY. I was a bit reluctant to blow part of a Saturday on this, but she explained they only had three days to get Mom enrolled after receiving the doctor's orders. With that being said, I agreed to an appointment later in the afternoon.

When the RN arrived--late--she was pleasant, organized and professional. No problems so far. The RN first talked to me and then began talking to Mom asking the normal "how do you feel" type of questions. Mom immediately fired back in a gruff tone, "why are you here and asking me all these questions"? The RN took her time and patiently explained what she and her company do and the purpose of the visit. That satisfied Mom for the time being. After several minutes of questioning the nurse pulled out her reasoning test and started asking Mom questions from the list.

Yes, Mom can still tell time, count to 10, write her name  and even sort of write shorthand--she just can't read it anymore. Mom passed all the menial tests of things she has done the past 75 years. The problem started when she couldn't answer the same questions she couldn't answer at the doctors office. Plus, I had already explained to the nurse that most days Mom doesn't even know who I am, she doesn't remember my brother, my dad or most other family members.

Bottom line, Mom became frustrated and pretty angry telling the nurse that there was nothing wrong with her and she wasn't answering any more questions.

Once the conversation with Mom ended the nurse spent some time explaining the services her company provided. What she didn't explain was the fact that each service was performed by a different person on a different day. Starting the next Monday, six more people came to visit Mom over the next five days, three of them gave her another dementia test, each one sending her into another outrage.

On the fourth visit, the Therapist talked to me about what could be done to help Mom's depression. My reply was "depression? Mom's not depressed". To my dismay she told me the second Therapist to visit reported that Mom was crying the entire duration of the interview so she must be depressed.

OK, I took Mom to the doctor because she has a weepy eye, but this professional with the doctor's notes in hand doesn't figure this out. Hello! Beyond that she writes about Mom's depression in her report.

The end result, the service the doctor said would help me has done nothing other than wear Mom out, throw her off her schedule, anger her and overall, it's made my life and the family's a living hell!

Before starting this service, Mom had a fairly predictable schedule of awake two hours, sleep two hours all day long. The two hour sleep periods allowed me to review cigars and coffee, then write the reviews while Mom was up, but now she is up nearly all day long and her schedule is unpredictable.

In the beginning, once Mom was up all that was needed was some light supervision so she didn't walk out the door, but it's not so easy the last year. She now has the mind of a three year old and requires constant supervision while she's up. Besides the schedule change, each visit resulted in hours of angry questioning directed at me asking who the were, why they where here, where is her car, who lives in her house, etc.

As an example of supervision, the other day, I made a quick trip to the bathroom while Mom was up. When I returned, Mom had a bowl of milk sitting on the kitchen floor coaxing the dogs to come drink. If I'm out of eyesight for two minutes, Mom is up getting into something, just like a little kid. I catch her peeking around corners for me all the time.

The bathing service and the weekly LPN visits were a help, but they can only be done if the two therapists in charge come out for weekly visits resulting in four visits instead of two. In the end, this service had noting to do with fewer trips to the doctor and did nothing to ease my work load, in fact it's  made life worse for Mom, me and the entire family. I also believe that no one that has dealt with Mom, even the doctor, really understand Alzheimer's or dementia. I mean come on, including the doctor, Mom was given four separate cognitive function tests. Can't they even share information? That's not very professional in my book.

In my opinion it really was a case of "send in the clowns"!

As always thanks for reading my rant. Have a great day!


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