Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Have I mentioned lately how tired I am? Been leaving the house at 8:00 a.m. most days and not coming home till after 8:00 p.m. Left the house later than that on the weekend, but came home later too.

My mom is a trip and a half.

Did you know that if an elderly person has an infection - say - a urinary tract infection - or is dehydrated - it can send them into a very confused state? I sure as hell didn't, and all of a sudden I thought my mom must have had a stroke or we were in the middle of a Colombo episode and pretty soon a scruffy little man in a rumpled overcoat
was going to come in and start investigating the boogie men that were surrounding us. Er . . . her. I didn't think there were any boogie men but boy I was hoping somebody would tell me who they were and what they were doing in my mom's room!

That hospital Mom was
in before? Still as nice as I remember but boy it gets old after a while. Especially when you spend almost a whole 4 day weekend in it. And when you have one admin person, one aide, one nurse one doctor and one Episcopalian Minister ask if you have a DNR on file, you start getting really nervous.

Several blood tests and CT scans later, hydration and antibiotics and Mom is back at the nursing home with a bit of color in her cheeks eating Jell-O and speaking in full sentences again.

There was a point when I had to ask the doctor if she was trying to tell me that my mom didn't have
much time left and she answered "Yes. Let me say it will happen sooner than later."

So really, what the HEL
L does THAT mean?

Apparently didn't mean much to my mom because she's as clear headed as I've seen her in a long while and enjoying her iPhone. Okay yes I admit it, I got her one. It was worth the expense
for several reasons but one in particular. Mom's emphysema is pretty advanced. Any exertion sends her into a breathing episode which is exacerbated by the anxiety she feels when she cannot breathe. Medical staff on hand was quite surprised when Mom was struggling so badly and I stepped in and handed her the iPhone - telling her "here Mom, delete the pictures."

I kid you not, she LOVES to delete pictures from the phone. So I go around taking pictures of everything and anything and nothing at all, just to pile up a hundred photos or so, so she can delete them when she is trying to breathe. And as she flicks from one picture to the next, deleting some and moving past others, her breathing slowly becomes less labored and ragged, and finally comes to a point of calm. She continues to delete the pictures until eventually they are gone and she is past her episode. It works. Every.

Worth every penny, I tell ya!



MsCatMinder said...

Youre so clever ! How did you discover that about the deleting photos?

The Beading Gem said...

Brilliant idea with the iPhone. Have you considered getting her the game Bejeweled? That would keep her entertained for hours! I know because I got my elderly Mum hooked on it!

Diane at Crafty Passions said...

You smart cookie you !!
I am so glad you discovered that it helps your mom in stressed moments.

It is very scary when your parent is ill and frail,having lost both parent I understand how you feel,I once asked the doctor how long Mom had I didn't like the answer , then I asked a senior nurse, she was in truth closer to the date, but oh how that made me cry and cry and cry.Broke my heart.
Just love her every day and tell her too, she needs that.

Teena in Toronto said...

If that's what makes her happy, keep taking those pictures :)

JenK said...

Can I just say how much I love your iPhone story? That thing can do anything! Even save lives.

I understand the reason behind it. When I think about breathing, I can't do it. Distraction helps.

I think you're handling all of this with strength and grace. Nobody could ask more from you.

BetteJo said...

I knew that playing solitaire on her computer relaxes her when she is having a breathing episode. But that's not always readily available. I don't remember how I found out Mom loved to delete pictures but reaching for the phone was an act of desperation - looking wildly around the room for something to distract her during a breathing episode.

BetteJo said...

Bejeweled? Heard of it, never seen it. Will need to check it out! Tonight she was spending a great deal of time playing with a jigsaw app!

Anonymous said...

So glad things are looking better right now. Seems like life has a way of throwing us off balance every so often. Just to keep us on our guard, I guess. But it lets us know we can do what we have to.

Lavender said...

Wow, Id never have thought of that iphone/deletion trick - thats a good one BJ! And it works such a treat, Hooray! And very glad to hear she has come through again, how scary!

ireneintheworld said...

Yeah that is a great idea with the iphone - well done. I was a carer for the elderly and could tell you some wild and wooly stories - but I won't! ;-)

thotlady said...

I just found out about the UTI medicine making the elderly disoriented. How crazy. I never knew this and then someone mentioned this to me at work and then I read it on your blog. Life is funny sometimes.

I think it is great you found something that will relax your mom enough to help her breathing.

I want an iPhone so badly, I can taste it. One of these days. I wish Verizon had the iPhone.