I'm not a morbid person so it caught me by surprise when the paperwork for Mom's admission to the rehabilitation center included decisions about what to do if she was found not breathing. Did we want a DNR (do not resuscitate) order in her file? If we did want CPR preformed and she was breathing but unconscious did we want comfort care (basics) or do everything we can to save her or somewhere in between? And so on went the questions.
I was unprepared and mom was high on percocet. Gently the nurse and I asked her what she wanted. Her response was classic mom. "Well, I'd like to keep breathing."
Earlier today as we waited for her release and transfer, the nurse came in with a packet of papers and the question of the day: Do you know where you are going?
MOM: Well, eventually I'm going to heaven but I think I'm going to St. Francis today.
it's the MOMents like these that help roll me over the next wave.
When I left the nursing home to go get clothes for her, I realized how damp my shirt was from perspiration and how ill I felt physically, from having to answer those questions. These are things we haven't talked about. Words like DNR and POA (power of attorney) are going to be a part of our vocabulary now.
And no matter how nice a facility is, it is still not home. Call it rehab, assisted living, convalescent center or nursing home, it still means you have surrendered a large amount of independence in exchange for managed care.
Every day I left the hospital the smell of the incapacitated was burned in my nostrils. Antiseptic, urine, sweat, and something else... fear perhaps? despair? I could feel it clinging to my clothes and my hair. I washed my hands a thousand times a day. I'm not a germaphobe but I was constantly aware of the potential for catching something.
Tonight as I left St. Francis, those smells were with me. The place doesn't stink-- in fact that was the first thing I noticed-- that it did NOT smell... but there was still the unmistakable odor.... like the hospital...
after saying good night to mom, I felt a wave of sadness. I know she is in good hands but it is also easy to get lost in the shuffle. I had to ask for extra pillows for her in order that her foot would be elevated. I hoped that her need for fresh linen (getting to the bathroom on time aint happening right now) would be seen to quickly each time she was in need of it. I jokingly told mom when I was settling her in "remember that old saying about be nice to your kids because they'll choose your nursing home?, well.... that moment's here."
She did give me a little chuckle.
Tomorrow morning she will start Physical Therapy. The insurance will only cover 2 weeks of care and there will also be co-pays that are going to add up quickly. In 2 weeks she will not be ready to go home and care for herself but our wonderful insurance benefits say 'too bad.' that's our health care system folks. it benefits someone but I don't think it's the person paying for insurance. I'll be filling out the forms to apply for state aid over the weekend... and undoubtedly will be adding more new words to my vocabulary.
Enough whining. Mom is safe and she is going to get better and it's the weekend and my sweetheart is home. I'm going to sleep in tomorrow and lounge in my jammies till noon and then head in to visit mom. I hope you all have a blessed weekend with your loved ones!