Hi everyone, this is one of those posts that I was not looking forward to writing, but felt it is the right thing to do. My mother went into the hospital this weekend. I have written about our adventures in aging and Parkinsons Disease, and now we have taken that next step on the adventure. Two weeks ago she had the flu, and was recovering well, but the flu turned into pneumonia, which turned into congestive heart failure.
She is also going through that interesting phase that goes by many names: “sundowning” “hospital psychosis”, “twilighting.” Not very accurate attempts to discribe the confusion and disorientation that comes at this stage. My psychic friends all describe it as preparation for being born into the next world. She is singing songs to herself, she is describing parties that she is going to at night, and telling me about all the people she is meeting. When I walked into her room yesterday, she said, “well you know this is a field hospital, and they have us all in these cars, and they hook the cars up and drive us around.”
It would be very easy to freak out at this phenomenon, but I saw it with my father, and I know it is part of the process. When I’m with her and she does recognize me, we can still carry on a fairly cogent conversation. I ask how she’s feeling, if she is in any pain, and she can answer. And she bless her, she still has her wonderful sense of humor. When Conrad, one of her nurses came into give her her medication, I asked her if he how she liked having him. She said “oh yes, the best part is when he walks away and I can see his backside.”
It has been a long time since I have had to deal with hospitals, and all that goes on there. I am impressed with this one, Kuakini. The nurses seem to walk the tightrope of focused efficiency, and concern for the patient’s well being. One nurse impressed me, he is in charge of IV’s. That is all he does, he has been trained to know all the various types of IV’s that can be used these days. He came to mom’s room, was very polite, and incredibly gentle with her. He changed her IV, and he used a sharpie to write the date, and after that he wrote a set of symbols I didn’t recognize. I asked him what it was and he said, “it is the Japanese symbol for Good Luck.” That is the sort of thing that makes this stuff tolerable.
As things go, the doctor seems to think that she is still well enough to return to the residential care home in a few days. As to the next phase of the adventure, things have taken a turn and we’ll have to see what is around the next corner. I will do my best to keep up with my regular schedule. But don’t be surprised if I miss a day or two. I find it difficult to concentrate on much else.
Thank you all for stopping by, and for joining me on this adventure.
Bless her. I’m thinking of her and you.
You know we love you and are her for you if you need us. My grandmother has Alzheimer’s and she was in and out of the hospital (near death) all last year. It was very draining on all of us and I’m sure it was just awful for her as well. Sending prayers and love your way.
I remember my last birthday dinner party on Oahu with you, Ron and your Mom. She was so sweet. And, I will always remember her at that moment. Thank you for introducing me to her.
Thanks you guys. Knowing you are all out there thinking of us is so helpful.
Oh, my prayers are with you and your family. It is so tough to care for an aging parent.
I am glad that she has been given gentle and compassionate care while in the hospital. It’s not always that way.
Hang in there, Rachel!
w/a Jansen Schmidt
i’m thinking of you both. given my mother’s dimentia, I’m sure something similar is in my future. take care of you
Prayers and good wishes to you and your mom. I’m sorry both of you have to go through this. May you find the strength and grace you need when you need it, and sleep and peace when you need that. BTW, I love the bling and the Japanese symbols. Take care of yourself, Rachel.
Out of the blue this morning (where I live in New York City) I decided to Google Evangeline Funk. I wondered if she is still alive. I’m not sure, but it seems likely that you are her daughter,
and the half-sister of my half siblings.
I had one of the most moving conversations of my life with Evangeline – probably in 2007. During that telephone call she told me she had Parkinson’s Disease. I only met your mother once – in Sheryl’s San Francisco hospital room. It was a very confusing, sad time.
I hope Evangeline is in peace and that she passes on with ease when her time comes.
With kind thoughts and wishes for her, you and Adam.
Hi Nicole, thanks for your sweet comment and I have sent you a private email to follow up. Thanks for taking the time to comment.