Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Words on a Wednesday

As if it wasn't enough that the new President has declared war on the environment on the fourth day of his term, or that he still insists that there was illegal voter fraud in the election (and yet it doesn't warrant an investigation), or that his staff thinks there are such things as alternative facts. No, on top of all of that my mother has gotten quite ill.

Here she is just three weeks ago after her new haircut and styling. My sister sent me this photo, and I wrote back, "You tell mom I said va va va voom!" I thought she looked so good at 91 years of age. But my mom does have her health issues and had recently been prescribed a new medication to treat her suddenly and surprisingly high blood pressure. Well, after a just a week or two on that medication her blood pressure still soared, so her doctor increased the dosage. Uh-oh. Over the weekend my mom's mood changed noticeably. She was depressed. She didn't get dressed or go down to the dining room for meals. She sounded vague on the telephone.

My mom was supposed to have a follow-up  PET scan on Tuesday morning for her Follicular Lymphoma. My twin brother drove down from Santa Cruz on Monday to be with her and take her for the test. When he arrived she didn't really recognize him. She was not communicative with him or my sister. And things only got worse.

At 12:30 am Tuesday morning, my brother woke to find my mom in the living room, heading out the front door into the hallway of the assisted living facility. She said she was going out there to get her bathrobe. He had to bring her back into the apartment. He called my sister and they agreed that she should go immediately to ER. Her confusion was quite profound. It took several hours for her to be able to answer questions correctly. They did  a CT scan and determined that she had not had a stroke or a TIA. Her blood pressure was sky high, so she took a double dose when she got home from the hospital and went to sleep.

When she woke up, she was back in the confused state. She couldn't remember my father's name (the love of her life). She tried again to go out the front door of the apartment, this time to find her hamper. And later in the day, she hallucinated chickens out her window.

We think all of this can be attributed to a terrible side effect of her new blood pressure medication. We're hoping that once it is out of her system she will regain her memory and her sense of reality. Until then, we are all frantic and full of despair over this sudden decline in her health.

On Saturday, just before things went terribly awry she said to me on the phone, "You know he's going to make things so bad. I'm not going to live to see it, but you will, Robin. Please, when I'm gone say out loud to me what he has done," I told her that I would. I said I would even write it down in my journals for her." She knew exactly what that meant.

So yeah, the new President is just adding more pain to our already broken hearts.

Thank you for listening, friends.

40 comments:

  1. Oh, Robin. My heart goes out to you and your dear mother. There is an unknown territory we head into with our very old parents. My mom will soon be 99 - good fucking grief!!! And there is no way of knowing what will happen.
    Much love to you and yours.

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    1. isabelita-- 99!! Good fucking grief indeed. That's quite an old age. I hope she (and you) are managing the years well. Sigh.

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  2. That's awful! When you should be remembering good times with your Mom, even as her health deteriorates, singing with her, laughing with her: no; your minds have to be polluted with the griefs of the world, too.

    I hope her condition improves when the new meds are out of her system.

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    1. Susannah-- What would it have been like if we had a thoughtful new president and not one that my mother fears? I know that the election has contributed to her sense of distress. So sad. We're hoping that the newest changes in medication will help.

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  3. I am so very sorry to read this and I hope that a dosage/agent change will help to improve your mother's health. I have seen such episodes in a relative who was eventually diagnosed with UTI and rapidly revovered once this was propetly treated. UTI is easily overloked in elderly patients.
    Stay positive, dear Robin. Don't let that awful election take away your spirit.

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    1. Sabine-- We're thinking that a UTI may be the culprit here. Although one of the side effects of the new BP med is confusion. So, with a new BP med and a strong antibiotic she will be restored to her 91 year old sensibilities. We're trying to stay positive, but we do feel like we have been instantly transported to a dystopian reality.

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  4. Sorry to hear about your mother I hope they manage to sort it out. I have high blood pressure and am taking pills at the moment, it's come down but not to what it was so I think it's another visit to the docs again. I see the clown in starting is misplaced ideas and I wonder how long he will last before people get fed up with him and either kick him out or do something a little more permanent to him. I feel sorry for you with that idiot in charge no wonder your mums blood pressure shot up

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    1. Bill-- I hope your BP responds to the medication. Oh yes, our clown is definitely starting out in a wild way. In the US, we say that the new president has to make his/her mark in the first 100 days. He is definitely off and running. THE JERK.

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  5. All I can tell you is that my own mother went through just such an episode a few months ago - she had it in her head that she was on a cruise to China, she kept hallucinating that there were small children in the room (and then got worried when they disappeared), had several conversations with long-dead relatives, for a time she mistook me for a neighbour etc etc. Well, she came through it and though she's still forgetful and sometimes confused it's now much more manageable, thank goodness.
    Oh, and don't worry too much about Trump: everything will be fine in four years time when President Kim Kardashian takes over!

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    1. John-- Thank you so much for sharing this story about your mum. It's so sad that we navigate these roads of old without enough awareness of what to expect. The comments here have really helped this morning. And, Roger and I both thank you for the President Kim Kardashian laugh. It really helped our moods lift.

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  6. So sorry to hear about everything your Mother is going through. New meds are always scary when dealing with elderly people. When my Dad went into Long Term Care they fiddled around with his meds and within a week he was in hospital. I hope her condition is quickly improving.

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    1. Cat Lover-- We are learning how to navigate these new roads of old age. It is heartbreaking, but we keep at it. I hope your dad's condition improved as well.

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  7. I'm SO sorry. This happened to my own mother many times while she was in assisted living and then nursing care. Each time it turned out to be a UTI (Urinary Tract Infection). Ask that the doctor checks her for that. It is so common in the elderly, and gives this horrible impression of dementia. However, it is easily treated with antibiotics. Keep us posted.

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    1. Colette-- When my mom was in the ER they discovered a UTI. Interestingly, she had just had a urinalysis a few days before, and all was well. So, we didn't think that the UTI could have progressed so quickly like this. But perhaps it has. She has started a strong antibiotic and a new BP med, and we're hoping for the best. Thank you so much.

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  8. So sorry about your mother and hope they can find the right meds. There are many bp meds and maybe something else would not have this terrible side effect. Hope it's all better for your family soon.

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    1. Rain-- I think a UTI and the BP meds contributed to making my mom more confused than she has ever been. With a change in meds and an antibiotic, we're hoping that she'll be restored to her usual 91 year old self.

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  9. Wishing the best for your mom. The elderly are so very susceptible to the effects, including the bad ones, of medications. I hope the new regimen fixes the UTI and BP and that she comes back to her old self mentally.
    I had a lot of experience with my stepfather hallucinating. Too long a story to type up here (yes, I do have my length limits!) but there were many "exit the building" events, which is always frightening, even when stopped in time. There was no remedy in his case; I don't know whether it was the Parkinson's or the medication, but I suspect it was both and neither could be stopped.
    You can take comfort in the fact that Trump had a bad first weekend. He thought it would be fun to play president, but people weren't cooperating! Makes me want to open a Twitter account so I can needle the orange accident.

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    1. CCorax-- Thank you for your kind good wishes. We were all so grateful that my brother was there to stop my mom from walking out of her apartment. I didn't mention it in the post, but she was naked. So completely 100% unlike her. So far, she has not been restored to clear thinking. We are all worried.
      Today, we made a contribution to Greenpeace. We appreciate their efforts and will support all ways that thoughtfully challenge his assaults on our planet. RESIST!!

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  10. Sending love to you and roger and your mother and your family. As in so many photos, your mother radiates light. Sorry to hear that life has been so difficult for her this week.

    The ongoing disturbing events this week in our country have been hard for all of us, and for people all over the world, to absorb. This is what my unconscious did with them:

    Last night I dreamed that I was sitting outside at a long narrow wooden table, sharing a beautifully prepared meal with family and friends. Suddenly I realized that Donald Trump was sitting across the table from me, to my right. He smirked to himself and pulled out a cigar that he proceeded to light. My reaction was instant anger and outrage. Although I am a soft-spoken low-key person, I leaned across the table in a forceful way and shouted at him in a powerful voice, "Don't you ever hurt another person again!!!!!!" At that point, I woke up.

    Strange how deep an impression he has made on the psyche of the world. Yesterday I was editing a psychiatric report of a deeply confused woman who was barely oriented in most ways, but she was able to correctly identify the current president by name.

    Good news. Tulip bulbs coming up on my porch, buds appearing on my flowering quince, new foliage on my chrysanthemum. All this after weeks and weeks of near freezing and below freezing temperatures. And a Towhee visited my porch this morning.


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    1. am-- Thank you for your kind words. Your dream is very powerful and reassuring. I like that in your sub-conscious you were able to shout at him. We all need to do some shouting. Love knowing that the flowers are beginning. Here too, daffodil shoots coming up first!

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  11. Aww robin I am so sorry your Mom is having such health issues. Hopefully med adjustment will help. I totally understand how our madman president can affect a person's health. Don't think there is a pill for that. I have been feeling quite beat up physically myself as he plunders our world and can only imagine how all this chaos would affect someone all ready fragile. Sending only good thoughts for you and her.

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    1. Patti-- The madman president is certainly affecting my health and overall sense of well-being. It's so sad in every way. My mom hasn't responded yet to the antibiotics, but we're hopeful. Thank you so much for your good thoughts.

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  12. ((( Robin ))) Oh, how very awful! Glad they have changed the BP med, and started antibiotics -- yes, UTI is a frequent culprit with this kind of confusion.

    Also glad your brother was there! There were incidents of my relative with an odd early onset dementia going around in the altogether -- one time nearly giving her mother a heart attack by trotting up the street to check her mailbox! But this is quite a departure for your Mom.

    As for the other thing, my current hobby is hounding my senators and rep. First I got everybody about all the areas of threatened health care. Then a long series to senators about the nominees -- still have one left. Today, a series of emails copied to all about 22 major areas of concern (and sub-topics), because holy shit. There is a lot to worry about. So if Mom asks, the resistance is fired up! Ready to go!

    xoxo

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    1. A little tired and dispirited, but hell. I can do what I can do.

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    2. kathy a-- We were so surprised by the sudden onset of truly confused and completely bizarre behavior. The UTI was very new because she had had a UA just a few days before and all was well. I just spoke with her a little while ago, and she does not sound like herself yet at all. Monotone and disconnected. So sad. I am glad that you are writing all the reps and senators. I haven't started doing that yet. The war has just begun. We are getting ourselves prepared for the long-term fights. We will do what we can do as well. Sigh.

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  13. Robin, I'm so glad your brother is there! Not just for the safety measures of being there (and it sounds like she has needed that), but also because he has connections, will have some insights.

    Often, people bounce back after a UTI; but sometimes not as much as hoped. The path with my relative is different, but people speak of times of plateau, and times when there is overall a break from the old normal. So, I hope your brother can help sort out the level of care Mom will need going forward. xoxoxoxo

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  14. I hope your Mom has gotten better. I know the blood pressure pills can be very difficult with so many side effects as my husband has tried several of them. Also if it is a UTI it should improve with corrective meds and your mom should improve as well. I know it must be such a worry to you.

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    1. Nora-- Well, so far things are somewhat improved, but not great. We're hoping by tomorrow she should be feeling more like herself. That will be the third day of the antibiotics. The new BP meds worked right away, so that's good. She still doesn't quite recognize my twin brother, and she didn't want to talk to me on the phone. Sigh.

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  15. Robin ~ All I can say is pretty much what everyone else above has said. I hope things start to improve quickly.

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    1. Sharon-- Thank you. So far not so much improvement.

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  16. I was very sorry to read about your mother. It reminds me of my mother's later days. It's a hard thing to go through, for her and anyone who loves her. Your mother's recognition of her own mortality reminds me of my mother's. Once when her pastor was visiting, he was telling her about some event that was going to happen, and she said, "You know I won't be there." It makes me cry to think about it. I know what it's like.

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    1. Mark-- It is so sad to hear my mom sound so vacant and disconnected from the world. We're still hoping that things will improve, but this has been a very tough week. We are learning how often this happens with the elderly, and the sad thing is, because we no longer live in community, we each have to learn this on our own. So sad.

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  17. Still holding you in my thoughts and hoping for a positive update.
    My mother would be very disoriented both by the UTI and by being moved to an unfamiliar room. She would improve more quickly once she was well enough to move back into her own room (although that would be disorienting as well, at first.)

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    1. CCorax-- I did get a chance to talk to my mom today. Her voice was flat and monotone. So unlike her. The only enthusiasm she expressed was when I asked her about a drawing that our granddaughter Delilah made for her. That brought a bit of life and light into her voice, which was instantly gone. The tough part is that my mom has made three big moves in the past eight months, and that must add to her disorientation. I'm so sad about all of this.

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  18. I completely missed this heartbreaking post until today. You must have wondered why the hell I didn't call you! I hope that mom regains her mental function. All you can do is wait. What a torture. All my love and concern are with her, and your family. Sheesh.

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    1. Tara-- Things are not good yet. I wish had better news at the moment. New antibiotic, but no new results. Sigh.

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  19. Every day that we can share life with those we love is a blessing. I hope you have many more blessings.

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    1. def95485-- Thank you for your kind good words. Always good to hear from you.

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  20. I'm catching up in reverse order. Again, sorry to hear this bad news. Life is great, but it has some parts that sure kick our butts.

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    1. Pat-- Yes, life is great, but it sure does kick our butts sometimes. Whew!

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