Archive for the ‘Life Changes’ Category:
A Moment of Clarity
On Thanksgiving day Gladys began the last days of her life. We were only able to wake her up twice during the day. On Thanksgiving night when Anita and I were getting her ready for bed, Gladys had a moment of clarity. There was something in her gaze and voice that I had not seen or heard for quite some time. While Anita and I were putting her in the sling for the Hoyer lift, Gladys looked at me and said, “What happened to me?” I said “You had a stroke.” She wanted to know when so I told her five years ago. She looked at the lift with fear in her eyes and asked what we were doing and I told her that it was the only way we could lift her to change her.
She Was Ready to Go Home
Gladys looked and us and said, “I don’t want to live like this.” Then she asked Jesus to take her home. Over the next two days – while asleep – she would call for Lessie (her mother), Margaret (her cousin) and Clifford (her husband). I called Hospice on Friday and they told me that Gladys was probably in her last days. After that I began to gather insurance papers and contact information for the crematory that I wanted to use.
On Sunday, the third day, while I was at church, my daughter sent me a text that she couldn’t wake Gladys at all. I cancelled our Sunday sitter who would normally relieve Anita at 10 AM and went home to care for Gladys myself. Around 6:30 PM I heard a loud choking cough. I went downstairs and Gladys had gone; she died peacefully in her sleep. I called Hospice, they sent a nurse out to pronounce her and call the funeral home.
At the end of the week, my oldest daughter, Nichole who took care of Gladys for 2-1/2 years flew in from Philly and we had a private memorial service. After the service, we went to Roy’s Cheese Steak Restaurant to enjoy Gladys’ favorite meal – cheese steaks and a Coke.
Since we’ve been receiving hospice care, a nurse visits our home twice a week and we really appreciate those visits. Because of her declining mental and physical abilities, Gladys’ care is becoming increasingly frustrating. For the past few days, it has been very difficult for Gladys to stand up and walk. In fact, we don’t even take her to the bathroom anymore, we just try to get her to take the few steps to the bedside commode.
This past Monday our home health aid and the nurse arrived about the same time. They were surprised that it took both of them to get Gladys out of her chair and stand her up to her walker. Of course Gladys told the nurse that she felt fine and everything was going well. They looked at me, surprised at the effort that it took for both of them to help her up. I just looked at them and said “Welcome to My World.”
More change is in store because my husband, Fred, starts working next week. It will be an adjustment because he helps me a lot with Gladys. I have added another day for our sitter, so that will be some relief and allow me to run errands and do other things I need to do.
All we can do is take it one day at a time and do the best we can. It gets a little frustrating but so far we’re managing.
In my last post I shared that Gladys’ adult day care had given us notice that they would no longer be able to accommodate her and I began looking for in-home care. We use the services of Hospice Advantage who had assigned us a social worker, Stephanie. When I told her about our situation, she sent me a list of agencies and private sitters. The agencies were just too expensive for us so I started calling the private sitters on the list.
I was very impressed with one of the sitters, Tami. I called her on Wednesday, checked her references on Thursday and interviewed her at my home on Saturday. Fred and I both like her. I also checked with Stephanie and asked how the private sitter list was comprised. It turns out that when Stephanie visits her hospice clients, she observes how the caregivers interact with their patients. If Stephanie is impressed, she adds them to her list.
We Hired Tami
We hired Tami. Today is the end of her third week with us and so far we are very pleased. Before we hired Tami, I called both of our daughters and told them about her background and her references. My oldest daughter Nichole, was concerned that she had only worked for two of the families for 4 months and 8 months. She wanted to know why “she couldn’t keep a job.” I told Nichole that her tenure with those families was short because the patients had died. Nichole was alarmed and said, “You don’t want to hire her, she might kill Aunt Gladys too.” I told Nichole to relax. Tami had primarily been a live-in caregiver who cared for terminally ill patients.
We Made An Agreement
An Internet search provided several contract samples. I used a contract from Agis.com and modified it to suit my needs. Tami works three days a week. In addition to routine caregiver duties she coaches Gladys through her physical therapy exercises and when the weather is pleasant, Tami puts Gladys in her wheel chair and walks her around the subdivision.
So far, we are very pleased with Tami. Gladys is receiving good care and we are comfortable having her in our home. More Updates later.
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