Tuesday, November 25
It is a delight to visit with Ann. She is a great encourager to Mother. (Actually, I think they encourage each other.)
After the others left, I thought Mother looked tired, so I asked if she wanted to sleep, or go for a walk and look up her brother Amos. She quickly replied, “Let’s go find Amos’ room.”
A walk for her still means me pushing her in a wheelchair.
I asked her nurse to point me in the direction of Aspen – and we were on our way. After one wrong turn, (we ended up in a dead end hall) we found Aspen and Uncle Amos’ room. It was fun watching them visit – a 97-year-old sister and an 85-year-old brother.
As we were leaving, her rehab therapist found us (she knew where we were) and said she was ready for mother’s afternoon therapy. It was interesting to watch Mother go through the routine.
When finished, it was about half-an-hour until supper, so I asked Mother if she needed to rest, or wanted to stay in her wheelchair. She preferred the wheelchair. As we approached her room, I heard Christmas music coming from a computer at a resident’s table, and asked Mother if she would like to stay there. She loved that idea, and just as I pushed her in place, a nurse pushed Mother’s friend Winifred in beside her. They were next door neighbors in Harvest View when they were both in independent living.
Winifred had a stroke recently – I think since Mother’s fall – and now they are next door neighbors again. As I watched them together, it felt like Mother was “home” again.
Monday, November 24
Since this was the day we thought Mother might be discharged, we wanted someone with her most of the day. Velda worked until 3:00 PM, so I took the middle of the day shift – 11:00 AM until Velda arrived at 3:30 PM.
Thanks, Kristen, it was delightful to meet you.
I went down to the fourth floor to check on Jeff (our TFC co-worker) while mother ate lunch. He was out for surgery.
Dr. Kuhlengle stopped in to update us on Mother’s health. Her pneumonia is pretty much gone. The doctor told us that the x-ray on Mother’s knee (yesterday) revealed arthritis and a bit of Pseudogout. The reason for her pain. They were treating it with a steroid pill.
When I asked Dr. Kuhlengle about Pseudogout, she explained it well, but I didn’t remember the details, so I looked it up online.
Pseudogout, also known as calcium pyrophosphate deposition (CPPD) disease, is a type of arthritis that causes spontaneous, painful swelling in your joints. This condition most commonly affects the knees, but it can also affect the ankles, elbows, and wrists.
The doctor said she felt that Mother was well enough to be discharged when Pleasant View or Landis Homes has a bed for her. About 2:30 PM we got the word that Mother was being discharged to Skilled Nursing at Landis Homes.
I immediately called Velda, telling her to go to Skilled Nursing at Landis Homes instead of coming to the hospital. Then I called Cerwin’s other siblings.
We are pleased that she could go back to Landis Homes – meaning she will not need another transfer. However, we will miss the wonderful people at Pleasant View. They did an awesome job of therapy and preparing her for this next step in her life.
I went down to Jeff’s room before the ambulance crew came. He was in his room and feeling pretty good. He said surgery was successful. Thank you Lord! His mom was with him. It was nice to meet her. Jeff’s wife, Kellie, and I met at the elevator when I was leaving the hospital and she was arriving. I will miss seeing them every day. Jeff thinks he will be in the hospital another three days – then there will be several months of rehab.
The ambulance transfer crew arrived about 3:40 PM. I got to Landis Homes shortly after they did, and since I didn’t know where I was going, it was nice seeing the ambulance so I knew which door to enter.
They were pulling the gurney away from her room when I arrived. Velda was with Mother, and several nurses were making her feel welcome.
I must tell you a story about Mother – which tells you a lot about this wonderful mother-in-law of mine.
After Velda and I began unpacking a few of her things, she said, “Doris Jean, the ambulance man who took care of me does not know the Lord. He has a really mixed-up idea of who God is. I asked if I could pray for him, and he said I could.”
How many ninety-seven-year old women are concerned about the souls of their care-givers?
Sure do love her.
Velda called me a few minutes ago – 8:00 PM – to ask me to bring a few things for Mother tomorrow, and to say that Mother was doing really well, and that she had eaten most of her supper.
I went to the hospital after church this morning – first stopping to say hi to Jeff (TFC’s Executive Vice President) on the fourth floor. He was doing a bit better than yesterday and anticipates surgery tomorrow to repair his broken leg.
We decided that it was headed to Philadelphia, because this window is facing south and it continued in that direction.
Praying for the person who was being transported.
It is arthritis. They gave her prednisone (pill) this afternoon.
Evening sunset today
On the way home I stopped at Panera Bread to have a mid-afternoon lunch of a chicken and cranberry Panini and broccoli and cheese soup.
I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening relaxing and watching Hallmark movies on TV.
Cerwin called from the hunting cabin to give me an update on what is happening there and to check on his mom. He said, after church this morning (New Hope Church of The Brethren) and lunch, some of them scouted the surrounding mountains and fields for deer while the football fans stayed behind to watch the game.
This week I am especially thankful that God created a day of rest.
I am also grateful for His incredible mercy and grace and strength.
Yesterday, Friday, November 21
This was the day we planned to empty Mother High’s apartment in the independent living area of Landis Homes Retirement Community. We decided to continue with our plans even though we had very little sleep because of spending four hours in the ER with her during the night, where it was discovered that she has pneumonia.
A short reminder of why this move is necessary: Cerwin’s mother fell and broke her right hip on Thursday, October 16, and after hip replacement surgery and six days in the hospital was moved to Pleasant View Retirement Community for rehab. She was doing well and the teams from Pleasant View and Landis Homes determined that she only needed a few more days of rehab before going back to Landis Homes. However, she can no longer live independently – the reason it was necessary to empty the apartment where she has lived for almost twenty years.
Back to emptying her apartment. There were five of us – Cerwin’s brother, Elvin, our brother-in-law Mel, our grandson Josh, Cerwin, and me. Cerwin’s sister Velda had to work (she is a personal care-giver) and when finished she spent the afternoon in the hospital with Mother. Velda had done her part in packing boxes several days earlier.
I mostly emptied cupboards, drawers, and the refrigerator in the kitchen – preparing boxes for the men to take down the hall on carts and dollies, then down the elevator (she lived on the third floor), and into Elvin’s racecar trailer. This is where the items will be stored until we know which pieces of furniture she can use in her new room. After that, children and grandchildren can choose items at our Christmas supper. The rest will go to a re-use-it store.
As I went through cupboards, drawers, and the entrance closet, I was reminded of the mindset of those who lived through The Depression. There were lots of empty boxes and bags – that she might use some day.
A kind of amusing thing happened when we were finished (mid-afternoon) and called a Landis Homes employee to inspect the room. We were unsure if a closet floor rack was Mother’s or the Home’s, because it matched a shelf that we knew belonged to the Home. The employee said it was ours, so when I went in the closet to remove it and hand it to Elvin, one more small, empty box fell to the floor. It was the kind that a small pie or cake would have come in.
When inspecting the bathroom, the employee found two white clothespin-style hooks that I missed. I put them in the box. Then there was a small medicine cabinet hidden behind a side mirror that I missed. The items fit perfectly into the little box. I smiled and said, “Mother knew we would need this box someday.”
At the time of this picture, everything is gone from her bedroom but a few bed slats.
By the end of the move we were weary from work and lack of sleep and as I was returning to the third floor in the elevator, I stood there and thought, “Am I coming up or going down.” Then looked at my empty hands and decided I was going up.
On the next ride there were several of us in the elevator and as we stood there talking and laughing, Mel realized that the elevator wasn’t moving. He forgot to push the third floor button.
When that job was finished, Cerwin and I went to Pleasant View to empty her room in the rehab area. It didn’t seem wise to pay for her room there while she is in the hospital.
At this point we don’t know if she is going back to Landis Homes or Pleasant View.
Before supper Cerwin and I visited her in the hospital (7th floor) and were assured that she is doing well. We also stopped to see Jeff Baxter, TFC’s Executive Vice President, who is in the same area of the hospital (4th floor). He was in a traffic accident on Tuesday. A car hit him head-on when it passed a garbage truck. He is doing well, but is waiting on surgery to repair his kneecap and broken leg. There is still too much swelling.
Today, Saturday, November 22
Cerwin and several other guys left early this morning for a hunting trip in West Virginia. He called later in the day to say they had arrived safely.
I went to the hospital to visit Mother.
Mother is recovering nicely, and we are hearing varying things from doctors and nurses as to when she can go back to rehab – from one week to a few days. One doctor thought she may be ready to leave the hospital tomorrow.
The helicopter pad is just outside her room. I would have liked to see one land while I was there, but that would have meant someone was in serious physical trauma, so I was satisfied that it stayed empty.
I spent a few hours with her this morning and enjoyed talking to her day nurse, helping Mother with her breathing therapy, and reading a devotional to her.
I also visited Jeff Baxter who wasn’t feeling quite as well today. I had flowers for Kellie (his wife) and a small glass dish for him and asked what kind of candy he likes. I had a variety in my hospital bag. He said that he likes any kind, but could really use something with mint since he was feeling kind of “off”. I was glad I had some individually wrapped peppermint Lifesavers and a York peppermint patty to put in his dish.
Before leaving, I prayed with him, thanking the Lord that He is with us and cares for us even on days when we feel “crappy.” That made him smile. He said, “You got that right – crappy is how I feel.”
This afternoon I did something I do about one time a year. I went shopping at Park City – a local mall. I do not enjoy shopping, but needed a pair of shoes, and most of all, needed to go someplace where nobody knew my name.
On the way home I stopped at McDonalds for a chicken sandwich. Now I am enjoying a cup of decaf coffee, and my very tired feed are propped up on my La-Z-Boy footrest.