Sunday, September 21, 2014

What a Blessed Sunday!

Today my mom, my grandmother Meme, and my best friend from college, Michael came to eat dinner with us.  Meme has not been to see my new home yet, for a multitude of reasons - she missed Thanksgiving dinner last fall because she was sick, and there just never seemed like a good time to ask her to come out, as it would involve someone else having to drive her over and we just didn't do it.

Then came May 12, 2014, the day we thought was the beginning of the end for Meme.  I've not talked much about it online, as I'd just been so unsure about her prognosis and well, it's just been hard to talk about.

May 12 - the day after Mother's Day - Meme drove herself to Wendy's in Lovejoy for a frosty (yes, she was still driving at that point - 2 weeks from turning 90 - it was also the last time she would ever drive a car).  She had an "episode" inside, some sort of seizure and fainting spell, and she lost consciousness.  When she fell, she cracked her skull.  The doctors said she had a brain bleed that caused the loss of consciousness, and apparently the first week she was in the hospital she had several more.  The doctors also said that they wouldn't operate on her because of her age, and that not much could be done other than keep her comfortable.

They also discovered an issue with her thyroid, and as they began treating that and trying to take care of her, she just decided she'd had enough and stopped eating, was barely drinking, and was beginning to refuse her medication.  She was also talking some really weird shit - paranoid delusional stuff that according to the doctors is consistent and to be expected with dementia.

She was discharged from the hospital and sent to Westbury Rehabilitation & Nursing Home on Friday, May 23, for physical therapy and care.  At first while she was there, she was refusing to eat, drink or take medication, and was having some hella hallucinations due to extreme dehydration.  The doctors recommended calling in hospice but she was not moved to hospice care.  After 2 weeks, she was sent to the hospital for some chronic kidney issues that were flaring up, and it was absolutely amazing to see the difference in her from May 24 until 2 weeks later, the first weekend in June, when she was in the hospital.  I mean - she was a completely different woman!  She still had some of her crazy talk, but she was actually eating and drinking and talking mostly sensible and back to her old ornery self!

After being in the hospital about a week, she went back to Westbury for more physical therapy, and she was released to go home around July 22.  I spent a Saturday night with her shortly after her return home, and she was back to her old self, other than still a little weak and tiring very easily.

Now, her being home is not to say that she's 100% - the dementia has become more obvious since this all started on May 12.  The signs were there before, but it hit her like a freight train after the brain injury.  She's even more ornery than she was before!  She tires very easily, has the shakes a lot, walks like a drunk at times, and is painfully thin.  She has gained 9 lbs since she hit her lowest weight in the hospital, and she eats like you wouldn't believe.  We're thinking the thyroid issue is making it very difficult for her to put on any weight at this point, and yes, the doctors are aware of everything going on with her.

I'm just so amazed that she was able to make the trip out to see the house today, and that she enjoyed herself so much.  She ate some of everything we had today - pork chops, potato salad, deviled eggs, collards, butterbeans, fried okra, sweet wheat rolls, grilled stuffed jalapenos, and she also had a small slice of chocolate pie and a scoop of banana pudding.  Yesterday she requested that we make her some pickled jalapenos, so Clydie made some half-pints of pickled peppers today and she took some of those home and a jar of salsa we had made earlier this summer. 

Meme missed so much this year in just a few months - Steven's baccalaureate & graduation services, honors night, and other opportunities to visit here and elsewhere.  I'm just so glad she's gotten better to the point of being able to get out and about.

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