Mom and I are entering Day 2 of her transition here at home. Each minute, each hour invites a new event that we must overcome together.
Caregivers at nursing facilities have the luxury of being pleasant all the time. They go home at the end of their shifts. In the 24-hour world of home care giving, that's sometimes not the case for safety-sake alone. Yesterday, Mom pushed against the boundary of getting up by herself. Her mind told her she needed to retrieve something on the floor. It's at that point, and, no, I don't like being mean, I had to lay down the law. I know her inner thought processes and it's my job to circumvent or re-write her behavior.
When Mom first entered the facility, my friends thought I finally had the opportunity to a) grieve the loss of my father; b) get some much needed rest; and c) kick up my heels like a spring lamb. As much as I wanted to accomplish the aforementioned I had work to do.
Introducing a family member to a bunch of healthcare professionals we had never laid eyes on can feels like teaching new technology to an office staff. "Hi, here's my mother when she does this, it means...she does not like...she's prone to ..., she cannot...etc., etc." My mother, like all patients, have little quirks that require recognition in order to get the desired result. Sometimes the professionals look up at you with a glazed stare; others possess an inner knowing.
In our current healthcare system, Medicare has rigid guidelines that keep or eject a patient from a facility. They call it "progress". I call it absurd. Such was the case with my mother. Three weeks into rehab the physical therapist informs me in the middle of the gym that my mother's not "making progress". That unless or until she does so immediately, out she goes. My first thought at that time? "Did you run a diagnostic?" "Did my mother have something interfering with her software?" I ran back to the nurse to ask for tests and sure enough there appeared a mitigating condition that explained her lack of "progress". This happened not once, but twice. I wondered what happened to other patients who didn't meet the guidelines. Doomed as irrelevant? Sentenced to life in a nursing home when the problem really was a bug in the software?
Now, with Mom home, we're re-programming our days. Today brought a better result. We're learning. Our pup, Dickens, continues to learn and adapt to Mom's needs. We're all in this together.
Now, we just have to stick with the program and keep on the lookout for any bugs. That's me caregiver, patient advocate, and Inner Processes Technician (IPT).
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