Today was a busy day for Mom.
Physical therapy came in and had her sitting in a chair for a couple of hours. That kind of wore her out. She also had a CT scan done of her head to see if they can determine a reason for the speech and motor skills difficulties she’s been having. (She can, with great effort, lift her left arm high enough to scratch her nose, but that’s about the limit of what she’s been able to demonstrate.) After the CT scan they took advantage of the fact that I wasn’t in the room (more on that in a minute) and changed her linens and bathed her. She was pretty exhausted by the time I got back and was, as I understand, pretty upset with her nurse at the time, apparently for something involving the transfer process during bathing.
The reason I was out of the room was that my wife flew into town today, and I went down to pick her up and get us checked into the hotel on the premises and then back down to the cafeteria to eat before heading back up to see Mom. They were busy bathing her when we arrived but there was a waiting room in the CVICU where they’re keeping Mom and we sat there for a few minutes while they finished up.
Mom seems to be ever-so-slightly improving with her speech. There were several instances where I would get a sentence out and she’s come back with a smart-alecky comment and a face to match – so I know she’s still intact in there. (At one time she told me, very clearly, to “kiss her ass,” after which we both dissolved into giggles. I deserved it. I was sassing my mother.) She’s intensely frustrated that what she thinks she’s saying isn’t making it out as English, but we’re able to get a little further each day by asking leading questions. A couple of people recommended that we get an alphabet board and have her point to the letters that she wants to say. Our obstacle there is the loss of motor skills. She’s not been able to show that she can point, much less at anything specific.
The day was further complicated when I fell down a few steps and wrenched my knee during the day. It’s very sore to walk on, it’s causing me to limp, and my wife is thinking I might have pulled a tendon in it. I’m glad she got here when she did – I can’t imagine trying to take care of Mom on my own with a bum knee.
I’m taking care of myself the best I can – I’m trying to rest when Mom’s resting, I’m trying to minimize the time that I’m on my feet, I’m trying to elevate my leg whenever possible, and we’re trying (but failing) to ice it down for any appreciable length of time. Mom keeps asking me to come over to her when I’m in the recliner in her room icing my knee and the icing has to go by the wayside to take care of her. Not mad at her for it by any means, it’s just difficult to try and take care of myself when she’s wanting me close.
Oh, earlier I mentioned there’s a hotel on the premises. On the third floor of the hospital, there’s a small, 33-room hotel for family members of Heart Center and CVICU patients. It’s very nice, there’s a fitness center in the hotel area, there’s a continental breakfast every morning, and the rooms are spacious and comfortable. There’s a TV, a mini-fridge, a 4-cup coffee maker, a table and chairs, and two double beds in the room we’re in. It’s kind of like a Ronald McDonald House for heart patients. (In fact, we share a wall with a room that’s considered to be part of the on-premises Ronald McDonald House.) The beds seem comfy, and we haven’t decided if we’re going to try and cram ourselves into one of the beds together, or use both of them and spread out. We’ll make that decision when we get to it, I suppose.
The doctor is supposed to read the results of the CT scan and explain what they found tomorrow, so we’re heading back relatively early to make sure we don’t miss the doctor. As scared as I am to hear the results of that test, I hope that it reveals something that we can concretely begin to address so Mom can improve.