Friday, June 22, 2012

The Cat Bites Again......

Thursday, June 21st: I'm writing this after two stressful days at the hospital.  My mother's cat bit her again (the 3rd time in about 6 weeks!) on Sunday night.  On Monday night Mama was up and down through the night.....not obviously incoherent but rummaging through the closet, moving furniture, changing pajamas and becoming more animated and agitated as time passed.  She got up early the next morning (shortly after I got up) and came into the den and said she felt terrible and had a tightening in her chest.  We immediately got dressed and went to the ER.  We got there around 9AM and they hooked her up to the heart monitoring machine and began looking at the cat bite, which had spread from her wrist to her elbow overnight.   They marked it to check for continued growth and, sure enough, before we left the ER it had spread even more.  They admitted her to the hospital but, because there were no rooms available, we had to wait in the ER until 4PM before being taken to a room.

Once in a room, they began pumping her full of antibiotics.  Shortly after dinner, she feel asleep and rested well, even going back to sleep after being awakened periodically for medication and vital sign checks.  The next morning she looked more rested and had better color.  She ate a good breakfast and wanted to bathe, which I helped her do.  Though very weak and tired, she was then ready to go home.  As the day progressed, it looked less and less like that would happen but around 4PM a doctor (her doc was on vacation) came in and said she heard my mother was eager to fly the coop.  She prescribed more antibiotics to be taken at home and began the process to discharge her.  We were home by 6PM Wednesday night, though I still had to get the antibiotic prescription filled and run a few other errands.

Mama in her 4-wheel walker.
Needless to say, we were both happy to be at home and in our own bed's.  Mama went to bed as soon as we got home and had a bite to eat.  I was up later, but when I went to bed I was out like a light - until awakened at 4:05AM by the security alarm going off.  I reset it and responded to the accompanying call from the security company.  I was concerned that it had beeped - it was not the full alarm going off, just a steady beep.  I assume that after a specified time it would have been the full, hair-raising alarm.  Anyway, I was too sleepy and tired to give it much thought and headed back to bed.  Again, I was in a deep sleep until receiving a phone call at 7:30, which told me it was time to get up.

Thursday morning proceeded normally until I went in to check on Mama before going out for my walk,  She was just getting out of bed and told me about walking all around the neighborhood last night!  I told her that it was probably a dream (due to her illness, medication, etc.), but she said she remembered going out the front door and going to a big house, etc.  It was then that I realized that she really was up and walking around....and probably activated the alarm if she tried to open the front door.  As the alarm beeped, I remembered hearing her mumble something, which I thought came from her bedroom.......but it could just as easily have come from the front hall.  That little episode made me glad that I opted to have the security system installed.  It now serves several purposes!

The night before Mama went to the ER, my concern for her night wanderings grew.  I can care for her during the day...or during the night, but I can't be awake and alert both day and night.  While this type of thing is now only happening when her health is greatly compromised, I would expect it to become more of a pattern as her health becomes more fragile.  That means that it is rapidly becoming  more than I can manage.  So, once she was admitted to the hospital, I asked to speak to the social worker PRIVATELY;  but, as luck would have it, she came to my mother's room when I was at home feeding the cats and showering.  She then came back and began talking about at-home therapy or skilled nursing care, the latter of which put my mother on guard.  I really wanted to talk to the social worker privately to explain the situation and ask about resources, options, etc. ...... for my own knowledge and benefit.  While I really didn't have the opportunity for that, I do have her email and phone number and I hope to contact her soon.

Local Farmbag
Update - Friday, June 22nd:  Monday before all of this happened, we spent the afternoon with a follow-up doctor's appointment for my mother's shoulder (from a fall several weeks ago).  Since it had not improved over the two weeks of taking anti-inflammatory meds, they sent us right next door for x-rays and a scan of her head (since she said it continued to "feel bad" and she had the hemorrhage in her eye).  It was there that I checked her cat bite again and saw that it had increased in size, with the meaty part of her thumb looking like a chicken leg and thigh!  We went right back to the doctor's office, and she only looked at it, put something on it and a added a band-aid!  I even said, "No antibiotic?"  Two weeks earlier we had been there for the same thing, only to a lesser degree, and she prescribed an antibiotic.   This looked much worse and nothing was prescribed?!  Anyway, after our second visit with the doctor, we had the x-rays and scan, and then we went around the block and got her a little four wheel walker.  The amazing things was that we did all of that in two hours!!  That made my day!

Thursday, our first full day back at home, was busier than we anticipated - our plan was to do nothing and recover for the previous two days..  I was able to do my walk, though I did it in two parts.  It was also the first time for my "local farmbag" delivery.  I've joined a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and each week I'll get a bag of fresh, mostly organic produce.  I'd debated doing this for a long time and then the owners spoke to our Eating without Meat group.  They brought some of their produce and prepared a corn salad, made from uncooked corn cut straight from the cob.  It was so tender and nice.....yum!  Today we got zucchini, yellow squash, jalapeno peppers, peas in the shell, okra, cherry tomatoes, and watermelon.......and that was the small bag.  Each week there will be something different, which is kind of nice and challenging (like I need more challenges).  Anyway, after it arrived in the morning, we cooked.  Mama shelled the peas and cut up the gave us something to do together and something that she could manage.  It was a nice day.

Today, however, it all hit us!  My energy level was zero.  There were only two things I wanted to accomplish and it felt like it took all day.  My mother also hit a low ebb and was very depressed, fearful and teary all day.  When she awaken this morning, she thought someone was visiting and wanted to know where they had gone.  That disorientation scares me, though it seemed to clear quickly (or she's smart enough to hide it!).  Anyway, it was a down day all the way around......and those are so hard to get through.  I try to tell myself that it had to hit us and tomorrow (her 91st birthday) will be a better day.  Here's hoping!