Friday, July 19, 2013

This & That

(It's a long post today.)

Weather continues to be very warm here and life continues to be busy.

Yesterday I was catching up on laundry, going to the Diabetes Clinic, meeting a old friend for lunch and making countless phone calls concerning my mother's medical needs. There are many things she needs that are not supplied by the new facility amd we have to go through insurance to get them.  The facility where she now lives is privately owned and very new so they have absolutely nothing on hand to properly look after someone with complex care needs.  I was not prepared for that and no one told us that before the move so that things could be properly prepared.  When mom moved in, I learned that the Occupational Therapist (OT) was not yet on board and so that meant mom had to wait several weeks to get a proper assessment in order to get the medical supplies that she really needs or uses. Needless to say she has been in tremendous pain and discomfort since Day 1 and sadly, I've seen her health and state of mind begin to deteriorate rather rapidly.

The OT started last week and she is moving as fast as she can on getting a new wheelchair but there are many other things that mom needs and so I've gotten involved.  Please keep us in prayer and especially my mother. I'm hoping we can alleviate some of her distress and discomfort very soon. I'm working with multiple parties to try and make it so. At least if mom can see some progress she will feel encouraged and her spirits will be lifted. Trust me, it is taking all my time and stamina at a very busy time and when I am not feeling entirely up to it.

But I thank God that today things seem to be moving in the right direction.  I needed this day as I've been feeling quite stressed and struggling to pace myself, get adequate reset and stay grounded.  First, I talked to a pastor that mom asked me a few days ago to call.  I couldn't call sooner because I had a guest earlier this week.  The pastor wanted me to call her and explain what mom is dealing with so she can pray more specifically.  I've talked to this pastor once before and she is such a kind and down to earth woman.  It was a delight to speak with her again and  to know that we have her prayer support at this stressful time.  She said she would like to call my mother every week and I was overjoyed! Mom will love that since the new facility where she lives has no Sunday church services.

Flowers from a community garden.

I was also able to make contact with the insurance provider to determine what they need in order to approve  new electronic wheelchair my mother needs.  Since electronic wheelchairs are incredibly expensive, it requires all kinds of paperwork and reports to be in good order before such a device is approved.  If everything is properly done, approval can be done within a week which is quite rapid.  But if things are not done right, it can delay things considerably.  Fortunately the person I spoke with today told me exactly what is required and hopefully the OT will not be offended when I try to work with her to ensure that all goes smoothly.  I feel I must get involved for my mother's sake.  I know from experience of getting mother's first wheelchair that I had to get involved then too or mother never would have gotten her wheelchair.  Despite the reports and recommendations that were made on her behalf at that time, it took me writing a letter on her behalf to justify why mother needed such a wheelchair.  Once we got the approval, it still took 8 months to get the wheelchair from the provider.

I am praying the time will be reduced as she is dire need of proper support.  I was told by one service provider employee today that it should never take 8 months and that the longest he has ever seen a person wait is 2 months.  This was good information  and gives me a guidelines.  Of course the order for the new chair will not go through the service provider who took 8 months the first time round.

In addition to a wheelchair mom needs several other items (parachute sling, trapeze, etc.) to help the staff help mom in the daily work of getting her ready for the day and for bed at night.  Private facilities don't seem to have any equipment for their residents. I guess everyone has to buy their own unlike government run facilities which provide a lot of basic things like trapezes, commodes, over the bed table trays, etc.

Other needs include finding an over bed table or two and an appropriate mattress topper to prevent pressure sores. These items do not seem to be covered by the national insurance plan and so I'm exploring other options.  For example, I learned that the Canadian Red Cross can loan over the bed tables but so far I haven't found out where I can get an appropriate mattress topper.  The insurance plan seems to classify mattresses as "furniture" even though some of them are medical devices to prevent pressure sores.

I do not want the insurance plan to purchase everything because I do not want to have to deal with them when mom no longer needs them.  Also if I end up having to move her again, I really do not want to have to move all the medical equipment with us. It would be better if some things could be rented though the wheelchair will probably be purchased.  I may be asking too much as the OT and supplier are used to doing things between themselves and not involving family in whether to purchase or rent items. I will interject myself as much as I can since I am the one who has to deal with the aftermath. It would be so much better if these places could simply involve family members but they don't seem to unless you call them. Even then it is "touch and go" as to whether they will actually listen to you.

I've had to learn a lot about facilities and medical suppliers, insurance policies and multi-government regulations since mom first became incapacitated and needed more support than I could provide.  I've learned that this whole area is a very complicated field.  I've also learned that everything that a senior person needs by way of medical devices is astronomically priced and the industry must be raking in the money with all the seniors and baby boomers who are going to be retiring in these kinds of places.  Seniors have very little say in what goes on even when residence claim to put "resident's first".  There are also a lot of appalling things that go on in these places.  If I can avoid going into one of these homes myself in future, I will but sometimes it cannot be helped.  Therefore, I now try to help other aging friends facing these kinds of decisions in the next few years. Most people don't want to even discuss or contemplate such moves while they have the capacity to do so.

Though I spent a lot of time on the phone today on medical things, I also did other mundane things. I made dinner and found some time to replenish the vegetable bins. If I'm up to it, I like to wash all the vegetables and peel what I can before storing them in the crisper for use. I don't do this task every time I purchase vegetables but it makes so much of a difference when I do. I also eat more raw carrots and celery sticks when they are already clean and stored in the crisper.

Special crispers I purchased for vegetables since I often have too many for my one big crisper.

This is my one large vegetable crisper. I use the other one for fruits and vegetable "overflow".

I washed my spinach in the salad spinner.  This helps to get the excess water out before I dry them off with a towel and put them into my small crispers.

It is now the weekend and I have to get some bloodwork done tomorrow. I hope to be able to get some cleaning done too so next week I can catch up on things and friends outside of the house and continue to deal with mom's medical needs.  It is still very hot here so I don't feel like doing too much in the heat of the day. It is cooler at night and so I am now about to wash my kitchen floor. It will be good to wake up to a nice clean floor.

I'm tempted to stop off for a foot massage tomorrow if I can get an appointment with one particular person who I've found is the best so far. If he isn't available, I will save my money as the cost adds up. I've had three massages already this month! Only 1 of them was really worth it.  In case you are interested I'm posting a chart of the different areas of the feet that correspond with different parts of your body.

Image from Acumats which sells mats you can stand on to massage different parts of your feet.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.


Rhodesia said...

I hope that you manage to get everything sorted out for your Mum it must be a worry.

Our weather here is also very hot, it is ridiculous when we have been complaining about the cold for what seemed like a very cold, long winter!

Take care Diane

Joyful said...

Thank you, Diane. Yes, it is all weighing rather heavily on my mind. I will feel better when I know certain things are in place and then I will make a site visit to ensure the facility knows I am alert.

I do hope your weather (and ours) cools down a bit. We've had no rain at all for 18 days which is rather unusual for the month of July.

OneStonedCrow said...

I wish you strength in this difficult time Penny ... and a hope that your Mom's environment and health will improve ... I'm sure you'll feel a lot better when you know things are improving for her.

Jan said...

Penny please know that you and your Mum are in my thoughts. This all sounds so difficult especially given the lack of communication and consultation with family and the person themselves. I wish you strength and courage to deal with these companies and professionals. Yes it is hot here too. Lovely. I'm not out in it all of the time as I am working and in the house but it is nice to be able to go outside and feel the warmth for a change. However I am conscious that it is doesn't suit everyone and makes poorly people feel worse and children feel crotchety. Your photos of the crispers makes me wish I was more involved in the kitchen again. At the moment I am relieved of most kitchen duties as there are so many people at home and I am working. I am taking advantage while I can but miss the connection with the food I am eating. Take care of yourself Penny in all of this. Jan xxx

Jenn Jilks said...

You take care. I've been a caregiver, as well as for my parents, I am a hospice volunteer.
It is a calling, for sure.
Just do the best that you can. You can do no more. Of all things, look after YOUR health.
I wrote about my journey, it does help to journal - writing in your blog is a very good thing to do.

KT said...

I wish medical needs were better addressed everywhere. I know in the US, navigating the medical world is very difficult - so I imagine it is just as difficult a little further north. Just know that your mom appreciates all of your efforts!

The foot chart it interesting...I wish there were a big obvious area that says "allergies"...oh well...

Joanne Noragon said...

Assisted care is such a difficult job to sort out. Good for you for going after it, one bit at a time. But put your feet up and lean back once in a while, too.

Denise said...

keeping you, and your dear mother very much in my thoughts and prayers sweet friend. I love you.

Joyful said...

Hi KT, there is no single point of massage for allergy suffereres. I read you can massage the following points daily and (hopefully) get allergy relief. It may take up to two weeks.

So here goes: lung point, 60 seconds; sinus points, 60 seconds; nose points, 30 seconds; throat points, 20-30 seconds; eye points 30-60 seconds; lymph drainage points, 30 strokes. You can get a top and bottom view of the feet and pressure points here

Susan said...

My heart goes out to you in trying to provide assistance for your mom.

In a way, I know what you are going through as I also lined up a small army of help for my Mom when she was ill.

It was all worth it, though. Now that she's gone forever from this earth, I miss her.

You will never regret the time you spend trying to help your Mom. Trust me on that one. Susan

Pat said...

You are such a good daughter, Penny, giving so much time time and energy to helping your mother to be comfortable in the care facility. I hope an electric wheelchair, slings, mattress topper, etc., can be acquired at a reasonable cost to you and her. I will pray for expediency in getting those things and comfort and strength for you and your mom.

Your crispers are a great idea for keeping a lot of healthy snacks available.

John's Island said...

Hi Joyful, I am not as good as I should be about keeping up with all the blogs I follow. But when someone leaves a kind comment on mine I always try to go and take a look at theirs, if for no more than just to say thanks. With that said, I just really found this to be an interesting post about taking care of your mother. I’m a mid-60s guy, sort of on the leading edge of the boomer generation. My mother passed over a decade ago, but before she left she spent several years in assisted living. I don’t really think that most people understand what a challenge that can be. It sure was for my mother and me. I truly hope that you will have good fortune in getting the wheel chair. It just seems like such a simple need and yet it is so complex to get it taken care of. Hang in there. I will add you to my prayer list. You are a kind person and that JOY does come through in your blog. Thank you for stopping by mine and leaving your kind comments. Best wishes from Seattle, John

Donetta said...

Hello Dear Heart
Thank you for saying hello the other day.
After reading your post I thought of what we have here in the USA, Creigs list an online advertisement site came to mind. When I had my knee done I found a walker I needed. When we went to get it the woman gave me a wheelchair, a hand rail and several other things. She was a part of a group who took it upon themselves to pass out needed medical supplies to others. It was such a blessing. Perhaps you might be able to come upon such a soul there.
It is good you take time to care for yourself tenderly. Lots of feelings and challenges at hand and all.
Be Blessed
I have been out of the loop, three surgeries in a year and a half.

Lynda said...

I love when my husband massages my feet. You really can feel your entire body relax.
Bless your heart with all that taking care of your mother involves. I dealt with that thirteen years ago with my mother - - from moving her to nursing home rehab and then to an assisted living. Yes, there are tooooo many surprises that can be difficult to resolve. They really should tell you some things before you get there but maybe they are thinking if they do, it will discourage you from that facility - - even though they are all about the same. You are right about having to be her advocate - - because if you aren't, who will be? And she is definitely not able to do that. You will have no regrets one day when you know you have done all that you could have done. It is still hard emotionally though some days to see our parents having such difficulty.

Elisabeth said...

Hi Penny, so sweet of you to keep us posted about your busy daily schedule...hope you get things in order, especially your Mom's medical needs. You're such a good daughter!

Loved your post and photos; especially of the map of the feet. Incidentally I used to visit a friend for 'reflexology' appointments and had a diagram map of the feet...since then which has been a few years my friend moved and I also lost the diagram. I hope you don't mind that I copied and printed it out. So helpful to know (which I still remembered some). Now, I need to find another reflexology massage therapist in my area...thanks for sharing! xo

clairz said...

My goodness, Penny, what an eye-opener about all the issues relating to your mom's residence! It sounds like you could make a career as an advisor to those facing the same issues. As with all things medical, I always assume that these things are in place and it is distressing (as you know) to find that they aren't and that the "wheel" has to be reinvented over and over again.

Farida said...

My disability prevented me feel in my lower limbs normally. But I still enjoy being massaged. These are great info!

Linda said...

Interesting diagram of the feet!

Good luck to you and your mom. said...

Your mom is lucky to have you for a daughter...I went through this with my parents who are both gone now.You have to get involved yourself to help them,it is very time consuming.I pray your mom will soon get what supplies she needs.God bless you with your own health too,phyllis

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