It’s Looking Up


Hair update: After almost two years of trying to get my mother to have her hair done in the salon at Atria, and her constant refusals of  “Several of the ladies here say the hairdresser isn’t very good.” or “I have been there myself and have seen the way she does hair.” ( both unverified statements), she now has no choice. My inability to take her to her favorite hairdresser at the JC Penney salon has finally forced her to use the in-house salon.
After the mix-up with the hairdresser the first time, I make another appointment.  An aide is there to remind Mom this time and she goes.  I call her the next day.
                      “Did you get your hair done, Mom?”  I say, waiting for a negative reaction.
                      “Yes, I did,” says my mother, “The girl is very nice.  I like the way she did my hair.  Those ladies that said she wasn’t any good, don’t know what they are talking about.”
                      “I’m glad you like her.  We’ll have to make an appointment next week for you,” I say aloud.
                      “Yes!” I scream in my head. “Why didn’t you listen to us in the first place . . .”

It’s Looking Up

Yeah! They finally took my mother off Haldol.  She seems more alert. She still can’t walk, though, and I am convinced it was the Haldol that caused  it. One article I read says it can cause symptoms  similar to Parkinson’s. Her being unable to walk is a mixed blessing.  Before, she refused to use the wheelchair and used the long walk as an excuse to not go to the dining room.  Now, she agrees to let Chico, the aide,  wheel her down for her meals.  It is also easier when we take her out; we can push her in the wheelchair and are not slowed down by her pace.  However, since she is off the medication she has gotten some of her  contrariness back.  I received another Atria call.   Whenever they call I feel like a parent with a recalcitrant child.

“I just called to tell you your mother is hallucinating and not being cooperative. This morning she said she didn’t know why she was here, and wanted to leave. She also told the hospice nurse she didn’t have to do what she said,” the medical aid related.
“We  tried to give her a Lorazipam to calm her down,” she continued, ” but she refused.  Maybe if you came over to see her it might help.”
“Don’t count on it helping, she doesn’t listen to me,”  I said, laughing.   I had a ton of things that I needed to do, but agreed to drop by sometime                      that day.

That afternoon, I brought her a bouquet of artificial daffodils and a white pitcher. This is the time of year her daffodils would bloom by the front steps of her house.   She always picked some and we’d see them in a large ceramic pitcher on her dining table. I thought it might cheer her up.

She did seem pleased to have the flowers, and didn’t even remember what happened that morning.  She looked fine, great in fact. Most times when I visit she has on a bathrobe, no makeup and her hair is straight and tucked behind her ears. I don’t know who is helping her, but she was dressed, her face was made up and her hair looked styled even though it had been four days since she had seen the hairdresser.

As I left Atria I checked the agency sign in log.  It looked like the hospice workers visit her twice a week. Though I have had serious doubts about their care, I’ve decided to stay with it for awhile longer.  It’s hard to know if I’m doing the right thing.


One response »

  1. That should be on a sampler, a little pillow we’d make and give to each other when caring for our elderlies. When they fall and have a broken hip or leg in their 80s, and we learn to help them with the aftermath; when they lose their marbles and move to a home against their will; when they move into a situation that’s maybe even the best around, but that’s not saying much; when we consult with the physician and have to decide for them, here comes a friend with our pillow….”It’s Hard to Know If I’m Doing the Right Thing.” Best wishes, Kathy.

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