I’ve written before about how Mom was always so heartbroken when Dad never asked to go home with her when she said goodbye to him at the nursing home.
Now she’s lost the meaning of home as well.
I was visiting her today at the nursing home and gently brought up possible plans once she’s discharged from the skilled nursing facility. She stressed how she would be afraid to live alone. I asked her if she wanted to go home and she surprised me by saying home didn’t really have much meaning to her anymore. She said she didn’t have much memory of the town she’s lived in for the past 10 years, or the condo that she kept so neat.
“It’s all different now,” Mom said as she waved her hands weakly in the air.
My mom had a pretty good day. She started rehab and took a few steps, so that was important. I remember how difficult it was for Dad to get up out of the hospital bed after he had been bedridden for a week. He never walked on his own again.
Mom had her catheter taken out today, which is also a good sign. However, instead of putting a diaper on her, they just put a pad on her. Before the surgery, she was able (with assistance) to move from the bed to the chair-toilet at her bedside. Now, post-surgery, she is too weak to do that. She ended up wetting herself a couple of times today.
Finally, they wised up and put a diaper on her. I never thought I would say I was happy to have my parents wearing diapers, but in this case, it’s the lesser of two evils. Mom still remembers wrestling with Dad to get his diapers on him when he still lived at home but was already suffering from mid-stage dementia.
Mom is a model patient, so no fighting from her.
Still, it’s scary and amazing how quickly one can lose control over their basic bodily functions. For Mom, a diaper is more dignified than not wearing one and wetting herself. It’s these small but important details that are sometimes overlooked when caring for the elderly.