The months and days have been going quickly. It has been a busy school year for me teaching kindergarten and first grade. A new situation that took some time to get used to but I am enjoying. I try to visit mom a couple times a week and dad once a week. I talk to dad at least twice a day. He's keeping up with senior meals, working at his recycling job and driving to see mom at least twice week. It is 50 miles for him and I am very grateful that he is still able to make the trip.
Mom does not seem to understand much verbally but I have no doubt that she recognizes dad and me. When my sister left on Saturday, she said to mom, "How about a hug?" and mom replied, "You want a frog?" She often responses with something totally unrelated that rhymes.
She hadn't said my name for a long time and then in the last month she started to say it again. Sometimes when I arrive for a visit she is sitting in a recliner and she will say, "Donna! How did you get here?" It makes me smile because she says it with such expression. Last night, she said, "Is that you?" I said, "Yep, Is that you?" I give her a hug and we look at photos and read little board books. She still reads and she really likes the farm animal book. It is very simplistic and small. She will look at the kittens and say, "Now, I like that."
We ate in the dinning room with the rest of the residents. She ate a sandwich, cookie and carrots. She drank hot cocoa, juice and milk!! That was a successful meal. It seemed like several times she was trying to tell me something but couldn't get the words out. She looked out the window and counted the trees and said the cows are over there. I said, "Yes, they are and I already fed them so don't worry about taking care of them." When I think of mom's situation. I can not believe how easily I respond to her concerns. I never would have imagined mom's life like this. I told her that on Thursday it will be March 1st. Do you remember that date? It's my birthday and I was wondering if it would trigger any response...nothing...not even when I mentioned her birthday May 6th. Gone not in there anymore...sad...
January was a very stressful month because the nursing home social worker told us that the staff felt that mom was not safe in their facility anymore. She had been wandering and made it into the attached hospital basement and they were afraid that if she did it in the night they wouldn't find her. We had a meeting and the director of nursing told us a string of incidents when mom had set off alarms.
They gave a 30 notice at the meeting. My response to them was that I understood their concerns but I was not willing to move mom to a different place. I said that I didn't want to give up Dr. VanEtten and all the rest of the staff that cares about mom for a new staff that we don't know. Another meeting was set for the next week and I had the ombudsman from the state come. The 30 day notice was not brought up...the entire meeting was about ways that the staff was making the nursing home safer for residents with dementia!! My prayers were answered!! I never did receive the official 30 day notice.
I believe that God has a plan for all of us and mom is a blessing to the staff and residents of the Spooner nursing home. It is not the life we wanted but God is in control and His will shall be done not ours...