Friday, December 9, 2016
It is the middle of the night and I am feeling blue. This does not happen to me often but I thought if I share it perhaps it will help.
My brother-in-law called me late this afternoon. My sister has been in the hospital for about a week. As you might remember she had a stroke a few years ago. She is still unable to move her left side. She is able to speak clearly and her mind is working the way it should.
She is in the hospital because of breathing problems. Because she cannot move by herself her lungs tend to fill with fluid. Even with the hospital bed and raising the top of the bed she cannot sit up. That is a common thing with bed-ridden people. Fluid in the lungs.
My brother-in-law has been taking care of her and their house for all this time. Occasionally a therapist comes in to keep her muscles moving because she can not do it herself. That is when my brother-in-law tried to run to the store or do other quick errands. That way she would not be alone.
So my brother-in-law told me that my sister is being released from the hospital late tomorrow morning. She is being transported to a nursing home or as they call it a long-term care facility to make it sound nicer. He said she was feeling nervous about the move and wanted me to give a call.
Of course I called her right away. That was when I found out he was actually in the room with her. She needed me to call her instead of him handing her his phone.
She told me she was a little nervous about going to the home. I told her I understood that it was an unknown and a little worrisome.
I let her talk at first while I just made those "I'm listening" noises. Then I started asking questions and making statements.
They have been talking for a while about her going to a place like this. Her husband saw the facility and told me it was very nice. She knew it was coming but she was a little afraid. That was when he promised her that he would visit her every day. Her son also lives nearby and I know he will also visit every day. I need to call him tomorrow because I know he will be upset too.
I told her I knew that she was isolated and bored at home. Her husband was trying to do everything. That meant there was not a lot of time for him to simply sit and visit for long periods of time.
I pointed out that she would make friends with the nurses who would be in and out of her room all day. There would be therapists doing the same. And knowing my sister I am sure she will make friends with some of the ambulatory patients and they could visit with her.
She told me she would have a roommate and I told her she would have a captive audience.
I am hoping they will be able to take her out in the sun once in a while. I told her that they will have crafts and other activities to keep her mind busy. If they have wheel chairs that she can sit in she could maybe go to a community room to socialize. Maybe she could play checkers or something.
She told me about a feature they had that she thought might be fun. Unfortunately I cannot remember what it was.
She mentioned that they would have to get her a television for her room. I suggested checking on EBay. I got my son a laptop for Christmas there. I have already given it to him because he too is bored out of his mind. But I digress. Maybe they can find a good deal there.
Then I told her, "If they do not take care of you call me. I will fix it. If they leave wrinkles in the sheets call me. If they try to make you eat something you do not like call me. I will fix it." I also told her she can call just to complain if she wants to. (She used to be a pro at that.)
She told me that her husband told her that if she does not like it there he will take her back home. That is a good thing. But I told her to give it a few days. She will probably hate it for at least a couple of days and she will need time to get over that.
I did not say that she will probably never be completely happy there. Who would be? But I think the extra people there will be good for her.
As we wound down the conversation I promised to call after she has time to settle in tomorrow. Late afternoon or early evening should give her time.
She sounded so little and forlorn. I think she probably cried when we hung up our phones. I heard the quiver in her voice.
I think more than anything she is afraid of being forgotten. I can certainly understand that. I hope it works out for her. She is so frustrated with not being able to take care of herself. It has to be scary.