My mom has suffered a lot of stroke damage since her first event around Christmas 2006. Every time she changes, and she’s never quite the person she was before despite making amazing recoveries each time.
There have been so many times we have all had to face the reality that Mom is standing at Death’s door, and we have a DNR order for her. We have had countless conversations about her wishes in this regard. It has been so hard to watch.
Her latest event started at the end of March, which affected her speech. She seemed to recover in the first few days post-stroke, but by Easter things went really bad. She had had some TIAs between the first stroke and Easter, and a couple of days after Easter she had another stroke that affected her vision. Mom started hallucinating and really not existing in our reality.
When David proposed on April 19th, Mom was having a pretty bad day and had spent most of the day in the company of my dad (tho died in September of 2000) and her mom (who died in ’98) and her dad (also deceased) as well as others who had passed on. When David and I told her about our engagement, she shared the news with these visitors and seemed more willing to talk to them than to us.
When you caught her at a lucid moment, though, Mom could retain information and converse with you. She told relatives that David and I were engaged and asked to see the ring every time I went in. Some days it was really hard to visit her though because she was so distracted by hallucinations and/or so confused and/or completely unaware of the world around her or my presence in the room. I know I gained a bunch more gray hairs in April and the first bit of May.
Over the past week or so, Mom has shown substantial improvement, and today we had a meeting with a bunch of the people who work with her at the hospital. She has improved by leaps and bounds this week, and although she will need a walker she will be able to walk. The walker will be a constant necessity though. Her peripheral vision has also been affected and will likely not improve. She also has suffered a loss of critical reasoning, so she won’t be able to problem solve things like using the stove or the like. And although she can reach a level of independence, she will need someone to make meals for her and check to make sure she’s taken her pills and such.
We also discovered that she is Diabetic. This is something that was not known before she entered the hospital but is now being taken care of.
On the whole, though the medical team is optimistic that Mom will be able to go home and they will be setting us up with contacts to make this easier on us. Meals on Wheels and stuff. And David has offered to work from Mom’s house when Tom, Eva and I are all at work.
Mom was with us in the meeting today, and when they were talking about the areas where she has deficiencies she got defensive and tried to justify why the test results were wrong. When that didn’t work she used diversionay tactics to change the subject. I think it is hard for her to know that she is not the person that she used to be and to know that each one of these events takes even more of her old self and her independence away. My mom is a stubborn lady, that has served her well and gotten her through thus far and is probably a key player in her recovery, but I think it also makes it extra hard for her to accept her dependence on others for her personal safety and wellbeing.
I love my mom so very much, but I definitely grieve the loss of the person she was on December 24 2006. It is hard for me sometimes to find patience when she is behaving illogically and getting angry at me for not letting her have icecream for dinner and stuff like that. But this latest ordeal has really humbled me and made me come to accept that I would much rather have this lessened version of my mom than no mom at all. I am thankful that I have been able to go into the hospital and show mom my wedding ring and tell her about my wedding dress quest and experience her reactions and love and support about these things. She has gotten to meet My David, and she will be at my wedding. I can remember her the way she was, and God has given me more time with her to tell her and show her how much I care. And I will find patience and not cave to her requests for icecream.