Progress

I just left my mom’s place, feeling much better about everything than I did the last couple of times I posted here. Shower assistance went more smoothly tonight and, more importantly, Mom agreed that it would be a good idea to get the staff at her facility on board for this going forward. This is progress.

We’re also making progress with her teeth, albeit slowly. I took her to a dentist on Monday, someone recommended by a friend of mine whose family has been seeing him for years. Even though she had asked me twice after her tooth broke to find her a dentist, when we got there she acted like everything was fine and she didn’t know why I’d brought her. To give Dr. K credit, he was very patient and understanding – and he listened to her, as the patient, rather than just talking to me. From the x-rays and her cries of “ouch!” when he examined her mouth, he determined that the tooth that broke was abscessed.  So the first order of business is to get the root extracted so that it doesn’t continue to leak infection into her bloodstream. We made an appointment to do that next Wednesday, the earliest slot that the oral surgeon had available. (Thankfully, it isn’t causing her pain unless someone presses on her jaw.) But that won’t solve the problem of the upper partial having nothing to fasten to on the right side.

When she was at the dentist’s office, Mom was completely resistant to the idea of replacing her current partials – even though she can hardly chew at all right now and the upper partial keeps falling down. She kept saying that she wasn’t “going to spend a fortune on teeth I may only use for a couple of years” and that she’s getting along fine. Dr. K told me he wasn’t going to try to talk her into dentures unless she really wants them because it’s a long, difficult adjustment for most people. He did mention that he could make her a different kind of bridge for her top teeth that would be more stable than what she has now, but he didn’t push it. We left with no plan beyond the extractions next Wednesday.

When I visited tonight, she asked me “What did we decide about my teeth?” I reminded her that she has an appointment to get the extraction done on Wednesday afternoon, adding that we hadn’t decided anything beyond that. I then mentioned that he had talked about a different kind of bridge that might work better, and I asked if she would like me to find out more about that – how much it would cost, how many appointments it would take, etc. “Yes,” she said. “Would you do that for me? Thank you.”

I need to remember that this is how Mom operates when it comes to big decisions. Her first reaction is ALWAYS resistance to change, but if you give her time to sit with it and pray about it, she comes around.

I guess a lot of people will come around if you’re patient and you meet them on their own terms. The other lady at her table in the dining room, the one who seemed so sour and constantly complaining at first, is very friendly with me now. Even her husband (who really is a Grinch a lot of the time) smiles at me when I approach, and when I asked after his wife’s health and told her I hoped she was feeling better, he blew me a kiss. I’ve started thinking about what little gifts or treats I might bring for her tablemates at the holidays, just a little something to brighten their day.

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4 thoughts on “Progress

  1. I phoned yesterday and managed to catch her just before she went to lunch. She is still in some kind of denial about her dental issue, telling me there is no infection and the broken tooth still does a pretty good job, but I think she will agree with Dr. K’s basic plan. She needs to hear the words, “this is the best plan for you”
    from you or the doctor. She had a feeling he wasn’t sure what to do, but the current trend is for doctors to lay out the options and let the patient pick one. I have a feeling she misinterpreted or misheard that. You are doing a fantastic job, Lira. Thank you so much.

  2. So good to hear! Your Mom’s decision-making process is exactly like Willa! It can be so aggravating when we need a quick decision. How about something home-baked for your Mom’s new friends or a group outing to hear holiday music or see lights? Ya know, I love how genuine the youngest and oldest people are – so real in the moment, no ‘polite’ behavior – just being real! Hope you have some fun planned for yourself this weekend!

  3. Well, after I get all the information about the other kind of bridge, I will try “this is the best plan for you” and see how she responds to that. I’ve tried that before and she just kept insisting she didn’t want to spend the money… but maybe the upper partial falling down all the time is getting annoying enough now to convince her. 🙂

  4. Kerstin – Yep, toddlers and old people… LOL Home baked goodies might be a good plan. Holiday stuff is tricky because the married couple who sit at her table are Muslim.

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