If it’s not one thing, it’s another

Mom was discharged from the SNF on Friday. I left work early to pick her up and take her back to her assisted living community. Though we were both happy to get her out of the nursing home environment, I quickly realized that there is no rest in sight for me. For the next couple of weeks, or however long it takes her to regain her strength, she’s going to need more help from me than ever.

I got her settled in at home and waited until they brought her chicken noodle soup on a tray for dinner. She took one bite and told me she felt sick, so I ate the soup. Before I left to go home and feed my cat, I convinced her to drink half a can of Ensure. I went back around 8:00 p.m. to visit for a while and help her change into her pajamas. Then I went home to get some much needed rest myself.

I went by at lunch time yesterday to check on Mom and be present for the home health care evaluation, which turned out to be very timely. Mom was having pain in her back, near her right shoulder blade, and the facility’s care director didn’t offer much in the way of either advice or assistance. The home health care nurse listened to her lungs (and pronounced them “nice and clear”), asked several questions about the pain and felt the spot where Mom said it hurt, diagnosing it as a muscle spasm. I gave Mom some ibuprofen and got her a heating pad, which helped. When I left yesterday, I felt like we were on an upswing and things could only get better.

This morning I was awakened by the telephone. Caller ID told me it was the office at Mom’s assisted living, which set off my alarm bells. “Mom’s fine,” the administrator told me first thing. He was calling with another concern. Long story short, it appears that she brought home bedbugs from the SNF. I got dressed and headed over there. The Orkin man came to do an inspection, and the decision was made to move Mom into a vacant room for a few days while her room is fumigated.

Thank goodness this happened on a weekend when I could be there. Every single piece of her clothing, bedding, towels, etc. had to be laundered – and the staff didn’t seem to have any concept of machine washable vs. “dry clean only”. I pulled all her nicer clothes out of her closet and took them to my car to clean myself. Then I supervised the packing of her belongings, wrapping her fragile items in paper towels or bubble wrap, since the staff didn’t seem to show any particular concern for that either. I took a box of the most fragile stuff home with me. The packing and transition to the new, temporary room took several hours. Mom was completely exhausted and fell into her new bed almost immediately. I could easily have done the same, but I had to go home and do her laundry so that she’d have pajamas to wear tonight.

Bedbugs, for crying out loud. As if we didn’t have enough to deal with right now. As if she needed to be uprooted again, just as she was beginning to readjust to being home. As if I needed to spend a day moving her out of that room and another day (next Saturday, I’m told) moving her back in. It feels  like we just can’t catch a break, either one of us. I feel like I could sleep for a week… but tomorrow is Monday, so I’ve got just eight hours before I have to get up for work. Guess I’d better rest while I can.


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