Monday, May 18, 2009

Okay Doctor, give up on us

April 8, 2009
Elbert had a neurologist appointment. Seems all they do anymore is give him new prescription refills. I really expected a little more in the way of care but we am not getting it. Perhaps they are doing all they can but it just doesn't make sense to me. Things are getting much tougher for him, looks like the care from a doctor would be more intense.

The nurse asked a lot of questions as she usually does. "Are there any changes, any this, any that" She entered my responses on the computer. Yes, Elbert's memory is worse, No he is no longer falling... blah, blah, blah.

The doctor comes in, listens to his heart, has him walk from the chair to the door and back, all of 5 or 6 steps each way. So, what does he think that will do?

The wedding is looming ever nearer and I still don't know what to do. Should I take Elbert and risk his total confusion and my inability to concentrate on anything but his care? Or should I get someone to watch him? So, I asked the doctor what to do. 'Oh, he'll do fine. He'll be around people he knows and that will work out'. Okay.... we are traveling 600 miles round trip and will be surrounded by people we don't know. The doctors opinion was useless in my book.

Then, the doctor shakes our hand and says, 'I'll see you in a year. If there is a crisis or you need medicine call me'. I am thinking, 'Okay, buster, you are basically abandoning us. The medicine you are prescribing is just prolonging the illness so you decide you are out of here leaving me to deal with it all. I was ticked big time. Well, actually ticked wasn't the word I used but since this is public.. ticked will do.

That afternoon son Michael and I went to check out an assisted living facility. I came away from there knowing I could place Elbert there and be satisfied. It didn't feel like a nursing home because it is not. It was very clean, no odor and no noise. Everyone was clean and looked happy and well fed. But, it was private pay. I couldn't see how I could afford it. Two of the children said they'd help me but, the more I thought about it the more I knew that Elbert was progressed past assisted living. So, we agreed that we should visit a nursing home with an Alzheimers wing and see what they had to offer.

It's a heart wrenching decision, placing a loved one in a nursing home. I have dealt with guilt (which now I think I have come to terms with), I've worked for years to see he was cared for but I can't do that forever. Sadness fills every inch of me and yet in the back of my mind is a wee thought that the help I prayed for is within reach. Decisions, many to make but I can do it.


Peggy said...

Hi latane, just catching up on your life as I have not been on lately. Things have really changed quickly and not for the better.I can understand yur confusion in trying to deal with it, with Tammie gone it all reverts back to you and you are also sharing Elberts confinement, the only difference being he does not know it and you do.A nursing home is a big decision to make but only you can decide that, as it is your life also and the day is rapidly approaching when Elbert will not know where he is at any time and your own health will have to become your primary concern.
Best wishes

Jenn Jilks said...

Honey, you do what you need to do for YOU, as the caregiver.

Go to the wedding, hire a caregiver. You deserve it. It will be a break.

If you need to place him in a good home - do it. He will be cared for and there is a chance he will no longer recognize you.

You are worth it.

All my best wishes.

Take good care of yourself. E-mail me if you need to talk. We can Skype for free!

Anonymous said...

I know whatyou are going through and I know that guilt and yes, the pain of having to make the decision. You need to do what is best for You and Elbert. How effective can you be as a caregiver if you are worn out??? We both know the answer to that question. You have done as much as you possibly could to ensure that you kept him at home as long as possible. No one will fault you if you cannot do it anymore. I wish there was someway I could help you both but alas, there is not. You are where I will be in the very near future. This disease is horrible, worse than any other I can think of. Just know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.

Linda J. said...

I agree with the above comments. And, will Elbert really know where he is if you admit him to a facility that can provide the 24 hour a day care for him that he requires? My mother became very happy in the nursing home where she received attention and care she needed. Guilty? Yes, every day I felt guilty that I wasn't doing more for her. But, I wanted to, and needed to enjoy my children and grandchildren. In my opinion, you MUST take care of yourself. Again, my opinion, is do not take him to the wedding!