Na Na pinches her pennies (aka frugal living)

Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.

A decision to make

The last time I visited my mother, on Friday, she was in her wheelchair at the dining table sound asleep.  Nothing I did would rouse her for more than a couple of mumbled words.  I shook her. I yelled at her to WAKE UP!  I was concerned about her sugar levels and possibly that was the reason she would not wake.  I told an aide, who told another aide, who told a nurse, who told a nurse practitioner about my concern.  But none of the people seemed to be worried.  The NP said she had given Mom a dose of medication to calm her down which made her sleepy.  I don’t think I like that at all.  I know she can be quite feisty sometimes but to be knocked out and sleeping in a chair during a meal is not right.

Mom simply would not rouse until I told her I was leaving which made her cry. When I asked her why she was crying she told me she didn’t want me to go away forever.  I reassured her that I would be back in a couple of days so she went back to sleep.  Without eating her meal.  No one seemed concerned at all when a patient does not eat.  That’s not good for diabetics or any nursing home patients.  I wanted someone to check her sugar level but no one was around to do that.

Anyway, late Friday evening I get a phone call from the physical therapist that visits patients when there is a need.  She says I need to make a decision about my mother.  Would I want them to insert a feeding tube or just let her live without it for what little time is left to her?  Huh?  What?

The therapist explains that Mom is too weak to swallow food. When she eats some of the food is getting into her lungs and choking her. Even a simple pudding or baby food is hard for her to swallow.  They did a test and Mom spent several minutes coughing after one swallow of pudding.  The therapist asks what I want them to do?   I asked her what would be the best option?  I believe her to be in a better position to understand the options and wanted her advice about those options.  All she would say is that there is no right or wrong decisions, its up to me.

So, she was saying it is up to me to either force my mother to have a feeding tube inserted, which is no guarantee of preventing her from choking on her own saliva, or let my mother live what time she has left choking on food at each meal.

There just has to be more information about the options.  I can’t believe no one can explain the advantages or the disadvantages of both options or what safety precautions are available with either choice.   I did some research on the internet to find information about both options.  I found out what I needed to know.  Mainly I learned what is involved with both options and the possible outcomes.

Armed with this information I pulled out a copy of her living will. Following my mother’s wishes there won’t be a feeding tube. Everything in me wants to say forget that and have the feeding tube procedure done anyway.  But I can’t.  My mother would not want a feeding tube.

This could be a temporary situation because of the heavy drugs she is given or it could be a sign of the end coming.  I’m hoping she will recover and be her feisty self again.  I’m definitely going to check to see what her drug is and how much is given.  Can her lack of swallowing be due to being half asleep?

For the next few days I’ll be spending most of my time away from my computer and not writing posts.  There are several legal matters I must attend to concerning my mother.  I also want to double check several funeral related items she and I decided while she was still able to communicate.  I believe everything is correct but it won’t hurt to read over it all again.

I’ll post when I can.

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12 comments on “A decision to make

  1. MsNaUnd
    June 15, 2015

    This is very upsetting news. I’m appalled by the lack of concern of the medical staff. You shouldn’t have to check the options on the internet ! I give you a long-distance hug and will be praying for you.

    • Na Na
      June 17, 2015

      Thank you for the hug. Its one of the worst run homes I’ve seen. I have her on several waiting lists of other places.

  2. Jackie
    June 15, 2015

    My heart goes out to you…..you are correct….it could be her final days or it could be her drugs interacting. I observed many families struggle with these same decisions concerning their loved ones. Thankfully, you know her wishes. Thinking of you….

    • Na Na
      June 17, 2015

      I saw her today and she was bright and alert.

  3. Sandy
    June 15, 2015

    My prayers are with you and your mom.

    • Na Na
      June 17, 2015

      Thank you, I appreciate that.

  4. boblosan
    June 14, 2015

    I’m so sorry. That must have been so frightening for you. My mom is 75. She had to go to physical therapy to develop her throat muscles so she could swallow without choking. She was not happy about it, but she did it. They have a thickened liquid that your mom could try. They can make it thick enough for her to swallow or thinner when she’s doing better. I hope perhaps this will help you. If not – well, you have my thoughts and my prayers with you and your mom.

    • Na Na
      June 17, 2015

      She has been on the thickened liquids for several years. When I saw her today she was doing much better.

  5. Linda Smith
    June 14, 2015

    Anita, I am so angry on your behalf; the medical system in this country is a disaster. My heart breaks for you & your mother. I hope you have friends & family around you for emotional support. I know it’s of no real help but you will be in my heart.

    • Na Na
      June 17, 2015

      Thank you. Yes, it is a disaster. It scares me what it will be like when I have need of nursing home care.

  6. Kathleen
    June 14, 2015

    God Bless you! I found out 18 yrs ago when I was the executer for my mother’s will…no fun !I think living wills take some of the pressures off the family…..that’s what they are for…….last wishes of our loved ones….praying for you.

    • Na Na
      June 17, 2015

      Yes, her living will told me exactly what she wanted and that’s what I will do.

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