We remain in town a little longer to make sure my mother Ginny is o.k. from her fall. (See Part I). As it turns out, we also have to say goodbye to Summer. No, it wasn’t the changing of the season but rather Summer is the name of Ginny’s caregiver.
I haven’t spoken much about Summer whom we hired through an agency. We never thought it would work because she is so young (20) and mom wouldn’t have the patience for her, but we were wrong. Ginny adores her. Although she is scheduled for only one day a week, she accepts extra days as long as it doesn’t interfere with her nursing school schedule. Ginny just clicked with her personality. She loves her stories about her family and life on various air force bases (her dad is retired now) and she’s smart.
Sadly, today is her last day. She is moving and will no longer be able to provide care to mom. But at least, we get to say goodbye. She arrives before us (we’re staying at my sister’s) and listens to mom’s story about her fall. She asks some great questions about whether her breathing is labored at all (broken ribs) and mom says she is ok. She does find a bruise on mom’s left side. She convinces Ginny to take some ibuprofen.
After Summer’s departure, we spent the rest of the day with Ginny. Aside from stiffness, she is doing well. Then, my sister Hailey’s phone starts to ring at 7:30 the following morning. It’s mom and she is dizzy, nauseous and wants our help. We realize that the fall has triggered her vertigo. We arrive as fast as we are able and start working on an appointment with the American Balance Institute. This is where they have successfully treated her vertigo in the past by gently moving her head in specific motions to guide the inner ear crystals back into place.
By the end of the afternoon, with an appointment scheduled, and Ginny successfully eating lunch and a snack, we left for home feeling confident that the treatment would be successful. But it wasn’t. It lessened the dizziness; but not the nausea. She stopped eating. Hailey brought her to her home for 2-3 days where she began to eat again. But as soon as she returned to her own home, she felt lousy again. She saw her primary doctor who ordered an ultrasound and it was negative. In addition, Ginny announces that she’s not sleeping because she’s thinking but “not sure what’s she’s thinking about.” And now, there is no “local” help to lean on. Summer is gone and my sister-in-law Betsy is on vacation.
It’s a perfect storm of complications. At one point, I turn to my husband Dennis and say “how many signs is the universe trying to give us to tell us it’s time?” First, we get the call that the owner wants the rent increase and signed lease. Then she falls. Then the vertigo returns and our caregiver moves. And Betsy is out of town. It all happens simultaneously.
There is a quote by Paulo Coelho in The Alchemist that comes to mind.
All you have to do is to pay attention; lessons always arrive when you are ready, and if you can read the signs, you will learn everything you need to know in order to take the next step.Paulo Coelho
We can read the signs. They are large and neon and flashing. It’s time to place Ginny in Independent Living where she won’t be alone. Not only is it for her safety, but it’s for us too. I’m seeing it differently now. Something else IS going to happen. We need to actually move her over a time period where she is feeling well. And she is doing better now.
We’ll have to talk with Ginny about it (not to negotiate but to convince), however, I’m wondering if those “nights of thinking” she referred to is thinking that she doesn’t want to live alone anymore either. That would be the biggest sign of all.
Did you see clear signs when you placed a parent into independent/assisted living? What were they? Was your parent willing to move from a home they were comfortable in? Please feel free to leave a comment below.