Sunday, March 13, 2011

A TALE FROM THE HEART...

Well, it's that time again for good ole Trevor...yes that's me, to help Brenda tell yet, another inspiring tale about what's been going on in her life.

As some of you know by now...Brenda's Mom has now been in the nursing home over a month now.  If you don't think this has been hard on her...well you are barking up the wrong tree.

Brenda has done everything possible to make her Mom's stay as comfortable as possible.  If it had not been for good friends, a lot of these things could never have been accomplished.

They helped her move her Mom's TV...which was given by a real neat fellow...that Brenda knows from where she works.  Cable got hooked up now...so her Mom is enjoying those good old shows.  They don't make them like that anymore.  I would really like to see "Lassie" on there sometime...as I have a special place in my heart for that darn courageous Collie.

Anyway...on to my story about Brenda and her recent struggles....which she is handling as best she can. 

As some of you know...Brenda has struggled with Rheumatoid Arthritis...for almost 20 years now.  Most people in her position...would not be working, let alone still holding down a full-time job.  She is the exception.  I really think she gets her strength and tenacity from her Mom...who is also fighting real hard to get better and stronger.

Well, last September...Brenda really starting having problems with her right ankle...so she wrapped it up thinking it was just a flare...but it just got worse over time.  She was finally diagnosed with tendonitis in both of her feet.  She was referred to a podiatrist...who prescribed ankle braces to wear...but they just didn't get that much better.

He said the only thing that might give her some comfort would be orthotics.  They did seem to help for a while...but the pain came back in the right foot with such a vengeance...that he decided to order an MRI on her right foot.

She got the results back last Wednesday...and it showed that she has torn tendons...which need a chance to heal...so she is now wearing an air cast to keep everything from moving around and causing more damage. 

The dog gone bad part about this whole ordeal...is that she has to wear that thing morning, noon, & night...yes even to bed.  She was dog gone upset about this...because it's hard to walk with.  It weighs several pounds...so the first couple of days were really rough...she felt lopsided with her right shoulder really hurting as well as her leg.  That has gotten a little better now.

The real big challenge is stairs.  Brenda has about 6 wide ones going into her apartment.  She had to figure out what foot to use first.  It's really what works for you.  She has managed to wash several loads of laundry...just being very careful going up and down stairs.

Another big factor this time of year...is all the ice, as we live in good ole North Dakota and we had a dilly of a storm on Friday.  When it's that bad....she just can't chance going out and falling...so she was able to visit with her Mom on her TracFone. 

It's hard on days like that for Brenda...as she is so super close to her Mom...not just in proximity, but in life.  They have been through so much together.

Last week was especially hard on Brenda...as she just felt kinda trapped with this air cast thing and everything else that has been going on.  She loves her Mom so much...that it just breaks her heart...when she can't seem to do all that she wants to do for her.  I keep telling her...not to be so hard on herself.  Her Mom understands and knows that Brenda is doing her level best.

Brenda is trying to keep everything together and to still make time for her friends as well.  She has been blessed with some who are willing to take her to work and yes, to even help her in and out of their van...so she doesn't fall.

If everything pans out...Brenda may only have to wear the air cast for about 3 weeks.  It's a little tricky to get on...but she mastered that pretty quickly...as she does anything in life that is difficult.

Don't think that Brenda doesn't have her times...when she just wants to stop and collapse.  She does and that's when I allow her to become human and cry on my shoulder.

She really gets her comfort and strength from all the wonderful friends she has met in her support group...Meningioma Mommas.  She also has met many wonderful friends through Facebook.

It's just amazing to me that people that don't even know her Mom personally, are sending cards & gifts...but they must think so dog gone much of Brenda, to perform such an act of kindness.

Brenda's Mom really appreciates that. 

I will now let Brenda finish this most inspiring tale. 

Thanks Trevor...you put that so beautifully about my relationship with my Mom.  I really appreicate all the help we have been receiving. 

This has really been a real hard & sad chapter in my life...but Mom & I will get through it.  She tells me that often. 

Trevor & I will be back with another story real soon. 

Friday, March 4, 2011

TUESDAY TALE...A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A NURSING HOME...

Trevor here once again with another inspiring story...that Brenda is going to share this time.  Her Mom has now been in the nursing home just a little over 3 weeks and so much has happened.  She is going to share with you what she experienced.. when she spent a day with her Mom and to give you a bird's eye view of what a day may be like for her Mom.  I hope you enjoy it! 

I wanted to call it...A Dog's Day In February...but it really has nothing to do with ole Trevor here...so here it is...take it away Brenda!

Thanks Trevor...for that wonderful intro...

As you know...Mom entered a nursing home just a little over 3 weeks now.  I attended what they call a care conference...that is held for new residents and their families...usually after the resident has been there for about 2 weeks or so. 

It was a most interesting day...here is just some of what I gleaned from it. 

The care conference consists of all the people that are involved in Mom's care.  The social worker, nurses, PT, OT, dietitians, activities she is involved in, etc.  You get the picture.  Anyway we were allowed to ask questions or voice our concerns.  It's a very open environment and everyone was so helpful in answering our questions or concerns that we had.

One big concern is the fact that Mom just can't seem to put on much weight.  So they are working on getting her some nutrition...especially at breakfast...so she is strong enough to do her PT & OT...which she does for a half-hour each...5 days a week.

I had a chance to sit in on her OT...and I gotta tell ya...that is quite the workout.  They allow her to rest in between exercises...as they monitor her oxygen levels very carefully.  All the while I was there...her levels were in the 90's...which is where you want them to be.  Prior to all of this...they were as low as the 70's...which can be dangerous...and that was usually brought on by having her walk. 

She has actually been able to go without her oxygen...but they continue to monitor that very carefully. 

We had to make some switches in how her PT & OT is done.  Since she gets so tired...it was suggested that she eat her breakfast first...to give her a chance to gain some strength and then do the PT.  She does the same with the OT after her lunch...and this has worked out so much better. 

It's very important...that she continue with these exercises so she can continue to get stronger with each day.  She is quite the trouper.  When I observed the OT...which is where they concentrate more on the strength training...she did hand gripping...much like I had to do for my carpal tunnel therapy. 

There was this one exercise where she had to push colored rings over this thing...that actually reminded me of a rainbow.  She pushed them all on one side and then the other.  This was to help her gain strength in her upper arms. They would switch off with the various exercises...gradually building up her reps...usually around 15 or so.

She has really been through a lot in the last month.  As I write this...it has almost been 4 weeks to the day...that our lives took a very drastic turn.

Mom is facing all of this with an attitude that is uncommon to most people.  She is plainly and simply...a *FIGHTER*...she is getting stronger with each day.  She is able to get around in her room, etc.

She has also gotten to pet a dog...when they have pets come visit the residents in their rooms.  This is usually done every Thursday.  She has played BINGO and has won! 

We were even able to take her out for a couple of hours...a few weeks back...to get back to the apartment...which I think was important.

I have even taken her for wheelchair rides down to the lobby...so she can see outside. 

She wants to thank everyone who has visited, sent cards, gifts and for the many calls she has received.  This has made this so much easier for us...to really know that you care that much.

We are taking one day at a time...and hoping for the best.  I will do anything for her...as she is truly my *BEST FRIEND*

I hope this gave you just a little glimpse of what a day is like for her.  Thanks for allowing me to share this most inspiring story and also to Trevor, who is my inspiration and a great help to me.