Friday, April 23, 2010
The Chief is now pretty stable, and just when I thought I would get my life under control, I am having troubles with my mother's old neighbor again.
She is going to be 90 in June, and she is under treatment for walking pneumonia. Well, I've been checking up on her, and I didn't like the way she looked this morning, so I tested her blood sugar. 143. I made sure she ate and gave her a lecture (no more breakfasts consisting of a doughnut). When I called, she had told me she had toast, but after testing her blood sugar the doughnut confession emerged.
I went back tonight, and lo and behold, 199. Upon which result she confessed to a Klondike bar (whereas before dinner was reported as a cheese and tomato sandwich). Not that this was what I had agreed with her she would eat for dinner anyway. She was supposed to have vegetables, the chicken breast I took over, and maybe a little turkey gravy if she really had to, plus one slice of whole wheat.
So I have been sitting over there arguing with her. If she wants to stay in the house the sweets have got to go. I wanted to take her in tonight, but she argued desperately against it. Needless to say, I will be over there tomorrow morning again first thing. I probably will end up taking her to the doctor then. Also SuperDoc called me about his home computer today, and I have to go in to his office tomorrow to do the weekly backups.
I am between the devil and the deep blue sea on this one, because if I tell family they will bing her into a home and she will never get out. The family situation is really bad. But I cannot let this go on. Her mind is quite clear - in fact, she's way sharper than she was a few years ago. She is competent,, and indeed extremely strong-willed. But she clearly should not be living alone any more. Her husband died in 2005. Her brother, who was living with her, died about 14 months ago. She does have someone who comes by most days and takes her around, but now she needs a little more care.
I HAVE kinda sorta got a financing arrangement worked out where she could afford to get a live-in caretaker which is what she needs. The house probably won't qualify for a reverse mortgage, because the septic system isn't going to pass and the water probably won't either. But I got someone who will buy it on installment with the agreement that she can live there for the rest of her life. However she is not quite willing to do that - yet.
If I can get her stable I can probably get her to a situation in which she'll be protected but not incarcerated. The family just wants the money. But it may take some doing, and in the meantime I feel nothing but guilt and responsibility. I could use some prayers on this one.
I'll pray for wisdom for your neighbor, because clearly she's in desperate need of it!
We use MozyPro at work and I use MozyHome at home.
The at home version cost around $55 per year.
The Pro version costs more, but has an administrator dashboard so can remotely check that backups are going off as scheduled.
I'm glad you read her the riot act; with those sugar levels, and her personal situation she can't afford any transgressions.
Best to her and to you. God Bless.
It's a mercy to have one's nose rubbed in it before the consequences show up.
That said, a breakfast of a doughnut (well, doughnuts) is something of which I'm too familiar. But not recently.
I'm a 40yr old with a lifetime of Type1 diabetes.
Does the lady's glucose level comedown given an hour or so? Or do you believe this a larger problem.
Be careful, elderly ladies like sweets. 90 year old systems break down.
Granted, I have no context here. I'd just hate for you to be rougher on her then you need to.
A four years back the same thing happened when she got a bad infection that was totally missed. They diagnosed her with diabetes, then that cleared up and she looked hypoglycemic (and by looked, I mean, comatose on the floor with a blood sugar of 30), and then she was fine.
Thanks for the hints.
I talked to my doctor this morning about it since I can't reach hers; he said he suspected an uncontrolled infection that was driving her blood sugars up, and that if her blood sugar went back to 200 again I should take her to an emergency room and ask for a chest X-ray.
My guess is her blood sugar control has been slowly worsening over the last couple of years, so I don't know whether this will totally remit or not.
So I say keep her in the house as long as possible, and let her enjoy the doughnuts and Klondike bars. She's 90 already, this is probably the one time in her life when she can eat them and not have to worry about carrying around all the weight she'll gain for the rest of her life. She might as well die in her own home with a Klondike bar in her hand than live 5 more years strapped to a bed in a third rate facility. I know that's what I'd rather do in that situation.
Anyway that's my 2 cents.
This is bringing back some memories of my father and my dog.
My father was too sick to be at home and too well to be in the hospital. They put him in a rehab center and he was required to take daily swims in their pool. He was just so tired though. He died of pneumonia that they didn't know he had. It led to a heart attack.
My dog had mouth cancer and she died at my house. She was fed a full plate of hamburger before I had the Vet put her down.
I don't think there's a right or wrong answer here, but if it was me I'd prefer to go out like my dog did. In other words, I'd probably be eating the Klondike bar at that age too.
This is why you shouldn't feel guilty though. I would understand why people would try to stop me. It simply means they care.
I wish you both the best.
Any lady who is still scrubbing her toilets and carting out food for wild animals has some left. She does much of the light housework.
If she were dying that would be easy, because she has already made it clear she doesn't want to die in the hospital. I had no issue with getting her husband out to die at home, but the thing is, he WAS going.
The issue here is whether she needs a day or two in the hospital to keep her out of a managed care situation or a very long hospital stay. Also, she won't be able to stay at home if she eats the sugar, because the sugar swings do make her tottery.
I realize that her age makes it sound dire, but in fact she was in much worse shape four years ago.
I thought your comments were really helpful, though. Because that is the balancing act. She is very coherent and very much herself, and I do not believe in hassling older people into a few marginal weeks or months of life. I think they should be allowed the same decisions a younger person has the right to make.
However, she ain't dying. She has a lot of stamina. She's worked so hard all her life that she just has become very tough. What will happen if I let this go is that she will go through the same routine (last time, she was taken to the hospital 5 times in a couple of months), but this time, her daughter will toss her into a home on a court order. And that's the problem, because the lady doesn't want to go.
She's not at all afraid to die, but she is afraid of being dumped in a home.
And it was UNNECESSARY, if the stubborn old hen would have actually GONE to the doctor in a timely fashion!!!!!
Sorry, I felt the need to vent ... I've been managing her situation for almost 7 years now.
The last thing you should be feeling is guilty.
Yes, that is the issue. You don't want to do too much, but when they get older you have to do a certain amount.
Life has its natural limits, but the problem is that if you let yourself get too sick before you are ready to die then you have to endure years of a pretty miserable existence.
A lot of people don't get that. This debate about medical care is skewed because of it. You don't necessarily save money by limiting medical care; you save money by doing good maintenance and then letting nature take its course when the jig is finally up.
I am so sorry for you; that's hell for everyone. And nothing can really make it better for you and your family. What's done is done; there's no recourse but to deal with the wreckage.
And yep, that's exactly what I am trying to avoid here. Properly managed, this lady I'm taking care of will get the good death. One night she'll go to bed at home and the next morning she won't wake up. But right now, if she doesn't get on the straight and narrow, she's going to put herself exactly where she doesn't want to be - in an institution. And she'll be there for years. Her heart is good and her organs are good and her mind is good, so she'll consciously suffer years of a useless existence.
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