Friday, June 6, 2014

Mom's Heart

I went to GA and visited Mom over Memorial Day weekend, and it was, as usual, a very good visit.  Any time I get to hang out with Mom and look at old photos and get Mom hugs is always very good.

Mom had a health scare a couple of days before I went.  She was on her way to the dining room and felt sick so she stopped in the hallway and sat on her walker seat.  A nurse saw her and brought her back to her apartment, where she lost consciousness for a couple of minutes.  I spoke to a nurse during my visit who used the word "unresponsive" when describing what happened, and that is a terrifying word.  They think it may have been Mom's heart, but Mom doesn't want to go to the hospital for tests, and honestly I don't think I can blame her.  Since then she's felt fine, and she seemed normal to me while I was there.

She was a little reluctant to leave to go out to a restaurant for lunch, so we didn't.  I didn't want to push her, but she never goes out to eat, and I feel like maybe it's good for her to, even if it's only rarely.  She does go out twice a month to have her hair washed and set, but she gets too tired to combine that outing with lunch.

My Mom is so sweet.  I know which of the retirement home employees are good and which ones are, shall I say, less good, by the way they are with Mom.  The ones who have made an effort to speak to her, which can be difficult because of her hearing problems, just love her.  Your mother is the sweetest person, they tell me, the receptionist and the activities director and the manager.  One of the cooks has a whole thing where she and Mom blow kisses to each other.  One of the nurses gives Mom little crosses to carry with her and hugs Mom every day in the dining room, telling her how blessed she is. Mom grasps her hands and looks into her eyes and tells her that she is blessed, too.

The majority of them are like that, and they know Mom's likes and dislikes, and they are clearly fond of her and try to make her happy.  They check on her at random times in her apartment and watch to make sure she eats enough.  (I'm not sure they know that when Mom doesn't like what's for dinner or lunch she'll come back to her apartment and eat an apple, or a sliced up banana with peanut butter on it, or an ice cream sandwich.  My sister keeps her stocked.)

There are a few that seem competent but also seem young and inexperienced, and probably also low-paid, and definitely have less patience for trying to get to know someone who can barely understand them when they speak.  They are okay, just not going out of their way to be nice, and of course since it's my own dear mother I want to smack everyone who doesn't love her. 

It's hard to watch people who are essentially strangers take care of my mother, who is so vulnerable.  I try to look at her sweetness and kind nature as her superpower that does seem to come through (for anyone paying attention) despite her physical weaknesses.  Any retirement home employee would have to be a truly evil person to be mean to her.