My day started in panic this morning. Yesterday afternoon, I called my mother and there was no answer. I figured she was probably taking her daily walk around the lagoon and decided I would call her later, but with the phone call from our Gregorian Chant friend, I never did.
This morning I called her at 7:15 and there was no answer. I figured she was in the bathroom. Ten minutes later I called again and got her answering machine. I thought maybe she was talking to her stepson, who sometimes calls her in the morning, but when I called her two more times over the next 20 minutes and there was still no answer, I didn't know what to do. I had plans to take Peach to lunch and was almost ready to tell her I would have to cancel and drive to San Rafael.
Before I did that, I decided to call LifeLine and see if they could get an answer out of my mother if there was maybe a problem with her telephone. I thought they might still be able to call out to her. I was convinced she was either sick or dead.
Fortunately the LifeLine office doesn't open until 8:30 so I would have to wait 15 minutes. I called my mother one last time and she answered. When I asked where she had been, she said that she had been sitting right there at her table, just feet from the phone, and that it had not rung. These days I don't know what to believe with her, but at least she was OK, or as OK as she ever is these days, and I could keep my lunch date with Peach.
I'm unhappy that my mother's pain is increasing. She says she's having problem walking because her hips and her legs hurt, as well as her back but the doctor seems to think there's nothing that can be done for her, so she's trying to learn how to live with the pain.
So since she wasn't dead and I didn't have to drive to her house to discover her body, I kept my date with Peach. Bob has been moved to a new, smaller facility where he will presumably end up in long term care (MediCal willing). They had some serious problems with how he was being handled at first, but had a meeting with lots of folks earlier this week and hope that things will begin to improve regarding his care.
I asked if she was still going to visit him every day, and she said that she and her son were now taking turns, so she gets some days off. I figured she could use some "fun" (as much as you can have fun under these circumstances), so suggested that I take her out to lunch.
I got there around 11 and got the latest report on Bob. We also talked a lot about my mother and the concerns we both have about her continuing to live independently vs. her pride in being able to live independently and how that would be affected if she had to move. The ultimate short-term plan we came up with was that I'm going to have lunch with her once a week, which should take care of what seems to be her growing feeling that I am not there often enough and will also give me a better chance to assess how she's doing.
At noon, we went to Peach's favorite Mexican restaurant (yesterday Italian, today Mexican), and it was a nice lunch with a big bowl of delicious guacamole to have with our enchiladas and tacos. She talked about how one of her concerns about Bob is that he has lost 25 lbs since his stroke a month and a half ago. She says he's a meat 'n' potato guy and often doesn't like the kind of food he is getting. She says she's going to start bringing him milk shakes when she goes to visit.
We decided to stop at McDonald's and get a shake and then drive over to the new place, so I could see where it is. She mentioned that one of the biggest problems with it is that the parking lot is very small and it was often impossible to find a parking place, so I immediately invoked my parking angel and sure enough, when we arrived the lot was full, except for the one car that was just pulling out of a space right in front of the door. Thank you, Gilbert. (Show-off.)
But Bob was asleep when we got there. The new place is very nice. I like it better than the old one. In the old one the caretaker to patient ratio was 1 to 30. In this place it's 1 to 8. Bob also has a "babysitter" who stays in his room all the time, watching to be sure he doesn't fall out of bed (which he had done 3 times before she started watching him). It's a nice job. She sits there all day, with her smart phone, surfing the net and playing videogames. That's a job I could handle! But when he tries to get up, or has some other problem, she is right there to take care of him immediately.
Peach tried to wake him up and he did wake, a little, but was too sleepy to drink his milk shake. She left me with him while she took the shake to the refrigerator and went to check on which meds he was being given. I sat there while he slept and then suddenly he started to sit up, his eyes opened wide and he said, very clearly, "Well, HI, Bev!" Then he told me that he had a new baby boy and he began to get very restive, pulling the bedclothes off and trying to get up. Turned out he felt he needed to get to the bathroom, but his sitter was there to remind him that he had a catheter. He relaxed, urinated and immediately was sound asleep again.