Friday, January 19, 2018

A Cloud of Pain

I don't remember the last time I had any sort of major pain.  I have been fortunate in that regard.  It probably was 2003, when I had my bike accident and dislocated my shoulder. But the thing I remember about that time is that when you are in that much pain, it's like you are living inside a cloud of pain, oblivious to everything around you. 

Looking at my mother today, that's all I could think of.  She was in this big cloud of pain and nothing outside the cloud registered with her.

Of course she was not wearing her splint.  They've taken to calling her "Houdini" for how quickly she can get out of it.
The wrist was much more swollen and discolored and every little thing that touched it, or came near it, caused her to cry out in pain.  I think if she could have taken a pill to end her life then and there she would have.

And of course she doesn't know why it hurts.  And she can't understand that the splint is to protect it so that she can't accidentally brush it against anything (she told me she didn't know anything about a splint and guessed she didn't have one).

I told one of the aids today that I have noticed a significant decline in her cognitive functioning recently and she agreed and said "sometimes it comes on suddenly."  At 98, that's not surprising.  I suspect that even after the wrist has healed, she will have taken another step down from which she probably won't recover.

Today was her appointment with the orthopedist and we had to check in an hour early so she could get an x-ray.  Of course I couldn't stay in the room with all the rays flying around, so I don't know how much the manipulation of her wrist to get four shots hurt her, but I suspect a lot.

Then back to ortho to wait for her to be called.  Her official appointment time was not until 2:50, so we had about 45 minutes to wait and after about 40 minutes, she had to go to the bathroom.  This was my first time with bathroom duty for her and getting the wheelchair into the ladies room was almost impossible and with her unable to understand such commands as "hold the bar while I move the wheelchair" made it even more difficult.  I finally got her to understand she should hold onto the metal bar while I moved the wheelchair out of the way, but then she couldn't understand that she had to lower her body to the toilet.  Trying to manipulate her I couldn't help at brush her wrist several times and each time she let out a mournful groan.

I suspect this is something I will get better at doing.

They finally called her back to a room and the certified physician's assistant came in. I have to admit I'd never met a medical person named "Sundance" before!  She was very sweet and very patient and said that it was a bad break, that they had aligned it well in the ER and that it had shifted a bit, with all the splint on/splint off-ing. 

Said that she couldn't put a cast on her herself, so she called the wonderful Arthur, who got her all decked out in a bright green cast.

She was already picking at it before he'd left the room, but he assures me that it is solid and she won't be able to remove it.

I'm not convinced and I'll be curious to see what I find when I check on her tomorrow.

We dropped her back at Atria and I decided to let the aid take her to her room.  She was totally lost and confused and didn't know why I was there and I told her I'd see her tomorrow. 

I came home to take my now-normal post-Atria nap.  Unless she tears the cast off between now and next week, she won't have to return to Ortho until next Friday.

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