Mom Update
Life in General

A Mom Update

I know some of you follow my blog to stay in the know about what’s happening with my mom. With all that’s going on, there’s not much to report, but I can give you some new information.

Neurosurgeon appointment

She had an appointment on March 26 with the neurosurgeon. Given the circumstances, we weren’t sure if they would still want to see her, but everyone agreed it was an important part of her recovery.

Since we were trying to be super careful, she and I were the only ones who went. Joy Ride picked us up at her current care center and took us downtown to the Iowa Methodist Medical Center. It was kind of eerie. Even then, there were significantly fewer people there. Usually, it’s a constant stream of people.

Due to the reduced activity, the radiology area we were told to go to had been closed and we had to go to another one. Not a big deal; we’ve been to both before. I was so worried I would forget something we’d need, but I did have her insurance card, which they asked for. I had to complete all the sign-in information.

There were precautions. We both had our temperatures taken before we could even enter the waiting room. Staff was definitely cut back. I don’t know if that contributed to our long wait, but we were there for quite a while.

After her scan, we then went to the doctor’s office. I’m not very adept at wheelchair driving especially when they put footrests on that hold her legs almost straight out. It’s not easy to navigate and I kept bumping into things!! I think she thought I was doing it on purpose!!

We had our temperatures taken again at the doctor’s, but this time the nurse put green dots on us to indicate we’d already been tested. I wonder why they didn’t do that the first place we went, since they knew we’d be visiting another office. Oh well. It’s not a big deal to have your temperature taken.

We had another long wait. It was after noon before we got in for her 11:15 appointment. Waiting is bad enough for a “normal” person, but with her impaired cognitive abilities, it was difficult for her to understand. Plus she got tired.

Scan results

Once we finally got in, the doctor said her scan looked good. No fluid or bleeding in the brain. But he was surprised that she hadn’t regained more of her cognitive skills. He tested her on a couple of things and suggested she might have aphasia. Aphasia affects a person’s ability to express and understand written and spoken language.

I have noticed that when she talks about people and things, she never mentions them by name. She’ll say something like, we need to go see him. And when we ask who “him” is, she gets frustrated and acts like we should know. The doctor noticed it with objects. She could tell him he was holding a pen, but she couldn’t identify the parts of the pen. (Actually, sometimes I wonder if I could pass their tests. 😜)

His plan is to contact her primary care doctor and possibly have a neuropsychological evaluation. Based on what I’ve read, a neuropsychological evaluation is an assessment of how one’s brain functions, which indirectly yields information about the structural and functional integrity of your brain.

The neuropsychological evaluation involves an interview and the administration of tests. The tests are typically pencil and paper type tests. I assume these tests are similar to those she’s had as part of her therapy but this sounds like it might be a little more comprehensive.

Aphasia is often found after a stroke but it’s not uncommon for a TBI. The main type of treatment is speech therapy. And there’s always the possibility it won’t improve. Not what we wanted to hear, but we had noticed that while she wasn’t worse, she also wasn’t improving much.

Next steps

As you know, we’ve been a bit stalled because of all the coronavirus restrictions. But other than through FaceTime, my mom and dad haven’t seen each other for over a month. We have decided to move forward with our long term plan.

Right now, they are scheduled to move into a Vintage Hills assisted living apartment on May 7. It won’t be ideal. None of us will be allowed in and they will have to be quarantined in their apartment for 14 days. We have some concern that my mom won’t do well with this, given the freedom she currently has to move around and talk to people.

But she’ll have good care and therapy. And she’ll be with my dad. We hope getting them together with their “stuff”, she might feel more “at home”. We’re not sure she really understands where she is right now so the move may not be that upsetting. However, we can’t really predict.

In the meantime, my dad will stay with us. My mom will stay where she is. But I think we all feel good that we now at least have a plan. I’m pretty sure by May 7, we still won’t have the freedom to visit them, but we’ll be a few steps closer to getting past the rough part of this in Iowa. And now that we know my dad can manage FaceTime, we’ll be able to call and see them.

It’s really hard to know what’s coming next. I just heard about a Harvard study that says we might be practicing social distancing through 2022. And a prediction that there would be no sports with people in the stands this summer.

I’m bummed. After five years of missing Cincy tennis, I was finally going to get back there this August. And probably no baseball games for our grandson. Tim’s already had most of his races either canceled or rescheduled.

Welcome to our new world!! Stay safe everybody!! 😷

20 Comments

  • Patricia Doyle

    Hi, I think having a plan in place is such a positive place to be. A couple of things that I thought of:
    – my dad has aphasia after his stroke. It was very challenging but we all learned to adjust to it… even him. We lowered our expectations on conversation engagement and really tried to be calm when he couldn’t say what he wanted to – that helped him stay calm as well. I’ve noticed my mom now experiencing a variation of aphasia (she’s 86) and just try do the same – not point out if she misses a word/name, listen to the same story again even if she doesn’t recall telling it to me. It’s hard, but if I try and verbally “help”, she gets upset about it.

    – you might want to check out Zoom while you dad is still with you. I’ve found it better than Facetime as far as connectivity. And you can easily link in anyone, not just Apple folks. I think it’s super easy to use.

    Good luck with the move. I do believe having her husband back with her will overcome some of the other restrictions.

    • Retired Introvert

      Thanks for the information and suggestion. I think we could live with the aphasia but she also has delusions and paranoia. I think there’s a drug that will help with the delusions but we haven’t seriously checked into it. Everything’s just too hard right now. My dad doesn’t have issues but he tells the same stories and asks the same questions a lot. I’ve always attributed it to old age and maybe just a way to have a conversation. Who knows. Getting old is tough. Watching someone get old isn’t easy either.

  • Helen

    Thinking of you and mom and Dad. Maybe things will open up a little and maybe worse not sure! I spend a lot of time on patio that is as far as I get. You and Teri and tim get some rest. Love you

    • Retired Introvert

      I would love your patio right now, especially the warmer temps!! We’re doing OK. Just taking one day at a time. Love you too.

  • Trudy Huisman

    I hope you’re as comforted (and surprised!) as I was when my parents moved to an assisted living community. Once they had their stuff moved in and mom had everything where she wanted it, they seemed happy and somewhat relieved with less responsibilities facing them each day. I’ll be thinking about you.

    • Retired Introvert

      I sure hope that’s true. I think my dad will be fine. I don’t know what to expect with my mom. I know my sister and I will feel a lot better knowing they’re watched after and safer. They don’t always realize the stress they’re putting on us by not respecting their limits. We’ll see. I’m thinking positively!! Thanks Trudy.

  • An’Nyce

    Your dad will miss his cribbage time with Tim! You’ll have to think about virtual Cribbage.

    I’m thinking about ya’, girl! It’s a stressful time for you and your family. Remember to find some time for YOU in all this. Take care! ❤️

    • Retired Introvert

      Yes, he will. I don’t think he could handle virtual anything!! He’s hit and miss with FaceTime. 🤷‍♀️

      I’m getting more time for myself now than before. Since there’s not much we can do outside of the house, I’m spending time on my projects. Just seem to have trouble sleeping from time to time. Last night was not good, but can’t figure out why. Age?

    • Retired Introvert

      Progress but I hope we’re not rushing. That’s my only worry. I also know it will be difficult no matter when we do it. Probably best to bite the bullet.

  • mary l origer

    Hey Linda. Glad to see update. Might not all be going as you had hoped, but at least you have a plan to follow. Prayers with all of you.

  • Renee heberer

    Thank you for the update on that special lady. Hoping with time and continued therapy she will see an improvement in the aphasia. Prayers for both your parents and you, Tim and sisters family too. It’s a long haul…

    • Retired Introvert

      Yep, there are still lots of decisions to make and things to do. We’ll be busy for a while. Thanks for the prayers and for thinking about all of us.

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