Archive for the 'Elderly Care' Category

KISS

In this post I’m going to explain why I made the decision to have a Vertical Sleeve.

In case you don’t know what a Vertical Sleeve Surgery is, it’s a less evasive surgery to assist in weight loss. It does not bypass any of your intestines all it does is made your tummy less of a banana shape and more of a straw shape. You eat less because your tummy is smaller but you still absorb all the nutrients. I’m not going to go into the surgery at this time this about how I came to the decision. So for all you chubbies look it up. One night in the hospital and the results are great. But I have to tell you any weight loss surgery will help you get started in losing the weight but you will reach a point where exercise comes into play in order to keep the pounds coming off. I am currently not getting in enough exercise so my weight loss has stopped.

I have been heavy for 40 of my 62 years. I was so used to being heavy the only time I thought about my weight was when I shopped for clothes. So what happened to make me realize I needed help? Was it for a medical problem, or something someone said, was it a traumatic experience, was it humiliation or was a funny situation where the light finally came on. You decide.

Okay I always put off going to the gynecologist but it had been 4 years. On the day of my appointment I arrived early so I would have time for the nurse to find a big gown. Well, as luck would have it NO big gowns were to be found. As every plus girl knows we can get into a regular size gown however it in no way covers or closes in the back. Also your arm movement is limited because you just put 20 pounds of potatoes in a 5 pound sack. So I get in the room small gown in hand and told to undress.

I got undressed quickly so I can be on the table before the doctor comes in. This is what transpired to make me realize I needed help,

I was standing in front of the examination table with my whole backside exposed the gown was so tight I could barely move my arms. The examination table has a little foot stool that comes out about 12 to 18 inches to help you climb up. Well, I placed my right foot on the step however I was unable to put my left foot up because I was wider than the 18 inches, no can do. So, I then put my left foot on the step and my right foot was airborne I don’t know why I thought I would be less wide starting on the other foot.

Starting over. I stepped onto the step backwards facing the door thinking I could raise myself up backwards. The gown was so tight my arm movement so limited a big fail.

The light came on. I figured it out. I could get on step with my right foot, facing the bed I could then climb up. Just as fast as the light came on it went off. There I was facing the bed my right foot on the step my backside facing the door my left leg in the air trying to hoist myself up, sweating big time, my hair was damp and messy, bent over laying across the bed my makeup left an impression on the torn tissue paper.

Deciding to call it quits I turned to get dressed then I saw it, in the corner was a step stool. It was just one step with a 4 foot handle to hold onto. Eureka! I could do it thank you Lord my prayers were answered. I pulled it out of corner and was able to get on the bed. I started to lift the step stool up to swing it to the other side out of the doctor’s way, hoping she wouldn’t realize I needed the extra assistance. As luck would have it, I wasn’t fast enough, there was a quick knock and the door opened. There I sat, half naked, sweaty, messy hair, makeup smeared, holding a 4 foot handle across my lap with the step hanging over the edge. I shut my eyes to imagine what I looked like. Yes, I saw myself. I looked just like a plus size middle age woman auditioning for a spot with KISS. The hair, half dressed, makeup smeared I had it all.

It was then I asked for the referral.

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My Life Today

It’s been a long time since I’ve written on my blog… Quite a bit has happened since my last entry.

My mother passed away on February 6, 2013. The last 2 years of her life she actually became quite nice, it was like she finally forgot what she angry about. Her dementia had gotten worse and she would forget everything within minutes.

A few months after my mother passed away I became the caregiver for her older brother my uncle. He became ill and within 6 months was bedridden. His illness seem to have sped up his dementia. He never became angry but he suffered Hallucinations and Paranoia. He passed on March 18, 2014.

In the last 16 months I have had to change my life as a caregiver back to a wife, mother, grandmother and friend. I am now almost comfortable going back out after being a shut in for 9 years. I have many funny and heartwarming stories about the last few years as a caregiver but right now there my memories and I’m not ready to share. I will someday write about them as the final years of a loved one suffering from dementia can and do effect an entire family.

But, at this time I need to tell you about; Aging Life my story… So be prepared in the next few months I’ll be writing about me, my weight loss after a Vertical Sleeve, my family, friend’s, things happening in my life, things that make me laugh, cry and make me mad. So hold on the ride is about to begin….

Dementia And Dehydration, The Double D’s

For months it’s been one thing or another. I have so much to tell you but I have not had the energy to sit and write. But here it goes my entries will not be in order of their occurrence they will be more of a hit and miss of what I am thinking about at the time.

For the last five years I have been living my life constantly yelling. My mother tells everyone; “I’ve never liked to eat, my mother would sit next to me and yell to get me to eat.”

My mother lives constantly on the verge of malnutrition and dehydration. In the last four years she has gone by ambulance to the hospital four times, one time last year she was so dehydrated she almost didn’t make it. So I constantly yell at her to drink.

Last August I knew my mother either had a bladder infection or was becoming dehydrated she had a horrible body odor. Every time I would try to get her to drink it would end like this;

“Mom, you need to drink more.” “I’m not thirsty.” “I know you’re not thirsty, but you need to drink.” “I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do.” “Mom, your diapers have a strong ammonia smell.” “I don’t smell anything. You must be smelling your own dirty butt”

I took her to the doctor’s and sure enough she had a bladder infection. She also lost 7 pounds in the last for months. When they told us she had an infection I look at my mom and said,” I knew you were sick just from the odor” without skipping a beat my mom looked at the nurse and said;

“My daughter knew I was sick because she’s a witch.” “What did you say?” “You’re a witch.” “Oh witch, I thought you said something else.”

So now I’m getting to what I want to write about, the last six days.

Okay, Saturday October 15th and Sunday the 16th, mom’s diapers again had the odor of straight ammonia, she was refusing to drink more fluids. I’m thinking dehydration. When I would say something to her it would go back to the same song and dance. I made a decision to take her to the doctors on Monday or Tuesday if she was still refusing to drink.

Monday the 17th, mom got up around 9:30.

“Mom, take a bath before it gets too late.” “Why I’m not going anywhere.” “That’s not the point you’ve been in the same diaper all night and if it gets any later you’ll be getting lunch instead of breakfast.” “I’ll take a bath and eat when I’m ready just worry about your own fat butt.”

Now, she knows it bothers me when she talks about my being heavy. Heck I know I’m big but everyday for whatever reason she brings it up. She must truly have dementia because a sane person wouldn’t be making those kinds of comments to the person who makes their food.

By the time she’s ready for breakfast its lunch time so I make her a half of turkey sandwich with swiss cheese, a bowl of soup and a few pieces of cantaloupe and watermelon. She sits down and starts to complain that it was too much food. I let her know if she kept complaining I would give her the other half of the sandwich. I walked into the den to finish my crossword puzzle.

It was about two maybe three minutes and I heard my mother snoring. “Mom wake up, mom are you sleeping, wake up” Nothing so me and my fat butt get up, I touched her shoulder nothing then I notice she had thrown up and had passed out. She was breathing but making a sound between gurgling and snoring.

“911, is this a medical emergency?” “Yes my mother was eating and passed out, I need help.” “Is she breathing? How old is she? The address and number you’re calling from?”

Finally after all the questions were answered, I called my husband and kids everyone showed up the same time as the paramedics. My husband and son stayed to clean the mess and close up the house, Dana drove ahead to the hospital and I went in the ambulance with my mom.

First before I go any further let me tell you about the ambulance. Why are all emergency vehicles so high off the ground? This was my fourth time having to call for paramedics and an ambulance to my mom’s house, I now feel like I have a close enough relationship with the dispatcher that when they see my mom’s address pop up to send a truck with a bucket to help lift my big behind into the cab of the ambulance. It’s embarrassing I felt like a Weeble (you know the roly-poly characters).

We arrive at the hospital the paramedics had already cut open my mom’s favorite dress. The nurses take her torn dress and sweater all the way off and were going to hand them to me. Hell no! I wasn’t even going to touch the bag. The look on my face let them know it was trash time.

Dana came to sit with me, lab work, x-rays, a CT scan all showed how healthy my mom was, the diagnosis was dehydration. They plumped her up with fluids and we ignored her requests for a Babe Ruth bar. The hospital would have released her but her insurance Kaiser has a policy if a patients loses consciousness they stay overnight for observation.

When the ambulance came to transport my mom to Kaiser, Dana drove me home so I could pick up my car. Now I haven’t eaten anything all day. I down a banana and three cookies and then Paul drove me to the hospital.

When I walked into the room my mom was stuffing her face with Fig Newton’s, she feeling good and wanted to know who came with me to see her and who I called. I let her know everyone knew she was in the hospital and no one came because she wasn’t ill, she was there because she was to stubborn to drink water. I told her I’ve had it. I explained the paramedics, the ambulance, doctors and nurses had more seriously ill patients that they needed to tend to, also her taking space in the hospital is one less bed available for someone else more seriously ill. I was so upset and exhausted I left.

Late that night and early the next morning I received a call from the attending doctor at Kaiser, he wanted to let me know my mom was doing well and would be released around noon.

I got there at twelve thirty. When I walked into her room my mom immediately started asking me if anyone came with me to see her in the hospital. I said no because she wasn’t sick just too lazy to drink fluids. I started to get her ready to go when the nurse came in. She was letting me know my mom didn’t want to eat breakfast but she managed to get her to eat some cereal. Lunch was delivered and she needed to try and eat something. My mom flatly refused saying she would eat at home. Knowing that I would have to continue the battle at home I let my mom know if she didn’t eat she wouldn’t be going home. She began eating.

When I pulled the car up to the hospital patient loading zone, the young man who was helping my mom into the car said; “Have a wonderful day” my mom replied “I’m on the way out.” The young man didn’t know what to say, my mom made it seem like she was going home to die.

I stepped on the gas and looked at her and said;

“So where are we going? Dancing? Lunch? On a trip? Where?” “Aren’t we were going home?” “I thought we were until you told that young man you were on the way out. You’re not dying I know this because the doctors in two hospitals just examined you, the only thing wrong with you is your need for attention.”

When we got home;

“Mom, you need to take a shower you had thrown up and haven’t had a shower in two days.” “Don’t worry about me, worry about yourself.” “Mom take a shower.” “Shut up fat ass!”

Okay this time I picked up the phone, should I call the county morgue or my brother? I ended up calling my brother because I knew his number. I put the call on speaker and asked my mother to repeat what she called me and she did. Well, my brother let her know he wasn’t happy and was coming over.

Intervention (this entry is so long maybe it should be an Intermission).

Since I have tried in the past with the Scared Straight approach having only two bad cops wasn’t working. But now were doing Beyond Scared Straight, oh yeah everyone is on board.

The next day my brother came over, he had my back; even without a script he was remarkable. (Now remember in my last entry I had placed my mom in a really nice assisted living facility for a week, so I had to change it up).

I started to explain that I could not afford to put mom into the nice facility. The cost was $150.00 a day when I placed her in for a week of respite care. Placement for long term would be a little more as she needs assistance bathing, medications and walking to and from the dining room. Now keep in mind this conversation is in front of my mom. Without a dress rehearsal this is how it went down between my brother and me in front of my mom.

“I’m going to be honest with you I can’t ask my husband to do any more than what we’ve done its going to cost two thousand more a month to put mom into a home. Can you pay it?” “Two thousand no way, I’m retired.” “Well, if I can come up with half and I don’t think I can would you be able to pitch in one thousand?” “No, right now it would be tough.” “I know that’s how it is with everyone, I do know that there’s facilities that take only SSI and pensions that don’t have the extra frills but it’s doable.” “Sounds good.”

I told my mom I could no longer take care of her, I was done until I sold the house she was going to the cheaper home, the one where she would have to share a room with one to four other woman, the one where the meals would be simple, like bologna or ham sandwiches for lunch and casserole’s for dinner. Her eyes were bigger now, she understood.

My brother also confronted my mom with his disappointment with the way she talks to me. Surprise!

What a good day this was becoming. My aunt even showed up unexpectedly, without clueing her in about us taking a firm stance in Spanish she asked;

“Eva, how are you doing?” “Not good.” “No, Eva say you’re doing fine” “Fine.”

She even let my mom know she needed to do better so she could remain home. Yes today is a good day, I feel like the troops are with me.

Now on the fourth day, Kaiser sent a very nice young girl to evaluate my mother for Palliative Care. The only ailments my mother has is dementia and RA, since she was not in the final stages of life she did not qualify for assistance.

The only thing my mom understood is that this woman was from Kaiser, she asked me what she wanted. I explained she came to see if she could help, but since she didn’t have a medical condition and it was just that she’s too stubborn to eat and drink a facility might be the answer.

Well, that night no problems, this morning I woke her, gave her breakfast, she showered no problems. My brother just called, he remarked I sounded better, and I’m actually feeling better. Mom’s not sleeping she’s watching TV quietly in her room, when she heard the phone she came out to see who called; I said my brother and he asked if I found a home for you yet.

If I can keep it fresh in her mind, I do believe it will be a good day. Peace.

Landeros Resolution

Well it took two months to finally reach a final resolution with Landeros. My aunt would be getting back her money in its original form (credit card) not store credit. She would have to pay the delivery fee and a restocking fee of 10%. I also had to agree to “update ALL forums on the satisfactory agreement.”

So here it is, the final resolution was fair and agreeable by both parties.

However, while the final resolution was fair, getting there was hell. Had Landeros acted more promptly and professionally, they might have kept a customer and obtained a better rating.

Hopefully, this be a lesson learned, your customer service can make or break a business. If you want your business to do well, striving for a fair or satisfactory rating is no longer good enough. The best type of advertising is free and it comes from your customers the type of advertising you receive is controlled by you and your customer service.

Landeros Furniture Beaumont CA

On September 11th, my 82 year old aunt went to Landeros Furniture Superstore located on 1482 E. Second St. Beaumont Ca. with her was her health care worker. They explained to the salesman that my aunt was interested in wicker furniture, it had to be sturdy with firm cushions, due to the fact she in the past has had back surgery. There was nothing in the store so he showed her furniture in catalogs. My aunt did see a set consisting of a loveseat, rocker, chair, ottoman and end table, she was assured by the salesman that the furniture was sturdy and the cushions firm and it was a good choice.

The sale was written up and paid for a of total $1,762.81. Fast forward to the delivery on Oct 2nd. At the time of delivery my aunt’s 72 year old neighbor was present. The delivery was chaotic while the delivery men were trying to remove her existing sofa through the kitchen service porch area the sofa got stuck in the doorway. Fearing that they might cause damage to her doorway, walls or washer/dryer she along with her neighbor kept an eye on them following them into the garage. The loveseat was taken out the front door which is wider with no problem, once the loveseat was in the garage they started bringing in the new furniture. While the new furniture was being brought in one of the men asked her to sign a confirmation of delivery, she was so confused she can’t even remember if she signed it. No reciept was left.

Once my aunt and her neighbor went into the living room, they were in utter shock. The furniture appears to be several years old, pre-owned or left outside for sometime, its damaged, dirty and completely unstable, in no way is the furniture new.

My aunt called me immediately regarding the condition of the furniture, since I live 77 miles away and I take care of my elderly mother, the soonest I could get there was on the 4th two days later.

OMG, this furniture is definitely not new. I immediately called Landeros, and spoke with the receptionist it was Sunday and apparently their customer service isn’t open in on weekends. I explained the situation and was basically told it was a special order and there was nothing they could do, I had to wait for customer service. I did take the time to explain that I blog and give feedback good or bad. The outcome of my review would be up to them, the time it takes to rectify the situation.

That Monday I spoke with the customer service, I explained the situation again the response was it was a special order; maybe I could take pictures and bring them to the store. I really don’t carry my camera with me, all I had was my camera phone I took pictures but decided the ones that were taken were not the quality nor could I email them so I explained they are less than ½ mile away, they needed to send customer service to her. I also explained my aunt fell while trying to sit on the rocker because it’s not stable enough when she started to sit down, I again told her I will be reviewing this on my blog, yelp, my desert.com, etc. Finally, customer service agreed to send someone to my aunt’s home and take pictures.

On the 6th, the care giver almost fell getting out of the chair she said this is not the quality that the salesman said it was and it is a clear misrepresentation from the representative of the store.

So, I called to see the status and the customer service representative wasn’t due in so I asked to speak with someone else, because now I want all our money back, we clearly don’t want this furniture, its dirty, broken, chipped, weather beaten or used. I explained, previously I told customer service that we would pay for the cushions since they were made in the fabric my aunt chose but now I want all the money back, due to the quality and misrepresentation. The manager came on the line and did not identify herself by name, (and who I later found out was the co-owner) her response was that it was up to the manufacturer as to what would be done and I needed to wait to give them a chance to fix the situation. I tried to explain not only is it regarding the condition but the fact that there was misrepresentation of what was purchased by The Landeros employee. She also pointed out that since I was not there, I don’t know what was said, well she’s right but the caregiver was present during the entire transaction and along with my aunt explained my aunts bad back and type of furniture needed. What was the response from Landeros management “were not doctors.” I guess you can afford to be funny when your not out $1,762.81 and have no where to sit.

Apparently Landeros and their management has the mind set that this is between the manufacturer and my aunt. Wrong, my aunt didn’t buy from the manufacturer she bought from Landeros. The manufacturer didn’t tell her it was sturdy and firm, Landeros did. My aunt didn’t give her money to the manufacturer, she gave it to Landeros.

Well the manager said she would hear from the manufacturer that day, I said well you have my number, I look forward to hearing from you. She in turn said no you can call me back, let me give you my number. Well let’s just say customer service at Landeros is off to a good start.

The results from Landeros was the manufacturer will paint the scratches, will do nothing regarding the numerous chips and where we pointed out missing screws, we were told that we just can’t see them. Now who in thier right mind would agree to pay $1,762.81 for furniture that is so damaged and agree that a coat of paint is acceptable? Even if they were to offer replacement furniture how would we know if any replacement furniture is not just covered up junk?

At first we were willing to pay for the cushions since my aunt ordered the fabric, I am no longer willing to do so. My reasoning is that the furniture is certainly not what the salesperson represented it to be and to top it off the tags on the seat cushions say 2008 and with felt pen someone altered the 08 to 11. The furniture is flimsy, the cushions are not firm and the set is not sturdy or as well constructed as the Landeros saleman assured us. I have attached pictures so you yourself could see this is not new furniture.

As far as their no refund policy, I feel my aunt held up her end of the contract she paid for “new” and “well constructed furniture” what Landeros did was give her “damaged” and “poorly constructed” junk that she probably couldn’t sell at a yard sale. Since they didn’t live up to their end of the contract by giving her what she paid for that should make the no refund policy null and void.

Enjoy the pictures as to the quality from Landeros Furniture Superstore. I will update as this drama progresses and do a complete review on various sites so others can choose where to spend their money. My question is, is there really Customer Service or lack of Customer Service at Landeros Furniture Superstore?

I will post more pictures with my follow ups. Be sure to click on the thumbnails for a closer look.

Big And Rich And I’m Not Talking About The Singing Group

I’M RICH, I’M RICH as soon as someone pays me what I’m worth.

I’ve taken care of my parents for at least twenty years. When my dad was alive it was a piece of cake but when he passed three years ago my life drastically changed. I retired at age fifty-three without an income until I reach fifty-nine, my husband retired six years ago at age fifty-three so were now living on his pension until I get my pension and our Social Security.

I knew from the get go my life as I knew it would change. I do not have the freedom to pick up and go until I secure a babysitter. I knew most of our combined income with my mother would go to depends, nutritional drinks and bed pads. I knew I would have to live in a house with the thermostat set at ninety degrees. I knew I could no longer brush my teeth in the dark to make sure I grabbed the toothpaste and not the Ben Gay. What I didn’t know was how difficult my mom was, or how much I would miss the freedom of the ability to get up and go with my husband. But after all she is my mom I have to do this.

Well, for the last eighteen months I’ve been traveling the one hundred and sixty miles twice a week to check on and visit my aunt. She also has a good neighbor that she pays to assist when I’m not available, but sometimes it’s not enough so a decision was made to hire a home health caregiver for four hours a day, three times a week.

Hello, I’m big and rich.

I called three agencies and we picked the mid priced one. For three times a week not including mileage it should run around $935.28 a month or $11,223.36 a year, yikes!

So what did I do I started calculating for seven days a week for four hours it would be $2,232.00 a month or $26,784.00 a year, double yikes.

Did I stop? Heck no.

Six hours a day for seven days was $3,637.20 a month or $43,643.40 a year. (I’ll refrain from using any more yikes.)

Eight hours a day for seven days was $4,364.64 or $52,375.68 a year.

So I jumped to twenty-four hours, seven days a week (which is a reduced flat rate.) If you’re standing, sit down before you read any further.

The price was from $5,425.00 to $6,200.00 a month or $100,380.00 to $109,680.00 per year. Ok just one big YIKES!

So when my mom sat down for soup I let her know she owes me $301,140.00 for the last three years. Her reply “the checks in the mail.”

Just A Little Soap, Just A little Water

Ever since my mom’s doctor told her she needed to go to an assisted living facility my mom’s disposition has changed. It’s been about six weeks since she’s called me or my husband a name. She has had a few mini tantrums but the full blown ones have stopped.
Every once in awhile I remind her it’s me keeping her home, if she feels she can longer behave she’s just a moment away from being taken to “the home”. Life has been good, not perfect but good.

Well, I’ve been doing the best not to control everything, she doesn’t like is to be told when things need to be done or for me to do something before she thinks it should be done.

My mom doesn’t use the tub/shower in her bathroom she prefers to use the stall shower in the extra bathroom, so her tub has become her personal hamper.

Well, the other day I couldn’t stand it any longer she has a few robes but tends to favor two in particular the green robe has been in the tub for over a month so everyday she’s been wearing the mauve one. This morning her robe looked like she’d been hit in the chest with a shotgun blast or had a horrible nose bleed, I almost called CSI to have forensics done to see who blood it was. It was splattered all down the front of her robe; it couldn’t be her blood no one could lose that much and still be walking. I watched her as she sat down to have her (two) Ensures. There it was the answer, I saw her transfer the straw from the first bottle to the second she splattered Ensure everywhere; the chocolate on the mauve gave the appearance of blood. I usually say nothing and just wait until she’s ready for me to do her wash today was different her robe was filthy.

“Mom, what’s all over your robe?”
“Stains.”
“Mom, that’s not stains it’s your Ensure we need to wash your robe.”
“We don’t need to do anything; my robe is clean their stains.”
“Mom, you’ve been wearing that robe for over a month, it’s dirty.”
“It’s not dirty, it stained. I wouldn’t be wearing it if was dirty.”
“Whatever, lets wash it with the green one.”
“Wash your own clothes; you’re the one that’s dirty.”

So she draped her robe over her dresser to wear later, I picked it up along with the green one to wash and guess who following me down the hall yaking away.

“Where are you taking my robes?”
“To the wash.”
“Their not dirty, there stained, and you don’t know how to wash anyway.”
“Mom, calm down I’m putting your robes into the biohazard unit adding soap and water, if their stains they’ll be fresher stains and if their just dirty they’ll come out like new.”
“You can’t tell a stain from dirty, you’ll see I’m right.”

“Mom, here’s your robes.”
“They were stains, right?”
“No mom, they were dirty.”
“They weren’t dirty.”
“Your right they were filthy.”
“You’re filthy,”

Knowing that this would continue back and forth I turned to leave, and guess who was just a few steps behind.

“They were stains, what did you put on them,”
“Water and soap.”
“What else?”
“Nothing else water and soap.”
“No you did something else what was it?”
“Well I did have help; it was either a stain angel or a real pretty bio hazard tech that had wings.”
“Real funny.”


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