After months of being separated and trying to access how Mom is doing via phone calls and zoom, we have finally been reunited! Hurray! We were allowed back in to see Mom and Dad last week and it was like water to our souls. Just all being in the same room brought the comfort of being together, but in the midst of the sweet came the bitter that Mom isn’t doing great. We have known it from a distance, but we got to see it up close.
Her smile is still intact and for that we are thankful. She laughs with a grin, mostly at inappropriate times in the conversation, but it is her way of trying to connect. She still lights up when we come into the room, but she does that no matter who comes in, so we are not sure it is recognition as much as it is having someone new around. The glaze in her eyes is worse and she stares off much of the time not seeing. However, it is not all the time yet, so we can still talk to her and get a response back sometimes. Mornings are definitely her good times.
During the Pandemic she has lost more mobility. Walking, even across the room, even with a walker, takes a very long time. She cannot really walk out of the apartment, even if the restrictions were lifted. Moving from place to place, just in the apartment, is major work for whoever is helping her. She complained about her shoulder hurting, mainly by grimacing and clutching at it, more than with words. Turns out she has a partially torn rotator cuff. She got a cortisone shot and some physical therapy, but the amount of physical effort it takes to move her has required Dad to get more caregivers in to help. He has help now for all but two hours of the day, which we are grateful for, because he is exhausted.
The Pandemic has taken a toll. The management of Mom’s day to day living is a heavy weight to bear even when we are all pitching in. Without the physical/emotional support that comes through us being physically present, it has been tough on Dad. The stress of what is going on in the outside world has only increased the pressure. Between that and caring for Mom, he is care weary. Caregivers become care weary over time. The stress of being constantly in charge of the care of someone else weighs them down. It is like battle fatigue, only the battle is day to day activity.
There is a decision coming. We can see it on the horizon, but it is fast approaching now. Moving mom to a higher level of care is looming. The separation we have all been trying so hard to avoid is right around the corner. There is a deep sorrow that is caught in our throats at the prospect of this change. Yet, we know to keep Dad healthy, it will be necessary at some point soon. The good news, if there is any, is that the other unit is on the same property and he will be able to visit her every day. Please pray for us.