June 28, 2014

Grandma H and Skilled Nursing Facility

It's been awhile since I've given any updates on Grandma H. In mid-April she was admitted into the hospital for low sodium level. Due to concerns of possible falls and bodily injuries, Grandma H's doctor suggested we take her off of Warfarin (a blood thinner medication) and replace it with a medical device to block blood clots from going to her heart and lungs. This would involve minor surgery. The surgery went well, and so far so good.

Through much prayer and contemplation, we (my family and I) felt it was best that Grandma H be at a skilled nursing facility. This way, she would get 24/7 round the clock professional nursing care. The kind of care that I wasn't able to give her. After countless hours of research and personally checking out different nursing home facilities in the area, we finally found one that we were happy with. So, in the beginning of May, Grandma H entered a skilled nursing facility.  Even after almost two months, I'm still impressed with the staff's efforts in trying to make Grandma H feel comfortable and tend to her needs. I know they're genuine in their concerns for Grandma's well-being. Even the residents there have been wonderful in making her feel welcomed and look out for her. The social worker even found a Cambodian individual who could go and interpret for them. And for this to happen is heaven sent because it's quite difficult to find any Cambodian interpreter in this area.

Putting Grandma H in a nursing facility was one of the toughest things I've ever had to do in my life. I had many concerns and worries. I worried about how she was going to cope on being there and how she's going to be treated. However, each time I prayed with Grandma H in mind, without fail, I always received a feeling of peace. The kind of feeling that everything was okay. She'll be okay. And that I shouldn't worry too much. Even then, I still worry (because I can be stubborn like that). But deep down, I know she's fine and that she's in good hands. Every time we visit Grandma H, things there look like what they should be; comfort and peace. And I hope it'll continue to be that way for a long time.

February 24, 2014

Polymerized Oil Stain on a Stainless Steel Pan

Every now and then my pans get polymerized oil residue on them. When this happens, all that is needed to get rid of the sticky oil residue are baking soda and tap water. Oh, and of course a little elbow grease.

Click here for a tutorial on how to get rid of the oil residue from a stainless steel pan.

February 17, 2014

Healthcare Visitors, V-Day and Snow Day!

Frost on one of the windows.
It's been a little over three weeks since my last post. And believe me, I've been trying to fit in the time to blog, but by the end of the day, I would get so tired that all I wanted to do was go to bed. I apologize to all of you who have been waiting for new posts and updates on Grandma H. So, I'll just jump right in and give y'all all the news on what's been going on here.

~ Grandma H's insurance finally kicked in on February 1st and so we've been busy with health related visits. It's been nice to have a physician and his assistant, an RN, a Home-health Aid, and a physical therapist come to our home to see Grandma H for all of her healthcare needs. Soon, we'll have a speech therapist that will come regularly as well.

~ On Valentine's Day we (Mr. G, Grandma H, and I) went out to a Mexican restaurant for lunch. Grandma H had one of their delicious fish and veggie soup (with Mexican rice and toasted bread on the side) and she seemed to have really enjoyed them. A funny thing I should mention is that whenever the waiter (nice man, probably in his late 20s or early 30s) would come to our table to check up on us, Grandma H would cover her mouth and laughed as if she's shy or embarrassed). I have to admit, I found her actions (or, reaction to the waiter) quite amusing.

Making foot prints in the snow.
~ A couple of weeks ago, we got a little bit of snow. It lasted about a day. I was actually delighted to see the ground covered in white because it reminded me of the Pacific Northwest (my hometown) during this time of year. From what I've been told, to have snow in central Texas is a rarity. I was thrilled and happily welcomed this type of oddity here in my neck of the woods. Needless to say, I whipped out my camera and took plenty of pictures. When Miss M got home from school, the first thing she wanted to do was play in the snow (what was left of it anyway). I was happy to give her permission to do so, and snapped a few pictures of Miss M and her fun time. Hope y'all enjoy the pictures.

Flower designs from the bottom of Miss M's shoes.

January 24, 2014

A Roller Coaster Weekend... and Then Some.

This past weekend started off great. However, the ending was the complete opposite. Here's a recap of the events:

~ On Friday, the hubby (aka Mr. G) and I made nom banh chok for lunch (something we don't do often because its time consuming). Grandma H even had a good size serving of the delicious Cambodian cuisine, and then everyone went out to dinner to celebrate a late birthday. We had a good time. 
~ On Saturday, M and I went to Chic-Fil-A for our Mother and Daughter Quality Time (which was long overdue). M is such a sweet girl and have been patient with all the changes in our home. I'm glad we were able to spend time together. Later in the day Grandma H and Mr. G came and joined us. Again, all had a good time.

Here's when things went downhill...

~ On Saturday night Grandma H refused to go to sleep. She stayed up all night and talked to herself. She also started calling out her children's names, including the ones that are deceased. The sleep aid pill given to her did not do its magic. 
~ On Sunday Grandma H had breakfast, along with her usual medications. I thought by now she'd be tired and would want to nap before church. Well, I was wrong. She was wide awake and very grumpy. So, I thought taking her to church might make her sleepy because she usually get bored while there anyway. But nap time did not happen.  She was awake the entire time. And grumpy.

During church was when we noticed the swelling in Grandma H's right hand. So, later that day, we decided to take her to the ER to get the swelling checked out.

Here's what was found after an examination of her hand, a head CT scan, a chest x-ray, and an ultrasound on her right leg (because it was also swollen).

~ The right hand had a bacterial infection called cellulitis 
~ The result from the head CT scan turned out to be normal
~ The chest x-ray showed blood clots
~ The ultrasound on the right leg showed blood clots

I was impressed with the bedside manners that the ER staff had showed. While waiting for the doctor, the RNs, and other hospital workers to fulfill their duties and responsibilities for the caring of Grandma H, we watched the NFC championship game on the TV provided by the hospital. We were (and still are) ecstatic that our home team is going to the Super Bowl! Go Hawks!

Sorry, got a little side tracked a minute there. So, back to Grandma H...
Despite the efficiency and efforts of the ER staff in giving Grandma H the care that she needed, it did take about five hours before she was finally admitted and given a room in the upper level in the hospital.

Grandma H did not like her stay at the hospital (which is not a surprise). Each day she expressed the desire to return home. It was tough seeing her in that mental and physical state. By Wednesday afternoon I was both emotionally and physically drained. I ended up napping for two hours. And when I had awakened, Mr. G had dinner ready and M was doing math related stuff on the computer. Words cannot express how grateful I am to have these two individuals in my life. They are awesome! After dinner we went to the hospital to visit Grandma H.

On Thursday we went to pick up Grandma H from the hospital as soon as M got home from school. It just so happened that it was the coldest day of the week. Poor Grandma H! She does not like anything cold! So, we dressed Grandma H in warm clothing, along with a scarf and a thick wool coat prior to leaving the hospital.

So far Grandma H is as good as can be. She's a little mellow and have been sleeping through the night. I'm guessing this is probably due to a few restless nights at home as well as at the hospital. She is on blood thinner medication that would need to be monitored closely. This would mean dietary restrictions, as well as frequent doctor visits to check her blood to make sure its in the normal range. Its going to be a lot of work, but as long as Grandma H is on the right road to recovery, that's all that matters. I, along with many others, would like to see her back to good health again.

January 14, 2014

Grandma H Adventures

It’s been 14 days since Grandma H has been with us. The second half of her time here has certainly been better than the first half. Aside from a few unpleasant episodes (such as the "musical bedding" episode), I’d say Grandma H is adjusting better than I’d expected. Here’s a short summary of what happened last week:

~ The "musical bedding" episode... after about a week of sleeping on the bed, Grandma H declared the bed is just too soft for her. So she wanted to try something else. First she said she wanted to sleep on the couch, and so I helped her onto the couch and tucked her in. After about 5 minutes, she changed her mind and said she wanted to sleep on the chair. I was reluctant to fulfill her request for this one because we (hubby and I) felt she wouldn't be comfortable and might fall out of the chair. However, we helped her get into the chair anyway because she was adamant about sleeping in it. Well, about five minutes later, she announced she wanted to go back to the bed. But, that didn't last very long either. She sat up and pointed to the couch. So, we put a sheet on the couch (again), along with a couple of pillows and tucked her in (again). To my surprise she actually slept on it the entire night (with the occasional bathroom breaks, of course). I though she'd be content with her decision. However, she played "musical bedding" again the next night. Her final decision was the couch, and it's been her bedding of choice since. (I found it so amusing that I had to stop and take a picture during the "musical bedding" ordeal).

Resting in the chair.
~ All the unpleasant screaming and yelling had stopped. After the first incident where she had gotten out of bed by herself, she never did try to do it again. Also, she has been sleeping close to three hours straight during most nights, and there have even been a couple of nights where she slept five or more hours at a time. So, yay!! 

~ Grandma H “sang” along with us during opening and closing songs when we did our usual Family Home Evening (FHE) time. She even said the closing prayer. I was quite impressed even though 98% of what she said was unrecognizable. What mattered was the fact that she remembered how to pray and was willing to do so. I was quite amazed that she agreed to pray because she reverted back to Buddhism years ago and was actively engaged in the religion up until she had the stroke. Now that I think of it, Grandma H had been participating in prayer time since the first night she got here. I guess I'm just surprise because I didn't think she'd join in.

~ We've been working on her physical and speech therapy. The two pictures were taken during her speech therapy session. M, who didn't want to be in the picture, and Grandma H enjoyed coloring together. For speech therapy we worked on identifying objects and naming different colors. For physical therapy we tossed and kicked an inflated balloon back and forth. Grandma H enjoyed this activity just as much and M and I did. I didn't take any picture of this activity because I didn't want to interrupt the therapy session. 

Grandma H showing her pearly white dentures.

Coloring a flower pattern on a rain boot.

~ On Saturday (January 11th) we went to the Dallas Zoo. We rode the monorail train and Grandma H really enjoyed being able to see some of the animals on the train route. She pointed at the animals, laughed and had a great time. After the short train ride we strolled through the zoo to see other animals, which included the elephants and the giraffes. M got to feed the giraffes and Grandma H attempted to do it too, but she couldn't reach high enough (because she was in her wheelchair). Nevertheless, I thought it was a great experience for her to be that close to an animal (and almost fed it). (No pictures from the zoo trip because I forgot my camera while hurrying out the door).

~ On Sunday (January 12th) we took Grandma H to church with us. She did fine during Sacrament meeting, and she almost made it through the entire Sunday School lesson before she got bored. During the third hour, I took her to Young Women's with me. But after about 15 minutes Grandma H mumbled a few words and her face showed signs of boredom (again). So, we left the room and hung out in the foyer until church was over.

Overall, I'd say Grandma H is adjusting well and doing much better than her first week here. Aside from the couple of times when she was feeling down and homesick, I think Grandma H is getting the hang of things and the routines. I will admit that it's still a bit difficult at times, but I enjoy having Grandma H here with us. And I hope she wholeheartedly feel the same way.

January 7, 2014

Grandma H's First Week With Us

We are finally home! Arrived last Wednesday evening to be exact. And let me tell you, for me to say “home sweet home” is an understatement. While waiting for Mom (aka Grandma H) to get better, I literally lived out of a suitcase for almost a month. Furthermore, I slept on a hospital cot for about two and a half weeks. Needless to say, I am thrilled that all of the unpleasant events are in the past!

Now, there’s a new adventure in the mix. My family size increased by one. We are happy that Grandma H is here with us. But we’re also still trying to figure out what her likes and dislikes are. It’s been difficult because her speech is still impaired and her brain is still healing.

In a nutshell, here’s what our new adventure has been like since Grandma H has been with us:

Wednesday, January 1st~ Got home late, had a quick meal and tried to get everyone ready for bed. My husband brought a bed-set downstairs to the living room for Grandma H so she could have something soft and comfortable to sleep in. Well, neither she nor I got any sleep the entire night. She refused to lie down and sat there in bed until she dozed off. When awakened, she yelled for assistance to the bathroom. A majority of the time, she really didn’t need to go; she just sat there. When back in bed, she didn’t sleep. Just sat there and yelled every hour or so. I’m surprised there weren’t any cops at our door during the wee hours of the night from all that yelling and screaming.

Thursday, January 2nd~ Around 8 a.m. I went downstairs and found Grandma H sitting on the floor near the kitchen. Somehow she had manage to utilize her good side (left arm and leg) to get off the bed and maneuvered her way to the kitchen. When I asked what she was doing out of bed, her response—“I was hungry.” Immediately I checked to see if she was injured or sustained any broken body parts. She said she wasn’t hurt from the event. Thank goodness!

During the day Grandma H took catnaps. However, at night she would stay up entire yelling and screaming. Frequent trips to the bathroom were pretty much similar to the first night (January 1st); she just sat there.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday were almost identical to the events that took place on January 2nd.  Even with an over-the-counter sleep aid pill, Grandma H refused to rest. It’s like she's immune to the sleeping pill. It was obvious that by the end of the week I was feeling pretty much like a walking zombie. I’m so glad that my husband was able to pick up the pieces, such as made dinner and cared for M (our daughter). On a side note, I did try to squeeze in some speech therapy by helping her identify kitchen items, such as cup, spoon, fork, ect. Grandma H tried her best to pronounce them correctly. However, we have a long way to go.

As some of you may already know, taking care of an elderly (and physically disabled) family member is HARD WORK! Especially when you’re not sure what they want, and they themselves don’t really know what they want. So, at this point, I’m just trying to figure out what makes Grandma H comfortable and for her to sleep thru the night. We love her and want to see her happy. In addition, we'd like to see Grandma H get back to her normal self again. That's our ultimate goal.

December 30, 2013

Mom's Rehab Update, Week Four

Last week, each of the therapists wanted me to get more involved with Mom's rehab care. Getting hands on training will help me know what I need to do when we're at home. In other words, I've been working with Mom on her speech, occupational and physical developments. And will continue to do so until Mom can completely do things on her own; which in this case, will take awhile for complete rehab, if that.

Here's what I've been assigned to do:

Speech Therapy-- Decide what Mom need to work on the most. For example, should we start the session with counting numerically, or would looking at pictures of household items (and try to trigger her memory) be more productive?

Occupational Therapy-- Assist Mom with grooming and with each of her meals. She is able to feed herself. All I would need to do is place food items and plate/bowl in front of her so she can reach them. Remember not to do everything for her, but help her when she needs it.The goal is to continue to get Mom to some level of independence so she doesn't feel helpless. 

Physical Therapy-- Do arm and leg stretches several times a day. Help Mom get in/out of bed, as well as get in/out of wheelchair. I would also need to assist Mom when she needs to go "potty."

I will admit that some of these tasks are tough. What makes it even more difficult is the "language barrier." Meaning, I can understand maybe 60% of what Mom says. Even then, there have been times when I had to really listen and think about what she had said. Furthermore, I'm not sure how much Mom truly understands me (or anyone else) when she is given directions. So for now, its more of a guessing game (including body language and hand gestures) until Mom can understand and speak clearly. Tough days ahead for sure!