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.