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Mom Is Just Not Doing Well


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Today, mom is crying and talking about not going to her doctor/chemo appointment tommorrow (we are to get CT scan results then too) -- she is to get set up for radiation tomorrow too. She is on the verge of a mental explosion of some sort and just doesn't make sense at all today. Her memory isn't good and she is exhibiting verbal abuse to others (other than me) now (see "Just Checking In" in the caregiver section for more history there).

She called me today, but then hung up on me. I called her back and she did tell me that she is in a "what's the use?" mood: she is very concerned about her memory and her major fatigue (that just started Thursday). She also seems to believe that the cancer center is out to kill her and so is the nursing facility. She is like a moving target to find out what to do to help her.

I talked to her nurse today and I also know that she is having the hot/cold tingling that can occur with chemo (though she didn't tell me that) and that she is fabricating half truths from conversations she is overhearing here and there -- the nurse also knows that she is having memory problems. The nurse is going to send her notes over the last 5 days in with mom tomorrow for the doctor to review: that will at least help substantiate what I have been trying to tell him, but him not believing me so far. Will also help give him info. on her symptoms that she will not convey herself.

I know folks have had a rough time with nursing facilities in here, but I have got to tell you that where mom is is a jewel: I have interacted with these people ALOT through this and just "hung out" there for hours and hours to see what happens around the place (I am ruthless with details like that and want to know who I am dealing with big time) and they are nothing but professional and thorough in what they do. I'll always double check what they say/do, but so far, they have always been right-on and do an excellent job (I've even checked out the condition and care of other patients in the facility too -- you just learn to leave no stone unturned when it comes to information).

Two things: (1) I thought maybe I should ask for bloodwork be done on her sodium, calcium level -- the last time she had such memory lapses was when these things went haywire on her and I don't know whether these are being routinely checked now -- are they usually in weekly pre-chemo bloodwork? I have heard of "chemo brain" as well, but I thought maybe this check would be a good idea? She's had 6 chemos so far (taxol) and she is just at her abusive worst during/right after chemo treatments.

(2) I really think mom would benefit from ongoing mental health counseling and I want to talk with the social worker this week on that -- a one-time evaluation done some time ago by a mental health professional already determined that she needs 24/7 custodial support -- my ideal would be for it to be someone that could come see her at the facility while she is there, but then also see her when she comes home (i.e. not just a facility person) -- anyone know if insurance might cover that? She sure really needs that and it should be someone that can stand by her long-term -- though she hasn't said much, I just know that her mind is spinning about everything you can imagine about her disease (even though so far she doesn't "want to know anything about it" with me) and that needs support somehow. I think it would help too to have a constant set of "independent professional eyes" in this situation given everything that is going on. It's just her and me otherwise and I just am not comfortable with that, given what is going on with her mental status so far -- if it ever comes to her word against mine, that is real messy in my view: I think I would be wisest to protect BOTH of our interests there.

Anyone know of community organizations that might provide such services at reasonable cost or coverable by Medicare? Hopefully the social worker will have some leads there as well. Don't know if mom will go for it or not, she's pretty hostile at times (especially with me), but I think she needs it and I'd like to know where to go if I get the opportunity to introduce it to her. I can probably swing it "private pay" as well, if I can ever get enough time to get my dad's estate and her financial affairs in any real order!! :shock:


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Linda I am sorry your mom is having these difficulties. It is hard enough to be the caregiver, and have all the emotional stress of caring for and worrying about someone you love but you are adding to that hostility and abuse. I am sure your mother doesn't mean it, but is having problems with her emotional and mental capabilities right now. I don't think checking blood levels could hurt anything, and it is always better to be safe than sorry.

As far as the psychological care, I think it is a great idea for your mom. It really sounds like she could benefit from someone to talk to, and I don't think it would hurt you either to have someone else to talk to about your concerns for your mother's mental well being. But I don't know anything about where to find the type of service you are looking for. I just pray that you find direction and answers to your search.

You and your mom are in my prayers, and I hope things get better soon.

Lots of Love and warm wishes being sent your way

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