I’m sorry to see Mom decline, sorry to have to step in, to ask too many questions, check to see what’s in the fridge, the freezer. I’m sorry to wonder whether she can safely operate a stove. I’m sorrier still to conclude she cannot safely operate a stove. And what about her meds?
Some of them have to be taken in the morning; some in the evening, some both. Fortunately, Mom doesn’t have any brittle conditions. I started with one of those day-by-day pill boxes. We got it all set up and made a special place for it—where she couldn’t help but notice it first thing every morning. Great, that was fixed.
Not so fast. If you don’t remember whether you took your meds, you also might not remember it’s Monday. The fact that Monday’s pills are gone doesn’t faze Mom—she’ll just take tomorrow’s pills.
We can talk pills on the phone each day. That meets some social needs and takes care of the meds all at once. But again—five minutes after the phone call, she might go back to that pill box and decide she hasn’t taken her pills that day, whatever the name of it might be. I can’t believe she doesn’t remember a half-hour phone conversation that retraces the act of pill-taking at least three different times. I also can’t believe I can’t get her to follow along with me on the phone.
“OK Mom, get a glass of water. Get the pills out from today’s section. You got them? Great. Now swallow them, right now, ok? I’ll wait. Did you take them all? Great, now put the box back on the sideboard and you’re done with that.”
Who knows what she is really doing. Taking them? Not taking them? Taking them again? Or not again? The real problem is always getting bigger and more significant as I chase the last symptom. It’s time to move Mom for her care, for my peace of mind. It’s time to make her life a little easier, a little less risky. It’s time to help her into a caring community. It’s time to understand the living that’s gotten us to this place.