Saturday, August 02, 2014

My mom is trying so hard to be independent and live on her own. She has help from the CNIB (Canadian National Institute for the Blind) where a guy who is legally blind himself, comes in and is teaching her some skills such has how to cook. My mom has hired a lady in her building to come in a few hours a week to help with light housekeeping, food prep and laundry/ironing. And my mom is eligible for 2 one hour visits from the city-sponsored home care. That woman comes and helps my mom shower. My mom was so indignant when she found out she was only eligible for someone to help her shower because she felt she could shower herself but if she did not accept that help she would have nothing. So her helper comes, gives her a shower and then tidies things up a bit during each hourly visit.
Plus my mom has several friends in the building who have rallied around to help her out with food prep and stuff but that help will wear thin soon enough. It is not as though she broke her leg and needs help for a few weeks. This blindness is permanent and my mom has finally just realized it in the past week. She was so hoping (against all hope) that she would get some vision back but she will not and I am not sure if her ophthalmologist finally told her or that my mom finally *heard* it from the doctor.

I flew to see her for 9 days (10 actually but I left there early in the morning and arrived home late-morning my time). It was so hard to see her blind. Now, she does have some peripheral vision but most times all she sees out of the sides of her eyes are black, grey and white shadows. Occasionally she will see a flash of colour - usually if something is red. Having the peripheral vision allows her to walk around her apartment because she can tell where the walls and doorways are. She can walk outside with a white cane although she has had 3 bad falls (one when she was with me and I felt horrible but she was holding my elbow then the next second she was on the ground! Thank God she did not break any bones).

And yesterday she told me that she had a bad morning because she had found out that she had been out of insulin for three days and did not realize it. She had been injecting NOTHING into her!  She kept thinking that she felt the drop of insulin that she must push out before she uses her insulin pen but apparently she was mistake. She could not figure out why her blood sugar was so high so she finally called my aunt over to take a look and the vial was empty! She was so upset she figured that was the end and proof that she could not live alone.

So, that was not the tipping point but I am sure that it will come soon enough. I hate to be a downer but the odds are stacked against her. She is still on a great deal of prednisone to keep the Giant Cell Arteritis symptoms at bay and that in itself is a problem. Prednisone causes blood sugar problems (she had to go on insulin once she was diagnosed with Giant Cel - before that metformin was working for her), it causes osteoporosis, it compromises your immune system, can cause heart problems and a whole host of other side effects. It really sucks that she will be on it for the rest of her life, especially at such a high dose. All of those side effects too can really help "age" someone and my mom is aging. I mean, she is not young (she turned 79 the week after she was diagnosed) but being on all of these drugs and relying on others had made her seem even older. Again, this whole thing just sucks!

And what also sucks is that I do not live closer so I cannot be of more help. My mom has 5 children and only 1 lives within an hour of her (the rest of us are in Minnesota, Alberta, British Columbia and me here in WA State). My poor mom.

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