It's been just over a year since we moved Mom into The Ganzhorn Suites. Slowly, we settled into our "new" normal. Although our hope was that Mom would stabilize and be able to return home, I think deep down we knew that was just one big pipe dream. But that's what you do, right? Hope in the most hopeless of situations. My Dad and brother visit two if not three times a week. My sister in law and nieces, as well as Mom's best friends Bev and Mark visit often. I know the drive isn't easy, however, our family is a great one and choose to make Mom a priority, as she has made each of us a priority throughout her life.
This last year has certainly come with challenges. On New Year's Eve, we spent the day in the ER only to come back with a diagnosis of a fractured foot, which to this day, we have no idea how it happened! About two weeks in, Mom took the boot off and said she was "done with that" and so it was. Then, on February 6th, she had a terrible fall that landed her in Dublin Methodist Hospital with multiple pelvic and sacral fractures. Her injuries were inoperable. I stayed with her at the hospital and for the first few nights when she returned to the center. Although she was in excruciating pain, Mom would forget that she couldn't walk, would try to get up, exacerbating her pain. So began the vicious cycle. Truly, I thought this was it for Mom. Mobility was and is key to my Mom's quality of life. Without it, I knew she would waste away. I was prepared to bring hospice on board until her amazing medical team stepped in with a few changes to control her pain. It was a game changer. Mom started getting up in a wheelchair. Then she began to propel herself (very quickly!) earning herself the nickname "Hot Wheels". Six short weeks later, much like the boot, Mom informed me she "was done with this". "This" was the wheelchair. She has been walking on her own ever since.
Cognitively, Mom continues to decline. She recognizes my Dad when she sees him but doesn't recognize him in pictures. She often thinks I am her Mom, never her daughter. Some days I can laugh it off and just be happy to be part of her world. Other days I struggle. I'm ashamed to say some days I want to distance myself from her because it just hurts so much. This person is not my Mom. She looks like her, but often, that is where the similarities stop. I hear this feeling is normal, but I cannot describe the guilt it carries.
In the spring of last year, before we moved Mom, I knew things were bad. I was angry and sad for all of us. One night, Pat and I attended a prayer service at church and our lead pastor challenged us to pray bold prayers. To ask God for miracles. Of course I always prayed for my Mom, but I never asked for a miracle. I don't know that I ever prayed a bold prayer. In sheer desperation, I went to the alter and prayed with one of our pastors, who told me that miracles don't always look like what we have in mind (I was thinking a cure would be great!). She prayed with me, over me, over my Mom and our family. About six weeks later, Mom moved into Ganzhorn. This move was the answer to my bold prayer, it was our miracle.
The silver lining for my Mom and our family is that Mom is content. She is as independent as she can possibly be because of the design of the center. She loves her caregivers, giving each of them a hug and kiss every time she sees them. She has purpose - you will often find her helping another resident, holding someone's hand or trying to make someone feel better. Earlier I said the person I see isn't my Mom, I guess that isn't a fair statement as the way she cares for everyone here is very much who she is, whom she has always been.
Our story is like so many more out there. My Dad tells me everyday about someone he has reconnected with that is, or has gone through the hell we experienced. Unfortunately, not everyone has Ganzhorn as an answer to their prayers. Our family is so very grateful for the wonderful care Mom receives everyday. We are grateful for her safety. We are grateful for the precious time it has given us with her. Much like in years past, this year, we walk to honor my Mom, support my Dad and hope that together, we can find a cure.
Together, we can end Alzheimer's disease. Please make a donation to advance the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer's Association.
Thank you for joining the fight against Alzheimer's!
Thank you for helping advance Alzheimer's support, care and research.
I have raised
Elite Grand Champion