Happy one week anniversary of mom’s (and likely your) facility’s lockdown. I have called a few times for status updates and she is “fine”. I haven’t tried the Facetime yet, but my attempts to do similar in the last few months for others has resulted in blank stares.
A new little unfortunate spin to my little CoronaVirus story began earlier this week. My employers has always been very careful in not allowing any sick person to work, especially important due to our senior, often vulnerable client base. With the CoronaVirus situation we all live in now, I drafted some even tighter requirements to this policy, most notably in the area of the requirement of being seen by a doctor/getting screened and duration of time until you may return to work. (Again…we simply cannot work sick. We care for our seniors and give our careers to their service. We will do what it takes.)
So, this morning, after being cold/flu-free for nearly 2 years, I woke up feeling like doody. The cough started last night, but I hoped it was just the change in weather. Regardless, I called into the ****DHSS Hotline and, after a short hold of about 5 minutes and about 3 minutes of questions, I was cleared of being high risk enough to need a CoronaVirus test. However, as per protocol, I will be working from home for a while.
I am NOT a homebody. I want to be. I mean, I am heavy and err on the side of lazy, but I LOVE to be outside, go places, and do things. These walls will be closing in on me soon. I may have to go over to the Methodist church and work since they always beat us Baptists to the restaurants on Sunday afternoons. (just kidding…I love my Methodist friends).
But those walls……
This brings me to our little series taken from quotes from the wonderful movie Shawshank
Redemption Re:Dementia. The quote du jour:
“I’m Telling You, These Walls Are Funny. First you hate them. Then you get used to them. Enough time passes, it gets so you depend on them. That’s institutionalized.” -Redhttps://screenrant.com/best-quotes-from-the-shawshank-redemption/
Do dementia patients feel this way when they are sentenced to the memory unit? Is it being broken down by the situation, by the facility, by the reality of their condition, or something else that leads to the nursing home funk that I see throughout the homes I visit. There are many who fight off this funk, but many just seem to get used to the new reality and throw in the towel, either in optimism-level or in the will to live. Sad, quiet folks in some places, mad and loud ones elsewhere. I suppose it worked that way in Shawshank too. (Spoiler alert: leaving doesn’t always turn out perfect either).
I firmly believe that visiting patients in the nursing home helps them fight off this funk. Mom is pretty darn happy these days, at least as of a week ago 🙁 My stepdad visited 3x a day for over 500 days that she has been there and I come at least 3-5 times a week for an hour or two a visit, or longer if I can. My sibs visit many, many times too. 🙂 Despite how it sounds, I am not trying to toot my/our own horn here. We
could should have all done better, especially over the previous decade when we still had time. But we are where we are. We are “in the yard” with mom. We try to spend time with the Sweet 17 and the rest when we can, but it is hard fitting it all in. My stepdad has to be stir-crazy these days. Pray for him.
Last thought: depending on the walls. I could speak volumes about the importance of the walls when mom was in the memory unit. Walls with gaps were one of the reasons we couldn’t keep her safe in the house to begin with. She lived a block from a highway with 10,000 cars a day driving by….and she would wander. It became inevitable that this reality would play into our decision to have her in institutional care. There, in memory units worldwide, the walls that restrict are also the walls that protect. Sure mom had her escape moments. However, it was just curiosity for mom. After a hard many months at the beginning of mom’s time at the nursing home, I feel like the walls and her state of mind are pretty peaceful. Has she given in to the funk? I hope not…she hadn’t as of last week. We will get there soon…the hour we are allowed in again, should she live that long. Stinkin’ prison…
Update: Nothing else to report. The nurses say she is well and happy. When we do get back, I hope she still recognizes that we are in her tribe.
**** The Missouri DHSS, a very helpful agency in 10,000 ways, set up a toll-free 24/7 hotline to prescreen before you are allowed to be tested with one of the limited CoronaVirus kits. For you in Missouri, their number is 1-877-435-8411. The federal government will have a screening website up soon as well as a toll-free number.