Monday, September 26, 2005

newest project - 1

It began, like many things do, with a message left on the answering machine.

"She had a lot of pain in her arm," my nephew Chris said when I returned his call. "So much she had to stop unloading the dishwasher and sit down. She seemed alright when we left. I just thought you should know."

Since the hour was late, I phoned to check on my 91 year-old mum a day later and found that, yes, she had indeed felt an unprovoked and sharp pain in her arm which, after it went away, had left her right arm weak.

A stroke, I wondered, or a heart attack? She hadn’t gone to the doctor or Emergency this time because an incident a few weeks earlier for an unrelated problem had her spending seven hours in the E.R. Then she was discharged home still in pain but none the wiser.

When we went to see her ten days ago, four days after the pain-incident, and her arm was still not back to normal strength. I realized, this was probably the time.

As the daughter who has taken on the responsibility for Mum’s care, I’ve faced the reality that one of these days she’ll probably need to move. At 91 she has slowed down a lot physically in the last year. Thankfully she’s still feisty and alert mentally. We have discussed her future with her over the last months. We’ve had her assessed by the community health nurse twice (part of the process to get government funding and services in our area). But always in the past, she’s come to the conclusion that she still wants to stay on her own in her comfy and familiar apartment 45 minutes’ drive from us. I have prayed often that when the actual time comes for her to move it will be clear to me, my other siblings will be agreeable and Mum herself will not resist it.

So this day we discussed again the possibility of her moving. The nurse had suggested an assisted living complex in our town which opened in February this year. Mum, though not enthusiastic, agreed that perhaps it was worth investigating.

Thus on the way back home a week ago Friday, hubby and I dropped into this new complex – modern, well-appointed place where residents have access to emergency assistance 24 hours a day, get three meals a day in bright dining rooms on each of three floors, and which is equipped with amenities like a media room (which also doubles as a chapel), a beauty salon, a craft and sewing room, a coffee-shop-type sitting area called ‘The Bistro’ and a huge lounge. We also saw a suite – very tiny at 320 sq. feet, yikes! We came away from our tour with an invitation for us to bring Mum for lunch and a tour of her own.

(to be continued...)

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