Friday, November 05, 2004

Two out of three ain't bad!

Ahh! The kind of extended forecast you can fall asleep dreaming about … Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!  Thursday 11/18 ... Snow and rain in the morning Thursday 11/18 ...  Snow, rain mixed in early       

Living with MS at Patti’s level of progression in our family can have such dramatic swings. Sunday and Tuesday Patti was so up you almost wanted to believe she was ‘better’. Thursday night’s visit was as frustratingly opposite.


Visiting Patti we found her disoriented, confused and ‘looking’ for someone to talk with. (Even though she was sitting in a lounge full of other residents.) She blurted out that she was sick and had been throwing up. Visually she seemed OK and the good ol' fashioned hand on the forehead revealed her temp was OK.


Once we got talking she perked up and wanted to watch a movie on TV. We all settled in for “Bruce Almighty” on cable.


I did notice one of her shoes and one leg support on her wheel chair did seem to support her claim of vomiting. Her clothing however was fine. While Meganand Patti enjoyed the movie I cleaned up her shoe and leg support. Checking her closet I found another pair of shoes also soiled from apparent stomach distress. I took my curiosity to the nurses’ station. We checked the log which confirmed only one incident of emesis immediately following lunch, over 6 hrs earlier.


24/7 care has unquestionable advantages in terms of safety and simply 24 hr attended care. It has a weakness of course in individual attention to detail such as noticing soiled shoes and how that might match up to a medical puzzle.


MS complicates anything in that Patti notices nothing and her memory is inconsistent. Patti’s inability to consistently report her medical needs in relation to real time or direct her own medical care makes it impossible to “know” if what she is telling you is how she ‘feels now’ or ‘felt 6 hrs ago’. In a busy professional environment response is a balance of priority and pattern.


Random family visits are wildcards. You can make yourself crazy worrying if Patti is not getting attention when you know she is. You have to maximize the family time and sometimes family time is cleaning up soiled shoes sooner than later. In all honesty, much of the emotion is frustration with MS that Patti could not be as ‘better’ as she was our last couple times.


By the time we left after some family time, visiting, and laughing while sharing the comedy on TV Patti was significantly improved. And leaving clean shoes and having bugged the nurses, I guess I felt better.


All in all, two good days with lots of laughs and one down evening are not bad for living with MS in our family. Two out of three ain’t bad!  

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