Tuesday, February 16, 2010


My mom doesn't say much anymore. Though she used to talk nonstop since I can remember, at some point, she just stopped, for the most part. Probably all that talking was a symptom of her dementia, which has been stealing up on her for decades.
I begged my dad to take her to a psychiatrist, and he did, but they never said it was anything important. Little by little her personality, her sociability, her kindness, her likes and dislikes have drained away, until now she mostly stares into space, looking vaguely sad or confused.
Today when I went to take my dad to the doctor for a follow up appointment, she looked awful, and she complained that her neck hurt. She had been sitting all day, and I supposed that was why. I encouraged her to take a turn in the garden with my dad, and went on my way.
Tuesday afternoon (late) I work in the Center this semester, and it seems that just about every time, the caregivers call me about one of my parents during that time. I feel I have to leave the phone on, just in case, and today, I got one of those calls. The caregiver was concerned about my mom's neck, and said she had fallen on her bottom in the bathroom this morning (not an uncommon occurrence; her balance isn't good). She hadn't fallen anywhere near her head or neck though. The caregiver said her blood pressure was high, but she was already taking blood pressure medication, so maybe that was nothing new. I don't really know because my mom doesn't complain, and doctors don't talk about her vital signs very much.
I could have left and taken her to the hospital, but instead, I told the caregiver to give her some Tylenol and to look for the massager I had given her for Chanukah last year. It was a vibrating contraption meant to go around the neck. She has never used it. I hope I did the right thing. Right now, I am going off to Torah group. I haven't heard from the Caregiver again. She is going off her shift about now, and another caregiver will arrive. I will probably hear from them while I am at the synagogue. I hope not in the middle of the night.
I feel selfish, but I just want to teach my class. I just want some peace, just for once.


Lou said...

I think you did exactly the right thing--Tylenol and a massage. Those are great suggestions.

Robbi said...

Thanks Lou. I haven't heard from the caregivers. I assume all is status quo. I won't say "okay."

marly said...


To me, as a layman, this sounds like something for a muscle relaxant or anti-inflammatory. And then to bring up with her doctor--maybe some regular x-rays to check for spurs? Maybe some physical therapy?

What's the absolutely worst it could be? Probably a herniated disk, I would think. But would they operate on her for such a thing? I don't believe they would.

So don't beat yourself up. What you did seems appropriate. She sees the doctor often; ask about the films and therapy next time.

Robbi said...

She felt well enough this morning to go to the Center with dad. I hope she forgets about the aches and pains. There's just nothing to stimulate her mind at home. It will probably be good for her to go to the Center.