December 8, 2013–institutions (arrrggggh!)

I tried doing her laundry for less than a week.  She has six pairs of slacks and nine tee shirts.  I took half home and returned them four days later.  All her remaining clothes were in the hamper I provided and she was wearing someone else’s size 12 slacks.  Hers are size 20 WP.  They were so tight they hurt her.  The slacks in her hamper showed no sign of soiling of any kind.

I blew up.  Not there, but I went home and wrote a scathing email to the social worker, who is my main contact.  I reiterated that I am pleased with the nursing care but the incompetence of the CNA’s is inexcusable.  What was wrong with her wearing slacks a couple of days in a row?

Oh.  Guess what.  They wash each resident’s clothes every day, whether they are dirty or not.  So she “was out of clean pants.”

No one bothered to tell me this was their procedure.  No one bothered to tell me they used 160 degree water for all laundry.  There seem to be a lot of things I am supposed to discover on my own.

And, if I’m not  happy with her being at Quiet Oaks, perhaps I need to think about finding another place for her.  That stopped me in my tracks.  There isn’t any other place.

I reminded Chris that the whole laundry debacle started because his people wouldn’t check her pockets and the hearing aid repair bill is close to $500.  Yeah, well, they’re sorry about that.  But she seems to get along okay without it.  Maybe I should keep it with me and just have her use it when I’m around.


I really don’t have a choice.  She has to say there.  I have become aware of and have learned several things.  First, I am still “protecting” the Esther Freeman I used to know.  That Esther doesn’t exist anymore.  Things that I think should bother her–or that used to in fact bother her–are no longer her concerns.  So it’s my problem, not hers.  Hard to adjust to, but it’s true.

Also, even though QO is an institution and cares for 60 residents with barely enough staff (IMHO), they now know her better than I do, simply because I only see her once a week.  I have to “let go.”  In fact, I have been letting go for a couple of years, but this aspect is new to me and I’m not sure how well I’m handling it.  She, on the other hand, seems to be “handling it” pretty well, most of the time.  One of the advantages of dementia.


I met the transport van at her podiatrist’s office a little after 4 p.m. last Monday.  She was totally confused, disoriented, and out of it.  I had never seen her that bad.  So I decided not to take her home for supper, which would have meant getting her back after 8 p.m.  I called QO, told them what was going on, and asked them to hold her supper for her.

After her appointment, we stopped by the house to pick up the dogs, who rode quite happily in her lap.  She was a lot better by the time we arrived at 6 p.m.   I confirmed that they had not allowed her a nap after lunch.


Friday afternoon around 3 p.m. I got a call from them.  She had been “on a rampage” since lunch time.  She wants to feed herself (naturally) but can’t see when a dish is empty or where the last bits of food are.  Apparently the staff tried to “help” her after several empty spoons to her mouth and she got angry.

So instead of putting her down for a nap–which she needs EVERY day–they kept her in the corridor near the nurses station so as to keep an eye on her.  There is one resident whose non-stop call is “Help!  Somebody HELP me!”  She’s in the room across the hall.  That, plus they were changing a dressing on a wound of another patient who was complaining loudly.

Mother was upset.  She keep getting up our of her wheelchair and scolding the nurses.

“This is MY house.  I don’t want you here!  You are all fired!  I’m going to call the police.  Get out!  Get out!”

They handed the phone to her and I tried to figure out what was going on.  She wouldn’t talk to me there, so I asked her to get Ashley (nurse) on the line and asked her to wheel her and the telephone down to her room so we could talk privately.

I was able to calm her down, though I’m not sure what I said–or what she said–made any sense to either of us.   I did remind her that I get grumpy when I’m tired, too, and that she would probably feel a lot better after a nap.  She reluctantly agreed.

I called back on my cell phone and told them to go down the hall, pick up their phone and get her in bed.  I’m guessing all went well, because I haven’t heard any more about it.

Unfortunately  I’ve been down with a  bad cold for three days, so, if I’m better by tomorrow, it will have been a week since I’ve seen her.  Mary has been going over twice a week as we planned and I think that is helping.  Plus someone from church usually gets out weekly.

My adjustment seems to be the need to surrender her to her present situation and to pick my battles better.  I have to, for her sake.


About estherfromolmsted

written and maintained by Tina
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