I've done some serious "textile therapy" in the last week, so I have only visited my grandmother a couple of times. My mom has visited a few times, too - and my sister still works 3 weekend nights - so it's not like Mam-ma has not had visits from her family. When my mom visits, she often reports that Mam-ma "had trouble holding her eyes open," so Mom ends up pulling up a chair and just sitting at her bedside for a while. I find it interesting that I can go the very next day - or even the same day - and Mam-ma has no trouble staying awake. I'm wondering if this "pretending to nap or be sleepy" is for Mom's benefit. Mom thought that Mam-ma was mad at the world the last time she visited, and this was why she closed her eyes and literally shut everyone out! We'll probably never know for sure.
I found things pretty well on Sunday when I visited. I took more sewing to show Mam-ma, though she never even raised up in bed. She looked it all over - twice - and declared, in a rather long sentence for her... "I said to myself, 'She's a havin' the time of her life with this sewing.'" I heard this several times over the course of ten or 15 minutes. My husband and I were attending the funeral visitation for a dear friend that evening, so I didn't stay long. But I thought all was well... until I talked with my sister on Tuesday.
It seems that Mam-ma continues to holler, though she has not done so while I am there in about two weeks. But at night and much of the daytime, if she is in her bed or recliner, she is hollering for any and every aide who passes her door. And my sister said when she is on duty, she will hear "Suzaaaaaaaaaaannnnne!" Worse still, when the aides to not respond as quickly as Mam-ma thinks they should... she has begun to rattle her bed rails! I told Suzanne that maybe we should get her a tin cup, like you see the prisoners scrape across the bars of a jail cell in the movies. She replied, "Don't you dare!" I would never do this, and it's not funny... but I can just see my grandmother.
So on one hand, we feel like maybe she cannot help the fact that she hollers. But when you know enough to call the aides by name and rattle your bed rails... it's hard to believe you are clueless.
I am assured that there are others who do this sort of thing... and worse. But they are not my grandmother. And they don't have a loved one working there. It's a dilemma... but my sister insists that she wants Mam-ma kept in this facility - that she is managing just fine. So we remind Ma-mma often that she must not holler... that it doesn't make the aides come any faster or more frequently to check on her. And I'm waiting for the day the administrator calls to tell me her bedrails have been removed.
My grandmother has come so far in the last two months... farther than I ever dreamed she would when we left the hospital in early May. Still, she is declining, in many ways. I am prepared for the possibility that she might continue to improve enough that she no longer qualifies for Hospice care at this time. But I feel like the far more likely scenario will be that she falls...develops an infection of some sort... or overheats sitting outside on the porch. Every day is different. Meanwhile, we all agree that we should keep objects that can be clanged against the bedrails at a hefty distance. If Mam-ma figures out how to make noise with one of those, we're sunk!