Mom’s Hardships with Nana

Posted February 23, 2018

You may have gathered from my last blog that Nana has accumulated more hospital visits than the average person. As a result, the thought of being away from Nana for an extended amount of time makes Mom anxious; rightly so as Nana is the last living member of her immediate family.

Mom and Nana are extremely close and it breaks her heart knowing that she cannot provide Nana with the necessary 24-hour care that she now requires. In addition, it’s even harder for her to put Nana in the hands of others and trust them to care for her as much as Mom cares about her.

Traditionally, my family goes on vacation towards the end of the summer. Every year Mom has an inner battle about whether or not she should go, depending on Nana’s current health. Although Mom always joins us in the end, the guilt and anxiety she feels is apparent. To soothe her uneasiness while we are away, Mom hires someone to visit Nana at the nursing home at least once a day and she calls the nursing home for daily, sometimes hourly, updates.

The guilt she feels is not only visible when we are away; holidays also spark a plethora of emotion. Mom likes to bring Nana home as often as possible; I believe this is because she feels guilty that she has Nana living in a nursing home instead of at our house. During the holidays when my Nana’s health prohibits her from coming home, Mom’s sadness is evident. Instead, we go visit Nana either in the hospital or at the nursing home, but the atmosphere is very somber, making it difficult to get into the holiday spirit. On many occasions Mom tries to hold back tears, but a few always escape, streaming down her face against her will.

However, when Nana is healthy enough to come home, taking care of her presents its own set of problems and emotions.

Starting with getting Nana into the house. Our house has not been adapted for Nana’s disability, and so it’s difficult to get her up the stairs into the house. Usually we lift her and her wheelchair over the 4 steps in the garage. Sounds simple enough, right? Wrong. Nana is not always that corporative, especially when she does not understand what is happening. So, something as simple as convincing her to put her feet up so they don’t hit the stairs can take up to 10 minutes. The same goes for getting her out of the house.

Nana is a strong woman who does not enjoy being told what to do. She still believes she can be as independent as she used to be, so when she needs help eating or using the bathroom, to name a couple of common occurrences, it can cause all sorts of obstacles. Helping Nana in the bathroom takes around 20 minutes, and usually multiple people have to help. She also does not like to use her teeth when eating, making it difficult and nerve-wracking when she is eating something that requires chewing.

Each effort makes everyone involved momentarily irritable and frustrated. However, it is always something we can look back and laugh at later.