Wow, as I walked into my mom’s rehab room yesterday – she pointed to me and said to the aid behind her, “I don’t like her – she put me here.” Mind you, she is in one of the best rehab centers she could be in post stroke and one that is sometimes difficult to get admitted into. So, of course the rational part of me wanted to tell her how lucky she was to be in this place. But, the emotional part of me was crushed (however I kept my cool).
What I said was, “Have you been working hard today”? “Are you tired?” And, I said that with a smile. She said she wasn’t tired but I discovered in the next hour that she had participated in two therapy sessions and a neuropsychological evaluation. I know from my 27 years working with clients, when someone doesn’t do well on those tests they really feel bad about themselves (they are often aware they didn’t answer questions correctly) and can project that anger onto family members or medical providers. The results of these tests help families make sound decisions because they reveal functional capacity in the realm of self-care, judgment, memory and safety.
I also found out from the young, caring physical therapist that she was angry in the morning and asking who put her in the unit and he (rightly) said, “Your daughter”. True as that is, logically and/or legally, I told him in the future if someone asks that question, always first say, “It was the stroke, accident, surgery – whatever the reason is for the therapy and not the daughter, son, spouse or friend.” He thanked me for that little lesson – hope he remembers for your parent!
I talked briefly with the neuropsychologist who told me her memory, insight and safety awareness were greatly affected by her stroke. And even thought she might have another 10 days in the rehab unit. My family, but primarily me, will need to explore placement options.
My mom didn’t like me because I arranged for the best rehab, how much will she like me or even love me when I find her an assisted living environment? The move will mean giving up a home in an urban setting and moving 30 miles to be closer to one of my brothers and me. It will also mean leaving her connections to two senior programs and the small church she has been active in for over 70 years.
I am going to have to resource the “spiritual” side of my soul to walk this tightrope because my clinical skills and love for my mother will not be enough