Tuesday, February 19, 2013

My Mom's Accident

I started writing a post and I realized I probably need to explain about my Mom's accident at some point or a lot might be confusing later on. It's a pretty long and sometimes crazy story and there's a lot of other stuff I want to take the time to write but I remembered I had written out a whole bunch of it to share with friends and family on facebook so I looked up the old note and here it is - I wrote it back in 2011 so I'll add a little updated note of where things are at at the end.
Me and My Mom at my wedding 2004

September 23 2005 (the day after my first wedding anniversary, Mom was only 43) my mom was riding a mule up in a canyon and fell off and hit her head on a rock. She was life flighted out and was in a coma.  My sister's wedding was to be in just under a month - we decided to go through with it since we didn't know how long mom would be in a coma.  Mom woke up from her coma in November.  The accident had caused a Traumatic Brain Injury also known as a TBI. The doctors told us she got some blood on her spinal cord and if it had been something like a millimeter to the other side she would have died whereas if it had been the other way nothing bad would have happened.  The whole thing caused or was basically like a stroke, mom can't do much on the left side of her body. 
Me and My Mom Christmas of 2005, just a bit after she woke from her coma

She had to learn how to eat again, swallowing being particularly difficult because they had given her a tracheotomy, this also caused her voice to change and she's had to work on speech therapy.  She went to a couple different nursing homes. Some were nice an others were terrible holes that I wouldn't want anyone to ever have to stay a night in let alone live in.  Then 3 years ago she moved out to Minnesota to go through a program for TBI at the Mayo clinic.  One of the first places she lived in was abusive and didn't give her the proper medication - we had no idea since she was so far away and she never said anything.  Thankfully she was able to get in a different and much better place, Minnesota is at the lead when it comes to having housing for people who have a disability or are unable to care for themselves - it's not just nursing homes.

Krissy has always loved her "Mamă" and loved to help her
This was in 2008, when Krissy was just over 1 year old


Going through that program and working with a lot of other therapy she's improved greatly from the state she was at after the coma.  She's still in a wheelchair for the most part but she can stand up and walk a bit with help. She can not move or use her left arm and hand at all.  A TBI is very difficult in a lot of ways, it effected her memory both short and long term. I didn't realize the extent of this until I made her a scrapbook of her life for a christmas present and she did not remember a majority of the things pictured.  She's very impulsive and can get offended very easily (then you hope it's one of those things she forgets in half an hour and not one of the few things she remembers and recalls over and over)  She hasn't forgotten everything and she has been able to do better with short term memory things but it's a day to day thing and we never know what she will or will not remember. 

We've had her stay with us a few times for holidays and these visits sadly were very terrible and never went well - it was just too difficult having her around constantly and trying to take care of her turned out to be pretty strenuous. The harder thing was her temper as we would get in awful fights and she would say hurtful mean things.  The best visit we ever had was when she stayed at a nursing home and we would go and visit her and we took her up the canyon for a cookout. She was somewhere that she was taken care of and had her own space where she could nap a lot (she gets tired very easily due to the TBI) but we could still see her and do things with her.  It's hard for her to understand and accept that I can't devote all our time and energy to her as I have my own life with a house to take care of and kids to raise - but there are days where she's better about understanding this than others. There are times where it's like she's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - I can talk to her in the morning and she's happy and things are going fine, later that afternoon she's angry with me and claims she has been all day, then later that evening it's like nothing happened and she's fine and everything's great.  In a lot of ways it's like she has the mindset attitude and disposition of a teenager but she knows she's older. 

So now we come to today and I'm trying to get her moved back out here to Utah. Some of the problems we've run into is she was going to school before her accident, she was just a few months away from graduating. The problem is she had student loans to go to school and they started taking money from her Social Security and so she's behind in rent where she currently lives.  So I'm working at getting that taken care of and finding a place for her to live out here. We have to get her approved somewhere, get her out here and then get her on Utah's Mediade and Medicare - if she's not ale to get on those to pay for her living I'm not sure what we'll do but she should qualify.  It's been a struggle to find a place - I've looked up countless nursing homes, called many and gone to a good number in person.  The majority of them only have people that are 65 and older - she stayed in places like this before and she would make a friend who would die a week later.  The majority of places also have never dealt with someone that has a brain injury and it can be so different than the typical alzheimers and such that we worry they wouldn't want to keep her.  Utah only has nursing homes for someone in mom's position - she  needs 24 hour care in case she falls out of bed or so she can have help with daily living tasks. I wish Utah had some places like Minnesota where there's only 4 people to a house and they are around the same age and get the most up to date care but it has been hard to know what is going on and how she is being taken care of since I'm not there to see. Finally a few days ago I was able to find a place here in Provo that has dealt with those with a brain injury and has residents that are younger and it's not a huge place with over 100 residents.  It's a nice place with therapy cats and it doesn't feel or smell like a hospital.  Hopefully we can get everything worked out for her to move there.

It's true that this whole thing is not easy and there's been a lot of tears and heartache but there's a lot of good to look at too from the fact that she's not still in a coma to the fact that she's been able to see and enjoy her grandkids even if it's not in the traditional way. I'm actually very glad she's moving back because I can make sure she is being taken care of and it will be a lot easier to spend time with her and have her do things with the family.  So that's where things are currently at least that's a brief summary of what's gone on.
When she came back home to Utah April 2011

April 2011
 -Whew, I'm glad I had that written out already, it would have been hard to try and put it all together.  I did get her moved out ok and things went really well. We did have a hard time near the end of 2011 because Mom got a horrible infection that effected her psychologically such that she was not herself and even got to the point where she would barely whisper to talk to you and she was rather lifeless. We didn't know until later that it was all due to the infection, between Christmas and New Years she got cellulitis so she went into the hospital and they gave her some real heavy duty medications that finally cleared everything up and snap, she was back to herself (at least back to how she's been since her accident) but she didn't remember like the past 3-4 months because of it all. She thought we hadn't been to see her for Christmas and I was all "I have video of us singing christmas carols with you." But it's all good. We know now what some of the main warning signs of those infections are and she's been doing a lot better. I'm sure I'll do more post about her - for instance I'll have to share the big 50th birthday party I put together for her last year - but by putting this all together now if I need to mention anything about her accident and such I can put a link back to this post for people to know what's happened.

Love you BIG Mom!!
Mom's 50th Birthday 2012

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