Archive for April, 2013

Clara’s decline….

Due to a variety of circumstances in my life, I will be taking a break from my weekly posts for a period of time.  As I have mentioned before, I have been posting exerpts from my book, Life with Clara – One Caregiver’s Journey. My goal has always been that my experience and honesty could help others in this life changing role. My entire account is available at http://www.createspace.com/3469034 or at Amazon.com, just type in the title of my book.  I appreciate all of your comments and wish all caregivers the strength they need to cope each day!  

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Moments after the fall

Although it was a noise I had never heard before, I knew immediately it was the sound of a bone that snapped in two.  I’m still trying to hold her body weight up, and her right leg is caught under her body and is now in an unnatural position.  Clara said, “I think I broke my leg.”  I calmly said that she did, as my fight was now over with holding her vertical, I gently stroked her cheek and said, “Don’t worry, it will be okay, I’ll take care of you.”  Then I turned my head to where I thought my voice would project the best and screamed, “Andy, get over here.”  Then I would gently stroke Clara’s face some more and try to reassure her, then scream for Andy to hurry up.  She probably thought I was an absolute nut switching from calm and reassuring to hysterically yelling!  The very thing I was trying to avoid happened anyway.  I re-draped the towel to cover Clara as much as I could and I asked Andy to help me lift her to get her leg out from under her.  He said he didn’t think we should move her, you are never supposed to move an injured person.  Normally I would have agreed, but at this point I knew she had a broken bone, moving her would not change that.  I did not want to further complicate things by her leg having no circulation with all her body weight on it, and I felt we had no choice.  With authority I said we had to get the pressure off of her leg and Andy agreed.  It was obvious the femur, or thigh bone that was broken.  I stayed behind Clara holding her up so she didn’t fall backwards and hit her head too.  After Andy helped get her leg out, I said to
call 911.  He did and was placed on hold.  It was probably for a minute or two, but seemed forever.  When he finished I told him he had to come back in the bathroom and hold his mother up, I physically couldn’t hold her up anymore.  Andy stood behind his mother holding her up, keeping his eyes closed so he wouldn’t see his mother partially naked.  I had flashbacks to when Clara had the stroke when I thought that was it, her life as we knew it was over, but I was wrong.  I knew this time there was no such room for
error.  Clara would have to go to a nursing home at least for rehabilitation of her broken leg, and we still did not know what was wrong with her that lead to this fall.  It was all so very sad.  Andy wisely asked me to get a blanket to lie over his mother, I hadn’t even thought of that.  Then I noticed when she fell she had a bit more diarrhea.  I thought all of this was for nothing! 

I mentioned earlier in this blog that I am posting exerpts from my book, Life with Clara – One Caregiver’s Journey. My goal has always been that my experience and honesty could help others in this life changing role. My entire account is available at http://www.createspace.com/3469034

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The nightmare begins.

She said she was not able to lift her foot up to get out of the shower.  I’m thinking,
‘Crap, what do I do now?’  Andy and Zack were home, but Clara would be humiliated for them to have them help her out of the shower while naked.  Plus I could not even leave her to ask them for help.  I told her that I could not get her out of the shower by myself and she could not get out of the shower by herself, but together we could do it.  I pressed my stomach back again into her back, put my hands around her waist and slid my left foot under her left foot and helped lift it out as she hung onto the hand rail.  With me standing right up against Clara’s back, I could not see my feet or her feet so it was a bit tricky, but her left foot was out.  I said, “We make a good team.”  Clara said, “I can’t get my other foot out.”  I said, “Remember, we are a team, we can do it together.”  I was trying to put my foot under her right foot as she was trying to lift her foot out over the shower stall lip.  Then she said, “I’m going to fall.”  With absolutely desperation in my voice I said, “NO YOU ARE NOT, DON’T FALL.”  In the past when Clara would think she was going to fall, she would allow herself to fall on purpose, so she could somewhat control her fall.  I had been in the situation before when this happened when I was trying to hold Clara up and she just becomes dead weight.  When Clara uttered, “I’m going to fall” I knew if I did not convince her she was not going to fall, she would become dead weight.  Clara repeated those words a second time and I said now with panic, “No
you’re not, no, you’re not” and as I could feel her releasing her body I was desperately trying to hold her up and she was slowly falling.  It all happened quickly yet it seemed in slow motion.  As Clara’s right foot stayed hooked on the shower stall lip, I was desperately trying to let it out with my foot.  Clara went down and I heard a popping noise. 

I mentioned earlier in this blog that I am posting exerpts from my book, Life with Clara – One Caregiver’s Journey.  My goal has always been that my experience and honesty could help others in this life changing role.  My entire account is available at http://www.createspace.com/3469034

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Poor Clara, is so weak.

She was so weak; I had to stand behind Clara with my stomach pressed to her back as I wrapped my arms around her waist from behind. With her having a mess in her pants, it wasn’t ideal, but she truly needed the help.  We slowly walked in unison to the bathroom and she said she wanted to sit on the toilet for a few minutes to see if she was emptied out.  Once seated, I told her I would be back in a few minutes.  I marched back to my side of the house and Andy asked if she had another accident and when I said yes, he said he was going to call his sister, it was time for her to come over since she felt like everything was okay.  I told him not to do that, I would clean her up, but that I would no longer take ‘no’ for an answer, she was going to the hospital.  I then got on the phone and called Clara’s daughter that lives about a half hour away and told her what I was doing.  She was fully supportive and said she would meet us at the emergency room.  I went back to Clara, and she was ready to get in the shower.  She was so weak it was a challenge for her to lift her foot the two and a half inches to clear the shower ledge even with my help.  She held onto the handicap hand rails as I undressed her in the shower.  Once I rinsed the feces away, I had to get into the shower with her to help hold her up.   She then had to sit down on the shower seat as she was too weak to continue standing.  I’m in the shower thinking how I cannot believe the doctor had let things go this far.  Once she sat down, she had a bit more diarrhea, so when she was able, I helped her back up so I could re-wash the area. I draped a towel over her chest to prevent a chill until we could get to her bed for her to sit on the side so I could dress her.

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On Wednesday, Clara’s daughter came down as normal, and now she was concerned with the chest congestion her mother had.  Later that evening when Clara got home from dialysis I asked her if the doctor examined her.  She said he had written down a
suggestion.  When I picked up his note it  said, “Give Clara a can of Glucerna protein drink each morning.”  I looked at Clara and asked, “Did you tell him I have been giving you a can of Glucerna in the morning for the past year?”  Clara went into her playing dumb routine and said, “Oh, do you?”  She then continued that the more she thought about it, she really didn’t think she was sick but she was depressed because of the days being shorter.  She added that her winter cold came earlier than normal and come spring time, things would be better.  I knew my golden opportunity to find out what was wrong with Clara had passed and I would not get her to agree again to go to the hospital.  At this point, going to the hospital was out of the question since her doctor felt it was necessary.  By Friday, it was ridiculous trying to get Clara to the car for dialysis.  It was as if the bottoms of her feet were rounded from carrying so much fluid and she could barely balance herself.   It took about fifteen minutes to get her to the car.  Once home from dialysis, it was even worse.  That evening she called her daughter and said she would not be going out on Saturday, she wasn’t feeling well.  Saturday continued with her daily diarrhea and weakness.  I didn’t know what it was, but in my heart I knew something was very, very wrong.  I felt absolutely helpless and angry with Clara’s doctor when I even thought of his suggestion that I was trying to dump Clara off for a break.  Sure there were times I felt like I needed a break, but never would I try to have her admitted unnecessarily.  For the quality of care he knew I provided Clara, which he had often commented on himself, it was extremely insulting and I was mad.   Sunday morning Clara just looked pathetic.  In the morning she had no appetite.  She drank her protein drink for the nutritive value, and before long that went right through her.  We had switched from her having coffee to hot tea to see if that would help stop the diarrhea.  By mid afternoon Clara called that she had another accident.  Honestly, I could not imagine how anything was even left in her system to cause diarrhea.  I went over and Clara was just a lump in her chair.  I talked to her tenderly and told her that I was very concerned about her and she softly said, “I know.”  It was obvious she was  scared and that she knew something was wrong and could not ignore it any longer.  I told her that we have waited as long as we could wait, but she needed to go to the hospital.  She immediately agreed.   I told her that after I washed her up, I was going to dress her, and then I was going to take her to the hospital.  She could not continue on as weak as she was.  Clara said she was ready to go to the hospital after I washed her up. 


I was Clara’s full time caregiver for 8 years. I mentioned earlier in this blog that I am posting exerpts from my book, Life with Clara – One Caregiver’s Journey. My goal has always been that my experience and honesty could help others in this life changing role. My entire account is available at http://www.createspace.com/3469034

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