Parental Journal 106 from Planet Elderly: “You look familiar.”

Sunday  February 16, 2020 – afternoon

When I stopped in to see Mom today, she was sitting in a chair in the TV area.  I walked up to her and said, “Hi, Mom.  How ya doin’?”

She smiled, looked at me and said, “You look familiar.”

“Well, that’s good.  I’m your daughter.”   Then she laughed.

Mental note to self read:  Is this the beginning of her getting to the point of not knowing who I am?  Maybe…but it may be a while.

Our Vacation Time with Flu, Bronchitis, Laryngitis, and a Bad Cold

I was first.  A couple days after Christmas I was coughing a lot and felt achy.  It was a Saturday, so I went to Urgent Care and was diagnosed with Influenza B like many others who had had the flu shot this year.

I took the Tamiflu, drank plenty of water, used inhalers as needed, and spooned out Robitussin regularly.

By January 6 I was voiceless.  Laryngitis big time and still coughing.

On January 11, again a Saturday, I went back to Urgent Care suspecting a bad case of bronchitis.  Confirmed.  More meds and rest.

I stayed home, away from people.  Didn’t visit Mom.  Did bundle up one day when I probably was not contagious but was coughing like crazy. Put on a surgical mask, a down jacket, a hat, gloves, and a scarf, and made a dash into Walmart for necessities. Then back home to my nest.

By January 27 I was much better, but I still had laryngitis.  I visited with my primary care doctor and brought her up to date about the flu and bronchitis.  She listened to my lungs and prescribed a second dose of Prednisone.  Then, upon my request, she referred me to an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor and had me get a chest x-ray so we could get a reading of the lungs.

Mom was second.  Toward the end of my flu/bronchitis adventure I went to see Mom. She had developed a bad cough…very loose and raspy…and she was very tired.  I did not stay long because I did not want to get what she had.

Staff kept close tabs on her. She had a fever for a little while, but that went away and she was given some Robitussin, Tylenol, and oxygen. She spent about three days in bed and wasn’t interested in much food.

I visited her on one day and she was in a pretty good mood.  Her TV was on, and at times she seemed more interested in singing along to familiar TV commercials than chatting with me. She also seemed genuinely concerned about some conflicts happening on the old TV show “Gunsmoke” that day.  But we had a nice visit and I coaxed her into drinking some orange juice.

Mom bad cold Feb 2020

And yes, she still loves the cat.  It is something she can talk to and care for.  It needs new batteries.

Today

Both of us are back to feeling pretty good.  Mom is busy watching people, listening to other people’s conversations, and loving the cat.  Her appetite is not great.  She is 112 lbs, down from 119 lbs a week or so ago.

My voice is not back to normal.  It’s raspy and deep.  The ENT doctor diagnosed me with “Laryngopharyngeal Reflux,” sort of a cousin to GERD.  Nickname:  “Silent Reflux.”

Here we go, I said after visiting the ENT doctor.  I’m at the age where I’m starting to collect specialists and learn of “conditions” that will require some lifestyle changes.

For this one, I’ll be avoiding some foods, caffeine and alcohol for the most part.  That said, when at a Mexican restaurant with gal pals, I will treat myself to a margarita on occasion. I will also be researching some recipes for “mocktails.”  Those are becoming a thing now in trendy bars, per NY Times. Anyone coming over to my place will have to bring their own.  My fridge and cabinets are empty of wine, beer, vodka, and tequila.  Okay by me.  Will be saving $$$ and calories.

Main meal of the day is between 1 and 4-ish, but that’s a routine I already had.  Nothing to eat three hours before bedtime.  Lots of water, which I love. Also, I am now the owner of a foam wedge bed pillow that will keep my upper body elevated a few inches.  I’ve used it three nights now. It’s comfortable and my nighttime coughing is drastically reduced. A personal thank you to the over 800 folks who bothered to write a review of this product on Amazon.

And that Chest X-Ray..

Turns out the lungs look okay.  However, the radiologist noted some “mild” conditions developing in my heart.  Not a huge surprise since my biological father had his first heart attack at age 39 and died at age 47…plus maternal grandmother and aunt had heart issues.  Mom has had no heart issues.

So here I go…another specialist to meet this coming week.  I bet he’ll be delighted to know of the lifestyle changes already under way.  I also bet I’m in for some interesting tests.

 

 

 

 

About jjmummert

Just another voice in the wilderness from someone who's lived on this planet for over 70 years and faces permanent residency on Planet Elderly. Update: As of March 2, 2017, I turned 70. I'm now an official resident of Planet Elderly. Dad passed away September 22, 2016. In late March 2017 I was able to move Mom closer to me where she resided at a memory care assisted living community until being downsized to a skilled nursing senior community in October 2018 in Columbia, Missouri. I view the Parental Journal entries as part therapy, part family history, sort of a case study of our family's journey with dementia. It's quite an adventure. Recommended readings for others who have loved ones who live with some form of dementia: The 36-Hour Day; the website: https://www.agingcare.com/ ; https://www.alz.org/
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