Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Update: Hanging on

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a blog here. I’ve been short of time, energy, and inspiration. But thought I’d write the obligatory update:

My mother got out of the hospital on Nov 21st, about a month after she had the stroke. I’m pleased to report she was able to return to her own apartment at the independent living center, initially with a 24 hour/day assistant. But she is doing so well and needs so little assistance that we’ll end the 24 hour service at the end of this week and just pay for an aide at the center to help her with laundry and a few other small tasks. Her language is still severely impaired, so she has a home health speech therapist working with her three times a week. Everyone who has worked with her (aside from the jerks at Healthsouth) have commented on what a tough lady she is. Yep, that’s my mother.

While making daily trips to the hospital and getting things arranged for Mother’s return home, I’ve also been nursing my coonhound Boo through a serious injury. In my backyard I had a piece of lattice held up with two metal stakes. Foolishly, I never considered them a hazard. One day I came home from the hospital and noticed that Boo was awfully quiet and just lying by my desk. After an hour or so, I looked over at him more closely and saw that he had a huge gash on his side, about 8 inches long and gaping almost 2 inches wide! I finally figured out that he must have tried to jump over the little lattice fence, which he has done hundreds of time, and must have missed the jump and come right down, catching his side on the metal stake. So off we went to the 24 hour animal emergency clinic, where he had to be put out and stitched up. In spite of having an e-collar and antibiotics, the wound got infected and most of the stitches pulled out. So we just had to let the wound fill in. Poor Boo. In addition to the pain, he had to suffer the humiliation of wearing the e-collar (he’s heard every satellite dish, lampshade, and conehead joke in the book) and a white t-shirt to keep the wound covered. I’m relieved to report the wound is finally almost healed.

And then there’s the worsening situation with Gabriel. He has been taking his medication, but due to high white blood cell counts, he had to be taken off of Clozapine (the “gold standard” medication for schizophrenia). It’s obviously the one he needs, because since they took him off it, Gabriel has deteriorated fast. For the last month, Marcus and I have listened to up to 20 hours a day of hysterical laughing and constant pacing. At this point, I probably should be committed myself! I have been calling MHMR for more than a month, begging for them to get Gabriel in to see the doctor, but she wasn’t even there the last time he was scheduled to see her, and won’t be back at the clinic until Dec 12. I must admit, I’m feeling pretty hopeless right now. From the reading I’ve done, it appears that there really isn’t an effective alternative to Clozapine, not to mention that the type of schizophrenia Gabriel has is the most resistant to treatment and the one with the worst prognosis.

Sometimes it’s really hard to keep hanging on…