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[personal profile] eurodancemix
DECEMBER 2010
On December 8, exactly one week after I left Montreal, the social worker called me to inform me that they'd already found a room for Mom at a nearby intermediate-care level residence. She was being released from the hospital that Friday. So I packed my bags and drove up to Montreal once again. (I need to add at this point that my employer was very understanding of my situation and granted me all the necessary time to go take care of Mom.) When I got to the hospital on Friday, Mom was already dressed up and ready to go. It was a very cold and windy day and the only coat she had was a bit flimsy (I'd completely forgotten to get her warm coat from the apartment). Still, I managed to grab a parking spot right in front of the hospital door and whisked Mom in the car as fast as I could. The residence was only a few minutes away from the hospital.

When we got to the new place, named Residence Jo-Li, the owner warmly greeted us and seemed very pleased to have us there. The place was fully secure: codes needed to be entered to enter and exit the building. We were shown Mom's room which was already furnished; it was a bit small but it was cozy. A nice touch: there was a small bouquet of flowers waiting for her in the room. The establishment as a whole was spotless: it looked and smelled clean, and the hallways were uncluttered. The staff was very pleasant and the other residents seemed well taken care of. I spent the rest of the day moving Mom's clothes from her apartment to her new room. I hung pictures on the wall to make the place a bit more attractive and I brought over her favorite chair and floor lamp to warm up the room. I also went out a bought her a new TV and ordered cable for her.


This is a wreath that she had picked up a couple of days before she became ill in October. Fortunately, she remembered it once it was hung on the door. The pic doesn't do it justice...it's very pretty.
This is a wreath that she had picked up a couple of days before she became ill in October. Fortunately, she remembered it once it was hung on the door. The pic doesn't do it justice...it's very pretty.
Mom's new place was furnished, so I couldn't bring much of her own furniture. Standard-issue hospital bed. The paintings on the wall are some that she did when she was younger.
Mom's new place was furnished, so I couldn't bring much of her own furniture. Standard-issue hospital bed. The paintings on the wall are some that she did when she was younger.
The nightstand and wardrobe were already there. I furnished the radio and one of her favorite lamps.
The nightstand and wardrobe were already there. I furnished the radio and one of her favorite lamps.
The dresser with some of her knick-knacks. Even bought her a new TV (got cable, too!): let's just say that the massive 38-inch set she had before wouldn't quite fit on that dresser.
The dresser with some of her knick-knacks. Even bought her a new TV (got cable, too!): let's just say that the massive 38-inch set she had before wouldn't quite fit on that dresser.
I refer to this as Mom's corner: her floor lamp, her favorite chair, and another painting (Falcon Hunt) that she did when she was younger. This little spot really warms up the room and makes it more inviting and less clinical.
I refer to this as Mom's corner: her floor lamp, her favorite chair, and another painting (Falcon Hunt) that she did when she was younger. This little spot really warms up the room and makes it more inviting and less clinical.
Happy to be home!
Happy to be home!



I spent the next few days cleaning out the old apartment and spending time with Mom in her new place. She assimilated well with the other residents and quickly became a favorite with the staff. The residence was small: there were only 11 other residents on her floor.

I still had all of Mom's furniture to get rid of (adjustable bed, 38" TV, dresser, lift chair, night stand) but couldn't hang around long enough in order to list it on Craigslist or place an ad in the newspaper. So I called Yannik, the son of Mom's former superintendent. Mom had given him some furniture when she moved to her studio apartment in 2009. He had gone through a divorce and I figured he could probably use the additional furniture. Plus, he had been incredibly kind and caring towards Mom so it's something I wanted to do for him. He came over on Thursday morning and picked up all the furniture. I was happy that the furniture would be put to good use, but it was odd being in an empty apartment. There were still many items in the closets that needed to be rummaged through and either trashed or taken home, but I did not have the emotional fortitude to deal with it at the time. I had until the end of February, so there was no big rush. I'd just have to come back. It was now a week after I'd arrived, and it was time for me to head back home. I had planned on spending the afternoon with Mom before heading out on the road around 6 PM or so. Things did not go as planned.

Around 2 PM, Mom suddenly had what could best be described as a psychotic episode. Out of the blue, she became very agitated, screaming, crying, calling out for my dad and her mom. It was difficult to witness and, other than for seeing something similar in a movie, it was something I'd never experienced before. Mom's eyes were completely empty and soulless, and her face had become ashen. I called the nurse over. She and the owner tried to calm her down, but it wasn't happening. So an ambulance was called and Mom was taken to the ER. I followed in the car. By the time I got to the hospital, Mom was completely calm again and remembered nothing of what had just happened. I waited with her until she was seen by a doctor. Because she had calmed down, the doctor said he would keep Mom overnight for observation in the psychiatric unit of the ER. I stayed until visiting hours were over at 8 PM. I was told that they would give her a brain scan in the morning and that there would be more information then.

I was so agitated that I spent most of the evening and night just driving around Montreal. My mind was racing at 100 MPH: what the fuck had just happened? was Mom going to be all right? had she gone crazy and was this going to happen again? Around 4 AM, I finally became tired. Even though my friends John & Mario had offered me a place to stay with them, I didn't feel right for calling them in the middle of the night, so I went back to the old apartment where I slept on the floor (there was still a bedspread and a pillow there) and caught some sleep for a couple of hours. I inexplicably woke up at 6 AM. I got up, drove around town some more, and eventually went back to the hospital around 12 Noon (visiting hours began at 1:30 PM, so I was early).

They let me in to see Mom and she was in great spirits. She was already dressed and when she saw me, she said out loud, "There you are! OK, let's go!". There were no signs of the agitation and fright that she displayed the day before. I spoke with the doctor who told me that the brain scan showed no abnormalities, other than the scar tissue from the hematoma. What had happened to her was probably a brain seizure.

Now, this is where I learned something new: patients who have brain hemorrhages are later susceptible to suffering from partial brain seizures in which a very small part of the brain has an epileptic fit. These are completely random and can occur only once or be ongoing. In order to be certain, the doctor wanted to have Mom undergo an EEG.

However, because Mom is suffering from dementia, he didn't want to keep her in the hospital for several days, considering she had just spent 45 days previously and had only been in her new place for a week. Any change in a dementia patient's surroundings always brings about a decline...the decline can be big or small, but there's no exception to this rule. So, he opted to have her return home as long as I was able to bring her back to the hospital the following Tuesday for the EEG. I agreed. I took Mom back to her residence where she promptly fell asleep in her bed. I left for a few hours to go eat, rest up, and make some phone calls: I had to call John & Mario to see if they could host me for a few days, and I had to call my boss to let him know what had happened. Both my boss and one of our VP's simply told me, "Don't worry, just concentrate on your mom, that's what's most important." It was a great relief.

I spent the weekend visiting Mom and spending time with her. She seemed to have no after-effects from the seizure. On Tuesday, we went to the hospital where she had the EEG. Mom had a bit of trouble following the directions given by the technician, and it somehow ended up being quite comical. During the test, Mom was repeatedly told to close her eyes and then she was instructed to open them. After a while, rather than actually do that, she simply began repeating the instructions "Open your eyes, close your eyes, open your eyes, close your eyes" as if she were a parrot. It was rather funny.

After the EEG, we went back home. I had been tempted to take Mom out to lunch, but because there was a lot of snow on the ground and she was having some difficulty getting in and out of the car, I thought it would be best to forgo that. That will probably be an activity best-suited for springtime.

And so finally, I left Montreal the following day, December 23, 2010.

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