Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Visitors

I decided that it would be best to dedicate an entire post to visiting and visitors. It may seem like a simple, no need to mention topic but with a stroke survivor, things can be a little different. Like I mentioned before, visits are not like a typical patient. I mentioned reading the 40 suggestions from Dr. Jill Bolte-Taylor. These are incredibly important. I thought that I would mention some of the more pertinent ones.

6. Be aware of what your body language and facial expressions are communicating to me.
she reads a lot into body language. she understands a lot but also uses context, etc to sometimes understand what is being said.
7. Make eye contact with me. I am in here-come find me. Encourage me.
my mom is there. Funny things and little gestures that she did pre-stroke are still there. Make eye contact with her.
10. Honor the healing power of sleep.
this will always be important. please respect her time. Rest is very important. Weekdays are pretty much a no go for visitors with all of the therapies. Weeknight visits are best between 5:45pm and 7pm. After that my mom is ready for a little TV and me time. She will either kick you out or ignore you with the TV.
11. Protect my energy. No talk radio, TV, or nervous visitors! Keep visitation brief (five minutes).
she is now okay with TV but the visitors statement still holds true. Brief visits are very important. My sisters have observed with people that have come by that after about 5-10 minutes my mom gets pretty bored and ready to move on. For some, the drive out may be 25-30 minutes and it may feel that you need to visit enough to make it worth your time, however for my mom's sake it needs to be kept brief. They observed that conversations are pretty one sided and can get ackward but she really can't fully participate in the conversation. It is also best that you leave your children at home. Even when Gunnar gets a little whiny, she will indicate that Gunnar needs to go. She doesn't need that.
21. Speak to me directly, not about me to others.
she can hear everything that you say. She has super good hearing. she also knows what you are talking about.
29. Please don’t finish my sentences for me or fill in words I can’t find. I need to work my brain.
If she does attempt to speak quite a bit to you, just allow her time to tell you what she want. She will work very hard at finding the word that she wants to say. It may take a little bit of time but she usually gets it.
35. Keep me familiar with my family, friends, and loving support. Build a collage wall of cards and photos that I can see. Label them so I can review them.
she loves getting cards. we have them all over her room.
37. Love me for who I am today. Don’t hold me to being the person I was before. I have a different brain now.
she is the same but different if that makes any sense. she is no longer a Relief Society president. She no longer needs to really hear anything related to that calling. she has never been worried about callings or church things. at this time she is solely worrying about getting better and sometimes whether or not family members have had dinner.

This may seem over the top to some but we as a family, are my mom's best advocate. We are here to make sure the best is happening for my mom. If you show up and there is a sign on the door to check in at the nurses desk, or a sign that says no visitors please respect that because she may be pretty wiped out or something else is happening. Again, weekends are slower and probably the best time to stop by but she still has therapy sporadically. Not as often or as intense but it may still happen and they do not stop it for anyone. If you have any questions or concerns you are more than welcome to leave me a comment or send me an email.

4 clever remarks:

Rachel C. said...

Good for you sticking up for your mom!

And you will be so grateful when people follow the visiting time guidelines. My mom ends up having a really hard time if there are too many people, or too much excitement going on.

And it stresses her out to be in a situation she can't fully participate in. So sometimes it's better to just not have those situations to begin with! :)

Beth said...

Thanks Kristi for helping us to help your Mom in the very best ways! Great post, all the little reminders are helpful!

shellysanford said...

It sounds like you are learning how to cope with taking care of your mom, it really takes some time.

Jeff and Sandy Gale said...

Kristi, please e-mail the address of where your mom is and a room number. I want to send her a little something so she knows that I love her and think about her all the time. I don't want to overwhelm her with a visit. But I do hope sometime I can stop by. I promise to follow the rules.
jeffg1126@cableone.net