caregivers · Personality


My sister and I received calls in a very early morning hour last week from a CNA and then the head nurse at my mom’s place letting us know that she had to be sent to the hospital for what was later termed a “manic episode” with “aggressive behaviors”. After speaking with the CNA on duty, I got a pretty clear picture of what had happened and it was not pretty.

By the time my sister got to the hospital, my mom was calm, all the tests that they ran for a possible physical problem were negative, and my mom was ready to go. When she returned to her place, she ate breakfast, had no memory of anything that occurred, and ended up going on the bus for an outing!

My sister and I went out to get something to eat, some coffee to calm our nerves, and then some doughnuts – two dozen in fact. On our way back to the facility with our peace offering (the doughnuts), the humor made its way into our still somewhat-disbelieving minds. We imagined the conversations with the staff going something like this.

“So, you were woken up with a phone call from your staff at 4 a.m. because our mom was screaming and waking up the residents? We are so sorry. Have a doughnut.”

“You were hit over the head by our mom with a clipboard, of all things, as you tried to calm her down? Here, have a doughnut.”

”You were hit, bit, yelled at with really bad language, and almost had a plate thrown at you by our mom? Well, we got you a doughnut!”

Though we have seen our mom get angry and panicky, it is still very hard to imagine her in the state she was in and exhibiting these violent behaviors. There is a thought that she might not have slept and was scared by the night staff who she doesn’t really know. She could have also been hallucinating. We will probably never know.

Mom dramatically singing an ode to the trees as we took a walk on the day after the “incident”.

What was amazing was how the staff there took it in stride and did not seem too worried about it. As difficult as it is for us to understand, it is a common reality for them. We are so thankful for the night staff for doing their best to help our mom, enduring her wrath up to the point that they could.

After moving her three times, my sister and I still harbor the fear that she will need another move – although we don’t know where she would even go from here. None of us, including our mom, could take that. The staff was very reassuring that she is still fine there. Even so, several large pizzas may be showing up soon!

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