Friday, November 6, 2009

Shedding Water

I had no idea where mom ever got the phrase 'shedding water' from but she used it one night when she had to get up to, 'shed water'. That night was a doozy! She got up at 12, 1, 2 at 4:15, 6:15 and then at 7:45! I wanted to get her up for breakfast between 7 and 8, but I was so exhausted from all the trips to mom's room to help her during the night and early morning that I couldn't get myself up until almost 9. So, I got her up shortly after that. I explained the nights events to her to which she was appalled. She never remembered come morning how many times she had gotten up. But I sure did, in fact I kept a calendar of it for awhile.

These were the days following her broken ankle that I was doing everything to assist her even after she was mended and mobile again. I realized later on that it was the fear of her falling if I wasn't right there to help her move around.

The next night after she had gone to bed at 9, I did some research on the sleeping problems of the elderly, to see if there were changes we could make to help her change the habit of waking up and going to 'shed water'. I found a number of sites that gave me very good information. So, the next day we began to implement the necessary changes to hopefully help us all to get a restful night sleep!

Mom never had understood the importance of adequate consumption of water. Staying hydrated is important for everyone, but even more so for the elderly. We got serious about mother getting more to drink, and mom was a sipper so it wasn't easy to get the water down her! We would encourage her to take real drinks and guzzle that water down! Well, a guzzle is a bit extreme, but there were a few times she actually almost did just that!

As the weeks progressed, she would hold the liquid in her mouth rather then swallow it right away, then when she swallowed, she would breathe at the same time, causing her to cough. So, we would have to tell her over and over, swallow, don't hold it in you mouth. Can you believe I do the same thing?? Many times I will find myself taking a drink and holding it in my mouth! I can't believe I am doing that! Is it genetic or something?? Mom could take 4 to 6 hours to drink a large glass of water, and that is with us telling her repeatedly to drink. Her evening glass usually took her till bedtime to finish. Helloooo! That meant 'shedding water' during the night of course! Also, some of her meds have a diuretic in them, which also contributes to the problem. But to get up that many times in the night for any reason, is was just not normal! Ok! Plan B, all juice and water was to be drunk by supper time, and trips to 'shed water' done about every 2 hours prior to bedtime.

Another issue with mom, had been her bad sleep habits. She had slept when and if she wanted to for years, which established a real problem with night time sleeping in the later years. I set a regular bedtime about 9 for her, which is later then she was used to going to bed. I cut out her nap time and also changed her morning get up time. The day changes worked pretty good, but the nights continued to wreak havoc on us. So, plan C, up earlier in a.m., which would vary upon what the night before had been like. No naps during the day, which was a tough one for her to deal with. She actually did pretty well with the changes. She dozed off in the rocking chair instead of crawling back into bed for a nap. She still needed to get some kind of rest during the day, although there had been days where she actually did stay up from morning till bedtime, or later! The goal in all this was for her to get a decent nights rest, and me too!

Ok! That plan didn't work either! Keeping mom up all day just added to my daily stress, took away my afternoon quiet time, and didn't change her night pattern at all! For some reason she had to 'shed water' at night more then during the day. It was how her system was changing as she got older. There had been a few occasions where she slept 4 or 5 hours straight, and I do mean few! It was suggested that I try Melatonin or Beneadryl, which I did, and they both worked...once or twice...allowing her to sleep maybe 6 to 7 hours each time, and that was it. Then she was back to the usual patterns, and I just got more tired out!

So, let's see where was I at, oh yes, plan D... I went back to having her nap in the afternoon, she needed it and so did I! Summoning me to help her every 1 to 3 hours each night was exhausting, and something needed to change! But, I didn't know what else to do. Well, the whole thing ended up with 2 trips to the emergency room in August of 2006 with high blood pressure attacks. Lack of sleep, not enough exercise, too much stress...all contributors, had to make changes. I've been on medication since. Had to make changes.

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