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Rest In Peace, My Mother - Linda Rudoff

PermalinkBy Paul Rudoff on Nov. 30, 2015 at 10:00 PM , Categories: Personal, Tributes
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* Page 1 - Introduction
* Page 2 - The Funeral
* Page 3 - A Life In Pictures
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I'm going through a bad case of deja vu. Last year I lost my father, and last night my mother, Linda Joyce Rudoff, passed away at the age of 67.

I really don't even know how it got to this point. She originally took ill on September 9th, but was continually making progress every week, with the occasional setback. If anything, she seemed closer to death when this all started than she has been recently. This was completely unexpected. Those of you who follow me personally on Facebook will have been following along every step of the way these past eleven and a half weeks. In lieu of writing more to this blog post, I'll just repost all of my Facebook updates, which will show you the highs and lows of this whole ordeal.

Before I get to that, I want to mention that my sister Michelle created a tribute Facebook page for my father and mother, and there's a memorial page for my mother on Memorial Solutions. If you would like to donate to my family in our time of need, you can use the button below. It's the one Chad Paulson created for me last year after my father passed away. I would also appreciate it if you would buy one of the many items I have up for sale on eBay, which includes some unused UltraViolet digital copy codes. Now, more than ever, I really need to clean out the attic. My mother and I were financially supporting each other, so her death puts me in a real bind and has the potential to leave me homeless. My sister has a plan to help take mom's place, financially, which would likely keep us both financially stable.

Donate Now

As for Spook Central, I don't know what the future holds. The Spook Central Facebook page is on auto-pilot until mid-January, so you can always check in there for daily updates.

Okay, now for the whole stream of Facebook updates from the start of this ordeal to the most recent. The ones notes with "(M)" were written by my sister, Michelle, and have been fixed up for grammar and accuracy. We visited mom for the last time at the rehab facility on Thanksgiving, Thursday November 26th.
September 12 - Mom's been in the hospital the past few days thanks to an infection and a very high fever. Currently she's in ICU. We're all hoping and praying for the best.
September 12 (M) - Just got back from seeing my mom in the ICU unit and her temperature has gone down a lot from what the doctor says a temp of 105 to 100.5. They are treating her for an infection, Meningitis, and Pneumonia because they're not too sure yet what she has or where it is until the results come back to know exactly what it is...... My brother and I are still scared and worried as we lost our father last year and our mom is our only living parent we have left.
September 20 - I just spoke to the doctor about my mother. For starters, they're still not 100% sure just what she has. They're sure it's an infection in the brain, as that would explain all of the confusion she had. My sister spoke with a doctor last Wednesday and they said she had Viral Meningitis and Encephalitis, but now they don't have a 100% conclusive diagnosis.

While she's improving in regards to temperature and mental status, she's not doing so well in other areas. Her kidney function is poor. They're checking her medications and doing lab tests to find out why.

They've been trying to ween her off of a ventilator (breathing tube through the mouth), and it seemed like she was doing well at first. The other day she lasted an hour off of it, then two hours the next day. Now I'm told that when they take her off of it, she starts breathing very heavily. The doctor is afraid that she won't be able to breathe on her own. They want to perform a Tracheostomy on her, which is a surgical procedure to create an opening through the neck into the trachea (windpipe), through which a tube is usually placed to provide an airway and to remove secretions from the lungs. More info on this procedure can be found here.

They also want to insert a PEG (Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy) Tube to help with her feeding. This a procedure in which a flexible feeding tube is placed through the abdominal wall and into the stomach. PEG allows nutrition, fluids and/or medications to be put directly into the stomach, bypassing the mouth and esophagus.

I thought things were going well. Very slowly, but well. Now, after hearing about these extra tubes and holes being put into her (which could be temporary or permanent), that she's not able to breathe on her own, and that she's having kidney problems, I'm really scared.
September 21 (M) - Just got back a little while ago and her temp was normal like 98.7 when I left and she was looking at me and trying to say "Paul" when one of her doctors asked who was older me or Paul and I held her hand.
September 22 (M) - Another update on my mother.... I visited her today and she was more alert and trying to communicate with me and the doctor.. She still has the tube in her mouth and she shook her head yes when the doctor asked her if I was her daughter. I stayed about 2 hrs with her and when I was getting ready to leave she was trying to ask me for something but I couldn't tell what she was trying to say. Maybe that she wants to come home already don't know. I am going to visit her on Friday after work.. I am so thrilled that she doing well and improving a lot.
September 25 - Just came back from visiting mom in the hospital. Not too much different to report from last time. It seems the infection is on the way out. Temperature has been normal for the past few days (no fever anymore). Her mental acuity is good. She followed the commands the nurse gave her (squeeze hand, raise arm, raise leg, etc.). She definitely wanted to communicate with me, but couldn't due to the tubes and stuff still in her.

The major issue right now is that she's still unable to breathe on her own. They tried to ween her off the ventilator, but it wasn't successful. The infection definitely played a big part in this problem, though her decades of smoking surely didn't help matters.

Within the next hour or two she will be undergoing a Tracheostomy and a PEG (Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy) Tube. The former is so they can bypass the mouth when she's hooked up to the ventilator. The latter is so she can be fed directly into the stomach instead of a tube through her nose, as she has been for the past two weeks. Both procedures are to make her more comfortable while they try to get her back to 100% functionality.

The PEG Tube, as it has been explained to me, is done using a needle and is a small procedure. The Tracheostomy is actual surgery - and hole has to be cut into her throat - and that's the one that scares me the most. While they're not expecting any problems, surgery is never 100% risk-free. So, right now I'm hoping and praying that things go well and that this helps get her back to normal, however much longer that'll take.
September 27 (M) - Just a little update on my mom. She was sitting in a chair when my brother and I went to visit her. They also bathed her. She is more alert and she was trying to talk to us but couldn't. She was able to write the word "coffee" which she kept on bugging us for, but we couldn't get it for her. I was able to read her lips a bit when she told her nurse who we were and I also read "yes you can" when I told her that I couldn't get her anything to drink and she was able to breathe on her own the few minutes that the tube fell out. So slowly but surely things are improving.
October 1 - This has been a rather strange week. Sunday (9/27) - We visited her, and she was doing remarkably well. She was sitting up, awake and alert, with the tube in her throat from the tracheostomy. She couldn't talk, so it was hard for her to communicate (we couldn't read her lips), but she was able to write the word "coffee" on a piece of paper. Sadly, she's not at the point where she can drink or eat regular food yet.

Tuesday (9/29) - She suffered a setback. Because the trach tube had gotten misaligned, she succumbed to Subcutaneous Emphysema, which is when gas or air is in the layer under the skin. In short, the air from the ventilator was going under her skin instead of in her windpipe. The hospital staff caught the problem, but it left her face swelled up for a day or two. It sounds worse than it is.

Thursday (10/1) - I visited her. The swelling was gone. They had her off the ventilator for an hour before she was getting tired and breathing a bit heavy, so they put her back on it. The doctor came by and told me some unsettling news. It seems she's gotten another infection, which gave her a *brief* fever of 100-degrees. They took cultures and sent them off to the lab for analysis, but rather than wait around for results, they put her back on anti-biotics in an effort to stop this new infection before it starts. They're not sure what caused the new infection, but it could have been when the trach tube fell out. The doctor also told me that her kidneys were doing a little bad, but she thinks it may be due to a medication they're giving her, so they've temporarily stopped it.

I was at the hospital for 90 minutes, and mom was awake for the first 30 minutes. She held my hand, and even brought it to her lips and kissed it, which was touching. While she was awake, she seemed very frustrated, which could be because she can't communicate, or because she's been stuck in the hospital for 3 weeks. I can certainly understand her frustration. I was also told that she worked with the physical therapists yesterday to help strengthen her lungs. I'm hopeful that she'll overcome this, I just wish it would happen a little quicker and there would be no more setbacks.
October 2 (M) - I just came back a little while ago from visiting my mom and she was more awake today then on Wednesday when I went to see her. I could actually read her asking me what day is it. I also believe she was asking me "when am I coming home" or for "coffee". Most likely coffee. Her hand was a little swollen, but other than that, she is slowly recovering, but my brother and I wish it would be quicker, but she is getting there. I do miss hearing her voice :-( but I know soon I will hear it again. Once again thank you all for all the get well wishes and prayers. It means a lot to my brother and I along with my mom.
October 3 (M) - My Mom has been moved to Unit 1B Room 125. She is still asking for coffee. Hopefully soon she will have a evaluation and get the coffee. She wrote the word "coffee" again. She was awake for the whole time. Progress is being made, which is good.
October 5 - I visited mom yesterday at Franklin Hospital Medical Center, and she was awake and alert, and watching television. I got her to write a few things down on a piece of paper: "Coming Home To", "Coffee One", "Michelle Lift Her", "Find How Much The Coffee", and "That Fort". I don't know what she meant with the third and fifth phrases.

She still has the breathing tube, still is unable to speak (due to the tube), still can't eat/drink regular foods such as coffee (due to the tube), and it sounds like there's still issues with her kidneys. There was talk about them wanting to send her home today, pending approval from the doctor! I don't see how that would be possible considering the state she's in. Sure, *she* wants to go home, but how in the Hell is she gonna survive here with those issues still prevalent?!? I could almost guarantee that if they send her home, she'll be back in the hospital in 24-48 hours. She most certainly will try to drink coffee, or try to pull the tube out, which will cause all sort of problems. I certainly can't take care of her in that condition. I'm barely holding on as is.

I certainly hope that the doctor has more sense than the nurses and doesn't send her home. I understand that she's frustrated for being in there 3 1/2 weeks already, but I don't think she's in the right condition to come home yet. I certainly won't approve her release at this point, but if she's awake and alert, they may take her "word" over mine, which would be a bad thing.

Hopefully common sense will prevail.
October 8 - I visited her today (Thu. 10/8). Pretty much, things are same as they were last time. She still needs the ventilator to breathe. She still has her hands tied down because she kept trying to pull out the trach tube. There's still a nurse sitting in the room with her at all times to watch over her so she doesn't causes herself any more problems. She's still visibly upset about being there (understandable), agitated and fidgety.

They did a catscan yesterday, and the results show signs of Emphysema, not surprising since she smoked for 4 to 5 decades. They also looked for a Pulmonary Embolism (a condition in which one or more arteries in the lungs become blocked by a blood clot), and thankfully, the results were negative.

I also spoke to the physical therapist over the phone, and he told me that he worked with mom today, getting her to stand up and move her legs. She had some good steps today, but she needs motivation.

According to the nurse who was sitting in the room, the Phone/TV department of Franklin Hospital Medical Center left a $60 bill for her for TV service. At $10 a day, this is presumably for Sat. 10/3 through Thu. 10/8 (today). NO ONE ORDERED THE TV SERVICE! Not myself, not my sister, and certainly not my mom, who can't even talk! My sister was with my mom when they transferred her from ICU to a regular room this past Saturday, and she said that the TV was already on/activated when she got there. (FYI: In the ICU, they give free TV service.) If the hospital thinks any of us are going to pay for TV service that NO ONE ordered; they're crazy! When I was there this past Sunday, they had regular cable channels on. This past Monday and Tuesday, it was "The Patient Channel", an (presumably free) in-house channel that shows health-related stuff. Today, the "TV listings" channel was on. I ain't paying $10 for that shit. Hell, my home cable bill is $150 - and I get TV, phone, Internet, *AND* DVR for that; and I consider *that* to be overpriced. At $10 a day, the hospital wants WAY MORE than I pay for MORE services and channels than I get at home! So, yeah, I wanna see proof who ordered this TV service!
October 12 - Mom's health took a turn for the worse. I visited her today (Mon. 10/12), and she has gotten a fever again. 101 to 102-degree temperature, and she had visible signs of a fever: sweating, tiredness, and the appearance of being "out of it". Last week she was awake and alert; definitely much better than she looked today. She had gotten over the original fever two weeks ago, and it looked like that issue was in the past. It scares me that she has a fever again. This Wednesday will make 5 weeks that this has been going on, and she's not even close to being back to "normal".
October 14 (M) - I visited mom today and when I got there, the first thing she asked me was, "Where's your brother?" Then she wrote, "What time are you coming tomorrow?" Her nurse said that the fever is down and that the xray is good. I have to say that her mental state is good, as I saw what she wrote and she spelt Paul's name and also the phone number for them to call so the mental state is good.
October 15 (M) - My brother and I visited mom today and she wrote a lot of things down. But she is frustrated that we keep asking her to write things down and that she can't talk.... But the one thing that we were able to read was her telling my brother and I to call her when we got to where we were going... She kept wanting stuff that was in my bag. One thing that did crack me up at bit was when my brother was trying to untangle the remote for the tv, one of the ventilator tubes came out and my mom stuck it in her mouth. My brother was pleased that she did that because that means that she knows she needs it to breathe and not once did we see her try to take it out....She also gave my brother and I a kiss on the cheek. These are a lot of great signs.....
October 21 - I visited my mother today with my sister. The doctor says that she is doing much better, and she was off the ventilator and breathing on her own for (I think) several hours while we were there. The big issue now is that she's become very stubborn and uncooperative. She didn't want to work with the physical therapists yesterday, and gave them a helluva time today. They managed to get her to sit in a chair for an hour or two, but the whole time she wanted to go back to the bed. Point blank, she was an utter pain in the ass while I was there. When I arrived, I leaned in to give her a kiss on the cheek, and she moved away. She was in such a grumpy mood. Quite a change from a week ago when she was having the hospital call me because she wanted me to visit.

Health-wise, she's doing well and the doctor thinks she could be likely to get the treach tube out and eat again not too long from now (maybe next week?), but she won't be able to do that if she doesn't cooperate in the treatment. It almost seems like she's given up on getting better. So sad since she's never been closer to actually getting better.
October 27 - Just a quick update on my mom, since it's been a while since the last one. She's doing well. They no longer have her on the ventilator. She's breathing on her own, though they're giving her 50% oxygen. That's a lot less than they have in the past. She's still getting 1:1 attention (a nurse in the room at all times to watch over her), but if she continues to behave well and not pull out the treach tube, they can discontinue that. Once that happens, then they'll look into putting her in a short-term nursing facility so she can get rehab and finish getting better.

I don't know if they'll close up the treach hole and remove the tube before or after that happens. Obviously, if she's to make a FULL recovery, that'll have to come out. I asked about that, since I was thinking that since she's only getting oxygen, they could close up the hole and give her the oxygen through a tube in the nose. With the hole closed, she'd be able to talk again, and eat regular food again. Unfortunately for her, they said that they can't close the hole now. She's been making good progress, with no setbacks these past two weeks, so they don't want to do anything major (like close the hole) that could cause problems. Right now, they'd rather leave things as they are since she's responding well. I can understand that, though I know that her mood would improve ten-fold with the hole closed.

So, that's really it for now. Obviously, she won't be home by Halloween, as I hoped. Right now, I'm hoping that she'll be home by Thanksgiving, but I've given up on trying to make guesses. I never would have thought she'd be there *this* long, as is.
October 28 (M) - Best Mom update. I visited my mom. She was sitting up in a reclining chair and told me that she had 2 hot dogs and apple sauce and juice and for dinner tonight. She had salisbury steak, baked potato, peas and carrots, and pudding, soup, and coffee. She had a great big smile on her face when she was telling the nurse what she ate. They were even talking about taking the tubes out, which she has not been on the vent for about maybe 2 weeks now. Hopefully your guess is as good as mine that maybe she will be home for Thanksgiving.
October 30 - According to the phone call I received earlier from the social worker at the hospital, Mom is now in a rehabilitation facility several towns away.

I tried calling them to confirm that she's there, and to inquire about visiting hours, but no one ever picks up at any number that I try. I left a message, but doubt that I'll get a call back. I'll try again tomorrow morning, but I have this feeling that I'll have to make a bus trip over there and just *hope* that it isn't a waste of money and time.

I'm a bit upset at the hospital for not giving me advance notice on this. The social worker also told me three weeks ago that she would give me a list of places to choose from, and now I find out that she chose one for me. It seems to be a good one, and they have daily activities for the patients (it seems like the senior center), but maybe there was one closer.

I'm not happy about the way this went down, especially since I had plans to visit her in the hospital tomorrow. Now, with less than 24 hours advance notice, I had to research a new place, find where it was, what the best way to get there would be, etc.

On top of that, I get the feeling that they want to leave the treach tube in her permanently, which is a disaster waiting to happen. It could easily get infected, or she could do something to it. And that's aside from the fact that she can't talk with it in. I can't imagine them being able to take it out at the rehab facility, so she would have to go back to the hospital and have that surgical procedure there, but the hospital staff doesn't seem to want her back.

I just hope things work out well in the end and all of this extra stress they're giving me is much ado about nothing.
October 31 - Could Laura, the social worker at Franklin Hospital, have screwed this up any more?!?

As noted in the last update, she called me yesterday (Fri. 10/30) to say that mom was leaving the hospital "today" (meaning Fri. 10/30) and an ambulance would be there soon to transport her to the rehab facility. So, I called the rehab this morning (Sat. 10/31) and, finally, spoke to a live person who confirmed to me that she was there. With that in mind, I took a 25-minute bus ride over there.

I got there at 1:35pm, went upstairs to the room I was told she was in (her name was even on a label on the placard outside), and there was no one there. The bed wasn't even slept in. I asked around, and was told to check in the upstairs and downstairs rec rooms, and after going up and down that damn elevator a dozen times, I found someone who checked and found that MOM HAD NOT ARRIVED YET!!! They got the room ready for her, and put her in the system, but she had yet to leave the hospital. I managed to get someone at the rehab to call Franklin Hospital to find out when she was slated to come over.

At that point, I was really pissed that I was lied to by the Franklin hospital social worker AND the lady I spoke to this morning at the rehab. I was also not very happy that I wasted time and money making the trip over there. Thankfully, the hospital said that she was slated to be picked-up at 2:30pm. That meant that she *should* be there before I had to start making the trip back home.

For what it's worth, I can't put too much blame on the lady at the rehab that I spoke to, because mom was already in their system. If she wasn't one of the nurses, she wouldn't have known that mom wasn't actually there. She just saw that the system showed her as being there. However, I put EXTREME BLAME on Laura, the social worker at Franklin Hospital, for telling me that mom was leaving yesterday. If there was an issue that prevented her from leaving, like a scheduling problem with the ambulance, she should have called me back and told me that mom would be transferred "tomorrow" (meaning Sat. 10/31).

Thankfully, it worked out, and as a bonus, I was there to greet mom when she arrived at 3:25pm. Yeah, I got to the rehab 2 hours before she did! :-)

She was looking good. Her hair was tied up, and it's obvious that the hospital bathed her before they shipped her off. I couldn't understand much of the words she was trying to say, but she did ask what day it was, and where she was. When I told her, she seemed to understand where it was in relation to other places that we've passed by on the bus many times. She no longer had the IV or feeding tube in her, but still had the treach tube and was getting some oxygen through it - but just oxygen. She hasn't been on the ventilator in a week or two, so she's breathing on her own.

I don't know what the plan is regarding taking the treach tube out. I get the feeling that they're planning on leaving it in permanently, which I think is a disaster waiting to happen. There's a risk of infection, for one, and knowing what she's like, she'll be likely to mess around with it. Plus, she can't talk with it in. Really, it needs to come out before she can come home, and I think that has to be done at the hospital in an operating room. But we'll cross that bridge when we get to it. Some people at the hospital didn't think she'd recover as much as she has.

From what I can tell, the rehab facility is nice. There are a lot of other people there, and they have daily activities (like bingo and arts and crafts), which is the type of things she was doing at the senior center. I think she'll enjoy being there more than at the hospital. I think they'll be able to get her to move around, and maybe even socialize a bit.

I have no idea how long she'll be there. That's really going to depend on how long it takes for her to progress to the point where she doesn't need the extra oxygen anymore, and (hopefully) not need the treach tube anymore. I'm really hoping that she'll be home for Thanksgiving, which gives her 3 to 3-1/2 weeks. I'm no longer gonna try to guess if that's enough time or not for her to make a full recovery. It took over 7 weeks just to get to this point!
November 4 - Okay, quick update on mom, now in the rehab facility. I visited her yesterday (Tue. 11/3), and met with several members of the staff. I signed the admission papers. She's cleared to be there a maximum of 100 days, of which she will get TV and phone service complimentary for the first 60 days. I'm hoping that she won't even need to be there for the 60 days, much less the 100, but it's all up to her. We're all hoping that she'll be home for Thanksgiving in three weeks, but we're not counting on it.

Mom was sitting in the rehab gym, across the way from the social worker's office, when I got done with all of the paperwork. They gave her some clothes to wear, since all she's been wearing for the previous 7-8 weeks was a hospital gown. I'll bring her some clothes on Friday. They did a little bit of physical therapy with her, getting her to walk out into the hallway twice, with the assistance of a walker and the staff. They also got her to do other leg exercises. She was in good spirits, even trying to get me hooked up with the female therapists.

Afterward, they brought her up to the dining room, and I stayed with her while she ate. She ate/drank lasagna with meat sauce, Italian vegetables (zucchini and squash), apricots, bread, coffee, milk, sugar, and pepper. She was still on the feeding tube when I last saw her at the hospital a week earlier, and had literally just arrived when I visited her this past Saturday, so this was the first time I saw her eating and drinking regular food in 8 weeks. She had no problems eating and drinking. I left right afterward.

It was nice seeing her in regular clothes again, out of the bed, with no feeding tube and IV in her. She just had treach tube and the oxygen going into it via the treach collar (looks like a mini oxygen mask). I was also told that they ARE able to remove the treach tube there, which is good news to me.

Unfortunately, there was a bit of a setback today. I got a call earlier from the manager of the therapy department. He told me that, today, mom did not want to cooperate with the therapists. She was being very stubborn and grumpy. I told him that she was like that two weeks ago in the hospital, and they had a psychiatrist who was supposed to start giving her anti-depressant meds, but that was the beginning of last week, and by the end of the week she was in the rehab facility, so I don't think anything ever became of it. I tried to make it clear to my mom, two weeks ago, that if she wants to come home, she needs to cooperate. She seemed to understand. Now that she's in a place where she isn't stuck in the bed all day, and she's eating regular food again, I was hoping that her mood would improve.

Listen, I understand that she was stuck in the hospital, and now the rehab, for 8 weeks. I can see how depressing that would make her, especially being confined to the bed for so long. But she's closer now, than she's ever been, to getting better. This is not the time to give up hope. I hope to make that clear to her when I visit again Friday morning.
November 16 - I didn't realize that it's been almost two weeks since I last posted an update about mom. A lot of little things have happened since she's been in South Shore Medical & Rehabilitation. She's in a better mood, overall, and has been cooperating with the physical therapists every day, as far as I'm aware.

She's been moving herself in and out of bed, and sitting on the side of the bed, against the wishes of the staff. As a result, she has fallen on the floor twice last week. The first time was on Sun. 11/8, and the second on Sat. 11/14. Thankfully, she did not hurt herself either time. When I visited her yesterday, I tried to get her to realize that if she needs to throw something out, or get water from the sink, or whatever, to call in a nurse and have them do it for her. Sure, the nurses can take their everlovin' time to get in there, but it's much safer for her than trying to do it herself.

There was a Care Plan Meeting this past Thursday, where my sister and I met with Mary, the Care Plan Nurse. I thought we would meet with a few people, such as the head doctor, head nurse, head therapist, etc. Mary said that mom hasn't been there long enough for them to have a plan for her yet. She was there almost two weeks; that's more than long enough to develop a plan. Then she went on to say what their intentions are for mom. You know, essentially a "plan". In short, they want to build up her strength, then start to ween her off the treach tube. Both my sister and I think she's capable of weening now. There have been times, both in rehab and in the hospital, where the treach collar (which is rubber-banded over the tube and supplies oxygen to it) has hung several inches below the tube opening. This means that she wasn't getting the oxygen, yet she was breathing just fine. Both my sister and I have noticed this. We both think that she's a lot further along than they think she is.

What all of this means is that, it's pretty safe to say that she won't be home for Thanksgiving. There's no way she could be home in a week and a half when they haven't started the treach weening yet. It seems more realistic to hope that she'll be home for New Years.

Infuriatingly, we found out today that they haven't washed any of mom's clothes in the two weeks that she's been there! They've just been letting it pile up in bags. When I met with the woman in admissions two weeks ago, it was mentioned that they send off laundry to be cleaned twice a week. That was the only time laundry was ever mentioned to me, and it was implied that that was what they were going to do. Nothing was said about it being opt-in. Initially, they gave her some clothes that they had, and I eventually brought in a bunch of her own. Last Thursday, mom pointed out two small bags of dirty clothes in the closet and wanted me to bring them home to be washed. I told her, "No, that's their job." Yesterday, I saw the bagged dirty clothes piled-up in the hamper, and I asked the nurse when they're gonna send it out to be cleaned. She said, "tonight"; meaning the evening of Sunday 11/15. That was a LIE! My sister visited her today and saw the same pile of dirty clothes. She spoke to the nurses to find out when they're gonna wash them, and they were surprised because they thought that WE (mom's family) were going to take them home and wash them! It blows my mind to think that she's been there TWO WEEKS and NO ONE on the staff wondered why her clothes weren't being washed! Today, according to my sister, they had her dressed in a hospital gown.

My sister went to the social worker's office and got mom put on the laundry list, which was confirmed to me when the social worker called me up soon thereafter. The social worker said something very stupid to me: they didn't put mom on the list because mom didn't indicate that she wanted them to do her laundry! I should have responded with, "Did anybody ask her?"; but I was just too stunned by the stupidity of the statement to say anything. I would bet that no one ever said anything to her, and that's putting aside the fact that she can't talk, so she can't indicate much of anything.

The rehab has potential to be better for her, but sometimes I feel that she was better off in the hospital.
November 20 - Just a quick update on my mom. Since I thought they were going a little *too* slowly on her treatment - she's been there three weeks, and they haven't done anything to ween her off the treach tube - I e-mailed her doctor this morning to state my concerns. He promptly got back to me:

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Capping and decanulation of trach is coordinated by RT and (if necessary) pulmonary. That being said, I spoke with Rose the director of RT. Clinically she will need further physical rehab to get stronger to be able to cough out her secretions consistently. When RT feels she's improved sufficiently they will proceed with capping the trach. Medically she is stable and tolerating Rehab.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This is pretty much what was told to me by Rosie (Rose), the head respiratory therapist, last week when she stopped in on the care plan meeting. Rosie was there in mom's room today when I visited, and she did a breathing test where she put a different accessory over her tube. Instead of the collar, she put some type of filter over it, and mom started coughing a lot. Rosie pretty much said that the trauma from her pulling out the tube so much a month or so ago, likely, left her insides in not as good of a condition as she seems out the outside.

So, while my sister and I think she looks capable of breathing without the tube, what I was told by Rosie is that she isn't as good as she looks - but she is improving in physical therapy, so she is getting there. I really can't argue with her because I have no medical experience, and honestly, there are situations where things look better than they really are. So, I can't just assume that they're delaying treatment just to milk more money from her insurance. This is one time where my cynical side probably doesn't have reason to be so cynical :-)

Oh, and they picked up her laundry on Wednesday and will have it back on Saturday. If laundry is picked up on Wed., then it's brought back on Sat., and vice versa. I just have to trust that the laundry will not have any further issues because I can't schlep her clothes back and forth on the bus each week, and it's costing me enough just to bring in my clothes every two to three weeks.
November 23 - I visited Mom today at rehab. We ate lunch together before the physical therapist came. She didn't want to do the physical therapy. I tried to encourage her as best as I could, and she did a few things (she walked much further down the hall than she did when I last saw her doing therapy 3 weeks ago), but not as much as the therapist would have liked. I tried to get her to understand that if she wants to get out sooner, she needs to do these exercises and stuff. That'll build up her strength, which is needed in order for her to get the tube out of her throat.
November 24 - Just when I think things are starting to look good, something happens... I got a call from the rehab at 9:14pm last night saying that mom tried to pull her tube out. Her oxygen level was stable and she was not in any distress. At the time of the call, she was sitting on the side of her bed doing her puzzle book. The lady who called asked if mom has any history of confusion. I explained to her that that's how all of this started 11 weeks ago, and that the hospital thinks she had a brain infection, but wasn't 100% sure of the specific cause. I told her that mom was pulling out the tube in early October, but eventually her mind improved to the point where she knew that she needed the tube.

I told her that mom was having some mental distress a week or two before she left the hospital, where she didn't want to cooperate with the physical therapists, and they brought a psychiatrist onto the case. She was supposed to give mom some anti-depressants to improve her mood, but mom was rushed out of the hospital so fast, that nothing was ever done for it. (I blame Franklin Hospital Medical Center for that, as she should have been kept there another week or two so she could get that psych treatment. As soon as she got on solid foods, they shipped her out the door.)

I mentioned how I visited her earlier yesterday and mom wasn't in a very good mood. We ate lunch together, but she didn't eat very much. In retrospect, I see that as a sign that she was likely depressed yesterday. At one point, it looked to me like mom wanted to cry (or was tired), which could have been another sign. As I said yesterday, she didn't want to do the physical therapy, and depression might have been why. She did do *some* therapy, so I'm thankful for that.

I spoke to my sister last night, and she thinks that maybe mom is depressed because of the holidays. That certainly seems reasonable.

I called the rehab an hour ago, and mom was doing fine. She was stable and in her room doing puzzle books. I, again, mentioned that they should bring a psychiatrist onto the case and get her the help she *should* have gotten in the hospital. I was told that they will look into it and to call back later for more info on it.

Honestly, this 11-week ordeal is more stress than I can handle. I was not in a good place before all of this, and it's just pushing me further and further to the edge. Now, more than ever, I miss having my dad here.
November 26 (M) - Visited mom today after the church lunch, and while we were there, she pulled out the oxygen tube again (not the treach tube that's through her throat) and walked herself to the bathroom, which is what most likely happened on Monday night when the rehab called my brother.
November 29 @ 6:21pm (M) - Please pray for my mom. The rehab found my mom unresponsive. My brother and I are on the way to the South Nassau hospital.
November 29 @ 9:15pm (M) - My Mom, Linda Joyce Ritchie Rudoff, has left this world at 7:47 p.m.

[UPDATE - 12/4/2015]
We got the Certificate of Death from the funeral home. My mother is listed as officially dying on November 29, 2015 at 7:48 PM (Eastern). The causes of death are officially given as Cardiopulmonary Arrest, due to or as a consequence of Atherolsclerotic Heart Disease; with Chronic Respiratory Failure listed as a significant condition contributing to death but not related to the immediate cause of death.

[UPDATE - 12/9/2015]
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who made donations to my family in the wake of my mother's death. Donations were given as cash and gift cards, and all types are listed below. I have been tossing it around in my head over the past few months whether to post a public list of all donations received from family, friends, and Ghostheads. I know that some people who make donations like to be anonymous, but I felt it would be a bit disrespectful of me not to publically acknowledge each and every person who helped my family in our time of need.
12/03/2015 - $23.72 - Gerald Mueller-Bruhnke (PayPal)
12/04/2015 - $50.00 - John & Rosemary Murphy (King Kullen Gift Card)
12/04/2015 - $75.00 - Jacqueline Kramer (check)
12/05/2015 - $35.00 - Ed Mooney (check)
12/09/2015 - $150.00 - AHRC (Stop & Shop Gift Card)
12/09/2015 - $100.00 - AHRC (cash)
If there's anyone listed above who would prefer NOT to be named, send me an e-mail and I'll remove your name from the list.

In Loving Memory of
Linda Joyce Rudoff
July 12, 1948 - November 29, 2015

Pages: 1 · 2 · 3

10 comments »

10 comments

Comment from: Mrmichaelt [Visitor]
My condolences, Paul. I'm sorry to hear you lost both parents in such a short span of time.
Dec. 1, 2015 @ 03:32
Comment from: Ghostbuster-Adem84 [Visitor]
I'm very sorry my friend, i've been following you for some time on this site and losing loved ones can harsh. I know I lost a few in my time. Love you all.
Dec. 1, 2015 @ 06:25
Comment from: Bob [Visitor]
Very sorry to hear about your loss Paul. My family and I send our deepest condolences. Hopefully she isn't in any pain anymore and is with your dad. I'm glad I was able to meet them, although for a short time. I will try my very best to make it to the funeral.
Dec. 1, 2015 @ 09:54
Comment from: Rolo (Ghostbusters México) [Visitor]
I´m sorry for your loss my friend, my prayers are with yours.
Dec. 1, 2015 @ 10:59
Comment from: Phil [Visitor]
I'm sorry for your loss Paul. I know it's been a very rough 2014 and 2015 for you and your family.
Dec. 1, 2015 @ 11:52
Comment from: Stacey maretich [Visitor] Email
I am so sorry for your loss. I went to school with Victoria and I knew most of the family. I knew your mom Linda as well. She was a wonderful woman , both of your parents were wonderful I remember your fathers sense of humor and I remember how much your mom cared about you kids. The picture you have from 1983 is the way that I remember your mom the most. I vividly remember the dress that your sister is wearing in that picture she loved it so much. Your mom will be missed by everyone .
Dec. 1, 2015 @ 15:37
Comment from: . [Visitor]
I am sorry for you loss, i know your mom a long time from the pool.
Dec. 1, 2015 @ 16:50
Comment from: Paul Rudoff [Member] Email
Thank you, everyone, for your kind words and warm thoughts. Michelle and I really appreciate it.
Dec. 1, 2015 @ 23:45
Comment from: Egon Melnitz [Visitor]
I'm sorry Paul, best wishes for you and your sister.
Dec. 4, 2015 @ 16:11
Comment from: Michelle Rudoff [Visitor]
Thanks everyone for your love and support. It means a lot to my brother and I.
Dec. 4, 2015 @ 23:50

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In Loving Memory of Joel Richard Rudoff (July 28, 1944 - January 20, 2014)

In Loving Memory of Linda Joyce Rudoff (July 12, 1948 - November 29, 2015)

Doreen Mulman (May 22, 1961 - March 14, 2014)

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