Posts Tagged ‘Mother’

A Little Rambling

November 24, 2013

I have been thinking of several ideas for this post – yet I can’t really remember any of them!  Sometimes I am compelled to write a post while other times something happened I just want to tell everyone about it.   What’s frustrating is to have something in mind and not have time to write it at the moment.  Then when I finally have time, it seems either bland or I can’t quite remember what was so compelling.  This gave me a chuckle so I will add this and see where things go:

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Looks as if this is one of those posts that start here and I have no idea where it will go.  When I think about the past week, I remember how down I felt last Friday after visiting Mom.  Not sure how much came from seeing her slowly going downhill, how much I was just tired or the frustration of feeling things are more work than usual.

I had a very good week and accomplished a lot of things – some unexpected and welcome energy for a change.  I began to slow down around Thursday – not my choice – and by Friday I was not so energetic.  Anyway, I just felt down after seeing Mom and it was like that for 3 or 4 days.  I felt like running away by myself for a bit and let someone else take over; but there isn’t anyone else.    I finally caught myself feeling low and a little sorry for myself – maybe I needed a good whinge – and decided, I don’t like this, it is uncomfortable.   I asked the Universe to help me with an attitude overhaul – an adjustment wouldn’t quite be up to the task.

When I do that, sometimes I notice a difference fairly quickly, other times it takes a couple of days.  This was days, not hours.  I had a massage Tuesday and it felt good – it’s been bout 3 weeks since the last.  Tomorrow is my last one with Debye because she is moving to around carlsbad in California – not the most convenient commute.  I am going to miss her so much, especially as a friend and in some ways a mentor as well a massage therapist.  However, I know her friend Michelle so I will check her out because she does things similar to Debye.

I am pleased the week ended a lot better than it started.  I saw Mom this last week and she was fairly aware.  I brought a D.E. Stevenson book to read, but couldn’t find it on Friday.  I was going to take my iPad but couldn’t open it – I had forgotten my passcode.  I found it and when I go Tuesday, I will play some music for her.

When in doubt, talk about the weather.  We have had some gorgeous crisp, clear Fall days – nippy enough for frost.  I was amazed last week to see the sun shining and the Olympics came out from behind the clouds with snow covered peaks.  The other morning I was up early enough to see them look like strawberry sno-cones – all pink in the sunrise.  The Sound was a deep blue – so gorgeous but I was glad to have my car heater warm me up.  As long as I am in the sun, it is a bit warm and nice; in the shade it’s cold and windy.

I need to take a break and have a shower – we aren’t going out today even though it is sunny.  While Eddie vacuumed, I was printing pictures for his 787 exhibit and fixing the mistakes on his info sheet I typed the other day.  That along with this post.  Back in a bit.

BACK Again!

Not that it made a whole lot of difference; except I not only had a shower and got dressed, I also cleaned the bathroom.  So it has taken me a while to come back.  Too bad no fresh ideas, it happens sometimes.  I was hoping this one would start at one point and have an interesting journey to the end.  Can’t win them all.

Indecision Is The Pits!

November 17, 2013

Last month was a year since Mom moved to the adult family home.  I certainly have noticed a big change in her, her ice very good appetite now comes and goes, she thought I was my sister Candy when I saw her Friday and the time before she looked as if she didn’t know who I was.  It doesn’t upset me the way it did in the beginning, I am getting much better at not taking it personally because it is part of the dementia.

I have been going back and forth for that year trying to decide about selling my parents furniture and putting our furniture from downstairs up here.  The rooms all need painting, but not having furniture or very much will make it easier to paint.  I’ve been trying to understand what has kept me from doing it.

My older sister Ellen is very supportive of the idea:

 I surely understand why you would want to sell the furniture; you want your own house, as you wanted your own kitchen. I think it’s fine to sell it; Mom isn’t really “here” in the sense that she’ll ever go back to her furniture, any more than she will want her stove. Will it in any way benefit her for you to keep it when you need to get out from under? I don’t see that it will. I have no objection to letting it all go to new homes, where it will be useful and appreciated. Live your life now.

I talked to my sister Candy about it too.:

There are quite a few things she wants and has been making a list.  she also understands our need to have our home again after 11 years camping out – the last year has been limbo for us.

My longtime friend Charlotte gave me things to think about – some echoing what I have been thinking:

I can tell you why: your mom is still alive, and even though you Know she won’t ever be able to come home again, somewhere deep inside you keep thinking maybe there’s the tiniest chance, and if she did come home and see her stuff gone, she’d be So Mad!!!    That’s what kept dad and me from getting rid of mom’s clothes after she went into the care home, and was just wearing those snap-back dresses or, later, hospital gowns.  Dad said to me one time, we really should do something with mom’s clothes, and I said, yes, but I keep thinking, if she should snap out of this and come home, think how mad she’d be to find all her stuff missing!!  We chuckled about it, and just left it there.  After he died and we were getting rid of things, of course, we did get rid of mom’s clothes.  But I think it’s quite normal to feel some hesitation about getting rid of her furniture and things.  Maybe you could start with just some small pieces, or even put them out of sight somewhere, so you get used to them not being in the usual spots.

A good friend Rhonda gave me some interesting advice – she is a declutterer and organizing expert:  This is part of what I wrote her and her answer:

I don’t know what is holding me back from calling Brigh and tell him I’m ready for him to take the pieces for his shop.  I don’t know what it takes for me to give myself permission to do it.  I think part may be being afraid of “getting it wrong”; of selling something and later wishing I hadn’t.

The main thing to know right now is that you need to HONOR some of your mom’s things, HONOR some of what your younger sis wants, but also to remember that you are NOT the next storage unit!  You and hubby need to be thinking of a deadline for her to come up with the money to have things shipped to her, come get them or help you and hubby bring them to her.  Those are the options, clear and simple.  You two have already gone WAY overboard in taking care of your mum all these years and it’s high time you started taking care of yourselves – and allow yourself the permission to do so, darlin’!

We talked on the phone later and it really helped to understand what was going on – she had just gone through it with her mother-in-law.  She and her husband had to clear everything out in a weekend and her husband felt her would just put the furniture on the lawn for anyone to take.

Some of it for me is wanting to be sure I don’t “get it wrong” or 5 years later wish I hadn’t sold something.  I almost felt as if I was pushing Mom out and doing things behind her back – yet, she really isn’t in this world and I don’t want to upset her.  Now I realize she doesn’t remember as much as she did, she don’t always know what day it is or where she is.

I realize that Candy and I have more emotion attached to the things than Ellen – she is much more objective and that helps me so much.  I heard something on the radio this week that helped as well – keeping everything you have over your lifetime keeps you in who you were.  I see now also that being with all the furniture from my childhood keeps me in who I was and having our furniture is who I am .  Though in some ways, that furniture is also who I was.  It will be interesting to see how it feels after 11 years.

I was frustrated by a woman who was to come and photograph things so she could help me value things for sale.  It took forever for her to come and then didn’t hear from her.  So I found someone else and sold some things but it was not encouraging.  I feel in my naiveté I may have been taken a little.   I realized when Jo came back and we worked tougher photographing things in the hall closet, I felt comfortable and at ease with her.

She sells on-line and while she was here, called someone she knows about the things we did and the woman was ready to come over and shop.  Jo said she will have the values by next week – we’ll see how this works.  It turns out she was very upset to find her camera card didn’t have any pictures on it and she was really upset – must be why I never heard from her.

I said all she had to do was call me, I wouldn’t have been angry – it is not known=ing that irritated me.  I told her the story of my Dad who worked with a Wilmington, CA,  boat builder in the 30’s – the guy used to be a rum runner.  It was on the water and one day Dad dropped a tool in the water – he didn’t want to tell Dick but knew he had to tell him.  So he went to Dick and told him how sorry he was that he had dropped a tool in the water.  Dick told he” Thanks so much for telling, the guys usually don’t tell me!”.   It was definitely not the answer he was expecting from Dick.

As Jo and I were working, I realized I was not comfortable with Brigh – probably the reason I was reluctant to call him and have him take the things on consignment to his shop.

I also had talked about it at the Caregivers Support Group – they were so helpful and reassuring as my sisters and friends.  I’ll see what happens next.

I am beginning to think I have begun to give myself persuasion to do this.

 

 

Where Do I Start?

July 28, 2013

One good place to start is with a couple of adorable pictures from my sister Candy while cat sitting.

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      Kittyboy Litterfoot (Petey)      The Zen Purr Master (Emma)

I have been neglecting this blog for a while because of the kitchen remodel – haven’t been able to let those who like my post how much I appreciate it.  I am even more amazed and delighted to find I have almost 60 followers – that means quite a lot to me.

No doubt (or maybe not) you are wondering what I have been doing for the last few weeks.  There is my Mom and where she is at this point.  I have begun to visit her in the morning, not always easy, because after lunch she is ready for a lie down or a nap.  She is a bit more with it in the morning, we have a visit.  She is having trouble saying what she wants, she tends to mumble more and more that I don’t really understand  it.  There are times when she is with it a bit more and I tell her what I have been doing.  I haven’t told her about the kitchen remodel, I am not sure what she understands and I wonder if it would agitate her.  I tend to go with “If you aren’t sure, don’t”.  Maybe I am just chicken.

She is having trouble with arthritis in her knees, one especially.  She doesn’t like to walk or move because she knows it will hurt, though some days she is doing well and uses the walker.  If it is a bad day, they will have in a wheelchair.  They don’t want to make the wheelchair a habit or she will not walk again.  Last Wednesday was her evaluation with DSHS – I learned things I didn’t really know – or didn’t want to know.  Essentially she needs help with everything,  she can wash her face if they give her soap and washcloth ready to go and she can eat by herself but someone needs to be there to keep her on track.  Otherwise, she needs help or have it done for her in everything else.

I knew she had to have help with a lot, but I didn’t realize the extent – threw me for a loop.   I am still digesting it, I am not sure how I feel about it – I am not sure I feel anything at the moment.  I knew it would come to this and she would only go downhill, I am not sure I am ready for it.  Looks as if I will have to be ready for it.  One thing I have learned recently is to do something after I see Mom, even if it is just to go to Lowes for something for the house.  Or wander around somewhere just looking and seeing what’s there.  I am working on doing an errand after I see her, though I sometimes forget.  Then I go earthing on the Allen’s grass because it is softer and nicer than ours.

She can be very feisty sometimes, not wanting to shower, wash her hair or change her clothes.  However, Judy told me when she is having a good day, she is a darling.  I know it is the dementia that is causing a lot of this,  still hard to see it happen to Mom.  My sisters call her, but now it is hard for them and for Mom.    I had an email this morning from Candy, she had called Mom the other week and this was how she described it.

” I can tell that Mom is “disappearing” by our phone calls. She managed an “I love you, too” at the last phone call, but mostly it is a couple of minutes of me talking, and any answer she gives is so garbled it makes no sense. I tell her we are all fine. I tell her she’s been a wonderful mother and is free to leave, that we will be all right. I tell her I love her. I’m not sure she really knows who she’s talking to, though it is made clear at the beginning of the conversation that it’s her daughter from Nashville.”

A lot of other things have been going on as well, plenty of things for several posts.  I always hesitate to  publish things about my Mom, she is a very private person and she might be upset for the whole world to know.  Yet I also hope that writing about what is happening for our family can be of help and benefit to others dealing with a similar situation.  More early childhood training.

From Stress To Happy Dance To Stress – Part 1

May 21, 2013

Last week was a crazy time for me.  I wrote yesterday about the week before – last week had its own ups and downs – who knows what this week will bring.  Monday I check my Soul Card reading and found these 2 cards:

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First Card is from Doreen Virtue’s Guidebook for Magical Mermaids and Dolphins:

Pay Attention

“Notice repetitious signs and your inner guidance, as this can yield valuable information. It’s not your imagination that Heaven is sending you signs and Divine guidance. Anytime you hear something three or more times, especially within a short amount of time period, it’s information worthy of your attention.”

Soul Guidance:

What is the Universe saying to you? Look for the common thread.

Don’t ignore your Soul’s guidance because she may do some “crazy” things if you don’t listen.

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Second Card is from Sonia Choquette’s Oracle Cards Guidebook:

Epiphany/Higher Self: Inspiration, Breakthrough, Revelation, and Divine Guidance.

“The flow of communication between you and your Higher Self is strengthening daily, allowing you to directly access your Spirit Guides, Angels, and Spirit Teachers more readily. As you contact with your Higher Self deepens, answers will suddenly plop into your consciousness, like gifts from above.”

Soul Guidance:

Your Higher Self is the megaphone of your Soul.

It’s so interesting to see that both cards speak about the same thing. Pay attention to what the Universe and your Higher Self are trying to say to you.

Is it time to take action upon a long procrastinated idea, or is it time to commit to your unique purpose?

Or are you guided to take a leap in moving forward?

I have been noticing my higher self coming through more – I am not listening to ego quite as much and when she comes out, I thank her and tell her I choose something else.  I feel there is something coming, not sure exactly what but it feels like something wonderful.  I am rather impatient to find out what it is, the time for it is coming soon.  I am amazed at how the cards reflect what is happening in my life.

Always a good start to the week.  I had my appointment with Dr. Cheryl for my adjustment – she has really helped my shoulder and neck so much.  I was having some problem with my neck and she made such a difference, I could feel as if there were knots and she did a great job.  It is amazing how she can give a wonderful back and neck rub while adjusting and aligning.

I had the rest of the day to myself, so I came home and had some lunch before having a lie down.  I find myself yawning and tired when I am finished with the adjustment.  I wanted to write a post since I hadn’t for a bit, but the nap turned out to be the best thing for me at that moment.

Tuesday turned out to be MY day – the one I missed the week before because of the computer.  I slept for as long as I wanted, had a long hot shower – except it now isn’t quite as hot.  This has been frustrating because it comes and goes, so I know something isn’t right.  Eddie doesn’t seem to notice but I certainly do.  There are times when I wondered if I was going nuts.   Anyway, I just decided to do or not do whatever I felt like doing – nothing HAD to be done, just whatever came up for me.  How lovely the day was for me.

Wednesday was Breakfast Club and I talked to John the plumber about the hot water – he was at home Tuesday and if I had called, he would have come.  So we arranged for Friday morning.  Then I had to leave because I needed to be at Mom’s before 9:45.  She had an appointment to have a mammogram, as far as I know, the first one she has had.  When we enrolled her in the ElderPlace program, they did a physical.  There was a lump and they have been keeping an eye on it the past few months.  It had gotten bigger so they decided to do the mammogram.

I will admit to feeling very stressed about it, how she would do, how cooperative, etc.  Then I decided I was looking at it in the negative, so I asked the Universe to create the solution with all the words, attitudes, actions, etc. and I would just show up and get out of the way.  I will admit I was somewhat tense when I went, especially  because she wasn’t sure what it was all about.  The Tri-Med cabulance came and she ended up going to sleep on the way downtown.  I decided to do the cabulance was to be there for Mom all the way as well as be a calming influence for her rather than just meet her at the office.

 I met her at her house and Tri-Med took us in to Swedish Breast Center on 1st hill; she slept almost all the way in.  They took us up to the office and while Mom waited, I went through a dog and pony show – I  thought Providence would have everything set up, but the Center had their own balderdash.
       All of the techs were really great, very helpful and friendly, very gentle with Mom.    She wasn’t all that pleased about any of it, especially when it came to being the filling in a the sandwich.  They had trouble with the side shots – by then she had had enough.  So we went to another room so they could do an ultrasound.  They told me they didn’t think it was benign, so they wanted her back for a biopsy.  The appointment was made for Friday afternoon.  Tri-Med came back and she slept most of the way back to her house.
I was glad to get back in time for Eddie and me to go to our appointment at Apple.  I fixed up my computer for the box in the morning and Eddie was going to put it together for me.  He needed to learn to use it and I needed help with mine as well.  We ended up changing techs in mid stream so we both learned a lot.

Life Gets A Bit Odd At Times

May 19, 2013

I haven’t posted much lately, somehow Life happens while I am working on a post.  I will say it took me a while to put together the post for Candy’s pictures – it was very hard to choose which ones to add.  I have written about Monday and Tuesday two weeks ago – by Wednesday I was worn out from thinking about it all.  Thinking about may not have been the smartest thing to do, but I know I tend to over analyze things, a habit I am working on to be in a more positive way.

Wednesday I felt better after a good night’s sleep.  I began to realize there was no feeling of satisfaction from yelling back at the guy – I thought I would feel I had been able to stand up for myself.    Looks as if I have changed more than I had realized. Instead of satisfaction, it felt very uncomfortable and pointless.  I wanted to be right and it looks as though he was more determined to be right.  Besides, do I want to be right or happy?   I am  hearing higher self’s voice more now rather than ego’s.

I was glad it was Wednesday because I could go to Breakfast club, they always cheer me up and are the highlight of the week.  Then I had an appointment with my chiropractor right after that.

I went to see Dr. Cheryl for my adjustment and she told me something that changed my perspective.  In Aikido, they use momentum rather than brute force.  If someone comes at you, instead of standing your ground and meeting it face on, they use the momentum of the person coming at you to deflect in another direction.  It is one of those times when I have a general idea of what she means but not really a specific, real life example to make it more clear.  I need to read about it so I can understand it better; to come to the “I know that I know” point.

In the afternoon we went to see Tom, our mortgage broker – to sign some papers – he usually has a thick pile for us.  Then we had to wait for a closing date.  Progress comes slowly on some things.

Thursday I was due to meet a new friend from Linked In – she went to Burnley about the time I did.  We were going to meet at 10, then there was an appointment made for that time for Mom to be fitted for new shoes.  So I asked Chris if she would mind changing to 11:30 or noon.  That was fine with her.  So I met Mom up at the Center so Scott could measure her feet.  The shoes she is wearing are too tight for her because she has so much swelling in her ankles and feet.  She sits most of the time and won’t put her feet up to drain the excess fluid, so we are hoping the new shoes will adjust to the amount of fluid.  She was not all that anxious to have her feet measured or have  new shoes – the old Yankee New Englander thrift coming out.  It all worked out well and I was able to meet Chris for lunch in plenty of time.

Chris CardYes, he is supposed to be upside down!

We talked about Burnley and she brought her portfolio with her.  She has her own, rather whimsical style I like.  Reminds me of fairies ad wood sprites.  She brought me a card with one of her designs as a gift.  she knew the instructors much better than I did, plus she is a working artist, chef and I don’t know what else.  We laughed and had a great time, then she had to leave because she cooks for an Indian family and she had to go home and start preparing things to take over to their house.  We definitely decided to meet again, she suggested going to her house and she will cook.  So that will be fun.

I was delighted to  have my massage Friday morning – that time I didn’t say a whole lot and really enjoyed the massage.   it felt like a very stressful week, though I was in a lot better frame of mind at the end of the week.    We went to visit Mom on Saturday morning to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day with some flowers and chocolate.  We only take a little bit now because she is so aware of it being there and she can’t go to sleep until she has eaten it all.   I have been bringing 3 cookies for her at a time, otherwise she would devour the whole box.

We went on Saturday because Eddie had to work on Mother’s Day at the Future of Flight.  I went with him and wandered around a bit, then called my friend Charlotte around 2.  I wasn’t sure what she was doing because in the past she and her husband would go to church and then visit with their son and his wife and kids.  Things are at sixes and sevens right now so I took a chance.  She was delighted to hear from me, she said Ron was in bed with bronchitis and she was out doing a couple of things.  So we met at a Hancock Fabrics to visit for an hour or so.  I was sorry it was short, but I needed to be back at the Future of Flight when Eddie was ready to leave.  I had the car so he wasn’t going anywhere without me.

It had been a good day and we were both tired.  It didn’t start to rain until we were leaving for home.  Ain’t that the way of it?  The end to a stressful week but I realize as time goes by, I am realizing how much I am growing and learning.  Some times it is uncomfortable, sometimes it is really cool.

Glitches Handled Well

March 27, 2013

I enjoyed last week a lot, I felt a feeling of well-being and energy – something I haven’t felt for a long time.  Yesterday I went to see my rheumatologist before I went to have my second infusion.  I did the first one two weeks ago so she wanted to know if I had noticed anything.  When I said a feeling of well-being, she said that is often what people first notice.  After seeing her, I went up stairs for my infusion – I asked for the corner suite, but it was occupied.  When I was there two weeks ago, I had it and it was quite enjoyable to look out to the west and the south – didn’t see much of the harbor because of all the tall buildings in front.  Looking to the south I could see the freeway and there weren’t buildings  blocking it.  Unfortunately, both times it wasn’t sunny, just cloudy and sulking.

However, all of the IV nurses at the Infusion Center were really nice, gentle when putting in the needle.  It takes about 45 minutes to do the infusion, plus they get it started by doing a saline solution at the same time.  They also offer drinks, soup, not sure what else.  The first time I was really tired, so I had the chair reclined and I dozed during the treatment.   I moved my elbow and that set off the alarm.  This time she put it in very well and it was fine if I moved.  I had forgotten my book the last time, so I remembered this time.  It made the time go by quickly, plus I was really into the book and its story.  I had apple juice, it tasted cool and really refreshing.

After the infusion, I had to go to Radiology to have hand and foot x-rays so there is a baseline to measure if there are changes as a result of Orencia.  After I finished there, I went to see my Mom.  I decided to stop and have something to eat and read for a bit.  When I got there, I found her sitting in her chair sleeping.  It really hit me, who was this old woman sitting in my Mom’s chair?  She didn’t look like my Mom – I didn’t expect that.  Then I found she is now using a walker – she has fluid buildup in her legs and it is really bothering her knees.  She won’t keep her feet above her head to help reduce the fluid so she is more comfortable.  Sucker punch two.  When I saw her last Friday, she was sleepy, so I didn’t stay very long.  She is doing well, but she mumbles a lot and I am not sure what she is saying.  She is pleased to see me and glad I come to visit, though I don’t know how much she remembers.  I  thought I had come to terms with what is happening – NEWS FLASH – looks as though I haven’t.  Now we are getting to the really hard part.

It has been that kind of week since I came home from the seminar.  I came home and found Eddie had trouble with his computer – after a while I kept thinking things don’t quite add up.  I ended up Monday morning doing a system restore – I had it written down from the last time because I wasn’t sure I would remember.  I was able to restore it and it is fine, though it cost Eddie $300 and a lot of worry – it was a stupid virus scam.  I figured a system restore should do it, though there was a part of me that was worried I would screw it up.  So the worst that could happen was I screw it up royally and then call Larry to fix it.  What a relief to have it restored and Eddie didn’t lose his Round Up and have to do it all over again.  Hooray for me!

I went to see my chiropractor after that and as always enjoyed my adjustment – plus my neck and shoulder were much more comfortable.  I was really looking forward to my afternoon nap to rest up from the weekend.  I ended up spending an hour in bumper to bumper traffic on 167 – would have been better off going on I-5.  Some days are like that.  When I got home, there was a message on my voicemail – a small financial crisis that showed me just how little I can do on some of Mom’s affairs.  Well, if nothing, it was informative.  So I had to go to her bank and later out to the Post Office to take care of it.  At times it felt as if things were falling around me, but when I was done, I felt I handled it competently – I also knew to ask for help from the Universe as well as people at the bank.  I had a feeling of accomplishment, though those three hours felt rather tense at times.

The only thing that made my heart go pity pat was that when I checked Mom’s checking account, she had too much money.  So I have to spend some to make sure she is below $2000 or she could be disqualified for Medicaid.  We had to buy some things for ourselves at Bartell’s, so I bought some things she needs – still have more to spend.  This is crazy, I have to make sure it isn’t over their limit when they check one minute after midnight on the first of the month.

I have a massage tomorrow morning and I am so looking forward to that!

A Bright Spot In The Week

March 3, 2013

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We are having a lovely sunny day after yesterday when the sun fought valiantly to come out of the clouds – unfortunately it lost and it began to rain.  But today is gorgeous and clear – though at some point this afternoon the clouds will be back.  So I am enjoying the times when the sun comes out for however long and I am grateful for it.

A couple of days ago I saw a small clump of primroses out and the first crocus – it may only be the beginning of march but they have decided it is spring.  Suddenly we have a bed with purple, lavender and white with purple stripes coming up and blooming.  The pictures I took I can’t get off my phone, so I need to figure out how to do it.  So I check Google and found some that are close to what mine are.  It has been a mild winter for us – some very nippy days and nights and even a dusting of snow 2 days in a row.  Last year spring didn’t cone until Junuary because it was so cold and rainy for so long.

Let’s just say it has not been a stellar or comfortable week.  I woke up on Monday morning with the most painful shoulder and neck – I don’t know if I slept wrong or something happened I wasn’t aware of at the time or afterwards.  At that moment, the cause was not on the top of my agenda, the knives and ice picks were clamoring for attention.  Thank goodness I had an appointment that morning with Dr. Cheryl, my chiropractor.  She helped some and then had me rest a bit while she adjusted another client.  Then she came back to me and did a bit more work.  I really appreciated the extra time.

She suggested I rest and eat lightly, tea and/or broth, and just relax.  So I did.  It was still uncomfortable but a little better, at least I could turn my neck again.  I had a lie down and probably rested, maybe slept for about 50 minutes.  Then the phone rang.  I got up and answered it – it was Mom’s doc at the Center.

She had seen Mom at the Center that day and noticed the lump in her breast had gotten bigger since her first exam in August.  She wanted my permission to schedule a mammogram to make sure  exactly what’s going on.  I have had fluid filled cysts several times myself, so I wonder if it is that or something else.  I could have said No since she is 94, but it is better to find out what is happening.  They will let me know in about 2 weeks when the appointment will be.  The part I am concerned about is the mammogram, I don’t think Mom has ever had one and at this point I am not sure how she will perceive it.  The doc wanted to know if I would be there and I said “Absolutely”!

I am glad to report I was feeling a lot better on Tuesday morning, though there were still knives and ice picks.  I went to see Mom in the afternoon and took her the baby doll I had arranged for in September for her birthday.  At the time she didn’t quite know what to make of it.  This time she was very pleased with the baby girl in pink.  My friend Charlotte gave me one of her Lee Middleton dolls, I was overwhelmed.  As I watch  Mom hold the baby, she smiled and was delighted.  She wanted to show her off to everyone.

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The baby on the left looks like Mom’s, she has blonde hair and blue eyes.  She is in a pink bunting of thin pink and white strips and a lovely lace edging.  She also has a pink fleece sleeper like the one on the right, but with the same lace edging around it.

I bought a small oval basket as a bed for the baby and it fit in the open shelf of her nightstand.  As I was leaving, she kept asking “where’s my baby?”, “where’s my baby?”, “where’s my baby?”.    Friday she didn’t mention her baby, so I think it is like most things now – they come and go.  We’ll see how this works out before adding anything else.

Things at the house have changed, John moved out with his cat and now there is another man in his room. I am not sure how old he is, probably looks older with the long grey mustache and beard.  I saw him on Friday but since he was fast asleep in his chair, I didn’t say hello.  Also Jennifer left, she is now in a nursing home right near her sister.  The new person for her room was due to move in Friday night or Saturday morning.  I may see her when I go on Tuesday.

Funny, I feel as if I have spent  a lot of time at home resting, yet it feels as if I have ben tooing and froing when I write about my week.  I a working on another post but have gotten stymied, not sure where it will go.  It took quite a while to finish “Woo Woo, Goofballs and Hocus Pocus Water”; one of these days this one will tell me where to take it.  The fun of writing a blog.

Life Has Its Moments

November 24, 2012

The last time I wrote was Thanksgiving, we were about to leave to visit Mom and then go to Vickie’s for Thanksgiving dinner.  Fortunately the weather held off that day – I won’t say it was sunny but it was dry.  So we went over to see Mom and wish her a Happy Thanksgiving around 1:45 or so – their dinner was cooking in the oven at that point.  Eddie and I sat with Mom in her room for a bit visiting, she tells Eddie she is doing fine, told Ellen she is doing well and likes it there during their call the night before – she gives me the crap!  She is having a rotten time and when I asked her to tell me about it, she had a hard time being specific.  I asked if it was anything to do with the people there, and yes, it is the people.   The men take up too much room – that was about all she could talk about.  Guilt trip coming – just passed by without stopping.  No way was I going to flag down that bus!  Then she says the people there are like family and Judy tells me that every one of the 5 people who live there love Mom and would do anything for her.  I think it is just part of Mom, the dementia and being 94.  Her one comment is “If I could be in my Mother’s home, I’d be all right”.  Maybe she tells me the bad bits because we have spent a lot of time together in the past 10 years and certainly the past 2 or 3 on the dementia journey.  When she talks about wanting to go home, I tell her “This is your home now, where you wait for the train”.  I have to remind myself I can’t and won’t board that bus any more.

I am getting better at shaking it off and put my focus and attention on other things – like an enjoyable time at Vickie’s house. We had flowers for Vickie since the cake broke apart, not  much to choose from on Thanksgiving Day.  She said to come around 3 and dinner was at 4.  We were there just before 3 and the drive was full of cars – we are usually the first ones.  Seems they have friends from California, so they had 2 cars, plus Vickie and Rich’s daughter Melissa and her husband James were there as well.  We had a great time and enjoyed meeting their friends Jane and Bryan from California – they also have lived here in Seattle as well.  We laughed a lot and had fun, the dinner was great – enough to feed the whole neighborhood.  Vickie made the most delicious pumpkin pie, not one of those thin filled ones, this was substantial!  We talked about all kinds of things and found a lot we all thought funny.  When we left, it felt as if it was around 8 or 9 – what a surprise to find it was only 6:30 or 7.  Even so, it was nice to come back after a great evening and just relax.

Yesterday felt like Saturday, but also didn’t, we couldn’t quite figure out how it felt.  It was pouring rain while we drove over to the dealership for Eddie to service his car.  We both brought books and read in the waiting room rather than go sloshing around University Village with the crowds.  We were surprised to find the roads were nearly empty at 9 a.m. and we didn’t see a lot of cars in the parking lot as we went through.  So we arrived sooner than we planned.  It was quite pleasant to sit and read where it was warm, dry and comfortable.  After the car was done, we went over to Whole Foods for some things – that too was quiet and then down the hill for coffee.  We had sparking space right close and there were cars around but not horrendous.  Maybe everyone was at the mall.

We came home, had a cup of tea and took it easy, glad to be out of the rain.  Also feeling more comfortable now that the drain is clear.  I will say, the cake has not gone to waste, more gone to waist.  We have had it for dessert, each had a piece before we went to Mom’s and Vickie’s.  There still is some left, we had it last night but we aren’t having humongous pieces.  Today we had bagels at Panera before stopping at See’s to buy Mom a small box of chocolates.  We drove over and spent time with her, talked to John about his cat and even Ginger Boy came out for a visit.  He spends most of his time in John’s room and was tentative about coming out to visit.  He seemed to take to Eddie quite easily, though he is skittish with unfamiliar territory and people.  Then we gave Mom her chocolates – her face lit up when she took one out to eat.  We noticed she took small bites to savor it, she definitely enjoyed it.  I also filled her jar with more Werther’s – I am looking for something different to fill next time.

We came home and had lunch, Eddie is working on the laundry and of course had to go clean the cars.  The Allens next door have a house full this weekend, they started arriving on Wednesday.  Not sure what John and Luzma are doing for the holiday, no doubt went to one of her sisters for Thanksgiving.  She called Wednesday just before we left to ask about Mom, so we said we would give Mom her good wishes.  Tomorrow I am going up  north with Eddie because he is Manager of the Day from around noon to closing.  Not sure what I am going to be doing, maybe wander around a bit.

The Guilt Trip Bus Is Pulling Out of The Station

November 18, 2012

It has been an enlightening week, especially with the help of friends who know and understand what it is like to have family going through dementia.  (I don’t capitalize it because I don’t want to give it importance – well, it makes sense to me!)  I have been to see Mom three times this week – she must have been very surprised when both Eddie and I showed up yesterday bearing chocolates.  Mom is talking a lot about how much she would like to come and live with us – I have told her “This is where you need to be, this is where you wait for the train”.  She has said it several times in a visit and that she wants to get out of there.  But she wasn’t really happy here either – strangely enough, one friend asked if she is just doing what she has always done all my life?  It didn’t take being a rocket scientist (and I happen to know one) to think about that.

I’m sure a lot of  Mom’s depression is that she misses my Dad – he has been gone for 12 years and she is lonely.  She has always looked at the negative of everything for as long as I can remember.  I don’t know where it comes from, is it childhood, one or more experiences that really left and impact on her?  I haven’t clue.  Since we came to live with Mom, I began to say something positive when something negative comes from her.  We were going down the steep hill in front of the house and she talked about how easily we could over the side and crash.  I just said we could go down with no problem and make it to where we plan to go with no problems.  I realized that all my life I have bought into her negativity and gone along with it, even accepted it.  But that day I couldn’t deal with it any more and decided to turn things around for a change.

As for wanting to leave, I have talked to several people who have dealt with parents and dementia and they tell very similar if not the same story.  My friend Charlotte, whom I have known since 9th grade, went through it with her mother for many years.  She wrote me the other day and what she said really helped:

The reason your mom gripes to you about things is that You were her primary caregiver for quite a while, and she feels “safe” spouting off to you, I think.  You are right to change the subject or just ignore it.  If she presses the issue, you can always say, “thank you for telling me that” or “I’m sorry you feel that way”, and then move on.  Eventually I think it will pass, particularly as the disease progresses.  You are so fortunate she can still talk, even if she doesn’t always say what you want to hear, or even make sense sometimes.  That was the thing we missed most about mom’s dementia–she lost her speech completely, at the end, and for several years had an extremely limited vocabulary, so communication of any kind was difficult at best.  (And last night I had a little meltdown when I suddenly couldn’t think what her voice sounded like; that really bothered me.)

I think the things you are doing for/with the group home are very good, and makes a nice break for everyone.  It’s really very thoughtful of you.  I never thought to do anything like that for my mom when she was in the group home.  And, yes, I’m sure some of the others do have visitors, too, but you might ask and if there’s someone who is really alone, maybe pay a little extra attention to that one, or bring a special treat once in a great while just for that person. 

What she is referring to was my Friday visit,  I took two rolls of refrigerated cookie dough – chocolate ship and sugar cookie – and baked them there at the house.  It ended up that Judy the caregiver did a lot of it because I am not familiar with how their oven works.  We had a good time and the smell of baking cookies filled the house, part of the plan.  We did a cookie of each for every one, so there is still a half roll of each for another time.  It felt very good when they said I had made their afternoon.  It was surprising when Eddie suggested that he would come and we would all do it again, making sure that the owner Didi is there as well.

I have met all the other residents, including Ginger Boy who is John’s cat, except for Wendell.  He is usually in his room because he needs a wheelchair.  I asked Judy if I could meet him and bring some cookies, so we did.  His room is next to Mom’s and he is  very friendly,  he really enjoyed the cookies, especially the chocolate chip one.  Yesterday I went in to say Hello to him – now that I have met him, I want to be sure to visit him whenever I come to see Mom.

So I didn’t board the guilt trip bus this week, I am more comfortable with Mom when she talks about wanting to leave – it is not unusual.  Nor do I have to fix it and make everything better. I only have control over my own thoughts, not anyone else (as I keep saying to myself over and over). As a friend told me, she has chosen to have this experience for her own reasons, just as I have probably chosen to go through it with her as well.

Perception is Everything

November 14, 2012

These days I am not sure what is going on with my Mom.  Friday afternoon I went to see her and we talked, but she said the food wasn’t very good and “Do I have to stay here?”  I feel I am on a roller coaster at times, I am not sure what the real story it any more.  I saw her this morning and brought her some flowers since it is a cloudy, rainy, dreary day.  I thought she would like some color for a bit since the leaves are mostly gone from the trees.  She told me she was ready to leave and go somewhere else, where I don’t know, though Friday she said if she could go to her parents house she would be all right.  She asks about her parents, then says “They are dead, aren’t they?”.  I say they are watching over her and preparing a place for her when her time comes – of course she is ready to go now, right this minute.   She wants to know when she will go and the only answer I have for her is that no one has come back from the other side to tell us how it all works.  Today I said that sometimes people have to go to a different place to catch the train, not sure if that helped or not.  Am I just looking for logic when she talks about things?  Is there logic in it or is there a thought process I don’t understand?

Is she putting me on a guilt trip? I have been really good and proficient at boarding that bus all by myself.  Does anyone have any good answers?  Or is this one of those I play by ear.  I hadn’t realized I had forgotten something I learned in Ike Pono – “I care but not so much”.  I realize I have been tying myself up in knots thinking I can “make it better”, but I don’t think that is possible.  I also thought I had finally understood and accepted that I am not responsible for the world and it is up to me to fix it.  Maybe it is because she looks so lost and confused as well as unhappy about the situation.  She will say that everyone is very nice and good to her, she likes the people, so it can’t be terrible.  Maybe it is just her perception and that changes with her awareness.

Now contrast that with what my sister Candy wrote about her phone call to Mom on Sunday.

Just wanted to touch base and let you know I talked to Mom today. She
sounded pretty confused, but still knew who I was, with a little
reminder or two thrown in during the conversation. She was asking if
her mother was all right (I told her she was fine and waiting for her
on the other side). And she said twice that she was looking forward to
seeing everybody. I told her she was where she was so she could wait
for the train there, and she seems to think it’s okay, even though
it’s not where she wants to be, which is on the other side. She likes
the food, says the people are nice, and the bed is comfortable. She
says the cat is kept out back and she doesn’t see it often, but she
has a bear to hold (I’m assuming the bear Elizabeth was talking
about). She didn’t sound depressed, just bewildered and wanting the
waiting to be over. I felt like the energy was good and that Mom feels
safe and as comfortable as she’ll allow herself to be.

That reminds me, I did bring her a cuddly bear shortly after she moved in there.  She was pleased with it and it seems she sleeps with him and also will hold him while watching television.  I asked her two or three times if he had a name, not yet.  then the next time I asked, she said his name was James.  There is a second smaller bear she said he was James too.  So we have James the First and James the Second.  I tell her I am sleeping with Bunny too – she gives me a lot of comfort.  I had asked her what her name is and I think it is Sweet Pea because I have called her that without thinking.  I am thinking of getting her a little stuffed furry cat so she has a cat of her own.  Not sure when, maybe wait until it feels like the right time.

I talked to Didi about Mom and she said she spends time with the others, eats very well and is enjoyable to be around.  Didi doesn’t think Mom is unhappy, she would certainly let me know if there is a problem or situation.  One day at a time and not allow myself to ride the roller coaster.


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