Friday, June 13, 2008

Adventures in Alzheimers

Originally posted on MySpace Jun 13, 2008

Shortly after I denounced Sainthood in my last blog my Mother gave me the ultimate reason to consider moving her from our home to a full care facility. Sorry, I just can't use the term "nursing home" or "rest home."

My daughter and I had stayed up late and were about to head to bed. She gave me some insight to her thoughts regarding the last blog. I am thankful that she did. First off, I told her that I never ever want her to feel like she has to care for me in my old age (provided I live to old age) and that if I should live with her family, that she must put them first and move me out if/when they begin to be affected by my presence. She asked me if she could have it in writing. LOL - smart girl! But then she said that she was really happy that G'ma had come to live with us for the first couple of years. I really needed to hear that. Thanks, Lyss!

Next she agreed with all the other comments left me. Then we talked about Mom and some of the problems and laughed at some of the things that happen and then we hugged and said goodnight. She headed downstairs to her room and I to mine. That's when I noticed that G'ma was awake and sitting on the very very edge of her bed, extremely close to falling on the floor. OMH, why was she up and not sleeping?? It takes her hours to get sitting up in the morning and even longer to actually get her feet to touch the floor. (Well, it SEEMS like hours!!). I yelled for Alyssa to come back and help me. She was so far off the bed there was no way she could stand up from there. We don't even leave her walker in her room anymore just to discourage her from trying to get up. Alyssa arrived and we wrangled the old woman back into bed and asked her what she was thinking. All she could say was that she wanted to know what was going on "out there" (meaning the livingroom) and she had to get up to find out. We weren't even noisy so we were so confused why she thought something was going on without her.

Mom has one of those beds that you can raise the head and feet but I don't know of any way to put rails on it. But now I am more concerned about her safety. This happened at 12:30 am and I am not accustomed to checking on her in the middle of the night, unless of course she is banging on her bedside table for something.

I am more and more certain that it is time to move her. I still don't want to do it before we move, though. I hope she doesn't make it impossible to wait!

Today I was standing at the kitchen island and sorting out mail. She could easily see me from her chair and she looked straight at me and then banged on her table to come get her up to take her to the bathroom. I was 10 feet away from her!!! Geesh!!!

Well, that's her banging now... it's not even been 30 minutes since she last went.....

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Saint? You Make Me Laugh!

Originally published on MySpace Jun 11, 2008

Yesterday I was playing World of Warcraft with a friend of mine who lives a couple of states away. Yes, I am a nerd like that - I LOVE games!! And the friend I was playing with is my real life best friend. We are not internet acquaintances who have no idea who we are talking to, we are real live living and breathing in the real world friends!

Okay, I guess that might make her a little nerdy, too, since she is the one that introduced me to WoW.

As we were playing Mom began knocking on the table next to her chair for me to come take her to the bathroom. I messaged my friend what I was doing so she would know I was away from the game and she messaged back, "You are a saint!"

No amount of talking would convince her otherwise since she has an inkling of what all is going on in my world. Despite that, I continue to believe I am the lucky one since I am healthy. But I digress....

Far from being a saint, I would consider myself more of a martyr. I do resent that Mom can't do for herself and that it all falls on me. I am not always nice to her. She annoys me and frustrates me and I wish I didn't have this responsibility, that she was a healthy and sharp 87 year old woman. Do you have any idea how hard it is to see a woman with a veterinarian degree try to remember where she is going when you get her standing up? Or watch her try to read a book but not be able to make any sense of the words? It hurts, deep down inside.

So as the martyr in the scenario, let me tell you who the saints are. The saints are my husband and children. My husband who quickly steps in to help mom to the bathroom when he sees that I just can't do it for the second time in 45 minutes. My husband who gently chides her to take bigger steps and not hit the wall with her walker. My husband who appears to not care that he is physically putting his mother-in-law on the toilet and helping her back off it. That is a saint. He has never complained about her living with us for the three years she's been here. Let me also explain that she did not always warm up to him since he married her precious (HA!) daughter. I nominate my husband for sainthood.

My oldest daughter also qualifies. She helps with Mom an enormous amount. If I ask her to get Mom up in the morning she walks into her room with a huge smile and cheerfully greets her and chats at her the entire time she's helping her. Morning is probably my least favorite routine. Mom is incontinent and we don't get her up in the night. She has a plastic mattress cover to protect the mattress and she sleeps with a pad under her to absorb the wetness. It's smelly and icky to get her up and into the bathroom to get her into clean dry clothes for the day. And then rinsing off her teeth and helping her with those. Then after she is settled into her chair and fed her pills, cocoa and breakfast we return to the bedroom and bathroom to take care of all the wet stuff and get it into the washer. My daughter who cheerfully helps with all this deserves to be called a saint. She doesn't stop there. If she's not working or otherwise busy, she is always available to help or run an errand or start dinner. These are people who should be called saints.

My youngest daughter just finished her senior year of highschool. She helps with Mom but a little less often. She went through this last year of school basically on her own. When she wanted help picking out a prom dress, I was too tired. When she needed addresses and help sending out grad announcements, I was too tired. She never did get a senior portrait done professionally. Where was I when she needed me? I was either too tired or taking care of mom. What kind of a saint neglects her family for another? No, I was the martyr who sacrificed my family for Mom. My daughter has forgiven me and says she understands and that takes a bit of sainthood, too. At her age, this past year has been the most important of her life and I blew it.

It pretty much took being hit up aside the head with a 2x4 to recognize what I am doing to my family. I am grateful to the family member that helped me see that. I believe I am doing the right thing for my mother and I simply hate the idea of putting her in a home. I keep thinking, "I can do this. I owe her this. I want to give myself to her this way. She did so much for me!" But what am I really doing for her? One day is like the next for her and she doesn't remember the one before. I know she is happier here than she will be anyplace else. But I have to think of my family now. Are they happier without a mom/wife? What have I given up for Mom at my family's expense? How many times have I not been available for my family because I had to care for Mom? The answer is too many.

I have to start to think about my own bucket list, too, and how can I do that when I have committed myself to someone else's life? It's hard to think about but I have to do what's right for my family and probably what is right for Mom, now, too. My last question is can I wait until we make our move? It's a couple of months away and I think it would be harder on Mom to put her in a home here and then move her later. I think we can all hold on that long.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Life sucks - but then you graduate anyway....

Originally posted on MySpace Jun 1, 2008

Current mood:pissed off

Well, it's now official. Not one of our relatives not already living with us will be here for Krissy's graduation.

G'ma Gully will be having surgery on the day of graduation. That's not something that could be helped.

Mark's brother Mark was going to fly out, but his wife is having trouble with her pregnancy and in and out of the hospital. Not a good time for him to be out of town.

His son Tim was going to drive out and get here last week. He and Krissy had an entire trip planned for after graduation ending up back in Seattle. Turns out he didn't have the time off until today, when he was going to leave and drive all night. He just called because he drove off with his wallet on the car and now it's lost - no license or money. And then got called in for work (guess he was on call even tonight after all....).

That last one just did Krissy in. All the effort we've put out for travel to weddings and graduations and such the last three years... It really sucks how much (little) we've been visited here. Especially now when it's my baby's most important day of her life so far.

I know those are some pretty good reasons for not coming. I'm sure everyone one else that's not here has their own good reasons, too. I guess life is just not always reciprocal. That would be asking too much.