Saturday, February 18, 2017

For Such a Time as This

Hi everyone!  Can you believe I'm back already?

After today, I am convinced that I am the ONLY person on this planet that can properly take care of my Mom.  I have the ability to know what she wants and how she wants it, even when she doesn't even know -- OR, she doesn't know how to say it.  And I am speaking about current events.  God only knows what is to come.

I know what she is TRYING to say when she is saying something so crazy, Jerry (my DH) can't start to figure it out.  He gets very frustrated with her.  And, OF COURSE, I know that no man "gets" a woman, but this is different.

I'll give you a few instances:

This afternoon, Mom sat down at the kitchen table while I was doing dishes or laundry or something.  I heard her fiddling with things on the table and saying, "I've got to find the salt.  Where could it be?  Joy, I NEED to find the salt."

We weren't eating.  She didn't have anything to put the salt on.

I realized when I looked at the table that she had arranged the pepper, the toothpicks and two little wooden angels on top of a trivet in the center of the table, and she wanted the salt shaker to be there too to complete the arrangement.  I walked over and picked up the salt shaker which was on her blind side at the end of the table and handed it to her.

She said, "Oh, thank goodness!  I had to get this arranged right, and I couldn't find the salt."

Jerry NEVER would have understood that.  He would have told her she didn't NEED the salt, and he would have just ignored her.

Then there was tonight.

She was having a pretty bad dose of Sundowner's.  Her mind was off on a dozen tangents.  For some reason, she kept going into the wrong bedroom even though she was already in her bedroom.  I was in my bedroom and couldn't see that she kept leaving her room and going into the one across the hall.  Jerry could hear her from his office.  Jerry went out and closed the door to the WRONG bedroom and told her to go to her OWN room.

In a few minutes, she would come back out of her room and go to the closed door -- open it -- go in and start rearranging things.  Jerry saw her and went back again to return the items she had removed from it and close the door again.  He told her again to PLEASE go to her own room and watch TV.

In a little bit, Mom was out of her room again and going through the closet in the WRONG room. Again Jerry went out to the hall to find out what Mom was doing, and I heard the commotion. I was afraid Jerry was going to strangle her!

I had received a phone call from my friend, Deb, and I was in my room talking to her.  That is why I didn't hear Jerry and Mom having room wars at the other end of the long hallway.  As soon as I hung up, I hurried down the hall to rescue my Mother.  She was TRYING to tell Jerry that she needed "her jacket".  She had taken a garment out of the WRONG room closet, and she was complaining that it wasn't the right one.  Jerry was telling her it wasn't even a jacket, it was a top.  Mother -- being extremely soft spoken and patient -- was trying so hard to explain that she needed her jacket.

I shooed Jerry off to his office which is where he needed to be as he was trying to finish some very important paperwork.  I took Mom buy the arm and led her back into her room.  I knew EXACTLY what she wanted.  She has this little white bed jacket.  It is fuzzy and warm.  She folds it a certain way, and she puts it around her ears and her head every night in her bed.  It had disappeared, and she could not find it in her room.  Hence, she kept going in the other room to look for it.

Mom was saying she just had to have her jacket, and she was very worried it was lost.  I assured her I would find it.  I figured it must be under the covers or under the bed, and that is where it was.  It had fallen behind the headboard which is brass bars.  I reached down through the bars and onto the floor and picked it up.  She was DElighted!!!

I made sure TBN was on and was the right volume and that she had the controller in her hand.  Yes! She actually has learned to push the "off" button when she is done watching TBN.  At least, she could do it last night after 30 minutes of lessons from Jerry.   I gave her a hug and told her I would be back to check on her, AND I closed the door to HER bedroom.  When her door is closed, for some reason, she stays inside it.  Jerry was closing the wrong door.

Poor Jerry.  I try to explain this stuff to him, but he just thinks it is crazy.  He thinks she should KNOW where her OWN room is!  He is much more patient when he isn't tired and in pain from his knee injury, of course.  I get really cranky too at times.  This assignment takes a LOT of patience!

I go check on her every 30 minutes until she goes to sleep, and I'm headed there now.

Be back soon.

Hugs, Joy

Friday, February 17, 2017

Mom-Mergency!

Oh, my!

You all told me to be sure and get in front of her on the stairs, which I do, but you did NOT tell me that while she was SUPPOSED to be in her chair in the living room watching endless MASH episodes, that she would go into the kitchen -- pull a bar stool up to the window -- climb up on it and onto the sink -- and try to pull down the kitchen shade above the sink!

I always come down from upstairs to check on her every so often.  By the time I found her in the kitchen, the bar stool was almost back where she got it from, and she had taken a spaghetti spoon out of the utensil drawer and was grabbing up in the air to try to catch the bottom of the blind and pull it down.  I couldn't believe my eyes!
She turned and looked at me and told me she was SO GLAD I came because she had fallen when she got up onto the sink.

WHAT??????????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I felt horrible, of course, like I had left my baby in a hot car.


She really has a thing about closing the blinds at night.  She had shades in all the windows of her house, and she pulled them all down every night before dark.  She can't remember that she isn't supposed to do that here.  I have told her a hundred times not to touch the blinds, but she can't remember -- of course.  The only thing that will look in the windows here may be a raccoon or a deer.  We do close the blinds in the bedrooms, however.

Then there is the constant remote control battle.  It is kind of funny.

After turning on the TV, I always HIDE the two remotes under a pillow or a quilt or in another room because Mom just messes everything up when she gets them.  Awhile ago, I put them under a quilt on the couch.  When I came back downstairs to unhide the controls, they were GONE!  I looked around. Mom had put them on the coffee table underneath a napkin.  I had to laugh.

Went to my Mother's house for about the sixth time yesterday.  One of my sisters and her husband joined us.  They were very helpful, and it was a delight to have them there.  Praise God for that!!!
Still so much to do there.  We shall continue to continue until all is done.

Mom is doing really good except for her mind.  She is sleeping at night instead of in the daytime, and she feels good.  Nothing hurts.  We took her off the nasty pills that made her much worse.  Jerry has surgery on his knee on Monday.  Never a dull moment.

Time to fix supper.

Be back soon.

Hugs, Joy



Tuesday, February 7, 2017

My Mother's World

Every day seems to present a new scenario when taking care of a parent with Dementia.

Today started out really good with what I thought was an honest, loving conversation with a family member about my Mom.  Turned out to be a hurricane of nasty words directed at me and at Jerry.  It really hurt and it was supposed to, of course.

Usually, I can dismiss the callousness of some people and enjoy the fact they aren't in my life, BUT since my Mother is on hospice and may not have long to live, I am trying to make allowances.  I will not, however, be cursed at and called names over portions of an estate that doesn't even exist yet.  My Mother is still very much alive and her belongings are HERS.  Such dysfunction!  

As my sweet friend, Princess Di, reminded me:  Leopards don't change their spots!  I was a fool to believe things had changed.

My focus right now is my Mother.  She is so fragile.  She sways back and forth from reality to numbness and the inability to even realize what room she is in.

Sometimes, she looks at me with so much love, it melts my heart like butter; and I feel I will completely cave in if she really does die.

Other times, she is so mad and harsh and impossible that I pray she doesn't last much longer.

Sometimes I look into her eyes and she isn't even there.  That is when the tears just boil out of my eyes.

This experience is overwhelming, but I thank God every minute that He has trusted me with the responsibility of caring for her.

Mom is awake so much during the night, she wants to sleep all day.  It was 75 degrees out today and beautiful.  I told Mom we needed to go somewhere so she could WAKE UP.  I took her to town where we picked up Jerry from our store.  Then we drove across the street to Sonic for chicken sandwiches. Mom was in the back seat.  Jerry and I were in the front.  Mom's hands don't always work right, and after she had eaten about half of her sandwich, the innards all fell out into her lap.  She was so upset with herself.  I had put a towel in her lap -- just in case -- so it was fine.  I felt so sorry for her though because she realizes her body isn't working right.

Last night, for the first time, she started hollering "Mamma, Maaama, Maaaaama!"  Over and over. (Always before she has hollered my name over and over.)  I got out of bed and rushed down the hall as fast as I could.  She was asleep and still hollering.  I finally woke her up.  She said she hadn't been saying anything.

Again, an hour later, she started hollering "Bo, Bo, Boooooo!"  I got up and rushed down the hall again.  This time she was naked from the waist down, and she didn't know why.  Her clothes and socks were strewn about.  Her many blankets were all off of her.  I asked her who "Bo" was.  She said it was me.  I helped her redress, tucked her in and kissed her on the forehead.

She went back to sleep.

I couldn't.

I never leave her alone in the house even for a minute.  Christy will come at 7:30 tomorrow morning to bathe and dress her.  Karen will come at 9:00 and stay with Mom as long as needed so I can go to the grocery store and run some errands.  Jerry is taking off work to come with me because it is a big job.  He has been AMAZING!

Jerry is in a lot of pain due to a torn meniscus in his knee.  Every step he takes hurts him.  And I knoooow!  WHY is he coming to help me buy groceries and run errands?  He insists he can handle the pain and that walking is better than sitting.

He is having surgery on the 20th.  I will have two people to take care of then.  Jerry won't be hard.  I think he has to have rehab and use crutches for awhile.  He will still be able to work.

I am able to sew and quilt some.  Terry is coming over Friday so we can spend some time together. Karen will be here four hours on Friday.  She can stay longer if I need her to.  She loves Mom, and Mom loves her.  That is such a blessing for two people who met only weeks ago.

I made a new blouse for me and a new blouse for my Mom.  Mom actually climbed up the 17 steps two times so she could "be with me" as I was working on them.  She always says, "I want to be with you."  I feel like I am HER Mom.  I'll show you pics of us in our new tops when I feel she is up to posing.

Be back soon.

Hugs, Joy

Friday, February 3, 2017

Dementia is So Cruel

Since you are my friends, and I tell you everything; may I tell you about the cruelty of Dementia?

My Mom lives with us now, and I am so happy to have her here.  Really, I am.  When she isn't having Sundowner Syndrome, and she is almost herself, it is a pleasure to be with her.  Everyone who comes here likes her.  Friends from her past drive a long way to visit her.  They just sit with her for hours even though she can't really communicate with them.

A few nights ago, Jerry and I decided to take her off the nighttime tranquilizer because it makes her as weak as a kitten, and she falls easily.

Sure enough.  Two nights without "the pill" and she can walk without help.  We have been so excited because she has been so "normal" yesterday and today during the day.  Very much stronger in her legs and in her arms.  The last two nights weren't bad either.  The Nurse's Aide noticed and our Mom-sitter noticed Mom was much better.

BUT THEN!

Tonight got here and Sundowners returned with a vengeance.

She loses her temper due to the frustration in her brain.  She grabs things she isn't supposed to have such as the controllers to the TV and bed in our bedroom.  She was supposed to be watching the TV in her room, but she got mixed up between her computer and her TV.  She was pushing the on/off button on the CPU to change the channel on her TV.

She moves furniture around. She takes her clothes off or gets tangled up in them.   She gets very mad and starts swinging if we tell her she can't have something.  She tried to hit me.

It is so, so, so sad.  She doesn't understand, and we feel so mean.  We just had to go get "the pill" and give it to her.  It took two of us to stop her tantrum and get her to take the pill.  I told her we would have to take her to the hospital if she didn't take the pill.  She HATES the hospital, so that worked.

Honestly, I do not know WHAT we would do if we couldn't calm her down.

She asked me if I would come pray that this would go away from her.  Of course, Jerry and I will go in and pray for her.  Hopefully, she will be able to go to sleep.  We are waiting until 10:00 because she thinks she can't go to bed before then.

I guess I should explain that she WANTS to be in her own room watching her own TV.  Jerry always watches Thunder basketball, and she isn't at all interested in that or anything else we watch.  She only watches MASH or TBN.  We have to take the TV controller out of her room because she insists on pushing the buttons on it, and she has no idea what she is doing.  She makes the TV freeze, and she starts hollering for us.

Please pray with us for God to give us wisdom and patience to take care of her.  I pray every day that God takes her home where she will have a brand new mind that she can never get lost in again.

Be back soon.

Hugs, Joy

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Good Evening and New Top Pics

Good evening friends!

This has been a nice week.  Great weather and fun in my sewing room.  Mom is adjusting to her new home, and I am adjusting to having her here.  Yesterday and today, she even climbed the 17 stairs to be with me in the sewing room.

I am a very scheduled person, and a schedule is what she needs.  Same time up -- same time to bed -- three meals a day and snacks in between -- Mash reruns or TBN as needed -- gospel music while she naps.  I am cooking so much, my hands are crying for more and more lotion.  She doesn't do anything.  No hobbies.  I would die of boredom living with no hobbies.

She is searching all over the place for her pajamas.  I better go help her find them.  Be back soon...

Okay, I better hurry and show you pics of my new top.  I'm sure most of you have seen the VLOG I made yesterday, but for those of you who haven't, here are pics:





This is Style Arc's Kim Top.

Have made this several times.  Just drew another color-blocked version.  Hope I like it as much as this one.  It is totally different.

Better go check on Mom.  She is looking for her hat.  She is always very cold.  I bought her some of those chemo caps from Amazon.  She loves them.

Be back soon.

Hugs, Joy

Friday, January 27, 2017

Back Home with a Happy Mom

Mom wasn't happy at all about the loooooooooong drive home to Kingston, OK.  She is very happy to be here again though.

She has her teddy bears from home, her fuzzy purple blanket Tammy gave her, and her warm pillow made on demand by Terry this afternoon.

Everyone wants to fulfill her every desire.

She is a blessed lady indeed.

We try to get her to walk with her walker as much as we can.

She complains her hip hurts whenever she walks, but the doctors said there is nothing broken or fractured.  I hope they didn't miss something.

She certainly likes to eat.  That hasn't changed.  She ALWAYS has to have her ice cream after dinner.

And I am really surprised to find that she LIKES to have her picture taken.  She always smiles for me.

After dinner, she wants to watch MASH.

Only problem with that is NOBODY ON EARTH can figure out how the DVD Player works except for Jerry.

The Social Worker, Ashley, and Terry and I ALL tried to play Mom's music CD's for her yesterday.

There are only FIVE controllers to figure out.

Mom has Hospice now.  They don't do much really.  They brought some equipment from their own DME company, but it didn't work and we had to get it from our own company.  Thank goodness, we can do that.  They did bring a bedside commode that works well.  They also provide Ensure and bed pads and her medications.

A nurse comes, if necessary, and a doctor eventually comes.


Mother's good friend, Sharon, is coming tonight.  I need to start dinner.  I hope Mother will nap for awhile.  She is so demanding.  Wants something constantly.  She asks for the same thing over and over.  I KNOW that goes along with Dementia, but it really does get on one's nerves after a whole day.

We both love gospel music.  I put five of her CD's on, but two of them are really messed up.  I took those out and put in my Elvis gospel CD's.  I'm loving it as I type this BLOG to you.

She is ALWAYS cold.  Gotta go heat up the rice pillow Terry made her.  I need her to make one big enough to cover her whole body!

Be back soon.

Hugs, Joy

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Busted Mom Out Tonight and VLOG

The hospital was really good and really awful.  Depended on what day and who was on duty.  Today, Mom was getting NO food, NO water, NO attention.  The doctor had discharged her, but hadn't told me until after lunch.  I wasn't prepared to get her yet because I didn't have Hospice for her yet.

I wanted to pick her up tomorrow morning and take her back to our Kingston home, and the nurse who called me this morning said that would not be a problem.

Tammy called me from the hospital several times and told me she was being ignored.

I called her nurse and asked her if I could come pick her up tonight.  She said, "OH PLEASE!  How fast can you get here?!"  (My interpretation.)  She obviously wasn't wanting to take care of my Mom tonight.

Tammy (my daughter) and her husband and Jerry joined me.  Mom was so happy to see us.  We got her out of the hideous hospital gown that they NEVER tied.  Poor Mom was uncovered half the time. Tammy constantly had to show the nurses and aides what to do and ask for some privacy.  CLOSE the door, at least!

Yep!

Busted Mom out of that unorganized, dirty hospital at 6 PM.

She is so happy to be home.  The hospital had her on a liquid diet which was absurd.  Mom can chew and swallow just fine.  I made her a shake and some toast.  We just watched her enjoy it.

We had to fill FIVE prescriptions.  Had to be done.  Serious problems with her heart are causing the strokes which, of course, affect her body's ability to do things.  Sad to watch.  She asked me if she was going to get well.  I told her she might be going to Heaven soon.  She said that would be fine because she wants to see her Mom.  Her Mom died giving her birth 89 years ago.  She was raised by her grandparents.

I made a VLOG this morning.  Here it is if you haven't seen it:

God is so good.

This is a wonderful adventure with my Mother, and I am so grateful for it.  I love her more every day.

Thanks for all the suggestions for my new StyleArc Kim top.

Hugs, Joy