Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Day After The Day Before

Hey you sweet, wonderful readers of mine!  Thank you SO MUCH for your comments -- your advice -- your prayers -- and your support.  It means the world to me.  You will never know how YOU keep me going when my family isn't there for me.

My daughter, Tammy, and I are both exhausted.  Tammy spent two nights at the hospital with her Grandma, and I spent the rest of the time.  My brother, James, has joined in, and he has been a HUGE support and arm to lean on.  I thank God for that, because it was totally unexpected.

He stayed with Mom all afternoon today because I had another water leak in this house soaking the carpet in the hallway.

My car had something very wrong with it after it went in for recall work, so we had to take it to the dealership and leave it there all day.

We sat at the Social Security office for TWO HOURS before we finally got up and left because it looked like it could be many more hours.

We had to go to a Tag Agency to try to get a title for my Mother's car.

It seems to NEVER end!

My friends, Jolene, Di, Terry and Deb have all given me such good advice.  Their love surrounds me every day and cradles my heart from the daggers some people toss at it.  Phylly TRIED to talk to me, but my phone rings every five minutes, and I have to hang up.  I know she is there if I need her.  She was a TREMENDOUS help when I was caring for Jerry's Mom.

My husband is one-in-a-TRILLION!  He is amazing with my Mother.  I wish I could film it.  He wants her back home WITH US just like I do.  We don't know if we can do it, but we sure are going to try.  He said he will put in a hospital bed and an alternating pressure pad and whatever else it takes.

She had two strokes after moving in with me, both caused by Atrial Fibrillation.

Stroke #1 affected her vision.  I told Jerry that she was acting like she was almost totally blind.  She has been blind in one eye for years, but she had perfect vision in the other one after cataract surgery a few year ago.  The stroke took away the peripheral vision, and she can only see straight ahead of herself -- like in a tube.  She can't feed herself because her hand can't land on the food right and can't find her mouth right.  I'm thinking therapy will help that.

Stroke #2 affected her legs.  That is why I found her on the floor unable to walk Tuesday morning. That is when we decided it was time for ER.  We thought about not going because we knew how many tests and tubes and needles and strangers would be involved.  Her life was already so hard.  We took her though.  She has been in the hospital since that day, and they have no idea when she will be leaving.

Some nurses are really sweet and caring.  Others act like "Nurse Hatchet", and I don't leave Mother alone with them for a second.  Neither does Tammy.  Tammy works at the Heart Hospital right next door, and she knows all the owners and administrators.  She is filling out a complaint form about some of the messes and some of the nurses.

The clamp on the urine bag was left loose one night, and a puddle of urine drained on the floor.  Tammy was in her bare feet.  She walked over to check on Mom.  She stepped into it -- her foot slid -- and she nearly fell!

Thank God it wasn't me!  There WOULD have been a scene!

I might even have called Princess Di!!!   She would have told them how the cow ate the cabbage!

Jolene would have taken the next flight up here,

and Terry would have prayed!

Deb would have said, "text me when you can talk".

Margaret would have sent me a real pretty sympathy card.

Phylly would have texted me the words to a hymn.

Aren't friends just the best!

Another loooooooooong day tomorrow.  I'm going to bed early tonight because we have to get up early tomorrow and go to the town where my Mom's house is.  So many things to take care of there to get her home ready to sell.

Mom is much better.  They drained a liter of fluid off her lungs today.  She was breathing so much better she just slept and slept.  She wasn't sleeping good at all at my house, and no wonder!  I am wondering if the doctor I took her to right after she arrived was really thorough enough with her.  The thing is, she acts pretty normal sometimes.  She gets really bad in the evenings and in the morning after she wakes up. Her appointment with the doctor was early afternoon.

If and when you pray for me, pray for my other siblings to get on the train before it leaves the station and never returns.  Pray there won't be squabbling over who took what and where and when.  I don't want anything and neither does Jerry.

We just want to take care of Mom the best we can.

What we do for her, we do for Jesus!

Not only that.  There is that "you reap what you sow" scripture.

And MOST OF ALL:  WHAT if that was ME in that condition!?  Would ANYONE care enough to tackle the task of caring for me?

I keep hearing, "DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT WILL BE!?

How hard was it for Noah to be the laughing stock of the whole town as he built the Ark?

How hard was it for Moses to face Pharaoh over and over and then have to put up with those complaining, ungrateful masses!?

How hard was it for David to walk out and face a Giant?

How hard was it for Abraham to take his only son up on the mountain prepared to kill him with a knife?

How hard was it for Jesus to be tortured and crucified when He didn't have to be?

How hard was it for Peter to be crucified upside-down?

How hard was it for Daniel to be thrown into a den of lions?

How hard was it for Mary to give birth to the Son of God, and then watch Him die at such an early age in such a horrible way!?

How hard was it for Mother Theresa to take care of those poor people living in garbage dumps?

I could go on for days!

If we toss out all tasks that are "too hard", we might as well crawl into a hole and pull the dirt in on top of us.  I don't know if I can do it; but I promise you I will sure try to care for my Mother until her last breath here, and her first breath there.

Thank you all again for your comments and concern.

Hugs,
Joy

16 comments:

  1. Joy....... where do I begin? I have been thinking a lot about you the last couple of days and just caught up on your blog. I'm at a loss for words. I'm terribly sorry about everything that has happened with your mother, but your steadfast faith is truly an inspiration to me. You have taken all of these negative circumstances from years and years and found God's love and grace and blessings in them all. Romans 8:28 tells us that "all things work for good to those that love God", and I am amazed at your ability to find that good in such a short proud of time! I will be praying for you and your mother and your siblings, that God will continue to mend those strained relationships and draw you closer. I pray that He continues to use your hands as His hands as you care your mother. And I pray that God's peace, love, and comfort surround your mother.

    In Christ,
    Allison

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    1. Thank you so much Alison! Your comment has really blessed me this morning.
      Hugs, Joy

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  2. I took care of my Mom in our home for 7 years with the help of wonderfully caring elder-care workers from agencies. The hospital bed, Hoyer lift, wheel chair, and alternating pressure pad mattress were all a great help. Janet

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    1. Hi Janet,
      It certainly helps that we own a medical equipment business. We have all those things within minutes for her.
      Hugs, Joy

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  3. God bless you and your family Joy. In prayer, her physical health will improve and she can come home. Taking care of a parent with dementia is a full-time job. If it weren't for my step-mom living with my dad, I would have had to resign from my job and care for him the last two years. He wasn't bad enough to be hospitalized, but he was still a 6-year-old in an adult body who viewed me as a teen at times and treated me as such trying to be the parent when he just couldn't be.

    There are also good times. Being around someone with dementia can also be humorous, believe it or not. My step-mom Sandi and my dad had gone to a pet store to get some special cat food. Dad fell in love with a tiny teacup Chihuahua puppy they had for sale. He told Sandi he wanted the dog, she said she didn’t want another dog, he cajoled and hugged the puppy and so they got “Chico”. I got a call from my son in Colorado asking why grandpa and Sandi got a new dog? I was stunned and he said he had seen it on Facebook. I called Sandi and sure enough, they had a new dog…that they didn’t need or want but she said, “You know your dad.” Chico gave Sandi fits with the struggle to housebreak him, the occasional chewed item, and the nearly full time effort it is with a new puppy. A couple of weeks later, my husband and I had taken our tractor over there to shred the acreage and do odd jobs around the property. We’d had a full day over there and at the end, dad and I were sharing a nice moment on the front porch enjoying the breeze after a hard day’s work. He had Chico on his lap and we were watching my husband load the tractor back on the trailer. He looks at me and says, “Is this your dog?” I busted out laughing.

    In all seriousness, taking care of a parent with dementia is truly a challenge. If it wasn’t for the drugs, he could be combative at times but fortunately, it didn’t happen very often. He and Sandi had been married 25 years and sometimes he called her Julie – my mother’s name, and sometimes he didn’t know her at all. That had to be incredibly painful for her. Once in the car while we were waiting for her to get the mail and open the gate, he asked me who she was. I said, “She’s your wife.” He said, “Do you promise?” Yes dad. “How do you know?” I said, “She has a key to the house.” That seemed to make sense to him and he accepted it. I was so sad seeing the look of fear and uncertainty in his eyes. That had to be very frightening for him.

    I learned never to correct him or tell him we just talked about that. The phrase, “Don’t you remember…?” never came out of my mouth. He’d repeat himself a dozen times a day and I’d act like it was the first time I heard it. His time with us was coming to a close and what is the point of arguing or becoming exasperated? I’d smile when he pointed the cell phone at the TV and complain that the batteries must be dead on the remote. I printed lots of pictures of the familiar for him and left them around the house with stickers on them of who was in the photo and who they were to him “Grandson Ryan”. He remembered Ryan as a 5-year-old, not the 30-year-old man he is now or the great grandson on my dad’s knee. I’d find him staring at the photos over and over in silence. Then he’d look at me and say, “I think I’m losing my mind.” It was heart-breaking. In those moments, I’d re-direct and say “Dad, I want a slush from Sonic. Do you want to go with me?” And in an instant, the sad moment was gone and he was happy again. Truly, I thanked God for his loss of memory. He didn’t remember he had cancer, he didn’t remember he was dying, and for the most part he was happy and at peace. God gave him dementia to ease his pain and I was thankful for that.
    Hugs and support to you. Becky, Power Tools With Thread

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    1. Oh Becky!
      You CERTAINLY understand. Mom has everybody laughing often. She says the funniest things. When the doctor was taking the fluid out of her lungs yesterday, she kept saying, "WHO is that SHORT man?" "That guy sure is little!" Thank God he finished the job and didn't take offense. The day before, the PT's were trying to lift her to take her to the bathroom -- just to see if they could. Mom looked at the big young man on one side and the young lady nurse on her other side. She asked where she was going. They told her they were taking her to the bathroom. Mom pointed at the big guy and said, "YOU are dismissed!"
      Hugs, Joy

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    2. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story about your dad.

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  4. My sister-in-law sent this to me, "You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think, and loved more than you know." I think this is very fitting for you as well. Love and prayers are being sent your way.

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  5. OH my Joy! Of course you can do this...you are the most determined woman! Plus, you Have GOD to lead, guide, and give you the tools and strength you need. Plus, you have an army of prayer warriors! You got this. Love, Debora

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  6. Dear Joy, I so miss your cheerful greetings. Good thing there is a library of your videos. Thankfully your Mother reached out to you. Please look after yourself as well. I send you love, prayers and HUGS.

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  7. Dear Joy, You and your family are in my prayers. Please take time to care for yourself with good old fashioned rest, food and spiritual nourishment.

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  8. Goodness Thank goodness you are there to help your mum out. Stay strong and be kind to yourself too.

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  9. Oh dear Joy, I haven't followed your blog, but I do watch your vlogs. When I realized today you still hadn't done one this year, I went into PANIC MODE, so worried about you, and checked here. I'm happy to know you are holding up as well as can be expected. Oh thank God you can be there for your mother, and have this time to heal the discord you've struggled with. Bless your heart, sending prayers for better days, for you and your mother and family. (And Jerry's health too.) Big big hugs, and lots of love from Audrey

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  10. Prayers going out to you and your family, Joy! You will never regret the good things that you are doing and you are doing right by your mom.

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  11. prayers for you and your family .Try and make time for you and Jerry .
    Lin

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  12. Joy I hope your strength carries you through, I'm sure it will. It was quite surreal reading this, I have been out of commission since Christmas Day when I was admitted to hospital and diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation, I had never heard of it and now I read your account. I had no idea I had it till this particularly bad attack. It is very scary and quite debilitating. My Mum had dementia and I found out that urine infections can make it worse. Make sure they check your Mums urine regularly.

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Hugs, Joy