Thursday, April 30, 2015

More Than A Handful--Of Nuts--Today

As I mentioned earlier, Mom started out pretty good, then hit her question everything mode for a bit then settled down to about  normal.

Things were going along pretty smooth as she drank her coffee while I fixed her lunch. Once lunch was on the table, I thought it was safe to head outside for a smoke. Well I thought wrong.

Once the slider was opened just a crack to come back in I could hear the TV blaring all the way out on the deck. When I made it through the kitchen I found Mom's lunch still sitting on the table un-touched and she was standing in the living room remote in hand. The channel had been changed to some infomercial and she was still cranking the volume up. I managed to get the remote away finally and got it turned down to a manageable level that she could still hear and put it on a JFK documentary for her. Once I did that she sat down on the love seat to watch TV. I chuckled a bit an then asked her if she was going to finish her lunch that was getting cold on the table. That only took about ten attempts to get across since she thought I was saying beach and had forgotten her lunch. Go figure. When she's in bed she can hear the slightest noise anywhere in the house, but she can't understand anything I say unless I'm near yelling. 

She did finally lay down, for about ten minutes. Once she was down, I head out to get the mail, but she must have heard the door and was in the kitchen attacking a fingernail with a knife when I came back in. We've given her about twenty nail files, but she's hidden them and I've not been able to find them anywhere in her room. 

Oh well, another wild and crazy day! LOL

Thanks for reading.  

Another One Of Those Days, But I Made Some Great Biscuits

Mom is still way off her schedule, but things have been getting a bit better. That is until today. 

Today, Mom came out around 8:30 AM, (not a bad time), looking all bright eyed, but that really wasn't the case. She sounded fine as I poured her coffee, then made her breakfast. However when I sat down here at the table, things changed. Mom's first question was, "how did I get here"?

I chuckled and gave her the standard reply and that launched a barrage of the same old questions about her car, the house, there's nothing wrong with her, etc, etc. 

After a few minutes her mood brightened a bit and she apologized that I had been stuck with her. I told her that wasn't the case, grabbed her another cup of coffee and it was all over as quickly as it started. Oh, by the way, she had to guess I was her son today. LOL

On the bright side, I made some great tasting biscuits today and Mom ate four with her breakfast. I can make good biscuits, but I still haven't found a scone recipe that I like. My buddy Cary has one, and he makes the best scones I've ever eaten perhaps I'll bug him for it some day. 

Oh one other thing worth mentioning. Mom asked where dad was yesterday. That's the first time in over a year she has even mentioned him.

Well have a great day everyone!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Toothless In The Morning, Toothless At Noon

In the past Mom would hide her teeth about once a week. It's been over a month now, but she did it again today.

We searched her room high and low like always and couldn't find them. It's always like that. Sometime this afternoon or in the morning Mom will come out with the full set. Where she hides them is beyond me, but the why she hides them is totally beyond me.

I guess it's just the unknown inner workings--or lack there of--of the Alzheimer's brain.

Have a great day!

Friday, April 24, 2015

It's Not Easy: Part V - The Aftermath

Well let's conclude this long story by bringing it to the present day--two weeks after the final HHC in-home visit.

Since the last visit things with Mom have been pretty unstable. Her schedule is sporadic, but she's at least eating well consuming 3 to 5 meals per day. 

For the last week she's been up early with short naps all day long. Yesterday she was up at 6:00 AM and she stayed up all day until around 7:00 PM. Today thing are a bit different. 

Today, she was up early again about 6:30 AM, stayed up two hours then took a three hour nap before lunch. That's getting closer to normal. But it gives  me no time to review since I don't know if she'll be up every ten minutes like yesterday.

However, I can how the day will progress the first few minutes she's up. The first thing she asked me today was, "how did I get here"? I told her that I had brought her here and asked her if she knew my name. She had no idea who I was, but was happy to find out I was her son. I always chuckle inside on these days. 

A bit later we had to play the "where is my car and who's in my house" game a couple times, but we made it through when I changed the subject to today's weather. Maybe in another week things will be back to normal.

The picture with this post. It's my world during the day. Leaning against that post I can see when Mom is up because she always comes into the kitchen first on a quest for coffee. If I don't intercept her, this will go awry nearly every time these days. 

That pretty much brings us up to date and brings the home heath care saga to a conclusion. There may be more posts that tie end to these, but the long story is over!

Have a great day! Thanks for reading and for all your great replies. Keep them coming please. 

It's Not Easy: Part IV - In Home Care / Send In The Clowns

Continuing on, two days later, Saturday morning, right at 9:00 AM, the phone rang. On the phone was the head nurse from the company the doctor had signed Mom up with that I'll call HHC, (Home Health Care), instead of using the real company name. The nurse wanted to come out and get Mom enrolled TODAY. I was a bit reluctant to blow part of a Saturday on this, but she explained they only had three days to get Mom enrolled after receiving the doctor's orders. With that being said, I agreed to an appointment later in the afternoon.

When the RN arrived--late--she was pleasant, organized and professional. No problems so far. The RN first talked to me and then began talking to Mom asking the normal "how do you feel" type of questions. Mom immediately fired back in a gruff tone, "why are you here and asking me all these questions"? The RN took her time and patiently explained what she and her company do and the purpose of the visit. That satisfied Mom for the time being. After several minutes of questioning the nurse pulled out her reasoning test and started asking Mom questions from the list.

Yes, Mom can still tell time, count to 10, write her name  and even sort of write shorthand--she just can't read it anymore. Mom passed all the menial tests of things she has done the past 75 years. The problem started when she couldn't answer the same questions she couldn't answer at the doctors office. Plus, I had already explained to the nurse that most days Mom doesn't even know who I am, she doesn't remember my brother, my dad or most other family members.

Bottom line, Mom became frustrated and pretty angry telling the nurse that there was nothing wrong with her and she wasn't answering any more questions.

Once the conversation with Mom ended the nurse spent some time explaining the services her company provided. What she didn't explain was the fact that each service was performed by a different person on a different day. Starting the next Monday, six more people came to visit Mom over the next five days, three of them gave her another dementia test, each one sending her into another outrage.

On the fourth visit, the Therapist talked to me about what could be done to help Mom's depression. My reply was "depression? Mom's not depressed". To my dismay she told me the second Therapist to visit reported that Mom was crying the entire duration of the interview so she must be depressed.

OK, I took Mom to the doctor because she has a weepy eye, but this professional with the doctor's notes in hand doesn't figure this out. Hello! Beyond that she writes about Mom's depression in her report.

The end result, the service the doctor said would help me has done nothing other than wear Mom out, throw her off her schedule, anger her and overall, it's made my life and the family's a living hell!

Before starting this service, Mom had a fairly predictable schedule of awake two hours, sleep two hours all day long. The two hour sleep periods allowed me to review cigars and coffee, then write the reviews while Mom was up, but now she is up nearly all day long and her schedule is unpredictable.

In the beginning, once Mom was up all that was needed was some light supervision so she didn't walk out the door, but it's not so easy the last year. She now has the mind of a three year old and requires constant supervision while she's up. Besides the schedule change, each visit resulted in hours of angry questioning directed at me asking who the were, why they where here, where is her car, who lives in her house, etc.

As an example of supervision, the other day, I made a quick trip to the bathroom while Mom was up. When I returned, Mom had a bowl of milk sitting on the kitchen floor coaxing the dogs to come drink. If I'm out of eyesight for two minutes, Mom is up getting into something, just like a little kid. I catch her peeking around corners for me all the time.

The bathing service and the weekly LPN visits were a help, but they can only be done if the two therapists in charge come out for weekly visits resulting in four visits instead of two. In the end, this service had noting to do with fewer trips to the doctor and did nothing to ease my work load, in fact it's  made life worse for Mom, me and the entire family. I also believe that no one that has dealt with Mom, even the doctor, really understand Alzheimer's or dementia. I mean come on, including the doctor, Mom was given four separate cognitive function tests. Can't they even share information? That's not very professional in my book.

In my opinion it really was a case of "send in the clowns"!

As always thanks for reading my rant. Have a great day!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

It's Not Easy: Part III - The Appointment

Finally and without further incident, other than the painstaking slow trek helping Mom from the car to the doctor's office, we'd made it. Once she was checked in at the front desk, the entire "why are we here?" line of questioning and her negative rebuttals to the situation continued until a nurse called her name and we headed off toward the exam room. 

It was a short wait for the nurse that took Mom's vitals and by now she'd calmed down a bit. At least for the time being the barrage of questions had stopped. 

After the nurse finished her duties and left the room, Mom only had time to ask me once what we were doing there before the doctor saved  me by knocking on the door. 

The doctor exchanged greetings with the two of us then started his usual "how do you feel?" line of questioning toward Mom. So far so good, but the real fun was about to start. 

As the doctor and I were talking, Mom would continually interrupt asking the doctor why she was there to see him and then inform him in her matter-of-fact surly tone that there was nothing wrong with her. Each time he would stop and calmly explain that she was 88 and he just wanted to make sure she was doing well, plus he wanted to check her puffy eye. Once he started testing the progression her dementia over the past year, Mom's attitude really degraded. 

Mom couldn't answer any of the doctor's questions such as "who is the President?" When she didn't know the answer she would curtly reply "I don't care, why does it matter anyway"? After the normal questions the doctor pulled out his dementia test and began testing her reasoning abilities. After two unanswered questions and Mom's gruff replies, he gave up. 

Eventually the doctor and I started talking about how rough it getting Mom out of the house as her dementia progresses. He told me about an in-home service that Mom qualifies for that includes nursing visits. Signing up for this service would mean fewer visits to the doctor for Mom. After we talked it sounded pretty darn good so I signed mom up. Little did I know, this service would push mom to her limits and turn my life into living hell ever since. But more about that tomorrow. 

After an uneventful blood draw we were done and had an uneventful drive home with mom being awestruck looking at the nice houses we passed. The only thing worth mentioning is, once we pulled in the driveway, Mom asked why we were stopping at this house. Once I told her we were home, she just laughed and said she'd forgotten what the house looked like. 

We are nearing the end of this tale, tune in tomorrow for part IV - In Home Care

Again thanks for reading and have a great day!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

It's Not Easy: Part II - Getting Ready

All to quickly the dreaded day of the appointment arrived. I knew deep down today would be filled with frustration, anger and lots of anxiety. Don't get me wrong, I was glad Mom was going to see the doctor about her eye, but at the same time, past trips out of the house had taxed me nearly to my limit. 

I knew that timing was everything when it comes to getting Mom out of the house. I waited until the last minute to wake her--for success she needed to be on my schedule, not hers. 

Once she was up and had devoured breakfast in her normal fashion, I explained that she had a doctors appointment and needed to get dressed. This event started the snarky line of questioning /complaining directed toward me since she thought there was no reason to see a doctor. 

Like I've said before, other than Mom's memory loss she's pretty healthy and can't remember she has dementia. In her mind she's fine and believes there's no need to waste money seeing a doctor. She even told me her eye was fine. After a bit of coaxing she headed into her room to get dressed. This time I was taking a proactive stance on keeping her focused, although it worked, it did nearly backfire on me. 

You have to understand Mom to understand this. For most of her life she hasn't really done anything she didn't want to do. If she didn't want to go to the doctor, no one was making her go. After about an hour of continual coaxing from me about getting ready, something I never expected happened, Mom started crying out of confusion and frustration. To this day I'm not sure if it was really frustration or if it was just a ploy to manipulate me so she could have her way. Well just for the record, I did feel bad, but I didn't give in. 

Finally she was dressed and we were headed out the door. Once she was strapped in the car and we were on the road the questions began. "Where are we going?", "Why are we going?", "There's nothing wrong with me I don't need to go". 

Lucky for me it's only a twenty minute drive to the doctor. That line of questioning continued over and over for the entire drive. 

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, we had arrived!

Tune in tomorrow for part III - The Appointment.

Like always, thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

It's Not Easy: Part I - The Call

This a long story that started several weeks ago beginning with a phone call from a nurse at Mom's doctor's office. 

Let me start by clarifying that other than Mom being nuts and having a screw loose from her dementia she's as healthy as a horse. Overall her health is better than mine and on a daily basis she has fewer aches and pains than I do.

Mom hadn't been to the doctor in about a year, there had been no real need to take her, and it's a real bitch getting her dressed and out of the house. However, her right eye was a bit puffy and she'd been complaining, so it was time to make her an appointment. I'd been dragging my feet for a couple days because I dread the trip out with her, but a nurse called first.

Instead of asking me how Mom was doing she immediately began the conversation by chewing my ass off because Mom hadn't seen the doctor in over a year. She also asked if I were still giving Mom her thyroid medication to which I replied "no", (I'm pretty sure that's what sent Mom into her downward spiral last summer). My "no" brought on another onslaught of comments about how irresponsible I am. 

As you can imagine, I was pretty pissed off at the nurse by the time she transferred me to scheduling but I went ahead made the appointment to get Mom's eye looked at. 

Once the day of the appointment arrived things have not been the same with Mom, but let's tackle that part tomorrow.

Have a great day and thanks for reading!

Monday, April 20, 2015

It's Been A While

I know, it's been ages since my last post here. But let me start out by saying Mom is alive and kicking. She's actually doing better this spring than last and that's really helped my stress level this spring. A year ago at this time, every morning I would wonder if she would wake up. The gears are still rusty and have continued to slip, but physically she is doing pretty darn good. Over the next few posts there's lots of information to share, but first let me fill you in on where I have been the past few months. 

Over the past few months, I put my heart and my soul into my cigar blog. I was told by several insiders that once my traffic level reached 10,000 monthly page views attracting advertisers would be a breeze. Well not only did monthly traffic reach 10 K, I averaged over 17,000 monthly page views for three months by making three to five cigar and coffee reviews daily then heavily promoting each post. Did the advertisers come? Not a one.  

Along with this I've come to realize that integrity in business is gone. I've made some great contacts over the past year and all of them giving me pats on the back for a job well done and promising product and lots of other items to review. But when it came time to back those promises up, my rewards were more false promises, if they even bothered to reply. 

Bottom line, it's taken the wind out of  my sails. I will continue with the cigar blog on a limited basis to finish up my previous commitments and just for fun, but beyond that it will be on my schedule. Plus I have some custom blogging projects on the horizon. 

Okay, that rant is over. There's lots of news to share about Mom and her day-to-day struggles with this humiliating disease. I'll do my best to post daily from here on out.

Thanks for reading!