Saturday, September 26, 2015

What A Trying Week

On any given day you just never know what's going to happen. With that in mind What a trying week it was. 

Since my last post things with Mom have really went downhill, at least I thought they had. Mom had all but stopped eating and it was a real job just to wake her up, let alone get her to come out and eat. Once she was finally at the table all she would do was pick at her food, even with my continual prodding her to eat. Mom was declining so quickly I even called my brother and told him that if he wanted to see her one last time he should get down here within the next two weeks. 

Then yesterday out of the blue, once I'd roused her from bed and guided her to the table, which took nearly an hour, she ate like a linebacker and was up darn near all day. She was even lucid enough to ask about her car at dinner. LOL, Go figure. 

As we all ate dinner together, I watched Mom read the same paragraph in a newspaper article over and over. Her memory is so short now she can't even retain one paragraph.

Over the last week, and the past few months I've came to the realization that my Mother is gone, she really has been the last four years, maybe even a bit longer than that, and all that remains is the shell of the woman she once was. 

Bottom line most of this deals with the quality of life. Which down to the basic level Mom has none, she is simply existing. Yes, she is well cared for, she's treated as an individual with dignity, kindness and love on a daily basis, but at the end of the day, who she is and was is gone. Not only is it not coming back, a bit more is slipping away every day. What kind of life is that? I'm not really sure, but I do know it's a life I do not want when I get to the end.

I read an article on another blog about a woman whose mind has been torn away by Alzheimer's and she's institutionalized. I don't know how she's being treated, but i'll bet she is just another patient among the masses. So right now she is ill and the family is doing everything possible to prolong her life. Personally, I feel sad for this woman. Not only is she being cared for in an institution instead of a loving family environment, every thing possible is being done to prolong her life. It makes me wonder who's needs are being filled here?

I started this blog for several reasons, but the two main points were to help me, and to help others dealing with the same problems. In both these areas I'm not really sure if it's helping at all. I think my blogging will be winding down over the next couple of months.

Have a great day and again thanks for reading. 




Tuesday, September 22, 2015

It's The Crazy Stuff That Keeps Life Interesting

Like I said, it's the crazy stuff that keeps life interesting and Mom is the craziest of them all. No, she's not really crazy, well yeah she kind of is, but really it's the Alzheimer's and she can't help it, most of the time. 

Most mornings now she come out for breakfast without her teeth. Once I see she doesn't have them in her mouth, I retrieve them from her room under one of her pillows. Every time she asks "where did those come from?" and laughs. In fact, pretty much every thing she says or does is funny, to her. 

Last night once she was done with dinner Mom took her coffee cup to the sink, washed it out, filled it with water, had a few sips and set it off to the side to dry once she was done. After drinking her cup of water she noticed my clean coffee cup sitting there and decided she needed more water. When she was done with my cup she dumped the remaining water and set the cup upside down on some other clean dishes. It's funny and it happens all the time. Sure I had to rewash a few dishes, but it's worth it to me for some strange reason.  Along with this, she wrapped her juice glass up with a paper towel and put it in the fridge just to save the three or four remaining half-melted ice cubes. 

The night before, everyone was sitting outside talking while Mom finished dinner and once she had finished eating I could see her trough the window standing at the kitchen sink. Mom standing at the sink normally means she's up to no-good and sure enough that was the case. She had poured water from her drinking glass into a bowl and was having the time of her life splashing water all over the counter. 

Mom does lots of other interesting stuff besides all this. She washes paper plates or fills them with water while they're sitting on the counter. She washes out paper towels, pulls the dirty lining out of her Depend undergarments and lots of other strange to pass the time. 

I received a nice comment on yesterday's face book post about how difficult my task with Mom is. In all reality taking care of Mom isn't that rough, other than her constant need to be argumentative all the time. 

The hard part of this job for me is the worry, which in turn results in a lack of sleep. It's not really the worry about Mom's health, it's declining and I know it is and that it's just nature taking it's course. But I take the responsibility of her care seriously and even with help, I carry the full weight on my shoulders. Sure she can still somewhat function without help, but I do know she wouldn't eat if she wasn't prompted three of four times a day.

Keeping a sense of humor is pretty much the only way for me to survive this ordeal. LOL

Keep it upright today! Thanks for reading!

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Friday, September 18, 2015

How To Cope

Earlier today during my morning Facebook browsing time, I ran into a really good article shared from the CareGiverSpace.org  web site titled Acceptance

I won't dive into the details of the article, you can follow the link and read it yourself if you like, but reading it did get me thinking about taking care of Mom and how I cope with her daily physical and mental decline.

The key for me is: acceptance. That one word most likely explains the difference between my brother and I as well as several of Mom's friends. 

What does that mean? In the most basic of terms it means that I can accept the fact that Mom is in the final stages of her life, while at the same time my brother and others haven't come to that realization yet. The don't know how to, or want to, cope with, or accept, the end of life process. 

Now, I'm no expert on the subject, but I get through each day knowing that Mom is receiving the best care possible. She's being treated as an individual with decency and respect along with being able to maintain her own personal dignity. I do understand it's difficult and I do have compassion for those who find it overwhelming, but it is just another part of the process called life.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Wheels On The Bus Go...

Well things have calmed down over the past few days, both for me personally and for Mom. It's going smoothly enough to remind me of the children's tune, The wheels on the bus go round and round. Paula taught this song to Layla when she was little and they still have a blast singing it together. 

After several days of Mom being up nearly all day long, time has finally caught up with her a bit and she is sleeping a lot more the past few days. She's still eating well so nothing to worry about there right now.

It's kind of funny how every day really is a new day for Mom. Every morning as she comes out for breakfast she notices squirrels on the deck eating peanuts and she will stand there for several minutes just watching. We have at any given time between two and five squirrels on the back deck looking for nuts and it gives her a bit of joy to watch them eat. 

Oh, speaking of animals, I forgot to mention that over the weekend Mom and Layla had a brief argument about who Amy the cat belonged to. Not that it's really important but at the time it was to them. After a short discussion, Layla won the battle and Amy is her cat. lol 

As another follow up note;  the Depend undergarments are kind of working. Mom is still tearing the linings out of a few and she is hiding the ones that are two soiled in the bathtub, but so far she is wearing them most of the time.

Sleep is another issue. You all know I thought it would get better when the stress was gone. Well it hasn't really improved yet. I've probably averaged under four hours per night over the last week. Much of it is sleeping lightly to keep and ear on Mom, since I wake up for most of her late night bathroom trips. Oh well I'll keep working on it. 

Well that's it for now. Thanks for joining in today!

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Monday, September 14, 2015

More Fun Than A Barrel Of...

More fun than a barrel of monkeys? Maybe, maybe not. 

I'm finally up and running on my new laptop. It's a way better machine, but of course it should be it's three years newer. Now comes the task to move gigs and gigs of pictures documents and music. Ugh! I know, it will be worth it in the end. 

So how's Mom been doing the past few days? Pretty well over all, but things have been interesting. Kel was down for the weekend with Layla and one of her friends. All the activity in the house was a bit taxing for Mom, but she came through with flying colors. The first time she woke up while the kids where here, Layla said "Hello great grandma Donna," when she saw Mom. 

Mom being Mom' dealt with the situation in true form. When Layla said hello, Mom asked "How do you know my name?" Well the first hint should have been the words "great grandma," but of course that didn't register at all. Then came the entire "who are you?" Line of questions, but Layla handled that like a champ. Now that Layla is nearly seven, she doesn't seem to fear Mom as she did before. 

Another "kid" thing I don't understand happens with our big kids, "young adults." At times they are astonished at the things Mom can say. I just don't understand why they don't get it. She has no mind lol. Most days she doesn't even know who I am, there is no way that she will ever remember who Layla is. Her Alzheimer's crippled mind just won't let her remember. No, I'm not be cold, it's a bit sad I suppose, but it's the way Mom will be until the end of time and I can deal with that. It's not her fault, she does the best she can, it's the damn disease. 

Most of the time being a caregiver is a breeze, it's time consuming but it's not difficult. Key word there was "most." There are the difficult times though. Would you like an example? OK, here goes. 

As this disease progresses and as Mom gets older, her bathroom incontinence also progress. This means there are accidents. It's not a huge problem yet, but it is a problem that requires constant upkeep in her bathroom. Then there's the fact that Mom never threw anything away over the last ten years and that adds to the problem now. 

Mom still gets around pretty well so she doesn't really need help in the bathroom. Yet at times she really does. If she has an accident she will wash her undergarments in the bathroom sink then hang them to dry in her room. Even though we tell her that they can be washed in the washing machine. It comes either because of embarrassment of forgetfulness. OK, so let's fix the problem by switching her to Depend undergarments that she can just dispose of when she has an accident. Sound good in theory, but it probably won't work so will in a practical application. 

Yesterday, Mom had an accident and instead of disposing of the Depend, she pulled the lining out, tossed it in the garbage and kept the outer shell. Why? I'm sure in her mind the shell was still good so why throw it away. Now there is one more thing to search for on a daily basis. LOL

Sunday was shower day and Mom always puts up a fight. Not a physical fight, but a war with words. When Paula told her that she needed to shower after breakfast, Mom gave her a snippy, typical Mom type reply saying "didn't I do that last time I was here. lol It just doesn't register in her mind that she lives here. Along with that she tried paying me for lunch again the other day too. 

On a brighter note we picked up a new coffee maker the other day. It's a Bonavita BV1800 and it's a real champ. I'll give it a review on cheapashcigar.com the next week or so.

Well that's enough for today. Have a great day and thanks for reading! 

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Friday, September 11, 2015

You Just Never Know

Yesterday was a very unusual day. Why's that? Well first Mom was up pretty much all day only taking one short nap after lunch. That's good for Mom, but yesterday was a very busy day for me and it really kept me on my toes keeping an eye on her and completing everything I needed to do. As luck would  have it, she was in a good mood all day and didn't play the "where's my car" game once. It was nice to finally have break from that daily game. 

The night before, I actually slept about five hours straight, but it was back to around three hours last night. I'm feeling better with that one good night sleep though.

I'm keeping this short today. When I got on here today, my mouse wasn't working and then it gave me two rapid blue screens. I've been thinking about a new laptop, but now it's a must. I have to keep this running long enough to get all my data off, mainly pictures and email. Ugh.

Last night was the best part of the day though. Brian at Cigar Train held a vendor event for the cigar vendors that are in town for Little Smoke this weekend. I had the chance to catch up with Fred from Nomad cigars, Ed from PDX Cigars and meet the guys from Crux Cigars. I had a great time and it gave me time to smoke a couple of great cigars.

Well I want to shut this thing off for the day so I will say so-long for now. Have a great day!


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Before Sunrise

The last two days have been a bit unique because Mom has been up before sunrise both days. Why? I have no idea, but other than her "where's my car," rant yesterday she's been in good spirits and is eating well. That is until right now.

Just now Mom got up to grab a Kleenex then shuffled off into the kitchen. She went to the sink for a drink of water and now she is trying to steal Kelsey's mail that's on the counter. With a little redirection I have her back at the table finishing her breakfast. Oh the fun!

On a personal note, I did sleep a bit more than the normal three hours last night, but not much. I'm trying to decide which direction to focus my attention; to build a new business from home, or to buy into an existing business. Eventually I will need something to do with my time once I'm no longer watching Mom and now is the perfect time to start building a new business. 

I have a three coffees to review over the next few days and I'm excited about that, plus one is from a local roaster and those are always fun. 

Well, there's not much else today. Have a great day and thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Life And Times of...Where's My Car?

After nearly a week off, I'm back to writing. Paula took a bit of time off over Labor Day, so I figure that I would too. 

Even though the stress from the house sale has been relieved things are still pretty hectic around here and Mom is making life difficult just adding to the pressure. 

Over the last week, or perhaps couple of weeks, Mom has been on a quest to find out exactly where her car is. The other day she came out of her room to tell me she'd seen it driving up and down the street. It's been every day, several times a day and at times I just want to yell at her and pull my hair out. Well so far I've refrained from getting angry and I don't really have any hair left to pull out so all is well. 

Mom's car looked much like the Chrysler New Yorker in the picture above, but the car in the picture isn't white, doesn't have oxidized paint and it has no rust around the wheel wells. Most of the cars Mom claims are "her car" are newer or brand new SUV's in just about any color other than white. 

Trying to figure Mom out is so difficult. At times I think Mom is just busting my chops about her car to be, well Mom. But I'm never sure. We picked up a new chair for the living room over the weekend and she knows it's a new chair every time she looks at it, but at the same time she can't remember she hair a hair cut Saturday and asks what happened to her hair every day now. So I don't know. It's confusing. 

Other than the car issues she is doing well. She's been eating well and her fluid intake is up about where it should be now. 

Me? I'm doing OK. I'm a bit surprised that sleep is still evading me, but I'm getting by and we did finally get a motion sensor ordered yesterday. With any luck that should make life a bit easier.

Well that's it for now. Have a great day!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Rope Held Fast - The End Of An Era

The rope held fast yesterday; It was down to its last fine thread, but it held and I made it through the day. The house did finally close late in the day bringing about the end of an era. Mom lived in that house for sixty years, my brother and I were both raised in that house. It's a bit sad that it's gone, but it was a necessary step in the circle of life. Most of the stress is already gone and now I can concentrate more toward the task at hand, Mom.

Speaking of Mom, yesterday was a tough day for her. We had a wild wind and dust storm over the weekend that left the deck and lawns covered by massive amounts of pine needles. Once Mom was sitting down for breakfast and had actually started eating, I headed out to blow off the deck with the leaf blower. It took less than ten minutes so I wasn't to worried about Mom since it normally takes her an hour or so just to eat. Once that mission was complete, I came back inside to check how breakfast was progressing and guess what? No Mom. Her breakfast was less than half eaten and she was back in bed. I'm sure with me not sitting across the table from her, she went and looked out the front window, forgetting all about her breakfast. That happens all the time but normally I'm in here to redirect her as she wanders off. After getting her situated back at the table the first thing she brought up was, wait for it, wait for it, "Where's my car," (my next post will be dedicated to Mom and her car).

She finally finished breakfast, but she looked tired, she said she was tired, and headed back to bed. Later in the day she ate a weak lunch leaving it half unfinished and then finished the day with a light dinner. Her calorie intake was a bit lower than I shoot for, but she will be ok, plus she's already been up for bathroom trips twice today so I know she made it through the night. I always worry about what I'll find the next  morning after she's had a bad day. 

Before I forget, I did sleep a little better last night, but only a little. Perhaps as time passes and the reality of reduced stress sinks in maybe my sleeping patterns will improve. 

Well thanks for reading and for sticking through with me during a time that I'm sure my moods weren't always the best. Let's see where this blog goes from here on out. 


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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Rope May Break Today

I didn't write a post yesterday and it's taking all the inner strength I can muster to write today. The stress of getting this house closed today has been almost more than I can deal with. After a trip to Colville to sign papers yesterday, I still really have no idea if we are any closer than we were two weeks ago. Ugh! If the house doesn't close, the rope may break today. 

You know, this is the worst part of this job. Sitting here in seclusion with only my thoughts to keep me company makes so many things worse than they really are. 

On the bright side Mom's doing well. She's been up for several hours each day for the past few days and she's eating well. That's always a good thing in my book. Yesterday I was talking to Paula on the phone as I was driving home from Colville, when Mom got up for dinner. After Paula had Mom sitting at the table, I could hear that Mom got up and was looking out the window. LOL I know what looking out the window means--here come the car questions and sure enough Mom didn't let me down. Not only did Mom make Paula go through the entire "where's my car?" explanation, Mom did it twice within a five minute time span. To top it all off, Mom was very rude about it, but Paula handled it like a champ and segwayed off the topic midpoint of the second round. 

Well that's it for me today boys and girls. I'm stressed to the max and only slept about two hours last night. If things turn out well today, perhaps I'll write more later. 

Thanks for reading and have a great day. 

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