Monday, December 12, 2016

Back In The Saddle Again...

After a couple months off, I'm back to watching Mom again. Well, that is most of the time during the week. 

Most of my time off--when I'm not watching Mom--is now spent being a ride-share driver for both Uber and Lyft. Being a driver is actually a pretty fun job, but we can dive into that in more detail at a later date.

Mom is doing well physically, but mentally she's still fading away almost on a daily basis. Her vocabulary is shrinking to yes, no and occasional grunts. She is however able to tell me the boys are outside and ask when they are coming inside. I can only guess these are dream remnants that transfer over into her waking mind, perhaps they are even day dreams. She no idea that I am one of the boys she is looking for. For a while I was telling her the boys are grown up and that I'm one of them, but recently I've taken to telling her "the boys will come inside soon" and most of the time that's the end of questioning.

Well that's enough for now. I'll write a bit more now that I'm actually home at times. Have a great day!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

My Watch Is Ended-Just Who Am I Trying To Fool

Wow, what a month.

My last post was about "My Watch Is Ended," but like Jon Snow things just changed directions.

Mom is still doing well. Crabby all the time, but other than that she's doing fine. However, I'm still providing about 50% of her care and that's fine.

The real nightmare has been cars. Yes, cars. In the last two weeks there have been three kid rescues due to car and one of these was a close to a midnight run. One breakdown and repair on the street, two starters, one ignition, one new tire, one oil overfill, hours dealing with Chevrolet's security system (which now I am nearly an expert on resetting the bloody thing), an afternoon of finding a Ford inertia switch, fixing a tail light and un-jamming a hood. I didn't do all of these repairs, but I did a good portion of them. Then on top of all this we are cleaning out a storage unit we've had for eight years now and this has required three trips to Colville with stuff for Kel.

See it's been a busy month and all the cars still aren't repaired nor is the storage unit 100% empty.

I'm so far behind on cigar reviews and writing that it feels like I may never get caught up.

Well that's enough for today thanks again for reading my story! Have a great day!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

My Watch Is Ended

Jon Snow
Although I'm not Jon Snow, Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, "my watch is ended" (HBO Game of Thrones, S6 E3). Someone else will now wear the robe and watch over Mom. 

Well that's not entirely true, but now most of the duties caring for Mom day-to-day will be carried out by Makenna. I haven't died like Jon Snow did, but at times it feels a bit that way. It's time to get back on with my life and rejoin the real world. 

While Jon Snow is now King of the North, my ambitions aren't that great. I would be content landing a social media job for a cigar or coffee company. My Klout score of 61 is in the top ten percent of all Klout users and I can use these skills to drive your company forward into the future.

I'm sure there will be posts here from time-to-time with updates on Moms status. Right now she's doing about the same. Still hanging in there, still crabby. 

Have a great day and thank you for reading this blog!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Heading Downhill, The Brakes Are Failing And We're Picking Up Speed

At the end of July, it will be three years since we moved Mom in with us. In the beginning it was difficult, but manageable. Mom had enough brain function and could remember just enough to think she was fine and she constantly argued about going home.

Today, Mom's Alzheimer's has definitely moved into the advanced stage. Overall, she lost the ability to recognize faces around Thanksgiving, she is now hallucinating other people in the house, looking for her husband on a daily basis, obsessing over cars either parked on the street or just driving by, and she's becoming incontinent--no, she is incontinent. 

Along with the incontinence comes anger. She doesn't want to wear her disposable underwear and takes them off at every opportunity. Once you figure out she has none on, it's a fight getting her in another pair, plus it's a fight to clean her up once she's had an accident.

I've always said I was in this for the long haul, but now I'm not so sure. It's becoming too much and I'm paying a price for it both physically and mentally. Some days the front window and cars can become such a headache that covering the window in black plastic seems to be the only way to keep my sanity, but I haven't done it yet. 

Mom is still eating but some days it's one meal, some days it's three, however most of the time she is only picking at her plate. Even her breakfast volume is down about fifty percent the last month. I know, well over a year ago the doctor warned me this would be coming.

These are the reasons it appears we're heading downhill, the brakes are failing and we're picking up speed. The ending is coming, can I hang in there until the end? Today, I can't answer to that question, I guess only time will tell. 

Well I that's enough for now. If you have any questions or comments please let me know. 

Have a great day!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Word Is Out But It's Just Not Enough

With nearly every post to this blog I receive a comment from someone that is dealing with, or has dealt with Alzheimer's and it's brutal destruction of a family member. I don't know why I'm surprised that so many people can relate. According to the World Alzheimer's Report 2015, there are an estimated 46.8 million people world-wide with dementia and they project this number will double over the next twenty years. 

Last week the Today Show aired a segment with Actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley talking about her new book " Where the Light Gets In: Losing My Mother Only to Find Her Again," about the struggle with her mother's dementia. 

I applaud Kimberly Williams-Paisley for sharing this very personal story. According to the interview she used her book as a coping mechanism much the same way I use this blog. Her story is just like the story of many other families dealing with dementia, however, for many other families it's only half the story.

The families I am talking about are the millions of unpaid, in-home caregivers that sacrifice almost everything to care for a loved one.

It's not only the financial burden, but the time, the solitude, the loss of sleep and the stress of being a caregiver. With all that a caregiver gets to watch the daily decline.

Decline, what an underrated description of dementia. Dementia has ripped away all that Mom was. leaving behind only a hollow shell.

In Mom's case when her dementia first became evident, she called upon a family friend to help her pay the bills and complete the tasks she would forget. That had varied results and I had to step in to correct many things that were over looked. When we tried moving Mom into assisted living the facility implied Mom would be a burden to the other tenants and would need placed in the Alzheimer's lock-down area.

Being in a lock-down Alzheimer's ward was not the right choice for Mom, so we made the decision to move her in with us. In the beginning things were fine, Mom could do nearly everything to care for herself, other than cook and drive safely, including carry on a great conversation.

Those time were good, but today dementia has stripped everything from Mom both mentally and physically. She rarely speaks, if she does try, she can't get it out. There is no facial recognition of anyone, even me--at times she thinks I am her husband or brother, but never her son.

As of today, Mom still has a small degree of continence, she can still walk to and from her room, and she can still feed herself. Other than that, everything she was has been stripped away by dementia.

On top of all this, there are family and friends that have absolutely no understanding of dementia and it's a constant barrage of questioning why we don't take her for lunch dates and other activity's. It even reached the point once that one of her friends called our local Sheriff's office to do a welfare check on her.

Bottom line, what do I wish for today? I wish there was a real cure for this disease, but I also wish that mainstream media would dive deeper into the subject and show the world the real horrors of dementia.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Did You Get One Of These? It Came In The Mail Today

Today's post probably needs a bit of back story, so here goes. When we moved Mom three years ago she was still fairly functional, she just couldn't take care of herself safely living alone any longer. With that in mind, we just moved her and her stuff with no understanding what trouble it may bring down the road. Thinking back in retrospect, how could we know, we had never dealt with this level of dementia and didn't have a clue that Mom's mind would deteriorate to this extent. 

Mom's stuff. That's where the fun really begins. When I say we moved Mom's stuff, that's just what we did. No we didn't move her entire house full of belongings, but we moved the items we thought she needed plus the stuff she likes without sorting any thing out. i.e. full dressers, photo albums, books, important papers, etc. 

OK, now we can continue. 

Yesterday, Mom came out for breakfast carrying two cards in her hand like they were ancient Greek scrolls and made of gold. Once she was sitting at the table with coffee in hand she asked me if I had received these. She continued by explaining they had came in the morning mail. Well I knew they didn't come in the mail, we get afternoon mail, they were from the stash of treasure hidden in her room, but I told her I hadn't received any thing and asked what they were.

She handed me both cards, and like a card she brought out to show me Monday, they were both wedding invitations. I only looked at one of them but it was from 1969. I showed the her the date and explained that I was only 11 years old when that came in the mail. Of course she wanted to argue that it just arrived in the mail, but again I killed the conversation by bringing her food. Once breakfast was on the table all thoughts about weddings were lost.

After breakfast Mom stayed up and watched TV for a bit then shuffled back to bed leaving her prized announcements on the table. Once she was back in her room I grabbed the invitations and hid them away to show Paula later, still never looking inside the second card.

Once Paula made it home from work I handed her the announcements to look over. Within a few seconds she started laughing and handed me the one I hadn't bothered to look at. It was actually the reception announcement from my first wedding in 1977.

Well my announcement gave us a good laugh, but it was a real indicator into Mom's state of mind. Not only does she not know me, she didn't even recognize the announcement was about her son. It also confirms that Mom really has no concept of time or space. If she sees a dated item, that's the current date and that's that as far as she's concerned. 

Well that's enough for now. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Things We Think Go Bump In The Night, But Really Don't

Mom is slipping. It's sad, but that's the harsh reality of Alzheimer's tearing away who you are and who you were. I'm with Mom every day, but I can still see the changes taking place on near daily basis. Now she's too the point that she may not eat unless I tell her it's time to eat.

Today, I was in the kitchen when Mom came out of the bathroom, comb in hand, she's always packing around a comb and sometimes more than one. Anyway, once she saw me a smile crossed her face--I think at times she believes she's here alone and is happy to see another human--and she asked, "is there a lady?" 

After a moment of silence she took her hand, her comb hand, and started swinging it around the kitchen. I had a pretty good idea she was asking if Paula were home, but she can't remember Paula's name either. It took several attempts for Mom to grasp, but eventually I got the point across that Paula was at work and would be home tonight. She thought, then stammered out a reply of "OK, I'll wait".

It's difficult but I held back the laughter and asked Mom what she needed. She stuttered a stammered a bit more, then exasperated she gave up by saying "I don't know".

At this point, I dodged any further discussion by pointing Mom toward her coffee on the table. Again this made her happy as a grin crept across her face and she was off to the dining room leaving me free to cook her breakfast.  

So speaking of hair, I'm sure Mom was looking for Paula earlier to complain about her Albert Einstein style of hair. She complains about it nearly every day and has almost every day for the last year. 

Mom's hair was getting pretty long and unruly so the last time Kel was down we had her give Mom a much shorter bob cut. The last time Kel cut Mom's hair she threw a fit about the style for weeks. Kel gave her the cut on a Saturday night. Things were going well and Mom appeared to be pleased, that is until Tuesday morning rolled around. 

On Tuesday morning Mom came out of the bathroom shuffling quickly along. Seeing this I knew she was on a mission. I had already started her cooking breakfast, but instead of her normal routine of walking over to the slider and making a weather comment, she made a beeline straight toward me. When she was close enough she turned around, grabbed the back of her hair with one hand and pointed at the back head with her comb hand--I told you she almost always has a comb in hand--then turned around and glared at me. Seeing her glaring at me I asked her, "what?"

Instead of using words, she wheeled around and repeated the entire process again. When she turned around I asked if there was something wrong with her hair. Immediately she gave me an angry scowl and told me that someone must have came into her room and cut her hair while she was sleeping. 

I tried to explain that it was cut three days earlier by her grand daughter Kelsey, but all that did was piss her off and off she stormed, well more like shuffled quickly, back to her room. 

Once her breakfast was on the table I went to her room to inform her breakfast was on the table. By this time she'd forgotten all about the hair and was happy breakfast was ready.

I try to find the humor in every situation like this, it's how I keep myself going, but man oh man do I feel for her. The only saving grace for Mom is she can't remember any of this, plus she can't even remember she can't remember.

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

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Second Breakfast Anyone?

It's a funny thing how Mom's brain works, or I guess more accurately, how it doesn't work. 

With last weekend's switch to daylight savings time, Mom is still running on the old schedule. That's fine since I'm still on my no-sleep-schedule. Keeping that in mind, she's been up fairly early the last couple of days but she's going to bed pretty early too. Today she was up right around 8:30, which is early for standard time, had breakfast and 30 minutes later head toward the bathroom. After 10 minutes in the bathroom, I heard her slip back into her room. 

However, this is the part where my brain wasn't working. I figured today would be like yesterday; up fore thirty minutes, then sleep for five hours, but once again I was wrong. After screwing around in her room for ten minutes she was out looking for breakfast. After quizzing her a little it was clear there was no recollection what so ever of eating 20 minutes earlier. So like a Hobbit from Lord of the Rings, she ate her second breakfast and retired to her room. Maybe for the day, maybe not, you just never know anymore. 

Well that's enough from me today. Have a great day!

Monday, February 29, 2016

Time Off, What's That?

Yesterday, while watching the Cooking Channel, Paula brought up how little time off chef's must get. They cook for a living then probably go home and cook too. Well this got me to thinking about time off and it hit me. I haven't had a day off in nearly three years now. 

Sure I've had some partial days away, and spent a few days in Colville, but those days were either family related, or working toward the sale of Mom's house. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining, and for sure this job isn't strenuous, but it's very tedious being confined to the house 99% and I think the solitude can do things to your mind. At least my mind. LOL

Mom's hanging in there, but she's slowly deteriorating both mentally and physically on a day by day basis. She's still eating about an average of twice per day--some days more, some days less--but her second or third meal of the day just gets picked at. A couple of times each week she is still trying to pay me for her meals. She has no comprehension of where she is or even who I am: It's been months now since she has known who I am. 

It's sad, but it's also part of the circle of life, and I can deal with that. 

Well have a great day! 

Oh, I am starting to review again. I am drinking a "House Blend" today that I will publish tomorrow. It's one of the best cups I've ever sampled. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

It's Been A While

I know. It's been quite a while since my last update on Mom so I won't keep you waiting. 

Mom is doing good. At least as good as can be expected. There have been a few rough days and she is really slowing down--slowing down enough that some days it's all I can do to get one real meal into her. But after a few slow days she will surprise me by being up for several hours and eating three meals in one day.

Her dementia is progressing robbing more of her memory on a monthly basis. She hasn't had any idea who I am for a couple of months now and just about every day she asks if I know anything about her boys. One day last week after I explained I was her son Dan, she gave me a scolding for not introducing myself to her.  

Well anyway, Mom is slowing down but still hanging in there.

The picture? That's where I want to be. I'm tired of the snow, the cold and the rain. I want to sit on the beach, smoke cigars and drink beer!