Sunday, March 28, 2010

Saturday - MIssed the Party

Saturday I had a meeting scheduled at 8 AM with our local ministerial group about our upcoming Easter Sunrise Service. But when I got up and was getting ready for the meeting Dad told me he needed to go to the emergency room. When he got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, his leg almost collapsed and he was afraid there was something wrong with his hip. He wasn't in a hurry to go- he just wanted to go sometime after breakfast. So I went to my meeting and told them I had to keep it short and told them why. Got done in about a half an hour. (As an aside- wouldn't you think that in a group of pastors, one of them might offer to pray for my dad...? Perhaps they did so after I left.)

So I got home quickly and gathered Mom and Dad into the car. About 6 hours later we were home. Dad has sciatica. They took an x-ray and the ER doctor wants him to be seen in the Spine Clinic. The 6 hours I spent with them took away from my time in the church office and so I didn't get the things done I needed for Sunday early enough to go to the surprise birthday party for a lady from the church. D and I were planning on going but there was no way to get it all done before and I was sure I'd be too tired after.

When I did get done, D and I watched The Blind Side. We both thought it was a great movie.

I tried to make light of not going to the party as I didn't want Dad to feel badly. Mom didn't remember we were going to a party, so it didn't matter to her.

Friday, March 26, 2010

One of THOSE days...

Had one of those days yesterday where nothing I said to my mother was right. It didn't matter. If I said the sun was shining she told me she wasn't stupid, she could see the sun was shining. If I offered to help her in ANY way- I was taking away her independence. When I didn't help her I was just like my father and inconsiderate. When I got angry and walked away instead of saying something back to her, she yelled at me for not "discussing" the situation. You get the idea.
By the time my husband came home I was not doing so great. When I spent some time with him and told him what happened- he laughed!!! Which, really was the right thing to do. He said, "See what your dad has gone through for the last few years?" Yes- I do.

This morning Mom wanted to know if she had bugged me yesterday. I told her yesterday was forgotten and today is a new day. She said, "Well, if I ever do anything to upset you, please let me know." HA! Like that's going to happen!  

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

All My Fault...

Mom came to me tonight to tell me she is having problems with her medicine. She is confused as to what she is to take and when. She blames this on me, because I have questioned her on if she is taking her meds correctly and she says by doing that I have lowered her self-confidence which in turn has made her forget how to take care of her meds. She said that since she is a nurse, and still has her license, she should be able to dispense her meds and anyone else's.

She says that the move has not been good for her and that she misses home. She would never have moved if it hadn't been for Dad. She said Dad needs some one to watch over him, but she doesn't. She says the move to our home is going to shorten her life.


I sat and listened to her and didn't say much. She was too defeated sounding to make many comments. I hate this. This is not her fault- and it is not mine. I don't think she was really blaming me, she is just struggling with yet another loss. She's lost most of her sense of taste and most of her hearing. She is losing some sight as well. This is not fair and I wish I could fix it. I can't.


Mom came back a few minutes ago and thanked me for listening to her. She is really having a hard time and I think she is beginning to realize it. Maybe ignorance is better... I just don't know.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Pizza Night

We did end up going for pizza Sunday night. It was pretty late, D didn't get home until 7 pm so it was almost 7:20 when we got to the pizza place. It took Mom a very long time to decide what to order. And then she tried to order a double cheeseburger which even the waitress (bless her heart) said "No way!" She told my mom the burgers are really large. So Mom reluctantly ordered a regular cheeseburger and then told the waitress that if she went home hungry it would be the waitress fault.

My son used to work at the pizza place and the waitress remembers us. She was very sweet and accommodating. Mom ordered water to drink, then changed her mind to milk, and then asked if she could have hot tea instead of milk. The waitress heated iced tea in the microwave and brought it to Mom in a glass. This confused Mom, she thought it very odd that they didn't have coffee cups, but this is one place that doesn't normally serve hot drinks.

The burger was more than enough for Mom and we spent some time looking at the placemats answering the questions. I was challenged to recite all seven of the 7 Dwarves. Only six came to mind- I forgot Bashful.

The owner of the restaurant was there and he came by the table to see how we were doing before our meal was served, and then he came by again after we had eaten. Mom looked at him and asked him if he was running for office. He didn't hear her, he wears a hearing aid and then she didn't hear him and it got pretty funny for the rest of us. I explained who he was and she didn't seem impressed.

Then a lady from another table came over and asked Mom if she used to work on the Obstetrics floor of a local hospital. This has happened MANY times in my life- being in public with Mom when someone recognizes her. It was good for Mom to have that moment to talk about nursing and her past work.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Door County Wisconsin

After church and premarital counseling with a couple being married in June, Mom, Dad and I went to Sam's Club to shop. Considering the crowds it all went well. I was very tired and on the way home decided I didn't want to cook tonight so it looks like pizza may be in the forecast... Cloudy with a Chance of Pepperoni? LOL.

Anyway, on the way home I stopped at Mickey Dee's and got a cappuccino for Mom and Iced Mochas for Dad and I. Dad was impressed and now is happy to know there is a Mickey Dee's close by.

Then we started talking about Door County. I'm not sure how we got on the subject, but it was an awesome ride home. We talked about the first time we went up there together when C was only 3 months old. And then we talked about the time we went up there with my in-laws when C turned three-years-old. And then the last time we went up together (with my in-laws again) when my son T was only 4 and we stayed in a house with holes in the roof  (we could see the stars at night) and how it snowed in September and we got quite cold. Mom and Dad ended up in a motel one night. We had a good time remembering. It was a fun ride. I wish they could all be that way!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The last two days...

The last two days have gone really well for the most part. Dad is so very happy to be here and he tells me that more than once a day. Mom has her ups and downs, but I really think she is doing quite well considering the changes that have taken place in her life.

Thursday and Friday she spent a lot of time with my daughter C and her two youngest, Little Bit and Hot Rod. Little Bit is 5 and is a real girly girl. Hot Rod is 3 and loves his boy stuff. Mom showed Bit how to say “I love you” when holding hands. (A hand squeeze) They did a lot of hand-holding and squeezing. Mom had a great time. And both nights she slept really well. I think the extra stimulation during the day is helping.

My daughter C talked to Mom about driving. Mom was complaining we won’t let her drive by herself. C told her we were worried that since she can’t hear and can’t use a telephone, if something happened or if she did get lost, she wouldn’t be able to get help. Mom seems to be remembering that and has brought it up a couple of times.

She is confused about some things. It’s odd how one day certain things are confusing to her and the next day they are just fine.

Last night she told me she couldn’t use her computer. The screen was black. I asked her if she had turned it off, and she looked at me as if I were nuts. So I went and checked, and sure enough it was off.

Then she couldn’t remember how to forward her email to someone else (sorry folks- I showed her how again!) She also didn’t remember what a disc was and that her medicine list was on a disc. She blames my redoing her computer. And that is fine- I can handle that!

There was a lot of confusion about medicine last night and she was very agitated because she must “pour” Dad’s meds on Saturday night. I’ve offered to help and she seemed ok with that.

But she was not okay with realizing at the time that she wasn’t remembering things. I told her she was just tired and tomorrow would be better.

More Conversations

Scene: Sitting in church with the Wednesday night prayer group whom she has just met.

Mom: As my mother used to say- it's... (Turning to me) Can I swear in church?

Me: No

Mom: I can't swear in church?

Me: No

Mom: You can't use bad words in church?

Me: (Knowing she wants to use the word "hell") If you are talking about the place, sure you can use it, but if you are swearing I'd rather you didn't.

Mom: What?

Me: If you are talking about the place it's ok. If not, let's just use the word "heck."

Mom: But it's not heck to grow old, it's hell to grow old. (Laughter from the group)( Mom smiles at me)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


I love words. I love to find out their roots, where they come from. The "Increase Your Word Power" part of the Reader's Digest has been my favorite since I was a little girl.

I just found out about the word "Anosognosia" a couple of days ago. "nosos" means disease, "gnosis" means knowledge. The "A" in front of the word is a negative prefix, so the word (A)nosognosia could be broken into "no disease knowledge."

Basically, Anosognosia is the inability to recognize one's own illness. From my reading, this is fairly common with people who are dealing with brain issues. It's not denial. Some people are just not able to recognize they have a problem. Period.

It helps me to know this.  I can't expect Mom to know there is something wrong and can't expect her to understand why I react to her the way I do. So, it will be better to try to change the way I react. While my head knows Mom can't help wanting to buy Egg Beaters every day,(even though we have a case in the refrigerator) my heart wants her to remember!

Some people know they have a problem, some will never know. I'm not sure which ones are better off.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Good Day

Today was a good day. I got a little work done, Mom and Dad went to get their address changed on their driver's licenses. We had family over for dinner for my granddaughter's birthday. R turned 9 on Saturday, but it was too soon after the move and I was gone at an all day meeting on Saturday, so we didn't celebrate then. I, of course, did call her and sang "Happy Birthday" Saturday morning during a break.

Mom and I went for a short walk today outside. It was a beautiful sunny day. We walked down to the little grocery store about two blocks away and sat on their benches for a bit and then headed back.

Mom also fell going down the steps to the sidewalk. D has built another step and is going to put up hand rails.

Nothing was mentioned about my "losing it" yesterday... If there is one saving grace in this disease it's perhaps she will forget those types of things.

Today she can't figure out where the couch went. They brought their couch here and it was too big for their sitting room. We gave away an old hand-me down-couch of ours, and my DH moved their couch into the family room two days ago. She has actually sat and watched TV in the family room sitting on the couch, but today, she can't remember where it went.

Hired a house keeper today. She starts a week from tomorrow. Can't wait! She came highly recommended and seems like she will be fine. She'll come every other week.

Helped a lady get her insulin today(helped her last month too- (luckily she will be getting some more help next month from Catholic Charities) and visited with an older member of the church whose son was burned yesterday. He has third degree burns over 55% of his body and is in a burn unit. The parishioner is upbeat and trusts that God will take care of things. She herself is very ill and is on oxygen 24/7. She is 85 years old and has a very unhealthy heart. But she does not complain about anything.

I can't complain either. I am blessed. My parents are safe, my family is supportive and my church cares as well.

God is Good
All the Time

All the Time
God is Good

Lost and Found

Lost it for a while yesterday. Driving down the highway going 55 mph with my mom in the passenger seat. Crying. (Me crying) Mom getting after me about my attitude and why I I was acting so much like my father (!) That has been her complaint for years- that I "talk" like my father. Unfortunately, she doesn't recognize how my father has changed and how patient and loving he is to her. Evidently she doesn't see how much I am like her. I am not a nurse like she was, but I care deeply for people and that is how God uses me. To be a caregiver.

Spent a lot of time on the Alzheimer's website message boards yesterday.  The people on those boards are some of the best. Helpful, understanding, funny, and ready to give you a kick in the a$$ if you need one. They helped me find my center again.

Today is a new day and I am looking forward to it! This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Off Topic: Nursing Home Worship Service

Yesterday afternoon, my 90 year-old pianist ("F") from church and I both went to the nursing home in a nearby town to do a half hour worship service. This was the second time we've gone. Neither of us wanted to go, but I think we both went to support the other.

F told me that she really doesn't like the thought of going. But she is so grateful to live on her own and to have her health that she feels she should go. "There but for the grace of God..."

I don't want to go because in my head I wonder what good it does. And I think to myself I already do two services on Sundays and I'm tired (pity party for myself! Geez how selfish!) But afterwards- I know why I have gone and I am so grateful for the opportunity.

F played a loud and lively opening hymn. One of the ladies in a wheel chair started bouncing in time with the music and made noises (babbling) that were almost in tune to the music. She continued after the music stopped.

We prayed and then sang "number 88" -Amazing Grace. Most of the people, even those sitting with their eyes closed, sang along. There are a few who are really "with it" and react to the message and to the prayers and to the music.

One lady takes "attendance" each week and tries to make sure that the staff knows its time so they get people in there for the service.

I found out the lady who bounced along with the music used to sing and dance and was the wife of a pastor. She came up close to me moving her wheel chair with her feet, and I sat down right next to her so we were face to face.

We sang some hymns as a group and I made eye contact with her as we sang. She nodded her head and smiled and after one song, softly said "very good." Then she started up her "babbling again" but I could tell she was trying to talk to me. We sang together and she didn't wander the whole time.

I held her hand and prayed with her and I could tell she was praying with me.

When I went around to the others there to touch their hands and speak with them, one lady, Maxine told me she needed prayers for her 64 year old son who is in the VA hospital. He was hurt badly while in the military (Viet Nam?) and has a lot of mental conditions from what she said. She was so sad and wondered out loud why people hurt each other... We prayed together and she made sure to know my name before I left. I should have given her one of my cards...

F was awesome, going around to everyone and talking with them. No one could believe she will be 91 this month.  It was a good way to spend the afternoon.


I am just so frustrated! My friend "P" has dementia and knows it. And she accepts it as something the she can work through with God's help. Mom will NOT accept that she has ANY problems at all! She says it is just because she cannot hear. Well, that is part of it I'm sure.

But not remembering she has new Medicare Prescription cards has nothing to do with her hearing. And refusing to throw away old Medicare cards that are no longer any good does not help her find the new ones. Her purse is packed with old cards and stuff that she does not need. She leaves money every where. She keeps scraps of paper that should have been thrown away 5 years ago- they have nothing to do with her life right now but she "might" need them- even though she has no idea what they are! Her purse is so heavy that when I had it sitting on my front passenger car seat the passenger airbag light came on and the seat belt warning kept beeping. And she complains when she walks because her shoulder/arm hurt. But I can't get her to clean it out and she won't let me help.

I'm venting- but better here than at her. That's one reason for this blog.

Night Time

Mom is getting up as many as four times a night- that we know of. Last night she was in the kitchen at 2:30 AM. She doesn't remember that time. She remembers going to Dad's bathroom and taking one of his pain medications (darvoset) because her leg was bothering her. She said Dad got up and yelled at her to go to bed. Dad said he followed her 4 times last night. She said her tinnitus is keeping her awake.

Dad needs to be able to sleep at night. It is not doing him any good to stay awake listening for her. He's afraid she'll try to cook at night or fall...

Friday, March 12, 2010


Thursday was our first full day at home with no appointments. Mom and Dad stayed here and unpacked some. I went next door to work and D helped my folks with things around the house.

One of the ladies from the church came by with a wonderful chicken casserole for our dinner. She came in for a moment to meet my parents. I believe that "V" is older than my parents- if not then very close. Mom got all emotional like she had just seen a lost friend. I didn't expect that reaction. V was very gracious.

Small things do make Mom cry these days. Its hard to know what will set her off. (I don't mean this in a bad way- it's just odd to me what causes her to cry.) I didn't expect a casserole from a stranger to make her feel so emotional.

Mom has been going through stuff and trying to find places to put it. I'm letting her decide and staying out of it. She keeps coming to me with things saying, "I don't have a place for this. Why do I have so much stuff?" And she is, on her own, deciding to get rid of things.

Last night at dinner, Mom said her bathroom is really cold in the morning and she doesn't know how she can take a shower on Friday morning with such a cold bathroom. I asked her if she keeps the bathroom door open at night. She does. The bathroom is attached to the bedroom. They cover the vent in the bedroom at night and open windows because they like to sleep ion a cold bedroom. I suggested that would be the reason her bathroom is cold. Last night that made sense to her, we'll see about this morning!

Dinner was wonderful, everyone loved the chicken casserole. Dad has seconds, which thrilled me to death because he has been eating very little. It was good to see his appetite improved. My dear husband loved it too (he who hates casseroles!) and also had seconds. I haven't had the heart (yet) to tell him there is mushroom soup in the recipe as he also hates mushroom soup and will not eat anything that contains it.  :-)

Last night Dad told me he is so happy to be with us and feels at home already. I'm very happy to hear that. Mom told me last night she is just getting around to realizing they are staying and not going "home." I understand that. It's got to be difficult.

It was good for me to be back at work. Mom has no idea of course what it is I do and can't seem to grasp that I need to spend whole days in an office. But that's okay.

One of the things I need to work on is not correcting Mom. Its hard to know when to say something and when not to. Mom will say things like, "I need to get more vitamins." My first reaction is to say, "No- Mom you already have three huge bottles."  Sometimes she will say, "I do?" and other times she will say, "I know that- I'm just joking." And then she gets ticked off. I can't tell if she is joking or not... or if she remembers when I remind her.

Everyone is up and moving- time to find out if the shower worked out. And praying Dad feels like driving today so I don't have to take them to hair appointments...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Move

Monday we spent the day packing and moving what we could. The rain held off, even though the day started off very, very foggy. Mom and Dad spent their first night here. It didn't go badly.

Ate out a lunch and for dinner on Monday. Getting tired of that, and Mom and Dad didn't like the food at Denny's. Dad is on a low salt diet, so a lot of restaurant food tastes too salty for him. Mom can't taste much of anything, so she wasn't happy.

Lots of emotions were played out, but the consistent concerns being voiced were from Mom about Mom. No one Else's feelings or comfort is considered at this time. This has to be whatever disease she has, because she was always a loving and caring person.  40 years after the fact, people still come up to her and thank her for the care she game them when they had their babies in  the hospital.

Tuesday I had hoped they would stay here and unpack some things, but they came to the condo and "packed."  D and his friend J came with a covered trailer and moved a LOT of stuff, especially furniture. Went down to my in-laws for lunch- our usual moving day feast of Italian Beef, coleslaw, chips and Chocolate Chip cookies. I love my in-laws, they are the greatest. My MIL, R is one of the sweetest ladies around.

Any way, Dad got really tired fast. About 1:00, he took Mom to see her old boss and friend Mrs. F. (That's actually what we called her- Mrs. F) He was afraid it would be bad, as last time they saw her ( a year ago) she had really gone down hill. But now she has 24/7 home care and she is doing much better. Her husband, Dr. F, was a very successful doctor, so she is able to stay home with outstanding home care.

The visit went well, and Dad was glad he took Mom.

Last night we had pizza from Monical's. It was good and they both seemed to enjoy it. I asked if Dad would mind having leftover Italian Beef tonight for dinner and he said he didn't want it. Yikes! From now on I won't ask. Got some chicken out and will fix it tonight early. I have a prayer group meeting at 6 and a meeting concerning Holy Week services at 7.

I thought about asking to extend my "vacation" through the weekend, but I really need to be with my congregation and preach! Don't know on what yet, but I just know I need to be there.

Dad has called the doctor because he's still coughing a lot and has been coughing up blood again. Not much, but I think it is scaring him.

Got Dad's Mac up and running last night and he is now on our wireless connection. Mom's PC is running really, really, really slow and she has used up 70 GB of a 80 GB hard drive. And all she does is e-mail and plays spider solitaire, so I don't know what is going on with that. If/when they leave today I will try to debug it.
Time to go and bring in more boxes...

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Letter

The letter I gave Mom on Saturday seemed to help. She said when she gets worried she will reread the letter. If someone doesn't remember things, how can they be expected to remember the answers to questions they have asked over and over again? I will try to make note of those questions and write down the answers so Mom can have them in a tangible form.

Mom and Dad went walking yesterday. It was good for them to get out of the house and good for them to get some exercise. They got to go to the mall and have coffee at their favorite bookstore. It was sunny and springlike out and that was good for them as well. Dad is feeling better and Mom is calmer. Praying for that to continue...

Thanks For A Day of Rest

Loving God, Thank you for this day of rest. Thank you for the opportunity to slow down and reflect. Lord may this day be refreshing to mind, body and soul. Grant us peace and pour out your blessing upon us. Amen

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Letter to Mom

Letter to my mom.

I'm giving this to Mom today, hoping something tangeble will help her when she gets concerned about the move. Maybe it will, maybe it won't...

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Dear Mom,

I’d like to try to address some of the concerns I think you have about the move to our house. I probably won’t address them all, but will do the best I can.

1. Asking you and Dad to move in with us was a joint decision between D (my husband) and I. Our son was consulted as well. We are all in agreement. D has been very, very supportive and in fact encouraged me to ask you and Daddy point blank if you would move in with us.

2. I have not changed my mind during the packing phase of this move. I will not change my mind.

3. I have no desire to throw away or get rid of things you love or think you need. What I do have is a desire to make our living spaces clean, safe and uncluttered. Because of our moving, D and I have learned that if we don’t really need things, we get rid of them. Not EVERYTHING- but we try to make sure there is a good reason to keep something. Otherwise moving becomes a real pain in the neck.

4. I did throw away food. It was a judgment call. Would I serve a particular item in my home? If not, it got pitched. Having been hospitalized twice with diverticulitis, I have no desire to go to the hospital again because I might eat something “iffy.” I err on the side of caution, and will continue to do so.

5. I do sound like Dad sometimes. And sometimes I sound like my Mom. But I usually just try to sound like me. That seems to work the best for me.

6. I love you. I’m concerned for your health and for your safety. (I’m using that in the plural- you and Dad)

7. Being concerned about you is not being critical of you. Things change in our lives as we get older. Sometimes we need more help than we realize. Most of the time it is easier to see when someone else needs help than to see that we need help.

8. You and Daddy gave me excellent examples of caregiving in the way you took care of my grandmother and Grandpa when they got older. Because of those examples, I see the need and care enough to step in and be the bad guy at times. I don’t like it; I know you didn’t like it when you were the caregiver. But this is life and with God’s help we will all get through it.

9. We don’t know what will happen once the move is complete. We will need time to adjust. Some things will go smoothly and some things will be rocky. We, you, Dad, D and I will do the best we can. What will our roles be? I don’t know for sure. But every human being has a purpose in life throughout their lives. We will just need to be patient as we figure it out.

I love you with all my heart-

Your Daughter

Friday, March 5, 2010

Friday Surprise

Wow. Today my daughter "C" came over to help me pack and I am so grateful for her help. Mom had a hair appointment at noon for a perm and Dad a doctor's appointment at 3:30.  I got over to their house about 10:30; I went to the bank first to change the mailing addresses on their accounts.

Everyone seemed in good spirits. Dad is feeling a bit better. Mom is always happy to get her hair done. She wanted to go out to lunch too, but I said I'd get something to bring for Dad and my daughter and I so we could pack. She said she would get something while she was out.  I should have told her I would get something for her too. She also said she was going to go to the bank and get some money out for the move.

We packed, I ran out and got sandwiches for C and I and  soup for my dad.  C had to leave around 1:45. Mom came home about 2:20. I told her how nice she looked and she ignored me and told me she was upset with me and wanted to talk.

I think my jaw must have hit the floor. Dad looked at me as if he too had missed something. Mom told me when she left and was very angry with me. So we tried to talk. But she couldn't remember why she was upset- just that she was upset and she was still angry.

She went into a whole litany of how difficult it is being 80 years old, how difficult it is to live with my father, how sometimes I act just like him, how difficult it is to be almost deaf, how bad she feels when we stop talking when she comes into a room. (paranoia?) How bad she feels that dad won't carry on a conversation with her.

She wants to know what I expect of her when she moves in. How she thinks it would be better for Dad to move in with us and for her to go be by herself. Nothing we could say made any difference.

She hadn't had lunch, she didn't go to the bank. She was mad we had eaten. (It was okay I had fed C, but Dad and I should have waited for her) We had to go to the doctor's appointment for Dad so we said we would talk when we got home.

Dad has been put on prednisone to help with his bronchitis. If he's not a lot better by Monday it will be back to the doctor.

We stopped and got Mom something to eat on the way home. Unfortunately once she got it home, she decided it was too spicy for her to eat, so she was upset more.

We did talk for quite a while. But I really think I need to find a support group so I can find out what to say and what not to say. If I say what I normally would have said to her ten years ago, it doesn't click. I don't feel as if I should always try to placate her either. So I'm not sure what to say or do. Dad says he can't win no matter what he says. He told Mom that was she considers "conversation" he calls "confrontation."

I can see Mom losing herself. And I can't imagine what that must feel like. It must be scary, confusing and maddening. I have a friend with dementia and she knows, admits, and talks about her dementia. She just thanks God for her clear and lucid times. I hope I would be that way...

What A Difference a Day Makes!

Thursday went so well at Mom and Dad's! I could feel the prayers of the saints praying for us as I worked. My attitude was so much better and my patience level was back where it should be.

Dad packed his clothes and Mom worked on packing her desk. That was a big surprise! I thought I would have to pack the desk myself with her being upset and hovering over me to make sure I didn't throw away anything important. So now I can tell Mom she helped with the packing and how much I appreciate it. And I do!

I got most of the kitchen packed, at least as far as dishes and utensils. I am still bringing home food- and am still finding some very interesting and old items.

So far, the oldest thing I've found is a packet of Adolphs Marinade. The coupon on the back expires December 31, 1981. It is older than my son and almost as old as my daughter. This is a reminder to me to keep track of what I have in my pantry! Or maybe I should keep this packet and hide it for my children to find! That would really give them something to talk about!

Dad is seeing the doctor today and I'm glad because he is not feeling a lot better. I'm praying when I get to the condo today he will be better, but he is just so very tired. I guess at 85 it takes longer to bounce back from things and being under stress like this doesn't help I'm sure.

Well time to get to work and face the day. Praises for my wonderful husband who is taking a lot of the burden off my shoulders and did everything around the house yesterday that I mentioned needed to be done. Thank God for him!

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Wednesday I was greeted by my dad with the words, "Your mother is throwing up in the bathroom." It was 8:35 AM and she had a doctor's appointment for her lichen planus at 9:00 AM.  She really was fine- just spit up some mucus into the toilet. She blamed the new pill she is taking for making her stomach upset.

Went to the dermatologist- a wonderful man with a great personality and even though he is fast- he is takes the time to talk to my mom. He explained to her that they had treated her before with Triamcinolone ointment. He told her not to be alarmed by the restrictions showed on the medication, that it was OK to use in her mouth on the lichen planus.

When we got the medication home, the box and instructions said not to use in the mouth. Mom freaked out and was ready to throw the medication in the garbage. She wanted me to call Dr. N and tell him she wanted prednisone.

I called both the doctor's office and the pharmacy. It was explained to me that there is a dental formula of Triamcinolone that they can prescribe- it is basically the same treatment, but the dental paste is much more expensive. (The cost for either isn't bad- it's just that you get about 100 times more for the non-dental paste)

It was agreed that in order to make Mom feel better about using it, we would switch to the dental paste. Took the ointment back to the pharmacy and got the dental paste.

Mom did not take her morning medications until after 1 pm. She wasn't hungry she said and wouldn't take her meds without eating. I kept pushing her to eat and to take her meds. She wanted her strawberry jelly I threw away yesterday. (from 2006 with mold growing on it) That was the only thing she wanted. I will bring her some on Thursday.

Mom wanted to go through everything I packed. She can't make decisions. Keep this? Throw away that? Give this away? Those decisions are too difficult. She's suspicious that I will throw away something she "needs."

I got frustrated. When she was in the office, I went to the living room to pack. When she came to the living room, I went to the office to pack. And I did throw away things, but I had to sneak them out. Mom started going through the waste baskets where Dad has placed his dirty tissues to make sure he wasn't throwing away anything important.  I know there are issues here with a loss of control.

I started packing up a few sweaters that she keeps in the office in a dresser. She threw a fit- she might need those in the next 5 days. I told her she has a closet full of clothes she can wear the next few days. She told me those sweaters are her favorites. I snapped back "All your clothes are your 'favorites.'"  She stomped her foot (sort of) like a child and said, "Well- I will just wear what I have on now for the next week. Good thing I have some clothes on or I'd have to go naked."

My temper got the best of me and I went into her room and threw open her closet door and said, "You have a whole closet full of clothes of clothes you can wear. Don't try to make me feel guilty."  Her reply was, "well I hope it doesn't get cold and I freeze because you packed my sweaters."

I got a lot packed yesterday, but it was a rough day. Lots of mini arguments. I was tired and my back was starting to hurt so I stopped at 3:30. I was in bed and asleep by 8:30 pm. Praise God for a good night's rest!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Yesterday some of my conversations with Mom went something like this.

Mom: Why I am taking this new medication?  (Prilosec)

Me: To help your stomach.

Mom: So I should stop taking the Aricept.

Me: No- keep taking the Aricept. We're hoping the Prilosec will help your stomach.

Mom: My stomach is fine.

Me: Good, maybe the Prilosec is working.

Mom: (getting up from her chair and holding her stomach.) Oh my stomach hurts. When do I see the doctor?

Me: Dr. N?

Mom: Is that who I'm seeing? Why am I seeing Dr. N?

Me: To check on your lichen planus.

Mom: The last time I saw him I asked him to follow me on that but he wasn't too happy. I think he said he would.

Me: He will. You see him at 9AM on Wednesday.

Mom: 9AM?? Well I hope I can get up that early. (She was up at 6AM yesterday) Why am I seeing him?


Mom: Why did I see Dr. P yesterday?

Me: You saw her about your stomach and your mouth.

Mom: My stomach is upset.

Me: I know.

Mom: I think I saw the doctor yesterday about it.

Me: You did.

Mom: Did she give me anything?

Me: Yes- Prilosec.

Mom: Am I going to the doctor this week?

Me: Yes. On Wednesday at 9 AM to see Dr. N

Mom: Are you coming back later this week?

Me: I'll be here every day to help you pack. I'll take you to see Dr. N tomorrow.

Mom: What time do I go?

Me: 9AM.

Mom: That's so early.

Me: I know, but I'll take you.

Mom: Who am I seeing?

Me: Dr. N

Mom: Well that's not far away you don't have to take me.

Me: I want to take you.

Mom: I may not be awake enough to drive.

Me: I'm going to take you.

Mom: Where is Dr. N's office?

Me: On ----------- Street.

Mom: What time do I have to be there?

The Refrigerator

I should say refrigerators. Yesterday I cleaned out the one in the kitchen and the one in the garage. So many things were out of date- I'm talking years not days or months. Cream cheese from 2004. Jellies and ice cream toppings that have separated so much they were unrecognizable. Even ice cream so old and dried out. I threw away SO much food.

Flour in both refrigerators- 4-5 years old. And then flour in the cabinets as well. There were unopened canned goods in the refrigerator. I don't know why and I didn't ask.

Mom found a case of Egg Beaters in the refrigerator in the garage the day before. She thinks someone came in and put them in her fridge because she couldn't remember buying them. She argued with Dad for about ten minutes that he must have put them there. He told her she bought them at Sam's. She was getting very aggravated and so I stepped in and told her it was the Egg Beater Fairy. That made Dad laugh and cut the tension. Mom laughed too.

Mom was at a podiatrist appointment when I cleaned out the fridges.  I threw away Dad's Bleu Cheese because I couldn't figure out how old it was. There were two containers of it and really- how does one figure out if Bleu Cheese is bad or not? It looks bad when you get it. Anyhow I told Dad we would get him some more. He was fine with it. Dad gave me permission to throw away many iffy things.

I felt like a thief or at least some kind of criminal throwing away so much food. But I also felt so bad for Mom and Dad. It is showing in how far they have slipped. Mom is a registered nurse. She knows about safety measures. But she can't see well enough to read the labels and she can't think clearly enough to remember to throw away older things. And Dad must not be paying attention either.

This trying to go through things without Mom catching me is difficult too. How do I honor her while sneaking around her back? I can only respond to myself that it is done out of love and that she would understand if she was thinking clearly.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Getting Ready for the Move

I suppose I should say right off the bat that my Mom is 80 years old and my Dad is 85. Mom has been diagnosed with MCI- Mild Cognitive Impairment. She also has COPD, Chronic bronchitis, arthritis, lichen planus of the mouth,  bad knees and severe, profound hearing loss. Mom is not doing well and this is a difficult time.

Dad has had a stroke followed with carotid artery surgery. He's also had a heart attack followed by quadruple by-pass surgery, valve replacement and valve repair. He has had both knees replaced and surgery on his shoulders. I know he has had more surgeries than that- but those are the major. But for a guy of his age- he's actually in pretty good health.

After doing a lot of searching for an assisted living situation for my parents, we came to the conclusion that for their situation it would be best for them to move in with my husband and me. They live about 30 miles away and while that is not very far, it sure isn't easy to drop everything and head over there to find out if a problem is serious or not. At this time, I am a pastor serving a church that provides us with a handicapped accessible home that has plenty of room for my parents, ourselves and my college-age son.

Over the past few months, I have tried to go over to my parents home two or three times a month in order to go through their "stuff" and to weed out the things they won't need when they move. That hasn't been extremely successful, but some progress was made.

This week I am on vacation and I am spending all day each day with them trying to pack.

Yesterday was awful.

Dad has been sick since last week with a bad cough, cold and spitting up blood when he coughs. I took him to the doctor on Friday. He could have had an appointment in the morning, but he wouldn't go then because Mom has a hair appointment every Friday at noon so he wanted to wait. The next available appointment was at 4:30 in the afternoon. I was very upset with his stubbornness- but I believe he just didn't want to hear Mom complain about missing her hair appointment... To make a long story shorter- they decided Dad must have bronchitis and gave him an antibiotic and an albuterol inhaler.

Yesterday Dad wasn't feeling much better. When I got to their house, Mom started to complain that her stomach was hurting. And that her tongue felt "funny." She said she wanted to go to the doctor because she had an upset stomach. Then, she would tell me she needed to find out whether she needed to see a dentist or a doctor about her mouth and tongue. I couldn't pinpoint exactly what she wanted to do and I'm not sure she knew.

I ended up calling her primary doctor's office (she sees a gerontologist) and they suggested I bring her in to see them.

The doctor(Dr. P) thinks the switch from Namenda to Aricept is the cause of her stomach problems and that she is suffering from some anxiety due to the impending move.

Mom had switched from Aricept to Namenda last year because it caused stomach problems, but wanted to change back at the end of the year when her prescription insurance went into the Medicare Donut Hole and she had to pay full price for the Namenda.

So now Dr. P has suggested using  Omeprazole (Prilosec) in the morning. If that doesn't help the stomach then she'll need to switch back to the Namenda. Dr. P wants Mom to see the dermatologist about the lichen planus, so Wednesday morning its off to see "Dr. N." Mom thinks that Dr. N doesn't want to treat her for her lichen planus and doesn't remember he has treated her for it before. Dr. P is also going to check her Vitamin D levels.