Thursday, May 27, 2010

Follow Up

My daughter and family did come. It was tense between Mom and I and Mom and Dad. My daughter had this conversation with her grandma:

Grandma walked in on Grandpa and I talking she looked at me slumped her shoulders and said 'I'm grounded!"

Me "Who grounded you?"

Her "Your mom and Grandpa"

Me "How are you grounded?"

Her" No one will let me drive any where... I have a smart mind and if you don't use it you lose it. I haven't driven in forever"

Me " Maybe they don't want you to drive because you can't hear and if you get lost it's hard to get direction"

Her " I always have paper and pen in my purse so I can get directions"

I was quiet, I was trying to think of something that would calm her

Her " If I would have known it was going to be like this when we moved in here I never would have, I don't want to be here"

Grandpa " You need to be here"

Her " we moved here because of you"

Grandpa "We moved here because of both of us"

Her " Both of us no, I'm fine" ( she was getting very angry then)

Me" Grandma, you need to be here too"

Her "No I don't"

Me" Grandma, I love you and I wouldn't lie to you, YOU NEED TO BE HERE TOO!! (not yelling just calmly stressed each word) "

Me got up and gave Grandma a hug told her I loved her but she really needed to be here....

She changed the subject to my DH and the Issue with Steven's

She did later on say something about she couldn't get to downtown T***** and would probably get lost if she tried... I was trying again to talk to grandpa...

Every time I was trying to talk to someone she had something to say.. she reminded me of my 3 year old when he has to have my attention so he interrupts everything even when it's not important.. she tried a bunch while I was talking with dad... she wanted to tell me my son's  toes were ticklish and saying my name over and over.... finally she grabbed my arm and I had to turn around....

Thank you C for letting me post this.
Mom did write an email to my Godmother and told her that she had been a real pain (to us) lately and that everyone was treating her well. 
The rest of the day went fine. And now we seem to be back to "normal" ...what ever that is.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The "stuff" hit the fan today

Kids coming over today and bringing the grandkids. Mom and Dad were going to go to the store to get stuff for sandwiches. Mom wanted to drive. Dad told her no, Mom got out of the car and refused to go with him.

Dad left.

Mom came inside and wanted to know why she can't drive. I tried. I tried NOT to tell her. But then I did. She is VERY angry.

Today I was supposed to spend writing. I have 12 papers due on June 14th for a class I have to take for work. I have to go to a church conference for 4 days the first week in June. I have sermons to write, people to visit and Mom has an appointment on the 9th to see a nuero-psychologist.

I am overwhelmed and my heart hurts and I am mad at myself for not having the right words to put out the flames. Instead I ignited the fire.

Lawyer says to close Mom's bank accounts and credit cards. Dad and I wanted to wait until after our vacation in mid-June. Now Mom is threatening to "take over" the money again and buy herself a new car.

Kids still coming over- I gave them a heads up.

I  pray this blows over soon. Lord, teach me how to lie!!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Not remembering things might be bad.

Tonight before bed...
Me: How are you feeling Mom?
Mom: Fine, why do you ask?
Me: Well, about an hour ago you said you were having a pain.
Mom: I did? I don't remember.
Me: Well, if you don't remember then you must be feeling ok.
Mom: I don't know. I think not remembering things might be bad.

My Mom's Job Search

Found Mom reading a new book today. "How to Find A Job in Chicago." Hmm. I wonder what this means?

Monday, May 24, 2010


How do I explain this? On some level I knew this, but this morning it really hit home. I have in the past, resented my mother for trying to control my life.  Those feelings resurface when Mom gives me unwanted and unsolicited advice or makes derogatory comments on the way I "do things". (Apologies to my daughter for the times- I'm afraid it might be many times- I have done the same)

What I realized this morning is I am now doing the same for/to Mom. She doesn't want me to tell her how to spend "her" money. She doesn't want me to tell her how to take her medication. She doesn't want me setting up doctors appointments. She would be angry to know I go through her closet and pull out the dirty clothes. She would be upset even more to know I have things set up with the bank to let me know when her checking account balance goes below a certain point.

She would be furious if she knew I was seeing an attorney to talk about setting up a trust, or that I've even considered going to court to get guardianship.

There is a fine line I suppose. I am fortunate in having my father's full support. I can't imagine what it would be like if Dad were not here, or even worse, if he disapproved of my taking over things. And what would I do without my DH who reminds me that the disease is talking- not my Mom? And my daughter who comes when she can, even though she is busy with her family?

I don't feel guilty for doing what I am doing. And I don't feel like I should get the martyrdom award of the year either. But finally realizing this on all levels, I hope will make me more patient and understanding in how I respond to Mom and her needs.

God knows I don't have all the answers; I just pray God will guide me to make as few mistakes as possible.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Spend, Spend, Spend

Mom has started her early rising again. I thought when she first moved here it would go away, and it did, but now its back.  I don't know if this has to do with medication, not taking her pills to help her relax at night, or if it some other demon waking her early in the morning.  But she is up and wandering around  at 4:30, 5:00 in the morning, and for someone who doesn't go to bed until midnight and likes to sleep until 8:00, that is too early. You can see how tired she is just by looking at her face.

I avoid her in these early mornings because this is my "me time." The time I can get my coffee and wake slowly. Think about the day, write in my journal, relax and pray. I can hear her in the kitchen and wait until she leaves to get my coffee.

I tried at the beginning, to go into her living room and say good morning. But she does not have her hearing aid in yet this early and it is impossible to talk. Then she gets upset and frustrated and puts in her hearing aid too early. She can't wear it extra hours, it hurts her ears.

She has been on a spending spree- she just has to spend money. Dad and I have talked and we are going to try to take more control of the money and finances. Part of that will be Dad having to tell her "No." She's wearing Dad out wanting him to take her to their old town and go to the mall, go to the coffee shop, go to Sam's and buy stuff she doesn't need.

Mom and I got into it after her last shopping spree at Sam's. If you take one fiber capsule a day and you already have a bottle with 375 left in it, do you really need 800 more?

If you have cases of the small square Kleenex boxes, (and they are on every flat surface in your living areas) do you really need cases of the bigger boxes? Well Mom does. She decided she doesn't like the smaller square boxes anymore. Actually she denies ever having them before.

(I think I may have found the solution for the kleenex problem- I wonder if the church would mind if I parked this in the church parking lot behind the parsonage? LOL)

If we didn't live 30 minutes away, I'd start taking things back and not telling her. But that is a waste of time. If Dad can keep her local, it might not be such a problem.

I took Mom out to lunch yesterday so Dad could go into the other town by himself and get his blood work done. He begged me to find a way to keep her busy; he didn't want her to know and he didn't want her company. I made up an excuse and told her she could shop with me for a new blouse for church.

So today, I need to try to make up the time I lost and get some more writing done.

The other night, I ended up calling the Alzheimer's "hot line" (1-800-272-3900)and talked to a counselor who said we (me) need to get control of all of Mom's money in order to prevent a disaster.

That was brought home to me yesterday when Mom came and asked me what kind of new boat did my DH need? She had a catalog with boats in it and wanted to buy him a boat. I explained his boat is just fine, he doesn't need another. She said D had mentioned wanting a particular boat. I told her that "someday" he would love to have a BASS Boat, but he doesn't go out on lakes big enough to warrant that now. She wanted to know if he had a BASS Boat, if he would be able to "keep" the bass he catches. LOL. I tried to explain "catch and release" but I'm not sure it got through.

 When I told Dad about this, he said they had the same conversation. He told me he is afraid that when the condo sells, she will think she can spend all of that money. He is right. I need to call an attorney and get a trust set up. It can't wait for the sale of the home.

Mom has an appointment early June with the neuro/phychologist. I'm not sure what I hope, but it would be nice to be able to make sure she is on the right meds. A diagnosis might help us in the future as well.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Down the Rabbit Hole...

I was asked what this is like the other day. I've said before it is like living in a different dimension. But Friday when I was explaining something that had happened I said it is a lot like being Alice- you never know which rabbit hole you're going to end up in.

Today it was about medication again. Only this time Mom couldn't find her night-time medication that helps her go to sleep. She insisted she had run out.

We had filled 5 prescriptions on the 12th. That medication was one of them. She swore she never got it and insisted that Dad call the pharmacy. I told her I would help her look after I finished writing a paper, but she insisted again that it wasn't anywhere in the house. We got a little short with each other.

When I finished writing the paper, I went looking for Mom. She was in her bedroom with all of her pill containers lined up on her dresser. She had some small pill cups with some medication in them and she had her 7 day pill case.

I asked if she found her meds. She said yes, and I asked her where. She said, "You don't want to know." I said, "yes I do, in case you can't find them again." She said she would never put them where she had hidden them ever again. I told her it might be a good idea to show me just in case. She had put two of the new pill bottles underneath some clothing in her closet.

I noticed (again) that she had some of her blood pressure pills and her Aricept left in her pill box.  She said she won't take the water pills before she goes anywhere because she doesn't want to have to go to the bathroom. And she said they don't help her blood pressure anyway.

Of course my next reply was, "they can't help if you don't take them."  I asked her how  she knew they didn't help- had she been checking her blood pressure?

She took me into their "office" and said "this side of the room is your Dad's side and the blood pressure machine is on his desk. My side of the room is over here."

I said "I'm confused. Don't you guys share?"

She started whispering, "Well I told you before I'm not supposed to be here.Sometime we need to sit down and talk about divorcing your dad."

I said "Sure Mom, we can talk, but don't you need to finish with your medications? I bet I can get Dad to share with you." She said she needed to finish her medications and we could talk later when we were alone.

This is the second time (at least) recently that she has suggested she might divorce Dad and go live back in our hometown. It really is pretty funny in that Mom has ALWAYS said she would NEVER divorce Dad, that she believed marriage was for life and if he ever tried to leave she wouldn't agree to a divorce and would make him suffer. Now she's throwing the D word around like it is nothing.

When I told my DH he laughed and said to remind her that she is Catholic and "can't" get divorced.

Later Mom showed me her medication list, She has made up abbreviations to show where the different pill bottles should be. CD is "closet drawer"  BC is bathroom cabinet. BCT is bathroom cabinet over the toilet and there is one more... She told me I have to memorize them in case she forgets what they mean. I told her maybe she needs to list the abbreviations in case we both forget!

She thought that was funny.

It gets curiouser and curiouser...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mothers Day

Mothers Day was surprisingly calm. I had my two church services and when I came home, Dad and my DH took Mom and I out to eat. We went to a buffet and of course being Mothers Day it was packed and we had to stand in line for quite a while to get in. 

Mom started talking to a man behind her in line who was in a wheel chair. The first thing she said to him was "Your lucky to be in that chair." Nice guy even laughed a bit. Mom was flirting(?) and asked him if she could sit on his lap and he said yes. His wife was there and she laughed. I'd say they were about my age or a little older. Then a man came up to be with that couple who was an old friend of my husband's family, Jerry F. Jerry remembered me, but couldn't remember D's name until I told him. He said he is having memory problems too. He remembered my dad and remembered golfing with him. Mom and Jerry didn't remember ever having met, which is possible.

Before we were done eating, Jerry came over and asked if we would like to see his cabin. It was supposed to be a get-a-way place for he and his wife, but his wife kicked him out about 4 years ago and that's where he lives.

So we took a road trip and saw his cabin. It is very nice, on about 19 acres, near a river and woods. He rents out farm land to a local farmer and he grows vegetables for local restaurants. He is probably about 80- years old. He also writes religious tracks and gave us what he has written. He is very lonely.

Dad wrote him an email soon after we got home. It would be nice if they corresponded a little with each other. 

We came home about  3pm. We had told Mom and Dad that since we had a huge lunch, we would all be on our own for any other meals that day.

Mom set the table about 5pm and asked me what we were having for dinner. I told her she was on her own.  She didn't remember that we had a huge lunch, but then said she wasn't very hungry.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


I know that Alzheimer's is not curable. I know that things are going to get worse. I know that. But I don't KNOW it. I don't want to accept it. I don't understand why it has to be this way.

What causes the brain to stop remembering? What stops the brain from learning new things? Why are there glimmers of my "other Mom" at times? Why does my Mom care more about the lives of strangers and cries over illnesses of people she barely knows and has no sympathy for family members?

Why does she get upset with me when she offers me a
tic tac
and I say no thank you? (I've never cared for them, she is never without them.)

Why am I so surprised when something new comes up that upsets her?

Why does my teenage self sometimes show itself when Mom gives me a hard time? We lived through those years once, I don't want to live through it again!

Why does it seem as if she WANTS to be mad? Why does it seem like she is trying to find reasons to be unhappy?

Why does the brain lose its ability to reason?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Rump Roast Wars

Friday Mom and I went to the grocery store to get something for dinner for that evening and for Saturday evening. We chose ham steaks for one night and a nice rump roast for another. Mom picked out the rump roast for me.

We had the ham steaks on Friday and then on Saturday I made the rump roast. Mom asked me a number of times during that day what we were to have and I told her the "nice rump roast you picked out." I studded it with fresh garlic like Mom always did and put it in a slow oven to roast. When it was done, it was nice and pink inside- just like Mom used to make. I didn't carve it as nicely as my dad or my DH does, but I did my best.

As we were eating, Mom kept looking at her meat and muttering. Finally she said, "I have NEVER had rump roast prepared this way before."

"What Mom?" 

"I've never seen rump roast prepared this way before."

Realizing I might again be entering an alternate universe I tried to make sense of what she was saying.

"Mom, I made it the way you always used to make it. I learned from you."

"I have never made rump roast like this. A rump roast is a pot roast and you should cook it in liquid."

Knowing that my mother used to comment about people who didn't know how to correctly prepare a nice rump roast, I was at a loss for words. She used to say what a waste it was to cook rump roast as if it were pot roast. Chuck roast or am roast were for making pot roast.

Dad is sitting next to me and under his breath (thanks Dad!) he is saying, "She always cooked rump roast this way."

Mom asked me what recipe I used. I explained to her I didn't have a recipe, i just made it the way I was shown.

"Well, I have to find the recipe for this. It isn't right. Where are my recipes? Where are my cook books? You need to learn how to do this."

I kept my voice even as as pleasant as I could. "Mom, this is how I fix rump roast. This is how I have always fixed rump roast. This is how my family likes it. I'm sorry you don't care for it."

"Don't you want to know how to make it better?

"Nope. I like it just the way it is."

Mom and Dad had leftovers on Sunday because I was called out to a hospital visit. Dad had ham. Mom had rump roast. She nuked it in the microwave so badly dad said she could hardly chew it. Glad I wasn't here to see it or hear about it!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Dammit Dammit

Dammit! I did it again! Mom is unhappy and wanted Dad to go for a walk. He didn't want to. Mom came to me, the third time in 15 minutes,wanting to know why we won't let her drive. She wanted to talk about driving and going to the mall by herself. I told her I was busy but would talk to her later. In my head I was thinking that when I got done with what I was doing, she and I could take a walk outside.

I was trying to finish, when Mom came in again and said she was going
for a walk by herself. She was acting very defiant, like she was afraid I was going to try to stop her. I told Mom if she waited a bit, I would go with her. I finished what I was doing and then we went for a short walk outside.

It was fine. When we got home she asked me how to open and close the garage door. I showed her how to close it and then started to tell her the code to open it and she started pushing buttons before I finished. I probably quite sternly said, "Mom. Wait until I'm done telling you." She did and then we started to go in and she said to me, "You know, as a nurse I have to anticipate what people are going to say next." I said "Mom when someone is talking to you, you should wait until they are finished talking." (She interrupts people all the time, then doesn't understand what they said and then gets mad or upset.)

She said, "I am a nurse and this is how I have to do things. This is how nurses do things." I said, "Yes Mom I know you are a nurse. But that doesn't give you an excuse to be rude." Her reply:"My being rude has saved lives. This is who I am."

I don't know what else was said, but I know I said too much. She's angry, I'm frustrated.

Why??? Why can't I just leave it alone?

I know she can't understand! Will I ever get good at this? I want to go and apologize. And I will. But she can't understand why I said the things I did, so why should she accept my apology?

Dammit. I thought I was doing good not talking about the driving...