Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sunday Evening thoughts

I haven't spent much time with Mom this week. I mean- we all live together, but I haven't had time to sit and visit much. Sermons, hospital visits, funeral preparations have all been in the forefront. Spent a little time with her when the kids were here. It was good to sit and talk with my mom and my daughter. My daughter did most of the talking and I could breathe and not be the bad guy for awhile.

Tomorrow after I preside over the funeral (for a woman who died on her 55th wedding anniversary), Dad has a cardiologist appointment. I don't think we'll get much information, but I hope we will find out the results of the stress test. Dad joked that waiting for the test was a part of the stress test itself. I believe the wait after is...

My brother is going to get here on Wednesday evening. I hope this is good timing so he and Dad can spend some time together. My bro may not be here for the surgery itself, but at least he will get to see Dad before hand.

Dad is worried what we will do after he has his surgery, because he won't be able to drive Mom to get her hair done each Friday for a few weeks. My first reaction wasn't very kind so I kept that to myself. Instead, I told him we would do what we can. My mother's obsession with getting her hair done bothers me- always has. This is nothing new. Dad put off going to the ER once because Mom would miss her hair appointment! Ain't going to happen again!

Okay. Time for bed and up early to go over funeral meditation.  Prayers coveted for tomorrow. For the family in mourning and for my mom and dad.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Another Short Conversation...

Dad had his Stress Test today. We don't know the results. But in the car on the way home, Dad said the cardiologist that was in the room reading the test said she thought she saw a problem with the Mitral Valve. This is a valve he had repaired 5 1/2 years ago after his heart attack.

Dad: The cardiologist thought she saw a problem with the Mitral Valve.

Me: Is that the one you had replaced or repaired?

Dad: Repaired.

Mom: What are you talking about?

Dad: The Mitral Valve in my heart may have a problem.

Mom: I don't think I've ever heard of a Mitral valve in the heart...


Me: What kind of pizza do you want Mom?

Mom has been a RN for almost 60 years. I'm just sad.

Last Night- Something New

Dad came into my office last night and said "Something new. I told your mother I was going to go and take my evening pills."


Dad: I'm going to go take my evening pills."

Mom: Pills? What pills?

Dad: My evening pills. Medicine.

Mom: You take pills?

Dad: Yes, I have for years.

Mom: Oh. Okay. I guess I forgot.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Tomorrow my Dad has a stress test scheduled. He has to have this done prior to surgery.

He is going to have to have surgery for his "Triple A"- Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm. We don't know when yet- but it should be soon.

We are waiting to see if the manufacturer of the stent they would use thinks it will work in Dad's situation. There is information about this surgery at The Mayo Clinic Website.

In Dad's case I guess the artery right below the aneurysm is bent and there is concern by the doctor whether or not this will work.

Dad had major heart surgery 5 years ago. Quadruple by-pass, valve replacement and a valve repair. There was some kidney damage at the time and  was on dialysis for a short time. He has also had a stroke about 10 or 11 years ago and had surgery on his carotid artery in his neck. Dad is 85 years old- almost 86, his birthday is in September.

I have so many concerns about this. Obvious ones. The life and death ones. Concerns for him and for my mom.  The "what ifs"...

So today is a normal day as we wait for tomorrow. Tomorrow will likely be a normal day as well- medical tests are nothing new in this household.

It's the wait- the waiting to find out when and how that is hard.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sunday Morning Musings

A quick post while I drink my second cup of coffee for the morning and get ready for church...

There's a new show coming out on Showtime called "The Big C." It's a comedy about cancer.

Yeah, I know. A comedy... About cancer... What's funny about cancer?

Well, what's funny about Alzheimer's? Nothing- except- there are moments of laughter, there are moments of comedy, there are moments of pure funny.

Life is that way. All life results in death. Some of the ways we go through life, some of the things we do and say to get to that end are funny.

We say on the Alzheimer's Caregivers Forum that if "we don't laugh, we cry."

While most of us agree on the forum we wouldn't want to have anyone make fun of someone with AD, we have to admit we do find humor in it. There is a place and a time for both crying and laughing.

Me- I'm going to watch "The Big C" and see how they handle it
. I suspect I'll cry some. And I pray I laugh too. Life's too short. We have to live, laugh, love, hope, and pray while we can.

The Trailer for The Big C

Friday, August 6, 2010

Alzheimer's from a 19 year old's perspective...

Okay- I should be going to bed. I'm tired and haven't been sleeping well. But I need to write some things down before I forget them.

I shared the following on the website.

Alzheimer's from the perspective of a 19 year old boy: (DS means "dear son")

DS is playing Guitar Hero in the family room. Mom walks in and sees DS with his fake guitar. "When did you learn to play guitar- no one told me!" DS: "It's a game Gma- this guitar is a controller to a game." Mom:"Oh okay."

Couple of days later DS is again playing Guitar Hero. Mom walks in and watches. Sees DS "playing the guitar" and notices the TV is on. (the game is shown on the screen) Looks at my son in amazement and says:"You are so talented! You can play the guitar and watch TV at the same time. I wish my dad was still alive to see this. You must have gotten his musical talent." DS (couldn't bring himself to tell her it was a game) Thanks Gma.

Scene set up- DS playing an Xbox game while sitting on the couch in the family room. He has headphones on and is playing a combat game with friends who are in other cities. He plays this game a lot.

Mom wanders in stops and watches for awhile. Walks away- shaking her head. Comes back 5-10 minutes later. Watches awhile. leaves. Comes back. Taps DS on shoulder. "There sure doesn't seem to be much plot to this movie." DS: "Its a game GMA- we're having a battle." Mom: "Oh- OK."

The next day- Mom walks in as DS is playing the game again. Taps him on the shoulder- "Do you watch the same movie everyday?" DS-"Its a game GMA. Not a movie." Gma wanders off muttering-"Still doesn't have much plot."

DS playing the same game at a later time. He has his headphones on and is talking to his friends via the headphones as he plays. Mom hears him talking and comes up behind him and taps him on the shoulder. "Who are you talking to?" DS: "Some friends I'm playing a game with."

Mom: "How can you play a game, watch a movie and talk to people on the phone at the same time?" DS: Starts to explain to her that the movie is a game, and he's wearing headphones that he can use to talk to his friends. Decides against it and say: "I'm talented Gma- you said so yourself." Mom pats him on the shoulder and says "yes you are. yes you are."

(In the back ground my father can be heard yelling "its a game! Its just a game! Leave the boy alone!")

6 AM one morning as DS gets ready for work- making his lunch for the day. Mom wanders into the kitchen. She doesn't have her hearing aids in yet, so she can't really hear a thing.

Mom: Hi, I don't have my ears in yet. (Big smile)

Mom: What are you doing?

DS: Making my lunch.

Mom: What??

DS: Making my lunch.

Mom: When did you eat breakfast??
 DS: I'm packing a lunch to take to work.

Mom: What? You work today? Do you work today?

DS: Yes Gma.

Mom: Do you work outside?

DS: Yes, Gma. I work for a company that creates hybrid corn. I work cross pollinating the corn. Sometimes I work in the lab.

Mom: Your work is bad? I'm sorry.

Later that afternoon when he comes home from work- sweaty, sunburned and smelly...

Mom: Were you out fishing today?

DS: No Gma I was at work.

Mom: Do you work outside?

DS: Yes Gma- I work outside. I'm going to go take a shower.

Mom: You could hug your Gma.

DS: You don't want to hug me right now Gma- I stink!

Thursday, August 5, 2010


I can't believe its been over a month since I last wrote on this blog. So many things have occurred, there is no way I can remember or update everything... but here is what I can tell you:

I was away from home at school for 10 days. It was a great break for me, but a difficult time for my husband and father.

Coming home was a shock- my system wasn't prepared for reality. I was short tempered for a couple of days as I tried to get back into the swing of things. Mom was confused and irritated that I had been gone. To top that off, there were doctor's appointments and off course trying to get back in the swing of things at work too.

Mom's doctor's appointment went okay- she tried to persuade her primary care doctor (Dr. P)  that Dr. A's diagnosis was wrong. Dr. P added Namenda twice a day to the Aricept and also added Zoloft for depression. I'm happy to say I think one or both are helping. There isn't as much negative talk and negative, nasty behavior. She seems calmer and doesn't upset as easily.

Dad has a CT scan on his Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm. We got the results yesterday and it isn't good. He will need surgery soon. They would like to use a stent, but have to contact the company that makes the stents to see if it will work with his condition. I suspect his surgery will occur before the end of the month.

There are a lot of unknowns with this. What do I do with Mom while Dad is in the hospital?  How much help will he  need when he gets home and how much will he be restricted? What does that mean for Mom's care?