Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Changes All Around

I would try to turn this picture around, but upside down is pretty much how I'm feeling right now....so I'll leave it.  

Mom was moved to a group home one week ago. It's a huge relief for me because I was learning rather quickly how she wasn't living independently very well at all. She needs 24 hour care and she's getting it now. I did like the place she was before now, but it felt - sad when you walked in. There were a lot of old people in various stages of aging. A lot of them would just sit around and sleep or stare like they were waiting for someone to come get them. Mom doesn't have a good concept of where she is but where she is is fine as long as she's able to get up and move around. She loves to help out and clean and they are happy to let her.

Giving credit where credit is due (don't check...this is the same blog...) her oldest son did a great job finding this place and getting her moved quickly. It's small and she has two caregivers there at all times. The owner is amazing and incredibly sweet. You can just feel the love and good energy when you walk in the door. It's specifically for dementia and Alzheimer's patients. The goal for us, her children, now is to keep her out of a nursing home. We all want to see her live out her days in a loving facility and this seems to be perfect.

She said to me on my first visit, "I wish I could go home and just live with you". As much as I love my mother, I do not feel like I'm nearly well qualified enough to be her caretaker. In a perfect world, she could live with me with in-home care while I work. But I want to enjoy her now and not be resentful for having to take care of her. I believe she is much better off for all her children. This place is much closer so I'm able to go over during the week as well as on the weekend.

My brothers and I have finally found a common ground - keeping mom out of a nursing home and keeping her happy in the last years of her life. It just feels good, weird, but good. I don't know if this is a short-lived ride, but I'm going to enjoy it for as long as I can. And with Allan's help, if it takes a nasty turn again, he will help me to get it back on the right track.

Mom is happy again!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day isn't always about YOUR mother

This was Mom and I last Mother's Day. I did her hair that morning and while it doesn't look so great here, it looks way better than it doesn't now.
Realizing this post could be taken in a way that looks like I don't respect my mom, let me say, it's just a day that was first celebrated in 1908 and is celebrated differently all over the world. I saw my mom last Sunday. Who's to say that isn't good enough for my Mother's Day celebration this year? I sent her a card. I would have called but she doesn't have a phone number, that I know of, and I was told would have to find out myself somehow. I'll go see her this weekend.

I spent the weekend up North, in Texas, with the person I wanted to spend the weekend with. We went fishing and watched a couple of movies and took his mom to lunch in Texarkana. Basically, I did what I wanted to do, not what the world thinks I should have done. I saw three of my four kids when I got home. We all had a nice visit last weekend when they were all together (see picture).

As for my mom, there has been a small tear in the fabric of that relationship but it is easily mended. I will go see her and she won't know any different. I received a call from the hairdresser who is going to be my eyes and ears around there for now. Things are happening that look like she may have to be moved to an assisted living center sooner than later, I'm afraid. I think it will be the best thing for her, honestly, but we will just have to see how things play out. Until then, I will stay out of the way of her oldest son who wants complete control and the opportunity to complain about it all the while.

I hope every mother had a wonderful day and got what they wanted. And read this if you are a mother of small children. I hope you got this if it's what you really wanted!!
They make my heart sing!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Beautiful Things vs. Negative Things

I had a tough weekend as my daughter had surgery on Friday and my focus was completely on taking care of her. When she and her boyfriend left and my other children had gone their separate ways, I was able to get a shower, get ready and go sit with mom while she had dinner - at 4:00. (I will never understand this.)
As I walk in the door, this is what I see. My mother pushing a wheelchair into the dining hall. We sat with her next door neighbor, Margie, for an hour while they ate dinner. We had a nice conversation. She remembered that I was seeing someone and finally remembered his name after a while. Margie also has a cat and will bring mom food for her cat when she has extra. All in all it was a nice visit. I'm glad I went. But I swear they put something in the air vents because I want to take a nap every time I get there!!
I knew going in that she typically will go to a bible study with her son about 5:30 on Sundays. It didn't occur to me at all that it was getting close to the time that he would be there to pick her up. I saw him out of the corner of my eye coming down the hall. He had the typical angry look on his face that he constantly has as I looked over at him. He could have easily just walked up to the table and acted like everything was normal and he was just there to pick her up. Instead, he looked angry, not even acknowledging Margie's sweet smile and wave and mom's saying, "Oh hey! Come sit down!" He looked right at me and said, "Come here, Kathy. Come over here." I looked at mom and said, "He's just here to pick you up for bible study" and stepped away from the table.
The whole conversation with him was him saying he didn't mean to cut our time short but they had this bible study and me saying I know, I know. It's ok, I know. I went back to the table and asked her if she wanted to use the restroom before she left with him. I still needed to go leave a check and note with Sharon so she could go meet him in the lobby and leave.
There has been an email exchange that I've written into a blog. Not sure if I'm going to publish but it might give "you" better insight into why we don't speak. I won't pretend I've been nice with him the whole time. He's been this way my whole life. I have said things I shouldn't have even though I meant them. It's how things are now and I truly hate it.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Just a Regular Sunday

It had been a couple of weeks since I'd seen mom. I had two out of town trips and then I found out her cell phone had been disconnected and she was supposed to have a phone set up in her room next week. So, no visits and no calling.

This weekend was long and lonely for me and I just didn't have the emotional energy to go see her Saturday. I woke up today with a different attitude, showered and got ready to get some stuff done and head over to see mom. Since I have no way of calling to make sure she's even home, I just took my chances as to who I might run in to and the possibility that she might not be home. 

I made sure it was after 1:30 so I knew she would be home from church and lunch and hopefully alone. When I went to her room I hope my being at the door was a nice surprise for her. She had been napping but was eager to get up and go outside. It was certainly the perfect day for it. We headed downstairs to go sit outside and just enjoy the fresh air. They have a nice area with comfortable rocking chairs right out front. I wish they had a courtyard but they don't. This will have to do.

Within just a few minutes, we see a man pull up in a truck with a flat bed trailer hooked to the back. They park on the outside of the circle instead of closer to the door - I guess so that they don't block emergency vehicles that just might show up. As they are walking inside, to the left, we see an older couple walking towards the trailer carrying couch cushions. We are both talking and wondering what could be going on. So I just say, "Let's make up a story." As I go along saying what I think is going on in these people's heads, she starts giggling because, well, it was really sarcastic and somewhat inappropriate. 

She gets very fixated on the fact that the building to our right is only two stories and the building to our left (her building) is three stories. I've gotten pretty good at just agreeing and repeating whatever I said the last time she repeated herself. Then I mentioned that it's probably because the two story building is where they have all the activity rooms and library at which she says, "Hmph. I've never been invited over there. I would know." Um, yes you have many times, but ok. I said, "Oh yes that's where you get your hair done. You probably just don't recognize it from the outside." Then she asks me how my parents are doing.....

As we watch this couple bringing more couch cushions and dresser drawers, we see the first two men bring down a dresser and a couch. Next thing we know, we hear a firetruck and an ambulance coming down the street and I jokingly say, "I hope they don't turn in here!" and of course they do. More excitement! And lucky for the truck/trailer guys that they didn't block the circle! The firetruck stops before the circle as the ambulance comes up to the door. I see one of the firemen tell the younger guy driving the truck that he has to move it. Bummer. I wonder how people move in and out of this place because it's not like there's a lot of extra parking.

Pretty soon the EMTs come out a side door with an older man on the gurney and his son (I assume) right behind him talking on the phone to someone telling them what's going on. The older man is conscious and doesn't look like he's in pain, which is good. Probably just a precautionary trip to the hospital to make sure everything's still tickin' right. 

On that note, I decide it's time to go. I was there a good hour and a half. But I realize I'd left my purse in her apartment so we head back to the elevator to go to her room. Right as the elevator opens, she says she wants to wait for me downstairs. I asked if she was ok because it's not like her to do this but she says she's fine. When I get back with my purse she isn't where I left her. Guess where I found her? Being Nosy Rosie looking out the front window at the ambulance and firetruck. Gee, and I wonder where I get that from.......

So that's that for now. I will get over to see her next week. Still thinking about Mother's Day. It won't be like last year where her oldest son and I took her to lunch. At this point, I can't even call her. I will also be out of town until Sunday afternoon. If I'm up to it emotionally, I'll get over there to see her in the afternoon - before dinner. I don't really like that my decisions are completely based on my emotions, but they seem to be the only thing I can trust right now. 

Onward and upward.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Thank you?? I think?

This book was in my mailbox today. I didn't order it. I can only assume that someone I know sent it to me OR it was someone who reads this blog. Or it was my brother trying to be tricky. It came from Amazon with no invoice or note or anything. So, thank you to whoever sent this to me. I'm sure it will come in handy when my mom is in a nursing home. I can assure you I will read it. In fact, I'm going to be spending some time with a friend who's mom also has dementia. We will read this together. I've barely cracked the spine but I am sure there are several good points and topics inside. She and I can use all the help we can get when dealing with our mom's who forget a lot, but still know their daughters.

The only thing about this that is sort of creepy is that, if I don't know the person who sent it to me, this means they found my address. That's a little stalkerish, so if I know you, can you just say, "Hey it was me! Glad you got the book!" Thanks and thanks. :-)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

You Never Know What You Might Find

Today was a quick, Sunday afternoon/evening, trip to see mom. I am not going to be in town for the next two weekends. I needed to go see her and take a check to the beautician for mom's weekly hair appointment. When I called her, she was finishing up dinner so I asked her to just stay downstairs and I would be there in a few minutes. When I pulled up, she was standing outside waiting for me. It was sort of interesting because I hadn't seen her go outside before. 

She sat down on one of the rocking chairs so I joined her there for a few minutes. She asked me a few times if I was cold and I told her no but then decided we should go inside. We went to the second floor to put the check under the door to the salon and then sat there at the sitting area and chatted. It doesn't take long for her to go on repeat, asking the same questions over and over. I was pleased that she did remember Allan and at one point, remembered his name. I never have to worry if I am repeating myself with her because if I am, she won't know nor would she care. She just wants company. That much is obvious.

Her hair was, well, back to normal. The Thursday appointment probably didn't last a day or two, maybe, but that's to be expected. I really hope a Saturday appointment opens up soon. I know this is for her to feel good about herself if even for the day, but I would really like it if she wouldn't mess with it or that it would last until Sunday. That's asking a lot. I know.

After she went on repeat again, I asked to go to her apartment to look for something her oldest son was supposed to have left in her closet. I've looked twice and both times they aren't there. They were baby shoes that belonged to me and Andy that apparently he found in going through all the boxes from the move. My mom ordered us each a pair. They have our full name on the bottom of one shoe and our birthday on the second shoe. At least that's the shoes I think I'm looking for. I don't know and now, I am not sure I care. Certainly not enough to ask him about it.

When I first got there, we had stopped at her apartment so she could use the bathroom. The back door was wide open and I took a picture. Then I decided to look in the refrigerator just to see what she had in there. Here is a picture....

I find this interesting. A package of ranch dressing, two bottle of water, two rotten bananas, something in the cup, an empty plate and a box of something she must have brought home from eating out. I could have throw the bananas out like I did last time and I could have taken the plate down to the dining hall but I didn't. Not my job? I don't know. I just figure she probably likes having things in there and if it's an issue someone else will clean it out. I'll check next time I'm there.

The plan is to stop by in two weeks when we are on our way back from San Antonio. I'm sure Allan won't mind. She is happy I'm happy and I want her to see how happy he makes me so, we will stop by for a visit. It's always an adventure!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Meeting My Mom

Chef Point Cafe in Watauga
Easter weekend, a family wedding and finally a chance to take the guy to meet my mom. Before now it wasn't possible because she lived with her son and then, after she moved, there hadn't been an opportunity. This weekend he was coming in for his nephew's wedding so we arranged to take mom to lunch. I had an appointment set up for her to get her hair done that morning so it would look nice and she would have it fixed for Easter Sunday at church - if she left it alone. This is the problem we've had in the past. She gets bored (probably) and messes with her hair. 

When we got there, we found her at the lunch table with Dorothy, just waiting for us to come get her. It was nice to see Dorothy, as usual, and mom looking great with her hair done up. We signed her out and took her to Chef Point Cafe in Watauga. If you haven't ever heard of it, you should read about it and if you are in the area, you should visit. It was featured on Dinners, Drive-in's and Dives with Guy Fieri. Best Bread Pudding EVER!

As I have mentioned before, the food at the apartments doesn't ever appeal to me and mom never really seems to "enjoy" her food. It's part of her living there - three meals a day. She could order something else off the menu or get the meal of the day. She has always gotten the meal of the day when I'm there. 

At Chef Point, knowing their portions are huge, she and I split an entree and then the three of us had one Bread Pudding. The conversation was fine and the food was delicious. I didn't think she would finish her part and told her we could take it back if she could eat it all. We shared the Blackened Salmon on angel hair pasta with Fettuccine Sauce. Allan noted late that she ate everything and hardly looked up from devouring her meal. She ate her portion of dessert as well and seemed very pleased with everything. It was good to see her enjoy her food.

We could also tell how good she felt with her hair done. This has gotten me to thinking, I should set up a standing appointment once a week so she can get it done. Dorothy told me she was really depressed one day this past week. I know she isn't really sure what's going on with her there and may not be getting as many visitors as she had been getting. I am glad she has friends, Dorothy being the closest one who really enjoys mom. I can only do so much but this is one thing I will have to check on for sure.

When we got back, I had planned to have an opportunity to sit and visit but we spent more time out than I thought and we had a wedding to get to. When we walked her back in, Dorothy was walking down the hall towards us which was perfect. She was looking for something to do and mom was back and I didn't want to leave her standing there alone. We talked for a bit and then headed out.

All in all, things were great. She is a fan of my guy and he is a fan of her. He is encouraging me to call her and make sure I set up an appointment for her hair. He keeps me grounded for sure.

Mom, me and Allan at Chef Point Cafe