Monday, December 31, 2007
Mom was confused and emotional tonight when I arrived home from work. She calmed down after a few minutes. She didn't know where I was for the last 10.5 hours. Her caregiver had left out some snacks for her to munch on. She told Joyce that she was saving them for me. God, I hate this disease. Oh, and remember all the problems with diarrhea? Now we have the opposite problem thanks to the Tylenol with codeine. I gave Mom some senokot tonight. Hopefully it will help and not cause the other problem. But she is frustrated cuz she can feel something but it won't budge when she tries to go.
Happy New Year everyone!
Sunday, December 30, 2007
I have to go to work tomorrow :( I'm not looking forward to it. But it's only one day then I have one day off, New Years!
Olivia had a sneezing fit this afternoon. It startled both Mom and me. Mom was upset and started to cry thinking there was something wrong with her. She seems OK though. I took a picture of Lily crouching under the tree next to my Pretty Little Mistakes book.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Mom is coloring. She said her ankle was bothering her so I gave her some of the tylenol with codeine and she slept for a little while this afternoon while I watched one of my favorite movies Under the Tuscan Sun. Watching that movie makes me want to move to Tuscany. It looks beautiful.
I had both kitties on my lap today. That is a rarity.
Friday, December 28, 2007
Fish Oil Prevents Alzheimer's Plaques
WebMD Medical News
Dec. 26, 2007 -- Why does fish oil help prevent Alzheimer's disease? Your brain needs a fish oil fatty acid to make a plaque-fighting protein, UCLA researchers find.
It's known that people who get plenty of DHA, a fish oil fatty acid, have a reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease, note Greg M. Cole, PhD, associate director of the UCLA Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, and colleagues.
Why? Cole's team had a clue. People with Alzheimer's disease tend to have low levels of a brain protein called LR11 (also known as SorLA). And about 15% of people with Alzheimer's disease carry a genetic mutation that reduces LR11.
LR11 helps clear the brain of amyloid precursor protein, essential for production of the brain-gumming beta-amyloid plaque that clogs the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease.
Sure enough, in live rodents and in cultures of human brain cells, the researchers found that the fish-oil compound DHA causes brain cells to make lots more LR11.
"Because reduced LR11 is known to increase beta amyloid production and may be a significant genetic cause of late-onset Alzheimer's disease, our results indicate that DHA increases in LR11 levels may play an important role in preventing late-onset Alzheimer's disease," Cole and colleagues conclude.
It may be too late for people with late-stage Alzheimer's disease to get much benefit from fish oil. But Cole suggests that it may be a great help if taken at the first signs of Alzheimer's.
Cole and colleagues report their findings in the Dec. 26 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.
SOURCES: Ma, Q.-L. The Journal of Neuroscience, Dec. 26, 2007; vol 27: pp 14299-14307. News release, University of California, Los Angeles.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
The ice candle did not, or would not, freeze. It wasn't cold enough! We sure do have the snow though.
Mom has been dozing off while she colors. The weird thing is that she continues to color during her dozing. She has been in a pretty good mood. And she REMEMBERS that the caregiver and Joyce stopped by today. Maybe she is feeling some relief from her pain. Or maybe this is just another bend in the road for us. It's hard to say one way or the other. I just grateful for the string of good days that we've been having.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
It snowed all day long and we accumulated about 4-6 more inches of snow. Today the sun is out.
Monday, December 24, 2007
I am attempting to make an ice candle. I have a bucket of water sitting outside waiting to freeze. I hope to have it frozen by tomorrow night. I wish I had known about it sooner; it would be fun to have it for tonight, Christmas Eve. My sister and I used to put out Luminaria (and inevitably we would set at least one of the paper bags on fire). I like the idea of an ice candle, especially in Minnesota.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Mom and I drink a lot of water so I've decided to lease a reverse osmosis water purification system. At the same time, I've decided to try a water softener. Our city water isn't that hard, but it is considered moderately hard. I figure that leasing will allow us to try it out and see if we like it. The house is 'roughed in' for it so there is not much involved with installation. I hope we like it.
Our neighbors brought over their puppy today. What a sweetheart! Olivia was quite intrigued by this strange animal and vice versa. Mom enjoyed it.
Mom is doing pretty good. Her ankle seems a little bit better. At least she's not yelping in pain too much. She asked me what I wanted for Christmas from her. I forgot to wrap something and put her name on it to me. Oh well.
Friday, December 21, 2007
Mom's ankle seems a little better today. I'm taking a cautious approach with the Tylenol with codeine and so far she hasn't been too confused. I've been giving her the Seroquel at dinner and that seems to be helping the sundowning too.
We are due for some snow tomorrow. Today it was very mild and there was some melting of our current snow pack.
Listening to: Rosemary Clooney - Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep
Thursday, December 20, 2007
I received a copy of Coach Broyles' Playbook for Alzheimer's Caregivers today. I scanned it quickly and it looks interesting. I'll have to take a closer look at it as time permits.
The weather is mild today and the snow is melting a little bit. We'll still have a white Christmas though because we have lots of snow.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
I ordered 2 Christmas pop up books and they came today. Mom has had a great time looking at them. One is about Christmas around the world and the other is about the nativity. They are lovely books.
Tomorrow I'm taking Mom to the doctor to find out if there is something wrong with her ankle. She has been complaining for about a week of pain and I finally narrowed it down to her ankle.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
I'm sick of commuting to and from work too. The ride home at night is taking much longer and I'm getting home just in time to deal with Mom sundowning. Oh joy. She was laughing during Raymond tonight though. And she ate the big salad that I made for dinner.
Monday, December 17, 2007
Tonight I talked to my uncle who is my dad's brother. Halfway through the conversation it struck me how much his voice and pronunciation sounds like my Dad's. It was comforting somehow. I miss my dad. After his passing holidays were never the same. It's like he was the glue that held us together. I always think of him but I especially think of him and remember him at Christmas. Now it's usually just Mom and me at Christmas. And Mom has never really been that into the holiday since Dad passed away. So we probably won't do anything too exciting on the day.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Yesterday I went out and bought gifts for Mom's caregivers. I am almost done with my Christmas shopping and birthday shopping (both my niece and nephew are December babies). I bought coloring books for Mom of course, and Sander's hot fudge for my siblings. Sanders is a Michigan tradition, specifically a Detroit tradition. My grandfather worked there for 50 years, he managed a downtown Detroit store. My great-grandfather also worked for and managed a Sander's store. The best things from Sander's include their colonial buttercream cakes and their Christmas cookies. Each of us kids had a First Birthday cake from Sander's where they put our baby picture on the top of the cake. Mom has pictures of each of us with our Sander's cakes. Yummy stuff. Another Michigan tradition is the best ginger ale in the world, Vernors. It's the best and they finally sell it in Minnesota or you can buy it online. My sister found some in Pittsburgh and bought some and hoarded it.
It's sunny but very cold here in Minnesota. It was -2 today when I got up and headed out to Target. but the sun makes a world of difference. It's warming up right now. Even Mom's mood is brighter when the sun is out.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
It's cold but sunny here today. The wind has picked up and the windchill has dropped. Winter in Minnesota, never a dull moment.
Listening to: Mr. Big - Green-Tinted Sixties Mind
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
I had a good day too, though I was tired this morning. Some days everything just seems to click. Today was one of those days.
The sunset tonight was beautiful. Bright oranges and pinks. Very nice.
I keep thinking about Cinnamin and her vigil with her mom and praying for peace for them.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Mom seems to get more agitated around dinner time and I suppose it's sundowning. Around 4:30 PM she started wanting to go to bed today. I told her she could take a nap if she wanted but she didn't want to. I think she gets bored. Luckily my sister called and that distracted Mom. She was saying that she didn't know what she was supposed to be doing (we've heard that before, right?). She also has developed a sensitivity to the temperature of food. She used to like her meals piping hot, but now she complains. I try to make sure food is thoroughly cooked though but I let it cool before I give it to her. She also doesn't like things that are too cold, like ice cream. She used to LOVE ice cream. Her sweet tooth has pretty much vanished, though she does still like an occasional treat.
Mom and I saw Michael Buble on CBS Sunday Morning today and Mom really liked him and his music, so I downloaded his new album from iTunes and we are listening to it now. I will eventually put it on Mom's iPod. She's got her eyes closed. Even Olivia seems to like it.
Saturday, December 8, 2007
It is COLD here and the snow is deep. I'll bet we have at least a foot of snow. I'm dreaming of a white Christmas.....
Friday, December 7, 2007
Thank you Nancy for the info about the washable bed pads. I ordered 2 today! I'm sure they will help me and Mom.
I visited the final memory care facility and met with the director and the head RN, both of whom I liked very much. I put a deposit down so that we can be included on the waiting list. Now it's in God's hands.
It's sunny but cold today. We have so much snow, it's amazing. Just one week ago we had none. The roads, however, are mostly cleared.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
I called my neighbor who has a tall ladder and he volunteered to come down and change the batteries for me on the smoke detectors. What a great guy!
Mom is in a good mood today, but then I'm home so that helps.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Speaking of Christmas, I ordered a 24 inch teddy bear for Mom for Christmas. It might help to calm her down to have something to hold. I also ordered a Barry Manilow concert DVD for her. We were watching his show on PBS the other night and it really made Mom happy. She is a big fan. For her sake, I can put up with it. I just hope it doesn't turn into something she wants to watch all of the time like Everybody Loves Raymond. I think I know each show by heart now.
Why do builders put smoke detectors so far up that you have to have a cherry picker to change the batteries and test them??? The one in Mom's room is chirping. Did I mention that we have vaulted ceilings? I had called to get someone to change the battery and they wanted $110.00! What?? To change a BATTERY? I'm buying me a huge ladder and going into the business! Anyway, tomorrow I get to try to find someone to change it or disable it. I'm going to start with the fire department. I pay taxes, shouldn't they come and change a battery? We'll see.
Mom was frazzled this morning when Terri came. She had soiled herself and her bed again and she was confused about how to clean herself up. Terri came to the rescue, got her in the shower and then got her settled in. Starting tomorrow Terri will be coming for 3 hours each day. That should give us some better coverage and help me out a little. I'm sure all my caregiver friends can relate to this scenario. I've washed sheets every night after work this week and I'm tired. Especially after a long time stuck in traffic in the middle of a snowstorm.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Rick mentioned on his blog that his mom said she didn't know what she was supposed to be doing. My mom has said that exact same thing on several occasions. Mom also thinks that she's 'been bad' if she soils herself or some other such thing. I do everything I can to assure her that she is not bad. I wonder if this is something cropping up from her childhood? I may never know. I just know that it breaks my heart to think that she thinks she is bad.
Monday, December 3, 2007
Meanwhile I talked to my aunt and uncle tonight. My uncle said auntie fell twice in the department store when they were out shopping. I worry about uncle, he has his hands full too. He is in pretty good health and I'd like to keep it that way.
I hauled the tree up from the lower level today. Now I need to decorate it. Mom will help do that, I hope.
We are due for more snow, around the evening rush hour tomorrow. Yuck.
I finally scanned in the one group shot that turned out. Here is the whole motley crew from Thanksgiving.
Joyce stopped by and Mom insisted that I hang with them. Joyce is a retired cop and boy does she have the stories, especially ones about local sports stars. Before she retired she dealt with a lot of stuff from these guys, including our old friend Kirby Puckett. She was involved in the investigation at a local restaurant for good old Kirby and his 'groping' incident of which he was found innocent. She pretty much said the same thing; the evidence was not very substantial on the alleged victim's part.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Olivia has figured out what the word 'chickadee' means. She will come running when I say 'chickadee dee dee dee' right for the window to stare out and see the birds. It's really quite amazing. Lily knows what the word 'outside' means. Her ears will perk up when she hears that word or her name. Smart kitties. I could never part with them. I'm a firm believer that adopting a pet means that you've adopted them for life. That means providing for them when one can no longer take care of them. I know it would break Lily's heart to be separated from me. In fact, knowing she needs me has helped me get through bouts of depression. She is my baby.
Tomorrow we have an appointment with the neurologist. Mom will probably not want to leave the house. I'm going to have Terri come, as scheduled, in the morning. I don't want to get Mom out of that routine. I will work from home. We don't have a lot to report to the neurologist other than the fact that Mom seems to have declined quite a bit this autumn, both mentally and physically. She also may need to have her med upped so that she is less tearful at daycare and with Terri.
We still haven't put up the tree, maybe this week. I've got the snow village up though.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
You know you're a true Minnesotan when:
1. A snowstorm sends shivers of excitement and anticipation up your spine.
2. Camping in the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness is your idea of a vacation.
3. Going to the beach means a trip to Lake Superior.
4. There are only 2 seasons; winter and road construction.
5. Driving in 10 inches of snow is not daunting.
6. Fire hydrants in your neighborhood have tall stakes which allow them to be easily located when they are buried in several feet of snow.
7. You're sick of snow by February and are ready for the next season (road construction).
This photo was taken at 12:30 PM in the middle of a Minnesota snowstorm. You might be able to notice the little flags that mark the curbs and driveways. My sister claims these flags are not nearly tall enough.
Friday, November 30, 2007
A winter storm is heading our way. It's due to hit at around noon tomorrow with accumulations between 4 to 8 inches. Strangely enough, I'm sort of excited. I plan to put on Christmas music and haul up the tree to decorate. I bought some evergreen branches that I would like to put in a basket in the den. They smell so good.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Mom and I watched the finale of Dancing With The Stars last night. I was glad that Helio won the competition. Although the Spice Girl was great, it wasn't much of a stretch for her to become a ballroom dancer in my opinion. A race car driver that can learn ballroom dancing, that's a stretch.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
For some weird reason I'm not feeling a Thanksgiving let-down, though I think Mom is. Perhaps that is because I experienced my let-down before my sister left and now I have pulled it together in order to accomplish all that I was assigned to do.
My aunt called twice today. I think she is really worried and upset about her sister. Amazingly, when I called Mom this afternoon she told me her sister had called. I usually take this with a grain of salt but sure enough, her name and number were on the caller ID for today. Way to go Mom remembering this! I wish I could have prepared auntie for Mom's AD progression better.
I am on the waiting list now for one of the memory care facilities, I'm touring another on 12/7 and I need to get a check to the third one. I feel good about the places my sister and I chose, I think they will take good care of Mom when the time comes. But I know she will pitch a fit.
Joyce stopped by for an hour just to make sure Mom was OK and to chat. She said Mom was in good spirits. Terri also said that Mom was in good spirits this AM with her. And she took a shower. Bu she didn't go to day care. She was too tired.
Friday she is scheduled for a mammogram. I hope it warms up by then.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Mom came home on the bus from day care, only stupid me gave them the wrong code for the garage door. They tried to call me but couldn't reach me so they called my sister who knew the code for the lockbox. Thank God I told her that on Saturday. Anyway, they got Mom into the house and settled into the den. She was very anxious and tearful when I got home, but she calmed down after a while.
It is a gorgeously sunny day here today.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Last night Mom awoke at 12:30 AM with some weirdness going on. I'm still not sure what the problem was. I had given her half of a muscle relaxant before bed (I cleared this with the pharmacist based upon all of her medications first), I wonder if she had a drug interaction. I won't be giving her that again. It was scary and we were up until 4:30 AM. I gave her a banana just in case it was a muscle cramp (she hasn't been eating her banana daily).
To top things off, Joyce let me know that she needs 24 hours notice when Mom is going to cancel. I guess we will be using the bus sooner than I thought.
This sucks so much. I feel a gamut of emotions, but I know I can't go on like this much longer.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
My sister and her husband are staying until Monday which is nice. I glad that people are leaving in waves and not all at once. That would be so hard.
It is finally sunny here. We had a light dusting of snow on Wednesday into Thursday. It will probably warm up a little now that people are gone.
Friday, November 23, 2007
Thanksgiving went well. Mom stayed with the crowd until the end. I think her sister was a little upset by her disease progression though. We all had a wonderful time looking at photos and reminiscing. Here are the two sisters along with their daughters. I've also included a photo of Mom and her sister at their grandparent's summer home.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Lily has taken this opportunity to come out of hiding. She's very shy and likes to hide. Olivia has been socializing all day.
It is COLD here in Minnesota, only in the 30s. We picked up the dinner this morning. Everything is already made, we just heat everything up.
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in blog land.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
This version of I'll Be Home for Christmas is a wonderful tribute to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. I wish they were home.
Listening to: Josh Groban - I'll Be Home for Christmas
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Today we received a certified letter from Mom's clinic. It was time for her mammogram back in September. I dropped the ball, mostly because if they do find something, what are we going to do? Can she withstand the treatment? She can barely withstand the mammogram. I talked this over with my sister and we came to the conclusion that I should make the appointment so I will.
Friday, November 16, 2007
The light fixtures for our ceiling fans have finally come in (I ordered them in late July!) and I will pick them up tomorrow. Hopefully Joe will be able to install them while he is here. I don't want to have too many things for him to do, I'm hoping he will be able to have some enjoyment when he is here.
This is a picture of me, in my crib!, with my very first kitty cat, Muffin. I think I was about 3 years old. I still have my Raggedy Ann doll pictured here. I have been trying to scrapbook. I have hundreds of photos that I ripped out of those sticky 'magnetic' albums. Now I need to put them all in acid free scrapbooks. It's a long process. Tonight I was able to get one page done in my album that I am trying to put together, that documents 2 trips that I took with Mom and Dad on ore carriers. I've lost my creative-ness or something. Digital scrapbooking is much easier, but then I would have to scan all of these hundreds of photos into my computer. Ick.
Listening to: James Taylor - Carolina in My Mind
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Mom gets squirrelly sometimes from the AD. Darn that disease!
I am addicted to snow villages and snowbabies. Last year was my first year of collecting snow villages. My nephew gave Mom and me an adorable cottage that is part of the Dickens village. I, on the other hand, bought some pieces from the New England village. I like both the Dickens series and the New England series. I was initially attracted to the NE village because the first piece I purchased had kitty cats in it.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
She felt better though after I gave her dinner and her meds. Tonight we watched the Osmonds on Larry King. She enjoyed that, and she seemed to be calmed.
I am on vacation until the 26th. I'm looking forward to some time away from work, guilt free.
It has turned cold here, it was 38 tonight as I drove home. That's the one downside to having a temperature control on my dashboard; now I know the actual outdoor temperature. Ick.
Tomorrow we are supposed to go to the daycare for caregiver's day. I hope I can get Mom to go. Then I am getting my hair colored. I need to cover all of the gray hair I've gotten.
My mood has evened out. I feel less overwhelmed and depressed. I've also noticed that I am not as irritable. That is something that I need to keep in mind as a possible indicator of a breakthrough of my depression; I get irritable.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
We are gearing up for Thanksgiving and our houseful of relatives. I can't wait to see everyone. It has been several years since I've seen my cousin Jill and her family.
Annie has a link to an entertaining blog, Confessions of a Pioneer Woman. The woman who writes this blog is very good at telling a story and her photos are great. Thanks for sharing this link Annie!
Not much else going on. Downloaded a few Led Zeppelin songs from iTunes. I'm not a huge Led Zeppelin fan. I just have fond memories of trying to learn Stairway to Heaven on my guitar. That song about killed my fingers.
Listening to: Led Zeppelin - Kashmir
Monday, November 12, 2007
My cousin called tonight. They will be here next Tues. They plan to drive to Madison, WI the first day. It will be nice to see them.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Tomorrow is a day off for me in honor of Veterans Day.
Friday, November 9, 2007
If I won the lottery, I'd give money to Mom's day program. They are located in a church basement currently. I'd also make sure that home health aides had health insurance for themselves. This is my dream. I'd also make sure that Mom was well taken care of. And guess what, my sister would love this, I'd move closer to family, I'd buy a summer house on Mackinac Island (which is heaven on earth to our family) and I'd have a place in a warm climate for winter. That's what I'd do with my lottery winnings.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
I also had a psych appointment. I am switching meds and may end up upping the dose too. She also wrote me a note for work so that has lifted a weight off of my shoulders. Unfortunately I don't really get much support from work and I feel like they think I'm just slacking off. But between caring for Mom, dealing with my fibromyalgia and depression it's hard. I have to put Mom and myself before my job. I've taken up the slack for others my whole career so now it's time for me to receive the same kind of understanding that I've given to others. I don't know how many times I've picked up the workload of people on maternity leave or surgical leave. Because I'm single, I've always volunteered to work overtime or holidays without nary a complaint. Now it's my turn for some understanding and support.
Mom is feeling much better but I'm still feeding her the BRAT diet just to be sure. Last night I gave her plain white rice for dinner and she couldn't finish it and got a little sick. Today she seems better though.
It's sunny today! YAY!
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
I'm in drama queen role big time. I've been crying and feeling low; I think my SAD is kicking in. It didn't help that Mom was sick and I didn't sleep much and now I'm stuck at home and it's cloudy. Mom is doing much better, drinking 7-up and eating some Jello. I feel so alone though and there is no one to turn to. It's a good thing I'm going to the psych tomorrow cuz I think I need to up my meds. Or switch meds. I hate antidepressants. But I can't function without them. I've tried. I think that underlying all of this drama is a fear that I have missed too much work between my issues and Mom's and there may be repercussions.
On the plus side, the home aide wrote in her report that Mom was combative and teary yesterday. She was still sleeping when the aide showed up and confused. I called the agency and told them Mom felt bad and the social worker said there was no need to apologize, they deal with that type of behavior all the time with ALZ patients. I am impressed by this, since the last agency just wanted to push meds on Mom for this behavior, and several of them quit because of it. If you're going to deal with ALZ patients you have to know that this is part of the disease. Today Mom was smiling when I came into the den. She has a lovely smile and I almost feel like my old Mom is back when I see it. I love to see that smile.
Monday, November 5, 2007
Lily and I are cuddling and watching Dancing With The Stars. I hesitate to vote for the celebs who having dancing as part of their profession. I'd rather vote for someone who has no dancing in their background. It makes it more interesting to take someone who's never danced and turn them into a dancer. That's my philosophy anyway. I also think that the choice of music makes a big difference. Last week when Jane Seymour danced, I think it was the jive, to David Bowie's Modern Love, it just didn't do it for me, mostly because of the song. Tonight someone danced to Jeanne, Jeannie, also a weird choice. Oh well.
Mom is coloring now and we are watching Raymond. Dancing with the Stars will be on in about 40 minutes. Mom has already said she wants to go to bed. We need to get more coloring books. Watching Raymond always makes Mom miss Dad.
Sunday, November 4, 2007
At 1:30 this morning I had both kitties on my bed. Lily seemed indignant that Olivia dared be on her bed. Olivia, like a bull in a china shop, was climbing all over, knocking things off the nightstand and jumping on me. She's still a baby relatively.
Gasoline is over three dollars a gallon again....
Saturday, November 3, 2007
Mom is in a good mood today, she is coloring and watching the Hallmark channel movies. It is slightly overcast and chilly. I cleared out the right side of the garage in preparation for the new steps. I hope they make it easier for Mom to get in and out of the house. Then I did a Target run, to Super Target, and I killed two birds with one stone; I bought groceries and other things. But boy that store is huge, and it was busy!
Mom made a funny comment today. She said she's not ready to die. I don't know what brought that up unless she was retaining something from my conversation with Allyson about how my blog friend Betsy had lost her mom. This is a strange disease. Mom will start out saying something completely lucid only to end with something completely off the wall. Usually all in the same sentence. I try to be patient and let her express what she is trying to say. But it's hard. I'm so grateful for every minute that we get to spend together. Even though it's hard, and I get tired and inpatient, I'm glad that I can be with Mom. She is so important to me and she's a good mom. I'm not ready for her to leave me.
Listening to: Carrie Underwood - All-American Girl
Friday, November 2, 2007
My friend Betsy posted today on her blog that her Mom passed away peacefully in her sleep last night. Her battle with the enemy that is Alzheimer's is over. I am so sad for Betsy and her family, but I am also relieved that her mom will no longer suffer and decline into the abyss that is Alzheimer's. God Bless you Betsy. And Godspeed to your Mom.
They are going to begin work on the low rise steps in the garage on Monday. The lumber will be delivered either Sunday or Monday. Should be interesting. I need to clear the stuff off that wall before Monday.
Today is a beautiful sunny day. Mom and I need to go for her INR/Protime at 2:15. She doesn't want to go and I can't say I blame her. I wish there were nurses who visited to do this.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
1 in 7 over age of 71 has Dementia
I found this interesting statistic on WebMD.
Mom talked a lot about the day program today. It's hard to tell what she means most of the time but I was able to discern quite a bit of what she said. So, she attended 3 days this week. That is a milestone. We had a different caregiver today. I was a little concerned to find my bedroom light on when I came home. I don't think either of the cats turned it one and I KNOW Mom didn't. Hmm. Maybe I should invest in a web camera after all. Actually, I need several, one for Mom's area and one for my area.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
I also had a note from Joyce which said that Mom found a friend at Prairie. Her name is Ruth. Joyce said she has never seen Mom happier than today. Also on the daily report that Mom gets from Prairie, it said something about how great it was to see the joy on her face as she listened to a music concert at Prairie in the afternoon. That makes me feel so very happy, to know that she feels some joy while at Prairie.
It was a low key day for me. It took extra long to get home tonight because traffic was heavy for Halloween. But all in all it was a good day.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
The November issue of National Geographic has a story about memory; how we keep it and how we lose it. They have a picture that compares a healthy brain to one ravaged by AD. It's so scary to see, and it really portrays just why our loved ones lose memories and other functions, slowly but surely. It really is an awful thing. Mapping Memory
This is from my sister. Makes you think.
AARP Study Finds US Has Much to Learn from German Long-Term Care System
Monday, October 29, 2007
I found this on mayoclinic.com in an Alzheimer's Blog. I wonder if Esther from the Alzheimer's boards is the author (the blogger on the Mayo site said someone named Esther wrote it)?
Declaration of Independence For Persons Living with Alzheimer's
Look at me as someone very, very special with personal accomplishments only I have accumulated throughout all my years of living; I am different from anyone else, unique and precious because I am the only one who has lived my life.
I cannot be duplicated, and what I am, what I know, what I have done, what I can become belongs solely to me. While I am here, I am still being, still becoming. I am irreplaceable and invaluable, the only one of a kind, ever, before or after.
The community where I live will grow only as I grow. Don't discard me as a worn-out, useless finished garment. Wear me out in honor and pride and don't ignore me, talk down to me, over me, or around me as if I am no longer there. Be careful how you label me and please don't call me a senior citizen, you don't call your teenagers junior citizens. When I am lying ill in bed, don't come in and say to me shall we have our bath now? There's no we or our, it's my bath.
I don't want to be humored, babied, or pampered, patronized, exploited for your advantage. I want to be regarded, not someone at the end of a journey, but, rather as one still vitally involved in the living of life in all of its possibilities, good to the last drop.
Enable me through your wisdom, to experience a 'doing', a 'being,' a 'becoming' every day of this life so that I am what I was intended, in my creation, to become, to hear my calling, and to live out my destiny in all of its fullness, expected of me. Don't waste me and make me stand with empty hands and unfulfilled hopes before my creator at the end of this life.
Help me to grow and achieve all that I was potentially able to be with your help. And give me a sense of worth, dignity and achievement, for there is so much to do, use me!
Remember, I go this way but once. Want me, love me and let the ending be as gracious and living as it was in the beginning when I first arrived.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Today was a puppy extravaganza. Mom even ventured outside to see it! But it was pretty cold so she didn't stay out very long. This is my neighbor Mary holding Bailey. Bailey and Satine are playing. They bite and chase each other around. Mary has a dachshund, Rusty, who tries to avoid the puppy extravaganza. It was a nice, sunny day, but chilly.
Mom had a good day today, but she gets whiny and crabby at bedtime pretty much every night. I don't know if this is sundowning.
Friday, October 26, 2007
I have a grab bar to install in Mom's bathroom. I need to find a wall stud though first. I want to put it alongside the commode in order to give Mom something to help her get up.
Mom was sort of whiny today. I really have to work at it to be patient when that happens. I know it's not her, it's the disease, but it's annoying.
Listening to: Carrie Underwood - So Small
Thursday, October 25, 2007
It's another glorious autumn day here. Stunning but cool.
I was reading through my journal last night. Way back in 2004 I was worried about Mom and her memory. I think that must have been when my aunt and uncle visited and expressed their concerns too. I have several entries where I voiced my concerns not only about her memory, but also her desire to remain isolated in her home. I tried to encourage her to remain active and up until the winter of 2004-05 she did a fairly good job by doing her water aerobics, playing cards with the neighborhood ladies and participating in a Red Hat Society group. She expressed several times her inability to catch on and learn the card game 500. She said she felt 'stupid'. This was clearly a sign that something was wrong. It sure didn't take long for her to begin a rapid decline. I remember how freaked out I was very soon after we moved in together and learned just how far along her AD was at that time.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Our weather has been gorgeous. It's a nice change after the gloominess of last week.
We watched the California wildfires on the news tonight. Those people are in our prayers.
Monday, October 22, 2007
I have had several bouts of major depression, the latest one was 3 years ago. During that bout, which was definitely the worst bout I've had so far, my manager was not very understanding. I admit that I felt awful and probably didn't have my heart in my work. It's hard to concentrate on doing a great job when you don't even feel like living. My manager has not gotten over that. In fact it seems like I am being held back because of it. Now, I'm caring for my mom and I feel like that too is being held against me. Luckily I've been with a great therapist for those 3 years and she has really helped me a lot.
On the plus side, today was a gloriously sunny day. The fall colors are so beautiful. And Mom had a good day too. I am nervous for tomorrow; the health aide comes and the plan is to take Mom to Prairie. I hope it goes OK. Let go and let God.
Listening to: Sarah McLachlan - Ordinary Miracle
Sunday, October 21, 2007
About 2:30 this morning Mom called out for help. She was wrapped up in the bedcovers and couldn't move. I got her unwrapped and then stayed with her until she fell back to sleep. This morning she slept until 8:00 and I helped her take a shower. I need to think of a way to warm up her bathroom. The tile floor and white walls are not very welcoming. She used to have rugs on the floor but they spent more time in the wash than on the floor so I took them up.
My coworker Nancy says that the second half of our life is about dealing with loss. True.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
It was a gorgeous autumn day today. We were out early shopping at Home Depot then we drove around and looked at the fall colors. I have some beautiful pictures but blogger is not letting me post them. I've got a great one of the red maples for Flinty.
Mom was dozing in her chair this afternoon, she woke up with start, saying 'what do you want?' to someone whom I couldn't see. It's been awhile since she's done this.
Mom's appetite appears to be back. Tonight though she had a little blood in her urine from her high coumadin level. I forgot and gave her her pill last night. Hopefully she will start to come down now. We get it retested on Monday.
Friday, October 19, 2007
While the nurse was here today checking over Mom, Olivia watched her like a hawk. She would jump up on Mom's lap frequently too. It was like Olivia was making sure that no one was messing with Mom. What a great little kitty.
It was a windy, gloomy day today. Tomorrow is supposed to our first peak at the sun in about a week. If the sun does come out I plan to take some pictures of the lovely red maples that line the street on the way into our neighborhood.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Mom has a ginormous bruise on her upper left arm. It must be from her fall on Monday. I keep asking her if it hurts but she says no. I'm thankful for that. I'm also glad that she only has a bruise. It could have been so much worse.
Tomorrow the social worker and the nurse visit from the Home healthcare agency. Mom will probably have a fit but oh well.
I'm feeling boxed in at work, like there is no place to go. Maybe that's ok. I don't know. I just don't like having options. Time will tell in that area. And then it took an hour and a half to get home tonight. I could find no other reason than the rain.
Today I talked to a woman who works with a referral service called "A Place for Mom". They help people find care or housing for senior citizens. I figure it's time to at least start looking at memory care facilities in the area. This woman told me that many places have waiting lists, which are months long, so it is important to plan ahead. She sent me a list of many different places in surrounding communities where I can visit on my own to weed out places that I feel wouldn't fit Mom. I found a link to their website somewhere on the internet. She had lots of advice which was helpful.
Thank God for my blog friends too. I don't know what I would do without your support and advice.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Mom talks a lot in her sleep. When she naps in her chair she will twitch and mumble. Last night this went on while Olivia napped on her lap. I kept watching to see if Olivia was going to get hit or something, but it didn't happen. And Olivia hung right in there with Mom. She is very protective of Mom and senses when Mom is feeling down. Animals are very intuitive and Olivia has really tuned in to Mom and her emotions.
The gloominess continues. Today it drizzled and rained for most of the day. We need a good shot of sunshine to brighten things up and lift our moods.
I just read a study about workers and depression. The highest amount of depression is found to be among people who work in the personal care and service industries, while math and computer technologies employees ranked 10th out of 17 profession categories. I wonder if the numbers are lower for math and computer professions because men tend to hold these jobs and they either don't seek treatment for depression or because more women then men suffer from depression and women account for a smaller percentage of these types of workers.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Sunday, October 14, 2007
The weather is cloudy, cold and gloomy and the rest of the week portends the same. Eh. Not my favorite time of the year. November is usually even more cloudy.
There is one big change that I have noticed since we stopped the Aricept: Mom's aphasia is much worse. She really has trouble getting out intelligible sentences. But the diarrhea is better, at least when she's not on antibiotics.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Allyson asked Joe about the bid we received for the low riser steps and he thought it was reasonable so I will call and set up a time to have them done. That should help Mom so much with getting in and out of the house.
Friday, October 12, 2007
It was cool and gloomy here today. They skies are overcast. I hope that the sun comes out sometime this weekend. We need it.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Today I was feeling down, thinking about my parents and the fact that both of them have had to suffer through hell in the final years of their lives. Dad was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer only 2 years after he retired. He did not deal well with this news, who would? He passed away before his 67th birthday. He and I were the 'gruesome twosome'. Now I'm watching my mom slip away. My dear mother. I've always been a mama's girl. My parents protected me from pain when I was younger, but they can't protect me from the pain of watching them slip away. I just want my mom back the way she was. I know this is selfish and impossible. And I want my dad to protect me and make everything better.
It's still cold here. From 90s to 40s in one week is just too much of a temperature change.