Tuesday, January 30, 2007

It's freakin' cold here! The current temperature is 7 and it's going to go to 4 tonight. I don't like this weather at all!

Today I was in a seminar at work and ate a late lunch. I felt really anxious and my heart was racing a little. Perhaps it was hypoglycemia because once I ate something I felt better.

Monday, January 29, 2007

It's not always hard to live with Mom. There are many good days. We've always gotten along really well and that good relationship continues even as we struggle to adjust to new roles in life. I try to let Mom maintain her independence and dignity as much as possible. Taking care of her has given me purpose.

Today I went to get the impressions of my teeth made. Ew. I gagged during the procedure. In two weeks I will get the splint. In the meantime, I've been trying to relax my jaws.

Friday, January 26, 2007

My patience is wearing thin.

Today I met with the counselor as part of the adult children caregiver for parents with dementia study. She brought up the fact that even though I have siblings I don't seem to get much support from them. Oh, I get some emotional support from A but D has not seen his mother in seven years. When I mentioned the issues that he has with his family she replied that there are still telephones and mail. He could call his mom once in a while. In a very short time she might not remember who he is. Which brought me to thinking, was our childhood so awful for him? Were our parents so sucky that now he wants nothing to do with his family? That is a question that my therapist asked too. Why has he chosen to remove himself from the family circle? I know that his lack of involvement really pissed off Dad. Dad was pretty close to his mother, I'm not sure how he felt about his father, I was too young to really observe that relationship before Grandpa died. One thing that I have noticed about families in Minnesota is that they are really close and they try to spend as much time as possible together. Not true in my family. And yes, I know we are separated by miles but we used to spend time together as a family, for holidays. I think that's one of the things that I miss most; it seems that since Dad died everyone is less likely to make the effort to get together. It's a two way street, I know, but it's pretty difficult to travel with Mom. Heck, today we just went to lunch and to get her mammogram and she had an accident. I feel so bad for her. I helped her clean up but I get so gaggy from it that I end up throwing up and that bothers her. I wish I could control the gagging. Back to the counselor; she seems to think that if Mom is not ready for the day center then she shouldn't be pushed into doing things she uncomfortable with. I've felt that way all along, but I've been told that maybe she isn't capable of making the best decisions for herself anymore. But how can I ignore her desires and feelings? She's losing bits and pieces of her independence and dignity every day, it's not right to force her to do something she obviously doesn't feel ready for. The counselor feels that finding someone to be with Mom one on one is a good idea, like I've said all along. So now the hunt begins to find someone to introduce to Mom and get her to accept.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Here's my proposal for smokers who don't like the idea of a smoking ban; in order to smoke in public, you have to be encased in a plastic bubble that contains all of the carcinogens so that you are the only one exposed to your secondhand smoke. Once you are in the plastic bubble, you can smoke and move freely about. That's the deal, take it or leave. That way, you can still hang out and smoke in bars, restaurants and other public places, but I don't have to breathe in your second hand smoke.

Day 6 of tapering off Lexapro update: I have had mild waves of dizziness/feeling spacey. Tonight I have a wicked pain between my eyes. Tomorrow I am supposed to start the Cymbalta.

Another person told me today that she heard from a reliable source that the new PM was a total shit. I guess it's not just me that feels that way. I feel bad about that, but I guess you can't teach a old dog a new trick. You'd think that he would get the message.

Ancestory.com has a new beta feature that shows you, based on people in your family tree, famous people to whom you are related (provided your tree and their trees are correct). Some of the people for my family include: Mark Twain, Laura Ingalls-Wilder, Bette Davis, Samuel Adams, Edward Hubble, Sir Walter Scott, Charles Stratten (aka Tom Thumb!), Amelia Earhart (my 9th cousin), Mamie Eisenhower, William Wordsworth, and Wernher Von Braun (a real, live rocket scientist!). Fascinating! Jane Austen's 5th great grandfather (Thomas Throckmorton) is my 12th great grandfather according to ancestory. Theodore Roosevelt is my 8th cousin twice removed.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Tonight I made a chicken and rice dish for dinner. It was a Campbells soup recipe and it turned out pretty good.

Mom has been yelling at Stinky to get out of her room. Then she wonders why Stinky doesn't want to cuddle with her.

I got my new Ugg slippers and I love them! My feet are always cold, so when I'm not wearing my slipper socks, I can wear my Uggs. And they're purple, my favorite! I like that they have a hard sole so that I can wear them into the garage to take the trash out. My Ugg boots are showing their wear. They need to be cleaned and stitched up. But I still love them.

Monday, January 22, 2007

TMJ. Turns out that the one place where I have awesome muscle strength is in my jaw and my temples. If only I could transfer that workout and strength to other parts of my body...Next week I have to go back to get a splint made for my teeth. And of course, they are not in the office on Fridays, or at least they are not in the office close to my house on Fridays.

Mom couldn't remember that A called tonight and she was pretty ditzy with A so of course it must have been a little unsettling for her too. Mom said she thinks something is wrong with her because she can't seem to remember things. I hate that she has to go through this.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

It's a little after 6:30 and mom has gone to bed after tearfully begging to go. She'll probably have me up at midnight again when she has one of her tantrums. I'm sick of this. I try to make her stay up until at least 8:00 but her sleep cycle is so screwed up thus so is mine. I'm meeting with the U of M counselor on Friday. I'm going to have lot's of questions for her. I wish someone would just take over Mom's care completely sometimes.

We had snow today, just a light, all day snowfall, enough to shovel and plow. Lily came up and laid on my lap for about an hour this evening.

Tomorrow I go to the Facial Pain clinic, oh joy.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Our new window treatments

Living room

Mom is driving me bonkers. It doesn't help when my perimenopausal symptoms kick in (hotflashes, anxiety). My patience can be pretty thin, especially with her constant need for me to be with her, and her constant repetition of questions. I need a break from her. She is going to either go to the day center or someone is going to come in and spend time with her; I can't go on being her only caregiver or I'm going to crack.

Looks like Cymbalta is a go. I'm tapering off Lexapro slowly and starting the cymbalta next week. Should be interesting. Just hope I don't have a setback, that's the last thing that I need. Sometimes I'm just reluctant to rock the boat.

One of Stinky's soft claws has come off but so far things are going pretty well with those. Lily is coming upstairs more often too.

Even though I asked for decaff, I think there was caffeine in the coffee we had this morning. Mom has been blubbering and full of more energy than usual. She's reading a book and seems to be applying things in the book to real life. YIKES!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Last night I took Stinky to the vet and had her claws trimmed. They also put Soft Claws on her front claws. It was a short ordeal, with only a few growls, but I definitely think they are helping. And she hasn't seemed to be too bothered by them.

Saw my psych today. We are going to try weaning off Lexapro and going on Cymbalta. But I'm going to talk to my primary doctor first to see what she thinks.

At 6:30 tonight Mom decided she was going to bed. She'll probably be up around midnight. But when she gets something into her head there is no stopping her. Stubborn!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I'm still on the shitlist, but Mom did apologize and stress that her boredom 'isn't my fault'. I wish I had someone who could do things with Mom during the day. I think I will call an agency and hire someone to come entertain her. I can't take much more of the guilt and anger.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

This is really hard. Mom's mood is all over the place. Today she was mad at me again for going to work and leaving her home with nothing to do. Why is the burden for this only mine?

The director of the day center recommends that Mom have an evaluation by a neuro-psychologist. What the heck is that? And will they make life easier for us?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Mom was really squirrelly today. We went to the mall, because she complained yesterday about always being stuck in the house (though we did in fact get out). First, we were checking out cosmetics and there were some people talking a foreign language (they were actually quite rude, interrupting the clerk who was helping me) and Mom told them to speak English. Then she sat and waited for me by the piano. She said she'd like to stay and listen, but she hadn't brought her glasses (what?). Tonight, she said that she something about thinking she was just at our house for dinner and she expected to go home to her house. Then we got into a conversation about this being where she lives now and she couldn't remember that. The director of the day center thinks she needs another evaluation so I'm going to talk to her this week to find out what she means. This so much more than everyone thought I think. Even though I try not to think about the future, I worry. I wonder how long I will be able to take care of her at home, and if she does have to move to a facility, will I be able to afford to continue to live here. Maybe we should have moved back east to be with A. I dunno. I'm slowly making my way through the various stages of grief and I think I'm past anger, fear and am now at acceptance. Mom is so contrary; she wants to get out of the house and when she does, she complains and wants to be back home. Yesterday afternoon she was very agitated and wanted to get out of the house, so we did and then she wanted to be home. She has trouble getting in and out of the car (though she has discovered an alternate way to do so, she plants her butt in the seat and swings her legs in and this seems to work pretty well. She wants to go to bed sometimes as early as 6:00 pm, and she gets up really early or sometimes several times in a night. I try to remind her to brush her teeth but then she accuses me a treating her like a baby. This is really hard. I think she might be depressed too.

Anyway, it's snowing tonight and we have a winter storm warning going on. Glad tomorrow is a holiday and that I don't have to go to work.

Friday, January 12, 2007

It was an interesting day. The director from the day center came and picked up Mom around 9:00 this morning. Mom seemed very excited about it and willing went with her. However, once she got there she refused to participate in most of the activities and kept asking when her daughter was coming to pick her up. At noon the director called and filled me in on these details. She mentioned that a woman whom had taken Mom to the Senior Center was going to be coming and perhaps Mom would respond to her, and she did. I picked Mom up at 2:00 and her face lit up when she saw me. She seemed very happy and she said several times that she was the only one talking in the group (all of the women and men seemed much older than Mom, but then Mom doesn't look her age at all). So I'm not sure how to gauge this.

I took Lily to the vet where she had her shots and blood drawn. It seems that when cats reach the age of seven they are considered seniors and she was checked out thoroughly today. I can't believe that my baby is seven. Tonight, Mom called out and told me to come look; Lily was lying in the bathroom sink upstairs! She is trying to come out of her shell and I am thrilled.
I am alone in our house for the first time in 18 months. Mom is at the day activity center. I hope she is having a good time. She seemed excited about going. Cross your fingers.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Today I found out that the coin flipped in my favor...at least where the U of MN study for caregiver support is concerned. I hope to get some support in caring for Mom. I need it.

I talked to my boss today about the PM. Turns out he's aware of what's going on and he's not pleased with the PM. I feel guilty about this but I couldn't take the bullying anymore. I wish he would just do his job and not try to be a developer when he's a PM.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

I've really had it with the PM at work. I'm tired of thinking that I have something finished and then Surprise! there is more to do, but they forgot to write it in the document. Oh, and he's so stubborn. I'm tired of getting my ass kicked at both home and work. And I'm so irritable lately. Maybe because I have to work so hard at being patient and understanding at home. The last thing I want to do is take it out on Mom, she doesn't deserve it and she can't help the dementia. But it's hard to deal with being asked the same question over and over, or being accused of treating her like a baby. Or dealing with the fact that she spends hours alone in the house. I wish I wasn't the only one making the decisions.

Monday, January 8, 2007

I hate depression. The insipidness of it. I hate unenlightened people who don't understand that it's an illness. That the depressed person feels so incredibly awful that they cannot function. It's easy to assume that the person is a slacker or that they are lazy. Don't judge until you've walked a mile in the shoes of a depressed person. No one wants to feel that awful. And it doesn't help when the unenlightened bully and push and refuse to understand. My goal is to educate the unenlightened. It's easy to ridicule and make fun of the depressed and anxious people around you. But it just heaps more emotional pain on a person who is struggling.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

This morning Mom was gung ho to take down the tree. She was up and ready to go at about 9:00 AM, so we did it and now it's down.

She is getting diztier I think. She forgets that I have been home for the weekend. She insists upon going to bed whenever she is tired, even if it's 7:00 PM (then she gets up later in the night and roams or sits in the den). Every morning she asks why I have to go to work, why can't I just stay home with her? She doesn't think that I need to work, she has enough money for us both to live on. It makes me feel guilty. I feel bad that she stays home by herself all day while I'm at work but she won't go to the day center and she doesn't want anyone to come into the house (other than our housekeeper) to help her or take her anywhere. I sometimes run out of patience with her constantly asking the same thing over and over. I'd like to take her out more, but she has trouble with mobility. I definitely think that physical therapy helped her. I wish I had someone who could take her to the pool a few times per week, but she only wants to go with me. I hate dementia.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Sometimes it's hard that my life revolves around taking care of Mom and going to work. I miss being able to go to the mall and walk around. I can still do that, but Mom always wants to come and sit in the car and wait for me so I can't spend time just walking from store to store looking at things.

On Thursday our window valances were installed and I must say that they look great. Mom is quite pleased with them too. They make such a difference in the decor of our home. I hadn't realized that our windows looked so bare without them, until I saw the difference.

I am reading Wicked: The life and times of the Wicked Witch of the West. It's pretty interesting. Mom is reading a Jan Karon/Mitford book. I have no clue if she is absorbing the story, but she seems to be. She was up at 3:30 AM today calling to me. I had to come and remind her that it was that time and she was very sorry for waking me. She just does not have any concept of time and day, though she does have a concept of seasons.

Tomorrow we will begin taking down the tree and other Christmas decorations. I was hoping to purchase an ornament storage container from Target but they appeared to be sold out when I was there yesterday.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Mom has been looking at the pictures that I assembled in her album. I hope that they comfort her. The pile of snow was removed from our sidewalk today.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Snow snow SNOW! We have a lot but it is melting fast. The snow removers dumped a BIG pile of snow at the beginning of our sidewalk. Luckily no one was visiting us last night. I hope they clear it out tomorrow. The sidewalk was icy this afternoon when I went out to clear off snow that had blown over it.

This afternoon Mom and I went through the extra pictures that she has and found a bunch of good ones to put in her Picfolio album that I am making for her. She knew who everyone was but when we got to a picture of Dad taken when he was sick, she didn't recognize him. No surprise.

It's rare for a politician to place the interests of his country above his own political aspirations. Gerald Ford was such a man. History has proven that his decision to pardon Nixon was the right thing to do for the country, a country that he loved. Godspeed.

Nine Years and Counting

Mom has been gone for a little over nine years. This blog was a huge mechanism for helping me cope with her illness and daily downfall. I...