Wednesday, October 31, 2007

During the Halloween Blizzard of 1991 the upper Midwest was dumped with snow. On the east coast, it was dubbed the Halloween Nor'easter, and was The Perfect Storm. This was the last major snow event that I can remember. Minneapolis received 28 inches and Duluth, where my parents lived, received a whopping 36 inches of snow. Mom has pictures of this that Dad took. They have a picture of a yardstick in the snow, which is buried nearly to the top. I remember being trapped in my apartment for days. I was able to work from home though, using my trusty little Mac to connect by modem to the computer system. The temperature turned very cold after this storm. The roads were icy for the entire winter, I don't think they ever really melted until spring. This year Halloween was cold, 48 degrees. We had a few trick or treaters, maybe 10 total. Mom LOVED seeing the kids in their costumes, and the puppies in their costumes. The neighbors brought over their puppies. They know how much Mom loves them. She was cuddling with Bailey for quite a long time. And now she wants a puppy....

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

Mom's home health aide Terri called this morning. I was a little startled to see our home number on the caller ID at first. She was trying to figure out how to work the remote for the TV. We have 3 remotes, one for the TV, one for the cable box and one for the DVD player. I try to keep them all hidden except for the one for the cable box. Terri wanted to know how to work the remote, so I explained over the phone. She said (and this I already knew) that Mom likes to watch 'Ellen', she will laugh out loud. Mom hasn't lost her sense of humor. We laugh a lot about silly things and she loves to watch situation comedies. Terri was a little doubtful that Mom would want to go to Prairie, but guess what? She went! I'm glad. Terri seems like a good person. She said that Mom gets really agitated and will cry, so I have called the neurologist to see if we should up Mom's seroquel. Mom is fine with me though so I'm not sure about this. I really don't like to overly medicate either myself or her. In the meantime, I've added a fourth day to the schedule for Mom so that she will have someone with her on the mornings when I go to work. This gives me some peace of mind. Now I've got to get my rear to the ALF places from 'A Place for Mom'. I'm procrastinating though.

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

video
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

Today was a low key day. We had our flu shots and we went to the car wash. I did our grocery shopping in the morning. Now we are watching Everybody Loves Raymond after light dinner. It was sunny off and on all day. There was rain southeast of us. This has been the cloudiest month of October in nearly 50 years here. It felt like it. I only hope that November is better.

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
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Joyce warned me. Mom was upset about not being picked up until 4:15 yesterday. She said she wasn't going today and she didn't. Sherry called at 10:00 to let me know that Mom didn't want to get out today. Still, Terri was able to give her a shower. She was up and in the bathroom when I left this morning so she must have decided to go back to bed. When I called Mom to check in this morning she seemed sorry that Terri had left and she said she hates to be alone. I reminded her that she could have gone to Prairie today. Oh well. Tomorrow we are going to get our flu shots. There has been 1 case verified in Minnesota, but that person had been traveling so our virology lab director does not feel that can be considered the 'first case of the season'.

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

It's been 2 days and so far things are going OK with the home health aide. She has been leaving me a report of how things go with Mom, which I like very much. Today, Mom had an accident in bed and the aide helped Mom get cleaned up and she washed Mom's sheets. She even got Mom to take a shower! Joyce picks Mom up every day. Today she picked Mom up at 4:15 and Mom was upset that she was so late. I've asked if Mom can be brought home at 2:00 so this is an extra long day for Mom. She was exhausted tonight and went to bed at 8:00. This weekend I think I'm going to try to take her to an assisted living facility. They called me today to invite us to Oktoberfest on Saturday. I'm going to try to get Mom to go so that she will know that she won't be in a traditional nursing home when the time comes. I checked it out online and it looks really, really nice. Plus they have a dog and a cat that live on the premises.

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'm between a rock and a hard place. Caring for Mom is the rock, work is the hard place. Today I worked from home because I needed to take Mom to have her blood drawn for her INR/Protime. I can't get past the idea that my manager thinks working from home is slacking off. But how else am I going to get Mom to the clinic? Mom's health is most important for me. And today her protime was in a normal range. That's a good thing.

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
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, October 21, 2007

We are back to gloominess and cold. It's really windy today and that is blowing all of the leaves off of the trees. Very sad. I am not looking forward to winter, with the snow and cold and short daylight. Thought I would include another picture though from yesterday. This is from the bluff overlooking the river.

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

Today was a good day. We met with both the nurse and the social worker for the home health agency. I was very impressed with the both. The nurse took Mom's BP (102/70), pulse, listened to her heart and lungs and then checked her skin for issues. She spent quite a while here. If the aides are as good as everyone else at this place then everything should be fine. Mom had her coumadin level checked today too. It was really high due to the bactrim that she was taking for her UTI. We have to stop the coumadin for the weekend and then re-check on Monday. I think that I will work from home that day. Tonight Mom's appetite seems to be back. She had several small slices of pizza as well as several small meals throughout the day. I bought a blueberry-pomegranate juice that she just loves. She drank several glasses of that. And best of all, I got a urine sample and dropped it off at the lab.

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

Thank God for my sister. Tonight Mom was having an anxious time. Then my sister called and I had her talk to Mom. Mom's mood instantly brightened and she was laughing at things my sister was telling her. It means a lot to both of us to have that connection to family who live far away. AND even better news, my sister and her family are coming for Thanksgiving along with my Aunt and Uncle and cousins. It give me something to look forward to.

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.
Mom refused to go to daycare today. Joyce said she tried everything in her book to encourage her but Mom was adamant. No go.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I was running late this morning. I heard Mom get up and use the bathroom and I just knew that I should have checked on her, but I took a muscle relaxant last night and was still groggy. I kept sleeping. Big mistake. Mom had had an accident in her bed, on the carpet and a little in the bathroom. I sprayed some carpet cleaner on the carpet with plans to run the new steam vac when I got home. I was 2 minutes late for the van pool though, this after I had nicely asked if everyone could make an extra effort to be there on time. Guess I looked stupid. But it was becoming a habit for some, including the driver, to show up 5 minutes or more late. That was making me late for work since I am the last person dropped off in the morning. Speaking of work, we were notified today that we have a new supervisor. The uncertainty of it is making me nervous, I don't like change. Tonight I arrived home to a tired Mom. She wasn't hungry. During lunch today I talked to the registered nurse at the new agency I've chosen for Mom. She asked questions for an hour. She was very thorough and I liked her. I hope we have good luck with the aides. I explained some of Mom's issues, like the incontinence (both urine and bowel) and the frequent accidents and this nurse seemed understanding. At least more so than the one at the last agency. Speaking of the last agency, I gave them a chance to keep our service but when I called and asked about a Good Morning package they said they didn't have one so I said OK and thank you. Low and behold, the RN called later that day to 'see how Mom was doing' and asked whether she should close our account. I explained about the Good morning stuff and she said that they have a 2 hour minimum thing for $65. The new agency's package is $45 dollars. I hope that things continue to go well with this. I plan to have Joyce come as well since Mom knows her, to help with the transition. And I will continue to have Joyce pick Mom up for the foreseeable future. Mom likes Joyce and I do to. And so it goes...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Tomorrow Mom will attend daycare again. After a day there, she seems tired. I'm told that this is good for her to have this stimulation. I hope so. I hope that it is helping to give her some enjoyment in this life. I miss her so much even though she is with me every day. She's not the same. This disease has robbed her of most of her personality. This makes me sad because the two of us have always been very close. I've also contacted a home health care agency to have them help Mom get ready in the morning for the day program. I hate to take Joyce out of the picture but I'm not sure that it's fair to expect her to be responsible for some of the basic needs that Mom needs met in the morning including help with toileting and dressing. The agency has something called a Good Morning package where they will assist Mom with getting dressed, bathing, personal care, breakfast, making sure she takes her meds (she forgot today and she never has before) and they will even take Mom to day care. Allyson thinks we should continue to have Joyce just be there for Mom when the agency comes. Times like this it would be nice to have a clone whom I could send to work while I stay home and help Mom.

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

Today I called Mom at 9:00 AM. She picked up the phone quickly and after I said hello she said she had fallen and was having trouble getting up. I admit that I panicked. I called our neighbors, a retired firefighter and a retired public safety person and they went over to see how she was. They helped her get up and said that she was more embarrassed than anything. Meanwhile I called a taxi and 45 dollars later I was home. You see, I work 32 miles from home and commute via van pool so I didn't have my car with me.After I made sure that Mom was fine I was able to work from home. On the plus side, I've decided to add an additional day at the day care and I think that I am going to call a home health agency to help Mom get ready in the morning. She gets confused about which clothes to put on, and sometimes she forgets to put on her Depends. I'd also like her to have a shower more than once a week. She is going to fight this and my sister is skeptical as to whether this will work but thinks we should give it a try. I also have to start visiting memory care units so that we at least have something lined up for when that time comes. God, I hate this disease!!!!!!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

There are a lot of rewards in Alzheimer's caregiving, right there along with the frustrations and sadness. I am so grateful for the time that I am given to be with Mom. I'm glad that she is still pretty with-it. It's just hard to hold down a full time job and care for someone who has dementia. It rips my heart out to see Mom lose her dignity and independence. Today she reminded me that she's older than me; I shouldn't be the one telling her what to do. But then we have wonderful moments like tonight when Olivia climbed into her lap and cuddled (that little cat is a lifesaver, she loves Mom so much). I don't like to think about the future and what it may hold. I try to take it one day at a time and remain positive.
Mom got up before me this morning. When I came up there was a trail of poop leading into the den. I convinced her to get up to take a shower and discovered that she was wearing her nightgown, which was covered in stool and tucked into her pants. Her Depends where loaded as well. She got a little belligerent with me about taking a shower, but she did it and we got her all cleaned up. What a difference a day makes. Yesterday she got up and did her duty in the toilet with no problem. I think maybe the difference is from the fact that she had her accident while in bed and then got confused about what to do. Anyway, the carpet I cleaned yesterday has to be cleaned again :( Another day in paradise.

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

The weather was lovely today in Minnesota. It was sunny and crisp. A perfect autumn day. Sunshine goes a long way in lifting my mood, and I think Mom is the same. I know that Dad was affected by dreary days. He used to comment on how the cold sunny days of winter were so much better than cloudy mild days. Mom had a good day too. She is starting to talk about day care a little. Today she mentioned that some of the ladies were 'sassy'. Not sure what that means. We watched 'I Love Lucy' tonight. It's nice to hear Mom laugh out loud. She loves that show. I enjoy watching it too.

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

Today was a good day. Mom was less confused and squirrelly. She even ate today without too much prompting. I went to the bead store first thing this morning and bought the supplies needed to fix her Mother's bracelet. She is much more relaxed now that it's fixed.

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

I hate this disease. It is stealing my Mom's dignity and independence. Tonight she is so squirrelly. Maybe it's the weather change like Annie says. I don't know. I just know that her mother's bracelet that I made for her broke and this seems to make her really confused. She keeps pointing at her wrist and wondering where her bracelet is. I remind her that it broke and we need to go to the bead store to get a new clasp. We'll do that first thing tomorrow. She always seems to get really upset whenever something happens to her bracelet. I think because all 3 kids names are on it it equates to losing her kids when something happens to it.

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.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Just got a note from the director of the day program. Mom is doing better and better each day. I'm glad. It's hard to gauge how she feels about this because she never mentions it, even with prompting. Though tonight she did say someone made her go into the bathroom 'because she needed to'. I don't know if this was someone at the day program or if it was Joyce. Tonight she seems more emotional and she was holding her head even though when I asked she said she didn't have a headache. She also didn't have much of an appetite tonight, but that is normal since she probably had a good lunch.

It has gotten cold here. I brought my hibiscus plant into the house in an effort to keep it. I also turned the furnace on.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Mom's UTI still has not cleared so we have started another course of antibiotics. Guess it's time to break out the yogurt again. I hope that this round clears it up. Poor Mom. I have to be more diligent with making sure that the specimen is taken 48 hours after Mom finishes the antibiotic. She seems to be more upbeat tonight. Tomorrow she goes to the day program. I hope she has fun. Her nose seems a little stuffy tonight, I hope she hasn't caught a cold. There is one going around.

I made an appointment for our flu shots. The soonest that we could get in is Oct 26. That should be soon enough I hope.

The weather has cooled off nicely. It was a cool, crisp autumn evening, perfect for a fire. I'd love to have a chimenea on the patio.

Lily has been talking. She's part Siamese so this is not unusual. She has always been a chatterbox and will hold a conversation with me. Olivia has not been a talker, but I think she's learning from Lily.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Mom seems more upbeat tonight. She is watching Murder She Wrote and even teased me about the unintentionally blackened chicken breasts that I made for dinner. Olivia was sleeping on her lap when I called her for dinner and of course she didn't want to disturb the kitty. So I brought her dinner to her.
I feel like this disease is wearing Mom down. Between the arthritis and the AD she is really looking old and feeble and tired. It's so sad to see. I wish I could do something for her. I pray that she gets some sort of joy once in a while in this life. But it seems like she always has this pinched face of pain and suffering on her face and it kills me to see it. I hate this disease.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Today we received the diagrams of the proposed riser steps for the garage. That is amazing! Now we are waiting to get a bid from a contractor. The riser steps include a larger platform and run parallel to the side of the garage therefore requiring only one handrail. The other railing would be attached to the garage wall. I'm excited to receive the bids. At first Mom was certain she didn't need this, but the rest of us have other ideas about this. The Ramp Project

It was so hot today, 90 degrees which is about 30 degrees higher than normal. J came over, well actually Satine saw me on the patio and she bypassed George and Kathy's new puppy Bailey (who is pretty darn cute) and came racing over to see me. Mom heard J talking to me and joined us on the patio. Satine, who had been playing with Bailey, came racing over and climbed up to be by Mom. She is the sweetest little dog. Olivia and Lily observed the two puppies from behind the patio glass door. Bailey is a little black Shih Tzu. Very cute but he is teething so he chews on people. Mom was into it.
The gloominess persists this morning. The weather is supposed to clear and heat up after lunch.

I finally received my new carpet cleaner and I just tried it out on Mom's bedroom carpet. The intake tank was really dirty so I think it cleaned up the carpet fairly well. Next I would like to do the den but I have to plan that carefully as that is the room that Mom lives in.

Friday, October 5, 2007

This is fascinating:

Thank You Dan Rather
We are back from the dentist where Mom had her teeth cleaned. It is a gloomy day, overcast and raining one minute, with bursts of sunshine interspersed. Breakfast got off to a bad start. Mom was just about to sit down when she said 'Uh oh.' That usually means an accident. Yuck. Kinda kills the appetite for both of us. But we got through it. The man from the ramp project, which recommends ramp styles as well as people who can build them, for disabled people comes at noon. Last night I had the new tire put on our car. It was sad, the old one didn't even have 700 miles on it.

Joyce left a note saying that Mom cried when she came to pick her up yesterday because she didn't want to leave her friends! How weird is that? I'm glad Mom has her own thing to do 2 days per week. Sometimes God just sends the right person into your life and in our case he sent Joyce. She is a treasure.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

It's too hard to do this today. First I had a humongous migraine which only lessened after I took a nap at lunch. Then as I was driving home the tire pressure monitoring system light was on. Took the car to have it checked; there's a screw in the side of tire where the rubber meets the road. Luckily VWs come with a full sized spare but now we have to buy a new tire. Got home and Mom had a mess in her pants. Got that all changed, got her as cleaned up as possible then sat down to relax. I obsess about whether Mom is clean enough, especially after the whole UTI thing. Speaking of that, I have another urine specimen to drop off at the lab, when will I have time to do that with my 6:30 to 5:00 schedule?? I need an assistant. I lost it tonight and just let the tears flow. I felt better afterward. Remember to take it one day at a time. But it's so hard. There is nobody to really confide in on a day to day basis. I try to keep it inside at work.

The days are getting shorter; it's dark by 7:00 and no longer light when I drive to work in the morning. I don't like winter and shorter daylight hours. Time to move to the equator.

Flinty is right, things come in 3s. I hope in this case, they don't.