Tuesday, April 29, 2008

This morning I woke up with pink eye. Ick. So I stayed home and went to the doctor where I was put on antibiotics for a sinus infection and for the pink eye. I hope I feel better soon.

Mom had a good day with her caregivers. She is watching I Love Lucy now. She enjoys that show, I think it reminds her of when she was younger. She laughs so loudly, it's great.

It's sunny (YAY!) and Mom wants to go sit outside.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Me, Myself and I

I have a pet peeve that revolves around the rampant misuse of the words me, myself and I. It seems that over the last decade people have forgotten their English grammar. I find the hairs on the back of my neck stand up whenever someone misuses these pronouns. I found a great description of how and when to use these three pronouns:

In the old days when people studied traditional grammar, we could simply say, “The first person singular pronoun is “I” when it’s a subject and “me” when it’s an object,” but now few people know what that means. Let’s see if we can apply some common sense here. The misuse of “I” and “myself” for “me” is caused by nervousness about “me.” Educated people know that “Jim and me is goin’ down to slop the hogs,” is not elegant speech, not “correct.” It should be “Jim and I” because if I were slopping the hogs alone I would never say “Me is going. . . .” If you refer to yourself first, the same rule applies: It’s not “Me and Jim are going” but “I and Jim are going.”

So far so good. But the notion that there is something wrong with “me” leads people to overcorrect and avoid it where it is perfectly appropriate. People will say “The document had to be signed by both Susan and I” when the correct statement would be, “The document had to be signed by both Susan and me.” Trying even harder to avoid the lowly “me,” many people will substitute “myself,” as in “The suspect uttered epithets at Officer O’Leary and myself.”

“Myself” is no better than “I” as an object. “Myself” is not a sort of all-purpose intensive form of “me” or “I.” Use “myself” only when you have used “I” earlier in the same sentence: “I am not particularly fond of goat cheese myself.” “I kept half the loot for myself.” All this confusion can easily be avoided if you just remove the second party from the sentences where you feel tempted to use “myself” as an object or feel nervous about “me.” You wouldn’t say, “The IRS sent the refund check to I,” so you shouldn’t say “The IRS sent the refund check to my wife and I” either. And you shouldn’t say “to my wife and myself.” The only correct way to say this is, “The IRS sent the refund check to my wife and me.” Still sounds too casual? Get over it.

On a related point, those who continue to announce “It is I” have traditional grammatical correctness on their side, but they are vastly outnumbered by those who proudly boast “it’s me!” There’s not much that can be done about this now. Similarly, if a caller asks for Susan and Susan answers “This is she,” her somewhat antiquated correctness is likely to startle the questioner into confusion.

Thanks for letting me rant. I feel better now.

I think that Mom had a good day today. She seemed really happy when I called her today and later when I came home from work. She still, however, has trouble getting out of her chair at bedtime. Today was a PT day for her, so maybe she was achy from that.

I felt better today. Hopefully I am on the mend.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

My aunt called today and she and Mom talked for quite a while. She wanted to let us know that the brother of my dad's best friend had passed away on Friday. Mom seemed to recognize the name, but we can't really ever be sure with her. Because of the Alzheimer's. My dad and his childhood best friend shared the same first name. The were quite inseparable from what I've been told. The funniest thing though is that they both married girls with the same first name.

My cold is getting better slowly. My tonsils feel better right now too. Mom is getting a little impatient with my coughing though. Every time I cough she asks me if there's something I can do to make myself better.

The sun was out for a short while today. It's still cold though. I can't wait for warm weather. And sunny days.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

I'm sick again. I have swollen tonsils which are very sore and a stuffed nose. I'm tired of catching everything that is going around. I went to the quick clinic today and had a rapid strep test which was negative. Now I'm back to trying to make sure Mom doesn't get this. Speaking of Mom, she is doing fairly well. She seems to recognize most of the time that I am sick. And the kitties are both sleeping on me which I like. I hope I can get over this quickly.

The nurse from the home health care agency called to tell me about her visit on Thursday. She said that they weighed Mom. If that weight is correct then Mom has lost 20 pounds since January. The nurse also recommended that I try using Gold Bond Medicated powder for Mom in her creases. She has had some rashes and this might help.

And to top things off, we awoke to a dusting of snow on the grassy areas. This has been a long, drawn out winter. Everyone is ready for a string of nice, warm weather.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I had a wonderful day today. I had taken the day off for a doctor's appointment. Afterwards I went for a massage (heaven!) and then did a little shopping. The weather was glorious here today. When I came home Terri said that she had tried to get Mom to go out but she seemed really tired and slept a lot today. Terri thought this was a little uncharacteristic for Mom. Actually, Mom has been doing a lot more napping lately and she's very restless when she sleeps. She does a lot of talking and twitching. But tomorrow's another day and hopefully Mom will want to go out. Our neighbor Sarah brought her 3 year old over to see Mom and the kitties today. Mom loved it, the kitties, however, were a little unsure about the situation. All in all it was a good day.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

VA's Aid and Attendance Benefit

This is the NBC Nightly News video about the VA Aid and Attendance benefit.

We just spent the afternoon outside, YES! OUTSIDE! It turned into a beautiful day here after a questionable start. Mom sat on the patio and soaked up some sun and good company with our neighbors and Mom's favorite puppies Satine and Mr. Bailey. I'm ready for a whole string of days like this. Mom is now napping with a smile on her face. I think the fresh air and company wore her out.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Thursday after work I attended a presentation about a little known benefit for veterans and their spouses. It is called the Aid and Attendance pension and there are several qualifications that one must meet in order to qualify for it. The benefit ranges from $998.00 per month for surviving spouses. The veteran would have had to have been honorably discharged from the armed services. There are a few other qualifications such as no more than $80,000.00 in assets but the veteran can supposedly gift their assets and there is no look back like with Medicaid. The man who spoke is a representative of a company called Veterans Financial, Inc. If you click on the link to their website make sure to check out the NBC Nightly News video which shows a spouse who qualified for this benefit. This presentation was at one of the ALFs we are looking at. The afternoon of the presentation I got a call telling me that they had a studio available so I was able to see the studio apartment before attending the presentation.

Our weather sucks. We've had one nice day of sun and warmth and the rest has been cool and overcast. I could really go for a string on warm sunny days about now. On the one nice day we had this week Mom's caregiver Terri took her out and they talked to many of our neighbors. Terri said that Mom enjoyed getting out, she just took a little convincing to go.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Deja Vu all over Again

I've been lost in nostalgia for the last day. I found out about a site called LinkedIn and have been networking with old work colleagues from my first job out of college. We were a young group who grew quite close. This was back in the day before the computer industry became 'Dilbertized'. We worked hard but we also had a lot of fun. A whole lot of fun. One of my colleagues posted old photos of the group. Boy did that bring back the memories. I wanted to share this with Mom so much. Not only was this my first job out of college, but it was also my first time away from home. It was a huge growing experience for me and Mom would know so much about it. Except for the Alzheimer's.

Our schizophrenic weather is spring-like now. It was so nice not to have to wear a heavy coat. The sun was so warm today, and tomorrow it's supposed to be even warmer. I'm ready.

Mom seemed to have a good day today. She did a little bit of sundowning during Dancing With The Stars but I was soon able to redirect her attention. I miss my Mom so much, yet I am so grateful that I have her with me. Every day we are together is a blessing.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Mom and I went grocery shopping today! Mom used her walker this time and walked through the house, down the ramp and was able to get herself into the car. She did the reverse when we got home. I'm so proud of her! I think the physical therapy is helping as is the shoe lift. She didn't seem to be in such intense pain as she was in the past, but she did get a little breathless. This is good progress I think.

I was reading about something called an Alzheimer's garden in one of the many newsletters that I receive. It allows the person with ALZ to wander through a garden safely; a wonderful concept I think.

I think I've figured out that when Mom is bored she will ask questions repeatedly so I try to divert her attention and that seems to help. She was restless last night I think because she napped during the day off and on.

The sun is out today, finally. It's still pretty cool though. I noticed that our crabapple trees have buds that are poised to burst open as soon as we get a stretch of nice weather. I can't wait.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Mom asks questions about everything. It's like living with a curious child. Who's that? What is he doing? It'd be one thing if she only asked once, but, because of the Alzheimer's she asks that same questions over and over. It's sometimes exhausting.

We dodged a bullet today. So far we've only gotten rain. What little snow we did get has melted away already. But north of here they got walloped. Especially in Duluth where the entire city was shut down because of blizzard conditions. This winter just refuses to remove it's grip from the midwest. I am ready for sunshine and warmth. I hope that we don't dive right from this to hot, humid weather with no spring.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Today I received a progress report from Mom's physical therapist. It said that Mom is progressing nicely. Several people have mentioned that Mom seems to be walking better. Our house keeper said that Mom was telling her about 'a nice man who can fix my hip' which I take to mean the orthotist who put a lift on her shoe. We are so lucky to be surrounded by good people who help us out. Mom had a good evening and a good day. But then every day with Terri, her caregiver, is a good day. She was all smiles when I arrived home. That makes me happy.

Guess what's in the forecast for tomorrow? You guessed it, that four-letter word SNOW! ICK! If the weather report is correct we could get up to 6 inches between tomorrow afternoon and Friday.

Monday, April 7, 2008

April (Snow) Showers!

This morning I called Joy and told her that Mom and I were going to pass on the room...for now. Even though it is a beautiful room I feel in my heart that it's not time. Mom is doing great with her caregivers and she enjoys her physical therapy twice weekly. She really looks forward to seeing 'her girls' as she calls them. We are so lucky to have such great people caring for Mom. She seems to be walking better with the new lift. I'm quite pleased. I bought a little pedal machine like she uses with her PT and tonight she was pedaling away with a big huge smile on her face. And right now she is snuggling with Olivia.

Meanwhile our weather continues to suck. It was cold and rainy today, with the occasional snowflake. I'm ready for daffodils and tulips, not snow flurries! Enough already.

Saturday, April 5, 2008


Last night while I was making dinner I heard Mom sobbing. She was watching the nightly news and the story was about the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr's murder. She was very upset and wanted to know more about this man. So we sat and talked about him. And I got to thinking about how things have changed in the US in the last 40 years. I was only a toddler when MLK was slain so I have only the history books to tell me what it was like before I was born.

Yesterday we also had a dentist's appointment. I always used to feel like the dentist was chastising me for not taking better care of Mom's teeth. This dentist, who is also my dentist, was very understanding and helpful, as was the hygienist. Mom visits every 4 months for a thorough cleaning. She's very patient although yesterday she had a lot of plaque and tartar that needed to be removed and it was painful. She said her mouth was fine last night though so there doesn't seem to be any lingering tenderness.

We visited with Mr. Bailey and George before we left for our appointment. Mom loves Mr. Bailey (our neighbor's dog) so it was fun. Mr. Bailey spent the last 3 months traveling with his parents in their RV.

I have been thinking very hard about the move to the ALF. At this point I'm thinking that I will wait because now that spring is here I feel able to handle this better. I'm hesitant though because the room is awesome, but I know there will be more vacancies.

I've created an Alzheimer's Caregivers blog ring if anyone is interested in joining. Just click on the purple Alzheimer's Awareness ribbon to the right and sign up. That way your blog or website will be included in the ring.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

My Babies

Here are some pictures of the room. It's really cute and has a small sun porch. Right now there is an armoire in the middle of the room from the previous occupant. The room and the sun porch look out over the woods and a courtyard with a fountain. I'm told that all sorts of wildlife can be seen from this room. I'm torn. I really like the vibe in the two facilities that I've heard from. Oh what to do?

It was sunny and near 60 today. Everyone has spring fever. I saw people wearing shorts and flip flops, the proverbial first sign of spring in Minnesota. Tomorrow Mom has a dental appointment in the morning after which I'm going to try to do something fun with her, she deserves it now that spring is here.

Most exciting news today? The purple slipper was returned with the lift. It's about 3/4 inches higher than the right slipper and Mom does seem to be more even now when she walks. This is good news.

Finally, I've included a picture of our kitties, eating their dinner side by side. Who'd have thought this would ever happen?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Tomorrow's Another Day

My visit to the memory facility has been postponed until tomorrow. I'm anxious to see the vacancies but at the same time I'm nervous. The decision to move Mom is going to be momentous; whether I make it now or later. My friend Beth-Ann pointed out that it's difficult for me to see Mom's decline (I refuse to call it a progression) because I see her every day. Talking with her this morning seemed to turn on a light bulb for me, one that has been in denial. I'm trying to stay in the moment with this and take it one step at a time. As Rick said, it's important to move Mom while she can still experience some of the benefits of a memory care facility. My head knows what must be done, but my heart is still trying to catch up. And unfortunately I think a lot with my heart.

Today I ordered an Alzheimer's Champions hoodie from the Alzheimer's Association website. It's purple, my favorite color, and it's for a good cause.

I wasn't able to watch the PBS program on Caring for Your Parents, but I noticed that they will have it available to view online beginning tomorrow so I will watch it that way. Tonight we watched the Osmond Family 50th Anniversary on DVD. Mom really enjoyed that and she marveled that 'that woman (Marie) has so many brothers!' Mom kept counting all of them when they were onstage. It was cute.

Our snow from Monday's storm has nearly melted away. I can't wait for my strawberries to arrive so that I can begin planting them. Goodbye Winter!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

What a Difference a Day Makes

Yesterday at this time it was snowing pretty heavily. Mom had her hair appointment so we ventured out into the snowstorm. Total accumulations of snow for the day was about 6-7 inches. Today most of it is gone and it is sunny and about 40F. That's the only good thing about spring snowstorms; the snow doesn't last very long.

I had a cell phone message yesterday. The assisted living facility that is closest to our home has two studios available. I am going to stop by to take a look at them tomorrow after work. I'm torn over this because right now Mom is doing fairly well. This will be a difficult decision. Someone asked me today if Mom had seen the facility (she has) and whether she knows about the possible move (she doesn't). How do I break it to her? I'm not sure that she is at a point where she can participate in the decision process. But it just doesn't feel right to exclude her from the process. I'm trying to take this in baby steps but it's hard. It's just feels like a betrayal.

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...