Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Christian the Lion

This is such a heartwarming video. I had to share it! Enjoy.

Alzheimer's Sucks!

It looks like the room will be available for move-in in September. That will give my sister a chance to get my nephew off to college in August. Perhaps it will be just in time for the Republican National Convention. Mom is sometimes sleeping through the night. Last night she fell out of bed at 3:00AM and my saint of a neighbor Mary came over to help get her back into bed. I put the bed rail up when I got home from work. Hopefully this will be the last of the falls from bed.

Everyone tells me not to mention the impending move to Mom until the day she is dropped off. This is hard for me, but I will follow their advice. They tell me it is going to be hard, probably the hardest thing I will ever do, but it must be done. I hate this disease and the dignity and independence that it has robbed from my mom. She is in distress most of the time; weepy and crying, angry and depressed. And she has every right to be so. I only hope that she can find some peace and joy in her new surroundings.

I'm tired. I had kind of caught up on my sleep. I need a few good nights where I sleep through the night without any interuptions. And guess what? Mom is very incontinent so once again I am trying to get a urine sample. I have no time to pick up the supplies or collect the specimen and drop it off. I need a helper. Desperately. The only indication that it might be a UTI is the fact that she is soiling right through her Depends. Several times per day. Does that indicate a UTI?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Icky Dilemma

My sister and I are struggling with whether to tell and when to tell Mom she is moving to a memory care facility. In the past when I have mentioned it Mom has gotten very upset and agitated. She likes being in her home. Doing what she wants to do when she wants to do it. This is going to be hard. How do we do it? I'm going to check with the geriatric care manager to see what she suggests. And my therapist. Does anyone else have any ideas? I'm not looking forward to this. I've already read that it's one of the hardest, ickiest things a child is faced with when their parent has memory loss.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Vacancy Update

The room has been earmarked for Mom. It should be available within within a month. It is in the front of the building on the east end. Meanwhile she is having many lucid moments. And some not so lucid. She is sleeping through the night for the most part for the last few nights at least. Yesterday I was able to spend some time shopping and relaxing at Starbucks with an iced mocha. It was nice. I had one of Mom's caregivers stay with her. It was nice to do something for me.

I have been knitting too. I hope to make a felted purse. I've never felted before, but my neighbor has and she said she will help. Plus I finally found a mitten pattern for the beautiful hollyhock yarn from Annie. I can't wait to get started on them.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Today I had an email from the memory care facility. It seems they think they will have an opening, 'a lovely studio', in about a month. Am I ready? Yes and no. I'm ready to get my life back on track but I'm not ready to accept this next step in life; it means I am one step closer to losing Mom. But I have to be ready, for her and for me. I'm praying for strength and support. And I'm praying that eventually Mom will find happiness and meaning in her new surroundings.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Lions Last Move

This video is the release of the lions at the Wildcat Sanctuary in Minnesota. These lions were rescued from a wildlife park that was going out of business. The Wildcat Sanctuary is an amazing place which was founded by Tammi Quist. It's troubling that such gorgeous creatures were once caged up in tiny little spaces and had it not been for the sanctuary they might have been used for 'canned hunts', where people (cowards) pay to shoot caged animals.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Evaluation Day

Today was the evaluation for the memory care facility. Mom was upbeat and smiling, very friendly. It was quite apparent that she has dementia though. So now we wait for an opening.

It's a beautiful day here, sunny and warm with a cool breeze blowing. I haven't had to turn on the AC. Mom has been fussy however. Her shoe comes off and she gets very upset about it. She also woke up at 3:00 AM which means that I once again didn't get a full night's sleep and it's taking it's toll. I feel like a walking zombie. I try to nap during the day but Mom gets fussy. It can't go on for much longer.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Another Day in Paradise

I think it's time for Mom to move. My patience is wearing very thin and a crabby caregiver is not a good thing or at all fair for Mom. Mom deserves much better than that. Tonight she dumped her cranberry juice all over the carpet. When I started to clean it up she said 'Oh just leave it'. I said ' I can't leave this it will stain the carpet' and I promptly began cleaning it with the carpet cleaner (which is a godsend by the way, it cleaned it right up). I suppose this will bring the ants again. We've had an ant invasion in Mom's den. She drops food and drink all over the floor in the most inconvenient places. One day I'm going to remove the furniture from this room and give it a good cleaning. She also gets very fussy every evening (sundowners, probably) just in time for me. It's hard to deal with this after a long day at work (10 1/2 hours). It seems like all I do is clean up after her or clean her up. I want to enjoy my time with her, I don't want to resent her and the fact that I don't have a life anymore. She also not sleeping through the night. She is up 3 or 4 times a night now. I have to get some sleep not only to stave off my fibromyalgia but also to maintain my mood and my job. It's time. All I need is for one of the places to call with the appropriate kind of room. Then I can go back to being a daughter again and not a nursemaid. Do you think I'll cave when the time comes to finally place Mom? It really pisses me off that my family and I can't enjoy our Mom in the sunset of her life as she used to be before this awful disease. What is God trying to teach us?

Tomorrow is the 11th anniversary of my Dad's passing. I miss him so much, I can't even begin to tell you how much. I think of him at some point every day and I wonder what he would do in my situation. And I miss my Mom too even though I'm thankful that she is still physically here with me.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Mondays

It seems like Mom's angry outbursts are tied to her frustrations over not being able to do the things she's always done. I think it's her way of dealing with her loss of independence. Don't get me wrong, so far they are few and far between with me, but I remember the first few months of living together and the hallucinations, the anger and the other weirdness that is Alzheimer's.

Yesterday I made a quick run to the Home Depot. When I came home Mom told me something about a man stopping over. I was concerned about this and quizzed her, then I forgot about it chalking it up to the disease and confusion. Tonight George mentioned that the garage door was up and the car was missing and he was concerned so he stopped over to make sure things were OK. Mystery solved. It's nice to have neighbors who care. I must have pressed the button to close the garage door but it didn't go down. Hmm.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Knitting

I'm officially addicted to Ravelry.com. This morning my login invitation arrived in my email and I set up my account. I've found so many interesting patterns, including the mittens I plan to knit with my hollyhock yarn from Annie. What a great website. My neighbor is a knitter. She just finished a beautiful fair isle sweater for her niece. It's a gorgeous cashmere yarn in browns and pinks. Very lovely. I'm not that ambitious; I like to stick to the easier patterns.

Mom is sleeping again. I need to convince her to come out with me. She doesn't want to leave the house and I'm not sure what to try to entice her. The weather is beautiful today. Last evening we had storms which broke the heat. The weather alert radio, which arrived yesterday, really got a workout on it's first day on the job.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Mom's angry outbursts have surfaced again. Last week I witnessed her screaming and yelling at Terri when taken to the bathroom. Then, on Tuesday the PT and caregiver coaxed Mom to use the bathroom and she again threw a tantrum, pulled the towel bar off the wall and screamed and yelled. Afterward she felt remorseful. In fact when I came home she told me 'she had been bad'. I told her she was just having a bad day, everyone has those. That doesn't make her bad. Last night after she used the bathroom I wanted to steer her toward bed but she headed toward the den. When I asked her to go to the bedroom she had an angry outburst. But she went to bed. I think she hates the loss of independence and she's fighting it. Who could blame her?

We were awakened by thunder and lightning at 3:00 AM this morning. Yesterday a line of storms rolled through and knocked out the power. It was out from about 1:00 until just before 5:00 PM. This produced a lot of anxiety for Mom. I'm so glad the caregiver was with her. I had tried to call home several times in the afternoon but there was no answer so I assumed that the power had gone off. I didn't jump to conclusions and freak myself out so I'm proud of that.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Mom gets very upset about things. Tonight I was over talking to our neighbors on their patio. I had gone out to water the plants and Satine was just too irresistible; I had to go pet her and say hi to Jae. I ended up spending about 30 minutes talking. When I got back inside Mom was crying and very upset. So I convinced her to come outside and she sat while the neighbors visited with us. She seemed to enjoy it. She's just so emotional about everything. It's the dementia. On the plus side, today Terri was back and Mom was glad to see her. Terri knows Mom so well and Mom is used to Terri and she likes it when she is here.

Friday Mom has an appointment with the neurologist. She hates to leave the house so this should be fun. Not. And this appointment is downtown rather than in the suburbs so she will want to know why it's so far away from home.

I've been having to rely on caffeine to keep me awake at work lately due to the sleep deprivation I've been experiencing. I never drink caffeine otherwise.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

I love this image of the fireworks display in Duluth from this year. 20 years ago it was a different story. On July 4, 1988 the entire fireworks display exploded, on the ground. Thankfully no one was injured. I was at Mom and Dad's house and remember saying "It sounds like they shot off all of the fireworks at once". It was quite a loud explosion as you can imagine.

One of my favorite vantage points for watching the fireworks is in the pilot house of the Edwin H. Gott. In the early 80s we were invited by the captain of the Gott, Jesse B. Cooper, and his wife Susie to view the fireworks display from the Gott, which was docked in the Duluth harbor. It was quite a spectacular sight! A little bit of trivia; Captain Cooper was one of the last people in contact with the crew of Edmund Fitzgerald.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

On Wednesday Mom's caregiver had to leave abruptly due to a family emergency in the afternoon. Mom did fine for the few hours by herself, thank God. We had a substitute caregiver on Thursday. I gave Mom her pills before I left for work that morning. The sub gave Mom her Friday AM pills again. I should have left a note for the caregiver but she also should have checked with me before giving pills for a different day. Mom has had several bouts of incontinence since then and I don't know if the two situations are connected. I've emailed the care manager about this pill mix up. Mom gets really frustrated by these episodes of incontinence. I feel so bad for her. I just keep hugging her and telling her I love her. Luckily these episodes don't last long and haven't occurred very often.

On July 18th the nurse from one of the ALFs we are on the list for is going to come out and do an evaluation of Mom.

It was a quiet July 4th for us. We stayed home and barbecued. I made a potato salad that turned out to be pretty good. Later that night we watched Pop Goes the 4th. We could hear fireworks in the distance but we didn't venture out to see them.

I ate my first strawberry today from our Topsy Turvy planters. It was good!