Sunday, November 30, 2008

Snow....

Mom was back to being agitated last night. I think it's sundowning. She was upset and crying off and on. I couldn't figure out what was upsetting her. I tried to get her to color but she was not very interested. She tried it, but she was too agitated. At dinner time she slept awaking just in time for the meal to be over for everyone else. I fed her most of her dinner and she ate it readily.

There was about a quarter of an inch of snow on the ground this morning when I awoke. The sound of the snowplow and shovelers foreshadowed this. It's rather cold too. I suppose it's time.

On Friday night I watched the movie "Baby Mama". It was a nice diversion for me as I found it quite funny. It took my mind off of Mom for a while.

Tomorrow it's back to the grindstone at work. I've enjoyed my time off by reading, knitting, watching movies and straightening up around the house. I've finished my mittens Annie! And they look great. I'll take a picture as soon as I'm done blocking them. I've also spent some quality time with Mom.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday


Traditionally today is the day most people decorate for Christmas. I'm not very motivated at all to do so. I hung my wreath on the front door. I even ventured out of the house to Target today, Black Friday! to pick up a prescription. Target was not very busy; I'm hoping the bulk of the shoppers were there earlier in the day.

I've included a picture of Mom from yesterday. She is relaxing in her wheelchair before lunch. She really was in good spirits yesterday and that gives me something to be thankful for.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Mom and I had a wonderful Thanksgiving together. She was happy and she fed herself her entire Thanksgiving meal. This is amazing. She even ate her pie. We held hands and I told her "I love you" and she told me she loves me back. That alone made my day. She was laughing and sassy in a good way. I am so grateful for today.

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving my friends. I hope that you are all blessed and have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. And I hope that you are surrounded by those you love.

I will be spending Thanksgiving with Mom and later with good friends.I am so thankful for good friends and family.

Monday, November 24, 2008

I'm Wearing Purple Before I'm Old

I visited with Mom yesterday for nearly 3 hours. She was eating a slice of lemon meringue pie when I arrived. I was told that she ate a majority of her lunch. She was nervous off and on all afternoon. She would look at me and tear up and reach out her arms for a hug. We shared lots of hugs yesterday. She started crying when I got up to leave. Everyone tells me, "I went through that when I would drop my kid off at daycare" but leaving your kid at daycare is a growth experience for you and your kid. Leaving Mom at CB is the opposite of that. It's growing down. It's a sad experience for me because Mom isn't 'growing up or learning new skills'. I keep thinking that she feels abandoned and I hope that feeling doesn't persist for her. I hope that it's gone very soon after I walk out the door and that she only feels that when she sees me and it reminds her of something she no longer has. God I hate this disease so much. It's the worst to watch someone you love slip slowly away from you. Even so, I'm grateful for the precious time that I can still spend with her. And I know that no matter what the future may hold, at that moment in time she's my Mom and we love each other.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Party at CB

On Thursday CB had their 10th anniversary party. There was still quite a crowd when I got there around 5PM. The entertainment included a woman (whose mother lives at CB) who has sung on Broadway, and one of Mom's caregivers, Fartun, who it turns out is a pop star in Somalia. I've attached her video from You Tube. Mom was sleeping when I arrived. She ate some of her dinner and participated in some of the activities according to the staff. She seemed to be well and looked good.

I finished one of my mittens. For a first time mitten knitter, it looks pretty good. I've started on the second one and am halfway through the cuff.

I woke up to a light dusting of snow this morning but it's actually warmer today then it was yesterday morning.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I've visited Mom after work for the last two days. Yesterday she ate a few bites of dinner then fell fast asleep. Tonight she did the same but woke up near the end of the meal. Her pills are given to her crushed up in yogurt. She ate this mixture readily so I asked for a dish of yogurt. Mom ate the entire dish of yogurt plus a dish of ice cream. Now I wonder if anything would have been offered had I not been there to ask? Before leaving I gave her a hand massage in front of the fire where it was nice and warm. She seemed to enjoy that while she dozed. I'm more than half inclined to find out what it would cost to have round the clock care at home. Would it be less expensive? However, I couldn't afford an RN or an LPN at home so I guess CB is the best place for her, as long as I make frequent visits to keep an eye on them. After all, Mom is the most precious person to me.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Like Wrestling with a Porcupine*

I thought I would show you my progress with knitting my mittens. The yarn and the title above are from Annie. Yarn from Annie is wonderful to work with. This particular colorway is called "Hollyhock". It's gorgeous. This is the first time that I have knitted mittens. I have only had to rip out and start over once. I'm pretty proud of that. Knitting is one of those gifts that I received from Mom. She was quite a knitter, making hats, mittens, afghans, scarves and sweaters for us when we were kids. I still have the scarf that she knit for me when I was kid as well as several hats, mittens and sweaters. She is an amazing crafter, artist and mom. I wish she was able to help me with my knitting now.

I went to see Mom today. She was napping while waiting for lunch. She perked up when she saw me. She also ate some of her lunch and all of her protein shake. After lunch we visited for a while and watched baby Roman visit with his great-grandmothers. Both of them are residents at CB. Mom was very concerned about how Roman's aunt was holding him, she got very upset. Luckily Roman's mom noticed Mom's distress and came to the rescue. Mom has always been very protective of children and babies. That's what made her a great mother and grandmother.
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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Mom and Olivia

This photo is from last April. I love Mom's smile. And the look of pure love and bliss on Olivia's face. I know that look; she is purring contentedly.

Here Comes Some Sun

Today the sun came out after my caregiver support group meeting. Though a bit cool, it was a lovely day today. After my meeting I went to the mall where I did some shopping (it was busy there, like before the holidays busy) and walking, then I came home and watched a movie, visited with neighbors, spent some time knitting and now I'm relaxing to some Mozart. And I feel guilty about not visiting Mom. I will see her tomorrow though.

The aforementioned mittens are looking good. I just finished knitting to the thumb. The next part might be tricky so I plan to remain close to my Obi-wan, Jae my neighbor. My other neighbor Kathy calls her Obi-wan so I thought I would do the same since she knows so much about knitting.

For a warm/fuzzy feeling check out "Puppy Cam" here.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Common Anesthetic Induces Alzheimer's-associated Changes In Mouse Brains

ScienceDaily (2008-11-14) -- For the first time researchers have shown that a commonly used anesthetic can produce changes associated with Alzheimer's disease in the brains of living mammals, confirming previous laboratory studies. Scientists have shown how administration of the gas isoflurane can lead to generation of the toxic amyloid-beta protein in the brains of mice.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Weather Report

Today was a holiday from work for me. I scheduled a meeting with the hospice nurse at CB at 2PM. Mom is better but she's still not eating very much. They had just lain her down for a nap when I arrived around 1PM. An aide from hospice arrived shortly after me. She bathed Mom and washed her hair. She was so gentle with Mom. Then the nurse arrived. She took Mom's blood pressure, which was good, and checked out some skin sores on her. They have added some new meds including something to help calm her down when she gets agitated. All in all I was quite pleased by what I saw regarding Mom's care. Mom seems better too, though I'm concerned about her not wanting to eat. Later after I got home the hospice social worker called and we talked for awhile. She helped explain the not eating thing and how sometimes with dementia this happens.

It started sleeting around 3PM and has been doing so since.

I'm trying to knit some mittens with some lovely yarn from Annie. I've never knitted with double pointed needles so I'm struggling with this. I would like to use a circular needle, that would make life easier.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Don't Give Up Hope Ever

Here is a sight no one ever expected to see.
This is Lily(front) and Olivia on Mom's bed.
This happened sometime last summer. It took Lily 18 months to come out of my room after we adopted Olivia. Lily was my cat, I'd had her for several years when we decided to adopt Olivia. Olivia bonded with Mom and would sit on her lap and sleep with Mom at night. She did a wonderful job at keeping Mom company. She would check on Mom periodically throughout the day to make sure she was OK. When Mom would cry Olivia would kiss her. I'm going to try to take Olivia to visit Mom, once I get her claws (Olivia's not Mom's) trimmed. I think she is really missing Mom.
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Much Better

Mom was up and playing catch with the group when I arrived for a visit today. She was happy to see me and I was happy to see her too! She looks good; her color is good and she seems back to her baseline. I spoke to the RN and she said that Mom has been doing well. I'm going to make another visit tonight around dinner time to make sure she is being fed. But she looked good and that makes me happy. I actually feel like I can relax, but just a little. Hospice is also being vigilant so having those extra eyes makes a big difference. I know that Mom is getting cared for and that is a relief to me. But I will continue to be her advocate and to make sure that she is treated with dignity and compassion. I've included a photo of Terri, Mom's home healthcare worker. Terri and Mom used to love to watch Ellen together everyday.

Our weather has taken a cold turn. It's in the 30s today and windy. Earlier this week it was sunny and in the 70s. Midwestern weather can turn on a dime. That's what makes it exciting to live here :)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Cross Your Fingers

Tonight I'm going to stop by to see Mom. I spoke with the facility director yesterday and he was very understanding and said he would get to the bottom of it. I had better see some improvement today. I hope Mom is having some pleasant moments. The life enrichment coordinator told me that Mom was upset at Monday's music program and she started crying and wanting to leave. I was wondering if maybe a certain song had triggered an emotion, because normally she enjoys listening to music. Some songs, like Amazing Grace, will bring up some emotions and she will cry. We may never know the reason why she got upset, in fact it may have nothing to do with the music. I also brought up Mom's love of coloring which it seems the LEC knew nothing about. I know we filled out the paperwork quickly but I've got to believe that we mentioned Mom loves to color. It's the perfect way to calm her down and give her purpose.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Raisin' Heck!

Today after work I stopped by to see Mom. The social worker and the chaplain from hospice had both stopped in to see her and left note. She was in bed when I got there so I searched out the RN asked what was up. Had she eaten today? Taken her pills? Been out of bed? No one seemed to know. They said they asked her if she wanted to get up for dinner but she refused so they left her in bed. I asked if we could get her up as she seemed amenable to it when I asked her. We got her up (after I had a dressing down from the LPN who told me that she didn't have staff to give one resident 'special treatment') I told her that we are paying a lot of money for extra care that we had better be getting or else! Then I told her that it seemed like Mom was being left to languish in bed and I was not going to put up with that. I said that I'm concerned that now that Mom is in hospice that she was being left to let nature take it's course. I will not stand for that. And I put this woman in her place. The caregivers told me that there is a sign in the break room that instructs them not to get Mom out of bed. I asked what the purpose of that is. No one seemed to know. The aides are only doing as they have been instructed. I'm trying to get to the bottom of who is instructing them. Tomorrow I plan to speak to the executive director and voice my concerns. BTW, Mom ate quite a bit of her dinner, and she expressed impatience when I was too slow to feed her. She drank her juice and took all of her pills. Is she just doing this for me or are they not trying hard enough? I know that this is a thankless job, hell I did this job for 3 years! but this is a living, breathing person who is loved very much by her family. I guess for the workers this is just a job, and I understand that I guess. That is why it is important for me to remain as involved as possible. The caregivers seem to be so kind to her and so caring. But are there enough of them? I need to learn more about what I can expect from assisted living memory care I guess.

I'm soliciting ideas for things I can take for the caregivers to thank them. Candy? Some have expressed their love for chocolate. Maybe a nice box of chocolates? Any other ideas? Many of the caregivers are Somali and I'm not sure if there is something that they might really like.

John McCain Concession Speech

John McCain is a class-act!

President-Elect Barack Obama in Chicago

John McCain, what a gracious man you are!

Congratulations President Obama. Godspeed.

These two men are true Americans and I'm proud of them both.

It's the End of The World As We Know it And I Feel Fine

The election is over and the campaign is history.

The clergy from hospice called to say he was stopping over to see Mom today. I'm still too numb for anything to sink in.

God bless you all.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Hospice

Today Mom was accepted into a hospice program. She did not want to get up out of bed today, and she did not want to eat. She acknowledged my presence when she awoke and held my hand. Yesterday however she took part in the sing-a-long in the afternoon. The rollercoaster ride continues. I feel so guilty about not spending all of my waking moments with her. I know that I can't do that though. Yesterday I was too worn out to stop over to see her, and now I feel guilty about that. I wish there was a rulebook for this. But there isn't. She seems comfortable. And hospice will help me out now with this decision making process. It's no longer all on my shoulders. I feel numb. I love you Mommy.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Vote!

Tomorrow is election day. I'm looking forward to this election being over.

I am meeting with a hospice tomorrow. They are going to evaluate Mom to see if she is a candidate for their program. I don't know what to think about this. I don't think she is 'near the end of life'. I do want her to have the best care possible. So I don't know what to think.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Today I convinced them to get Mom up out of bed. She had had enough of lolling there I think. I had received a call from CB at 12:30 AM. Seems Mom did not want to be alone and would yell and scream when left so. I told them to sit with her then. And she might also be hungry. At lunch I went and fed her. She ate all of her yogurt and some of her chicken, vegetables and mashed potatoes. She said she didn't like the hot meal. I left her enjoying the company of some of the other residents. I hope she had a pleasant day.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

This video is from a few months ago. mom seemed better today and she drank some juice for me. She was very willful too which is a good thing. She's on the mend I hope. When I came in her room she was napping. I said 'Hi Mom' and she awoke with a start and said 'You scared me'. I stayed with her for about 2 hours and she slept and woke periodically. She didn't want her chicken noodle soup so I suggested ice cream.
video