Thursday, April 23, 2009

Fairwell Uncle Don

Today I blog with a heavy heart. Yesterday, my husbands only brother passed away.

It has been a rough road for my husband's family. They lost their sister, then 3 months later their mother. Then less than a year later, at the begining of this year they lost another sister. Now Brother.

Now I understand that God gives us no more than we can handle. But dude, this is a lot.

We mourn that we have lost him in this life, but celebrate that he has gone to join his Father, Mother, and Sisters. To meet again near and distant relatives who passed from this life on the ultimate journey.

Must be one heck of a party.

Love and hugs to you all.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I'm A Chiquita Banana . . .

I’ve been having a twitching eye for the last week. Although my shorter sister says, “eat a banana”, I know what it really is. It isn’t a lack of potassium. It’s a stress related twitch. It’s time for the quarterly meeting at the nursing home that Hester, the lady who looks like my mom but isn’t my mom, lives. She lives there quite happily too, I should add. I love that she is living there. I am thrilled to death that she is very happy there. But I know that there are unpleasant things to talk about at this meeting. Because even though my mom happily lives there, Hester, the lady that looks like my mom, but isn't my mom, lives there too.

There are many emails flying back and forth between nursing home and we siblings. There is a room change looming. My eye starts twitching right after the first email hits my inbox. They want to move mom to the special unit for Alzheimer’s that they have. They want to do this move on Easter. Who wants to spend all day Easter speculating about how this move is going to go for mom My eye starts twitching more. My brother talks to the home, and the move is postponed. Okay, but it still will need to be addressed.

Twitch, twitch, twitchtwitchtwitch, twitch.

There is going to always be a meeting. I know that, I’ve accepted that. But still, it’s rough to hear about her progression with Alzheimer’s. Especially from the people who aren’t going to sugar coat anything for you. Even though you may have read about the different stages, identified some of them yourself, and seen them happen to other people’s parents, you’re never prepared to hear it about your mom. Not really.

Twitch, twitch, twitchtwitchtwitch, twitch

These meetings are double rough because my mom is there. We need to talk about delicate things like bathroom and grooming issues. Or lack of. Not on the facilities part, they try to get Hester, the lady that looks like my mom but really isn’t my mom, to partake in these things. Hester doesn’t see the need to shower or change. Hester doesn’t realize that she has gone to the bathroom, but not in the bathroom. I’m sure you catch my drift. To prove the point, Hester, the lady who looks like my mom, but isn’t my mom, has wet her pants. Even with the soiled pants on her body, she still can continue to deny that she has. Rule number 1, 2, 3, and 4, you can never reason with an Alzheimer's patient. Don't even try.

Twitch, twitch, twitchtwitchtwitch, twitch

Hester, the lady that looks like my mom but really isn’t my mom, has taken to hoarding other peoples belongings. Things like silverware from the dining room, CDs from the library, remotes from her neighbors.

Twitch, twitch, twitchtwitchtwitch, twitch.

Sticks them down her pants or puts them in the pocket of the coat she has taken to constantly wearing. The facility staff will just calmly wait until she is out of her room and then go in and find the missing objects. They are used to residents with dementia and Alzheimer’s doing this. It’s a day to day happening for them. But still, it’s hard to hear about your mother doing this. But of course, this isn’t my mother, this is Hester, the lady that looks like my mother, but isn’t really my mother, that is doing these things.

Alzheimer’s is such a wicked hag.

Twitch, twitch, twitchtwitchtwitch, twitch.

We move on and brooch the subject on the room changes with the staff that is present at the meeting. There are lots of musical room change happenings at the facility. To us, these seems like it could be a very confusing thing to do to Hester, the lady that looks like my mom, but really isn’t my mom.

To be moved to a completely different hall. Oh man, not just a different room, but a whole different hall.

Twitch, twitch, twitchtwitchtwitch, twitch

There is a social pecking order between the residents. I’ve seen it. My sister has seen it. It’s not surprising. It’s just like high school all over again, but with elderly people. The card playing group that she currently hangs with, well, they don’t like the people from the other halls joining in. My mother loves to play cards. Quite frankly, I think it’s what is keeping mom still alive. Otherwise Hester, the lady who looks like my mom, but isn’t my mom, would take completely over.

Twitch, twitch, twitchtwitchtwitch, twitch.

But after hearing about what the move to the different hall could offer mom, well, it’s a good thing. There is a better staff to patient ratio going on. There are actually more group activates organized for the residents on that hall. There are activities designed for physical exercise also. They set aside time during the day and do hair and nails. Heck, it actually sounds more like a girl’s slumber party than a nursing home. I know I’m confident the move is a good thing now that we’ve had a chance to talk with the staff about. Much more so than from getting an email that says we want to move your mom to another room with little explanation. That makes my eye twitch.

Twitch, twitch, twitchtwitchtwitch, twitch.

Good news is, mom is fine with moving. She doesn’t care what room she has. She gets along with everyone. Which is true she does, and that makes life so much easier. So many people I know have had to make living arrangements for their parents other than having them live at their homes alone. We are lucky that my mother wanted to stay at the nursing home. We are very lucky that she loves living at her nursing home. I am counting that as a big blessing. I’m in tune to the fact that we have it easier than some. For now anyway. I think that is what really helps me keep things all in perspective with dealing with Hester, the lady who looks like my mom, but isn’t my mom.

I suppose it’s better I have the twitchy eye than to resort to binge eating. Or binge drinking. Or binge smoking. A few years ago I would have probably done all three when I was faced with such a stressor. Or heck, even a lesser one would have sent me down that path.

Now that the meeting has taken place, decisions have been made, and all is at rest for the moment, by eye has stopped twitching.

Guess I didn’t need that banana after all!

Chiquita Hugs and Kisses,


Friday, April 03, 2009

You Mean Your Him Too?

Here comes Peter Cottontail
Hoppin' down the bunny trail,
Hippity hoppity,
Easter's on its way

This year at Christmas time I was going to be laid up from having an abdominal hysterectomy a few days before Christmas.  I knew I was going to be in no shape to be doing the Santa Claus thing, and knew that my daughter was pretty much sure there wasn't a Santa, but really wasn't ready to NOT believe.  Oh I remember when I was at that point.

So anyway, the cat was offically let out of the bag on the Santa gig, or so I thought when we had discussed just getting a Wii and games for the Wii as a family present.

"Haze" I asked her, "you do realize this means that there won't be many presents under the tree"

"But I'll still have my Santa presents" she shyly answered

"Now Hazel, come on, after all this you can't tell me you haven't figured out who Santa is" I answered, "I know you know for sure it isn't your dad!"

She laughed. 

"Yeah, but I was kind of hoping it wasn't true" was her reply.

I few days after that conversation I had decided that we all could stand just one more big present to share, and ordered us a nice sized flat screen TV.  I'm a very generous Santa.   I was telling my husband about it, and Hazel was coming into the room. 

 I said "now though, we'll also have to think of this as your birthday present, my birthday present, our Easter presents"

"Awe come on" Hazel spouts wide eyed "you mean your the Easter Bunny too?"

At which point we all burst out laughing and I said,

"do you want to know about the Tooth Fairy now?"


Here' comes Peter Cottontail
Hoppin' down the bunny trail
Hippity hoppity
Happy Easter Day.