Friday, July 31, 2009

Dad's health

Last Sunday, I spent the day with mom. We went to church & my brother came up for a visit. I made a hamburger rice hotdish and did a few chores. Rick kept mom entertained. Dad came home from his dump job & he seemed in pretty good shape. Lately, he has been tired and I figured it was from his new medicince Lyrica or from mom. She can really tire a person out these. We had dinner & I left them about 4 o'clock to take dinner to my Uncle Irvin. I stayed with him until 6.

When I got home & opened the door the answering just clicked off. No one had left a message. There was just some fumbling sounds. Seconds later the phone rang again & it was mom saying that dad was having chest pains. He talked briefly to my husband & then we called 911. We were up at their house shortly after the first responders.
Dad was sweating and very gray in color. They drove him to Dairyland and the helicopter from St. Lukes picked him up. Within 5 hours, he was recovering from getting two stints put in one artery. He seems to be feeling pretty good & it's only been a few days but he is tired & today I found out that he cannot return to his dump job for a month. Dad loves his job and will feel bad about not working.

It has been a roller coaster week. Mom seems more confused than ever. She is anxious at times and doesn't remember why she is there (at home). Not sure when she moved there or if that is her home. She has lived there for over 40 years. It was sad for my sister and I to see her like that. Last night, she was asking, "How far are we from the highway? She seemed to think they lived too far out in the woods. "Did we talk about it before we moved here?" She also feels anxious about trees being too tall and clouds that look a little dark. She frequently asks me who I am, where I live and when did I get there.

I have been busy trying to get help from the county. There doesn't seem to be any easy answers. I don't know how long dad can handle mom. They are so loving and it breaks my heart to think they won't be together, but I told dad that we have to think about our health too. We can not do it all & mom is a sweetheart but she takes a lot of energy. The social worker seemed to think in-home care would work for some I just have to find the worker. How will this all turn out? Dad told me today that he thinks they need a little help everyday.

I have to remind myself that God is in control, but I am tired.
Lord, Please give us rest and peace. Amen

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Back to work or not yet...

I've spent the last couple days trying to decide about returning to my full time teaching job the end of August. I can tell mom has lost ground the last month and I don't know how long dad will be able to handle it alone. I've spent time with them everyday for 6 days and yet she asked me who I was yesterday. She also has recently asked what grade I am in. Yesterday, she cut her bangs again and looked so upset when I came in. Her hair was wet and I wasn't sure if it was water or lotion. I convinced her to wash it and we blew it dry and she was looking good when they went to the senior meal. Dad told her Ma, You're looking so good they will probably say your meal is free today. He is such a sweetheart to her. She has been making a lot of noise lately clearing her throat and coughing. I know he gets tired of the noise and looks at her funny and she says, "What?? I'm just coughing."
A neighbor finally took the chickens from the middle coop. I was so happy to have them go someplace else and not have to worry about them but the last two times I was up there mom has started to keep a couple hens & chicks in there!!! She doesn't put water in there so when I get there I let them out and they run for the water. Yesterday, I locked the door with no chickens inside hopefully they will not go back when she opens the door again...
Yesterday, I took more things out of the house a few bags of old clothes, knick knacks & coffee mugs. I have been doing this for about 4 Tuesdays in a row & I think I can actually tell that there isn't so much stuff & mom hasn't noticed anything missing. I thought for sure she would be wondering about the old rugs I took a couple weeks ago but thankfully she's not missing them. I'm not sure how the month will progress or what my decision will be but I will look at the pros and cons & pray.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Positive Thoughts

I need to focus on the positive so here it goes...ten positive things about mom at this time.
1. At times, she hugs me and says, "Oh, What would I do without you?"
2. She is still making coffee in the morning.
3. She loves to eat. Yogurt, ice cream, chicken and cookies are her favorite.
4. She is able to go to the garden and get onions or lettuce.
5. She loves her plants and the animals: cows, cats and chickens.
6. She gives Pa a hug and always wants to know where he is.
7. She washes the dishes.
8. She is silly & rolls her eyes.
9. She has a strong body and can walk around.
10. She sleeps at night.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Questions & Confusion

I spent the day with mom while dad was at his dump job. It is good that he is able to get out & make a little money and interact with lots of people. Mom was very confused today and kept asking me where I lived, if I had a husband & if my dad was in Superior. My husband, Kenny was in Superior but for some reason she is calling him my dad. She asked me if I have any sisters and I said, "Yes, Cecile and Bonnie." She said, "Oh, those are my daughters." and I said, "Yes, and so am I." She looked at me very puzzled like and said, "Are you the oldest?" It seems she just can't grasp that I am her daughter. I am o.k. with that & I just want her to be calm and at peace. It's difficult when she asks these questions because they go on and on & she gets agitated and I try to redirect with comments about the birds or garden and sometimes it works but other times she just doesn't let it drop. At times, I tell her the wrong answers seeing if that will calm her but no matter what I say she doesn't seem satisfied. For example, she frequently asks my age and I say 44 and she gasps and says, "Nooo." So later I might say, "29 or 25" and she still says, "Noooo." The crazy thing is, it seems like most of her memories are now gone or confused. She asked me who my sister and nephew were in a picture and she asked me if I had a job. I said, "Yes. I am a school teacher. I teacher first grade." She said, "Oh, that must be nice." She asked me where I live and I always say, "In Danbury across from Vivian Johnson." and she said, "Oh, do you live with all those people and Donna and Kenny." We have a very small house and there is just my husband and I and mom and dad were here just yesterday for dinner but she doesn't have any recollection of it. What an awful desease....

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

It's the little things in life...

I spent the morning with mom and dad. Mom was glad to see me arrive at 9 A.M. Dad was over having coffee with Wayne and she was alone. We decided to go for a walk to see if the blueberries were ripe. She was talking in her southern drawl saying, " Yeah, I know. I know. I know." Then, "I don't know. I don't know." I would say the same things in a funny voice and she would laugh. She was confused about the neighbors driveway as she saw it through the trees. She asked a couple times if it was water. She can't recall the neighbors names and some times thinks there are a couple ladies living there instead a husband and wife. These are neighbors that mom & dad have had dinner with and visited with.
On Sunday, mom sat through the long church service as the new minister was being instated. Later, she was clueless about what happened.
The last couple times I've gone up there she has not been able to feed the chickens. The first time she brought back the feed & realized that she forgot to feed them but said, "Oh, well I'll give it to them tomorrow." Then she brought the feed bucket in the kitchen!
Today she didn't bring enough food and when I told her to go back she was confused about where she was going and then brought two buckets. When we are working in the yard she often confuses tools. Once she brought a big garbage can when we needed a five gallon bucket. She's not sure about rakes, pitch forks and shovels. Why am I writing all this down....I'm seems she is slipping fast the past month. Dad said this morning she asked where the kids were that had slept in the basement. He said, "There's no kids. We slept down there." She nods off often when sitting in her chair & has had a couple accidents lately. I get tired and frustrated when I am with her but then when I am away I am sad that I am missing time with her & dad. It's hard to find a balance.
As I look back at what I have written it is rambling mess but it has reminded me to focus on the positive....over the weekend we weeded in the rose bed and mom was thrilled with the progress. She kept saying, "I can't believe you are doing that. Look, how much you have done." Her flowers and cats make her very happy and she enjoys a cup of coffee with lots of milk & sugar and she loves cookies and her new favorite thing is yogurt. Every time, I go I bring her some and she can't wait to eat it. She makes noises, "MMMMmmm." While eating it, so for now she is enjoying the little things in life and for that I am very thankful. She also hugs me and kisses me and says, "Oh, what would I do without you?"