Friday, October 26, 2012

You Old Bag

I have been visiting mom once or twice a week.  I talk to dad every morning and night and see him about once a week.  Sunday, I usually visit him in the morning and mom in the afternoon.  Mom is definitely losing her language and any memories but she still will read primary board books and signs.  She enjoys sweets and still feeds herself but doesn't mind being helped out.  She asks about grandma or ma and I say that I just talked to her on the phone and she is doing fine.  She seems relieved to hear that news.
This week, when I visited, I brought treats as usual.  She really likes my homemade cranberry muffins.  She gives it a quizzical look takes a bite and her eyes light up and you can tell she is enjoying it. She really loves ice cream.  A week ago, Ken stopped into to see her and was trying to get her to go for a walk.  As she passed the snack tray, she reached out for an ice cream cup.  She didn't want to let go of his hand but she didn't want to miss the ice cream.  When he stopped, she quickly took off the top of the ice cream.  He said the walk was postponed until the ice cream was gone.
I went to see her on Wednesday and she saw me coming through the window of the door! She waved her arm calling me.  We talked a bit and then I got her up to go for a walk.  We were cruising down the hall and I said, "Mom, I love you." She responded by stopping and hugging me and saying, "I love you too.  You Old Bag."   Now that made me chuckle!! She said it like she was talking to one of her best friends.  When I told dad he said, "That sounds like her."  Mom liked to call us kids "You Bratty" and call her friends "Old Bag" in a humorous, joking way.  It was a priceless visit.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Is that my fires??

More changes...Each day I am happy for the blessings in my life.  Mom seems to have settled once again into the the routine at the nursing home.  She seems to recognize me but not with as much excitement.  She still feeds herself part of the time and staff and residents really care about her.  God has a plan and mom's plan included touching lives at the nursing home.

When I arrived yesterday for our visit, she was actually taking a nap on her bed!! This is very unusal for mom.  She woke up slowly.  Sat up on the edge of the bed and looked at her shoes on the floor, "Is that my fires?"  "Fires...hmmmm.  Yep those are your fires."  We started to look at old photos in the the little albums.  I pointed to her brother and said,  "Steve Mihna."  Her response, "Pete Mihna?"   No, Petes in our family.  Not even a friend named Pete.  She continued to make statements that made no sense through out the visit.  We still enjoyed dinner.  She grabbed the ice cream as soon as the dinner arrived.  She ate that first and then the salad.  No interest in the stew but ate the applesauce. 

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Where has the time gone??? 4 months!

The months and days have been going quickly. It has been a busy school year for me teaching kindergarten and first grade. A new situation that took some time to get used to but I am enjoying. I try to visit mom a couple times a week and dad once a week. I talk to dad at least twice a day. He's keeping up with senior meals, working at his recycling job and driving to see mom at least twice week. It is 50 miles for him and I am very grateful that he is still able to make the trip.

Mom does not seem to understand much verbally but I have no doubt that she recognizes dad and me. When my sister left on Saturday, she said to mom, "How about a hug?" and mom replied, "You want a frog?" She often responses with something totally unrelated that rhymes.

She hadn't said my name for a long time and then in the last month she started to say it again. Sometimes when I arrive for a visit she is sitting in a recliner and she will say, "Donna! How did you get here?" It makes me smile because she says it with such expression. Last night, she said, "Is that you?" I said, "Yep, Is that you?" I give her a hug and we look at photos and read little board books. She still reads and she really likes the farm animal book. It is very simplistic and small. She will look at the kittens and say, "Now, I like that."

We ate in the dinning room with the rest of the residents. She ate a sandwich, cookie and carrots. She drank hot cocoa, juice and milk!! That was a successful meal. It seemed like several times she was trying to tell me something but couldn't get the words out. She looked out the window and counted the trees and said the cows are over there. I said, "Yes, they are and I already fed them so don't worry about taking care of them." When I think of mom's situation. I can not believe how easily I respond to her concerns. I never would have imagined mom's life like this. I told her that on Thursday it will be March 1st. Do you remember that date? It's my birthday and I was wondering if it would trigger any response...nothing...not even when I mentioned her birthday May 6th. Gone not in there anymore...sad...

January was a very stressful month because the nursing home social worker told us that the staff felt that mom was not safe in their facility anymore. She had been wandering and made it into the attached hospital basement and they were afraid that if she did it in the night they wouldn't find her. We had a meeting and the director of nursing told us a string of incidents when mom had set off alarms.

They gave a 30 notice at the meeting. My response to them was that I understood their concerns but I was not willing to move mom to a different place. I said that I didn't want to give up Dr. VanEtten and all the rest of the staff that cares about mom for a new staff that we don't know. Another meeting was set for the next week and I had the ombudsman from the state come. The 30 day notice was not brought up...the entire meeting was about ways that the staff was making the nursing home safer for residents with dementia!! My prayers were answered!! I never did receive the official 30 day notice.

I believe that God has a plan for all of us and mom is a blessing to the staff and residents of the Spooner nursing home. It is not the life we wanted but God is in control and His will shall be done not ours...