Saturday, March 30, 2013

Random thoughts...

My brain is going a hundred miles a minute.  So many thoughts.  So little that is positive.  I want my life back.  I have nothing left to give.  My kids deserve more and better.  So much better.  I don't like myself anymore.  I am angry.  No, I am furious!  I don't like her and I have nothing left to give her. She whines and complains every moment that she is awake.  She is getting closer to my soul with every swing of her hammer.  She pushes buttons that I didn't know I even had.  Is this who I am?  Is this who I will always be?  Will I become her? Am I already her? Will my children hate me as much as I hate her?  Will I ever be able to forgive myself for who I am?  If Alzheimer's forces her to be the real her, without filters, is it forcing me to be the real me?  Am I truly this evil?  Will this stop before the joy is completely extinguished from our lives?  I just want to go home. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Balancing act...

I am walking the line.  Doing a dance.  Keeping the plates spinning in the air.  Peeing my pants, oh, wait, that one wasn't supposed to be public.  What do (most) of these activities have in common?  Why, they represent me trying to balance my desire to be more positive without painting a rosy picture that does not resemble the truth.

Today I took Mom to have an MRI done of her brain.  This was the second attempt.  Our first try was Friday when Mom had a panic attack while lying in the machine.  They asked us to come back today and try giving Mom a sedative before the actual test.  I did.  Mom was so relaxed that I practically carried her to the room for the test.  We got her up and onto the table where she immediately fell asleep.  Kathy (the tech) and I talked over her sleeping form for about 10 minutes.  She praised me for my patience with Mom.  I mentally qualified that to include the fact that there were witnesses who could testify against me.  She commented that my daughters and I must be very special to do what we do each day.  I mentally asked for forgiveness for accepting her praise.  It was an uncomfortable conversation that I have had with many strangers.  Finally, Mom's lips relaxed into a solid snore.  I could hear a choir singing Hallelujah. It was time and it was going to work.

As Kathy began to gently slide the table into the machine, the choir was drowned out by the sound of Mom's screams as she violently came awake.  She pulled everything that she was able to reach and panicked.  I felt so helpless.  How terrifying it must be to be placed into a machine like that, head strapped down, with no understanding of what is happening.  It broke my heart for the second time.

So, our next step is to again wait for an appointment at the hospital where they can  put her under.  Pretty simple.  We waited 3 months for this appointment.  What's another 3, right?  But, everything in His time.  So, we wait.  And we will be thankful for what is going right.  We have day care for 3 days a week.  We have a doctor who cares.  And we are still a family.  I will conveniently forget that I am a klutz who has horrible balance.  And we will continue this trek that has become so much more than just a moment in time.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Fifteen two, fifteen four...

The doctor just called with the insurance company's decision concerning Mom being institutionalized.  They will not approve her being placed into a nursing home at this time.  We have to try in-home care first.  I am just heart-broken.  I keep thinking about a phrase from Cribbage, "Fifteen-two, fifteen-four, that's all there is, there ain't no more".  Or, more specifically, "that's all there is, there ain't no more".  I am done.

It seems as if each day that goes by, a little bit more of me becomes irretrievable. Her negativity is wearing me until I feel like that last nubbin of cheese that has so little left that there is nothing left to grate. Even when she gets what she asks for, she is unhappy.  She turns positive actions into negative results. Her complaints are never ending. 

I am drowning.  My life jacket was the hope that they would accept her into a home.  I know my feelings are my own and that no one can tell me what I should be feeling.  But, I dislike my negativity.  I need to regroup and re-evaluate this situation.  I cannot, will not allow her bitterness or my disappointment to turn me into her. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

I'm liking this Day Care thing...

Yesterday was Mom's first day at the Adult Day Care.  The goal was to fill out all of the paperwork in the first hour and have Mom stay the rest of the day without me.  That was the goal.  But, just like leaving my youngest on her first day of kindergarten, Mom was not concerned with the goal.  We spent the day together while she adjusted to the new place and new faces.  The director of the center suggested that it would probably be easier if Mom was picked up here at the house this morning.  This would allow her to rely on herself and the staff, instead of me. 

So, when the van pulled up this morning, I helped Maria, the driver, strap Mom into the seat.  I felt it was the kindest thing to be honest, so I warned her that the ride would not be a quiet one and suggested that she turn the radio up to drown out the sound of Mom's screams.  I skipped up the drive-way with the memory of the driver's huge eyes and her panicked look fresh in mind. 

Maria told us to expect Mom home between 2:30 and 3:00.  So, Katie and I set out on our first day alone together in several months.  I occasionally wondered how Mom was faring, but I knew that she was receiving better care than I am able to give her.  So, we continued our mini-celebration and arrived in plenty of time to greet our little one when she arrived home.

At 2:30, Katie waited out front for the van to pull up. When 3:00 rolled around and my mom still wasn't home, I harbored the dream that they loved her so much that they decided to keep her.  When 3:15 came and went, I began to think that they really loved her and that I could expect a ransom note.  At 3:30, I faced reality and accepted that Mom had made Maria wrap the van around a convenient telephone pole.  My guilt forced me to call the center where I was told that Mom hadn't even left yet.  I pictured Mom throwing a conniption fit and refusing to get in the van.  Or worse, that I had forced Maria to quit a job that she desperately needs.  The guilt was killing me until I remembered to focus on the real issue...Mom was still not home.  I could be taking a nap. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

You are my sunshine...

I saw this picture today of a sunflower field in Argentina and immediately thought of Mom. Oh, how she loved her sunflowers.  Her kitchen was decorated with them. She made many attempts to grow them.  A few times she had even been successful. She said that they made her happy.                                                  
My second thought was of Mom singing You Are My Sunshine to Kylie when she was a very little girl. Grandma was her champion and could do no wrong.  I was never allowed to ever sing the song because it was their song. I loved coming home and seeing them cuddling while Mom softly sang to her.                     
It is these random memories that give me hope that we will be able to look back objectively and remember more of the good times.  And someday I hope that Kylie will hear this song and remember only the love. Someday

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


-Why do I calmly accept it when you cancel the only time of true peace that I have in a week?
-Why do you think that your time is more important than mine?
-Why do I value a family that does not value me?
-Why do I try so hard to keep a family together that is only a shell of what a true family is?
-Why can you not see that this is killing me?
-Why is it that you cannot "handle" her for 5 hours but I am expected to do it for days and weeks on end?
-Why am I putting my family and myself through this?
-Why am I not worth more than this?
-Why are you the only one who is thanked for taking care of our mother?
-Why do I  feel like an only child?
-Why do I still allow myself to be surprised and disappointed?

If she had a hammer...

If she had a hammer, 
she'd hammer in the morning, 
she'd hammer in the evening, 
all over this house. 
She'd hammer out laughter, 
she'd hammer out pleasure, 
she'd hammer out the love between a mother and a daughter,
all over this house.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Day care...

Well, 3 months into a 30 day sign-up process and Mom finally received approval to begin her visits to the Adult Day Care.  She's been given the okay for going 3 days out of the week.  I think this will be good for her.  She will see new people.  Every   It will be good for me.  I will get some much needed respite from the tension.  My kids, hopefully, will have a mom who is a little more relaxed. 

So, why am I not doing a jig?  Why do I have this heavy sense of foreboding?  If  I continue with the analogy that she is a like a toddler, then maybe it's just nerves about letting her go.  But, I never felt that with my kids.  I was always thrilled that they were going to make friends and learn things that I was unable to teach them.  In this case, Mom will also be meeting new people and be cared for in a way that I am unable to do. 

I think part of it is the belief that this is not going to work.  I hope I am wrong.  But, if I'm not, I do not want to be let down again.  I cannot handle many more disappointments.  But, her moods are not under control.  I am so afraid that I am going to get a call telling me to come get my misbehaving child, er, mother.  And, they will then tell me that I can't bring her back until she can be good. 

But, shamefully, I think that the biggest fear is that I feel that she is a reflection of me and my care taking... that I am somehow responsible for her behavior.  If I had done something different for her, she would be better.  My brain knows that is not realistic.  But, my heart thinks that my brain is an ass. 

So, here I sit, after receiving some great news, with a sad sense of doom.  I will do the only things that I can do... I will trudge on.  And, most importantly, I will let go and let God. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Help for the bunnies...

While I was busy cleaning the driveway today, Mom gathered up various items from around the house.  She had placed her jacket, a box of Girl Scout cookies, the dog blanket, a pair of Kylie's jeans and someone's t-shirt on the back of the couch.  

She sat looking at it while crying.  She turned around and asked, "Is there something that I can do to help all of these rabbits?".  When I looked up to see what she was talking about, she turned to the junk and said, "I'm sorry. That man says that you have to go hungry. I guess he doesn't like bunnies. Not everyone does." 

Thursday, March 7, 2013


Mom cannot stop picking and scratching her skin until it is bloody.  She then lies in bed at night screaming about how badly her skin hurts. She has many stories of what evil person did this to her and how.  She no longer understands simple instructions like "Please, stop scratching." or "Put your hands in your lap".  And, to be honest, I am tired of asking/telling her to do these things. In fact, it pushes my button faster than anything that she does.  But, if I do nothing, she becomes a huge, and eventually infected, sore.

We have tried salves, medications, cortizone creams, distractions, tall socks, gloves, reasoning... you name it.

So, this is what my life has become:

A pile of rolled up children's socks.  Each time she starts picking I toss a sock to her.  She then gets up and returns the socks to me for the next round of picking. Am I desperate?  You betcha!                                                                                                                                                                

Monday, March 4, 2013

I haven't done it...

 "Have you called..."  "Have you taken care of..."  "Did you do..."  I am so tired of these questions.  Whatever it is that you've asked me to do, or think that I should have already done, I haven't. 

Everyday I wait until 3:15 to go to the bathroom.  Why?  That's what time my 12 year old daughter gets home.  She gets to watch her grandma while I take care of my business.  I shower when it fits into my oldest daughter's time at home.  We, as a family, are weeks behind on laundry.  We rarely cook at home because it simply is not worth the drama that it causes. A simple chore requires 2 people, one to actually do it and one to run interference with Mom.  I do anything that must be done after Mom goes to bed if I have the energy left to do it. Phone calls are not made. If it can't be said in a text, it doesn't get said. 

Saying that our lives have been put on hold is an understatement.

So, no, whatever it is, I haven't done it.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The most common bird of all...

Mom has always loved birds.  Any kind.  Anywhere.  She would buy food for them before she would buy her own.  For several years, I believed that she had changed migration patterns for many species when they stopped for Mom's buffet in the yard.  She enjoyed being an amateur birdwatcher and loved being able to identify the different types that stopped to eat her offerings each day.

This morning I was treated to her never ending bird call of "Yes or no?  Yes or no?  Yes or no?  Yes or no?"  When I flipped her "the bird" that I thought she wanted to see, she responded with "Is that a yes?".  Apparently, she has even lost the ability to identify the most common bird of all.