Monday Memories With My Mom

     When I last posted a couple Mondays ago, my mom's senior living facility had a nice family picnic.  I left there feeling better overall about how my mom is doing.  I am hoping her care is better than it was in June, but only another sleepover by me will determine that for sure.  I hope I can make time to do that soon.
     Meanwhile, when we were there for the picnic we had added this little note to our "bead sorting project" that we left for my mom.  We thought she might need a reminder of why the beads were there in the first place. 

     I have to say, both Kristin and I were very excited and even very proud of our little Grandma when we saw that she had sorted every last bead!!!  We thanked her for sorting the beads, and she said, "oh I didn't do it -- I don't think"!!!  Ha!  (I'm 99.9 percent sure she did!!!!)

     On July 23rd I received a call that my mom was found on the floor near her kitchen.  I was told she was not hurt and, again, we are not sure what happened.  Kristin and I are hoping she didn't drop any beads.  We are very aware that she will try to pick up any little thing that is on the floor.  I am debating whether we should continue our little bead project for this reason.  However, I might mix up all those beads again and give it another go!!  So hard to know what to do.  Even an innocent little project like this could turn into a disaster if she spilled or dropped the beads and fell picking them up.  Sometimes ya just gotta say YOLO!!  I also received a call from Liz from the Med Team.  She made me aware of some supplies my mom was running low on, like shampoo and such.  She also gave me some insights into some of the things my mom was doing...like taking dirty laundry out of the dirty clothes bag and hanging them back up.  Ugh (again)!  I bought a laundry hamper and put a sign on it to leave the dirty clothes in it!!  Who knows if this will deter her.  I appreciated so much the phone call.  I think it was only the second time that somebody had gone out of their way to contact me.
     Jacob had not seen Grandma in a few weeks, so I snapped a picture of them.  Grandma was all over him trying to love him up, thus the reason for the goofy smiles!!

     I am not sure how to segue into this, but just as things have been looking up a bit, there are also some issues that I don't think I have mentioned.  Underlying the good and the bad...is sometimes the ugly.  There are some things I've noticed overall declining with my mom.  You may recall, over a year ago, I was forced (and actually asked by my mom) to take all of her scissors away from her after she cut all of her own hair quite short.  Then, not long ago, I actually decided to take all of my mom's scotch tape (of all things) away after I saw that she was dressing some of her own injuries with tissues and tape placed directly on the wounds.  Also in the last few months or so my brother actually noticed my mom was filing down her nails to the point where there were almost gone.  He took her nail files away. 
     Weeks later, I received a call from the staff that my mom had filed her nails to the point that her fingers were actually bleeding and they had to change her clothes which had a bit of blood on them.  Obviously, I found this disheartening in a way I cannot fully describe.  Seemingly basic things that I can no longer feel comfortable letting my mom use at her own discretion.  I later realized my brother missed a few of the nail files around her apartment and that's how she was able to get into that.   She can be a sneaky one.
     One of the Med Team staff members later told me that my mom was now biting her nails.  My mom never used to do this.  There are very few things I can do about this.  I considered a few options, but instead decided to hope it was some temporary phase that she would possibly move out of.  The last few weeks, I am not aware of it being a problem.       
     After all of this, I took a few minutes to think about what else could lead to problems in my mom's apartment.  I decided that I should take away even the butter knives she had in her kitchen drawer.  I don't know why...but obviously I'm erring on the side of caution.  That said, with this disease it seems like a problem can sometimes come from even the most seemingly benign thing.  The knobs have been removed from her stove since she first moved in and even before that in her previous condo where she was living.  
     Anticipating and putting out small fires (sometimes literally) is part of the job.  The relative unpredictability of these things definitely raises my anxiety level more than I would hope!!
      On a much brighter note, I learned a few weeks ago that a childhood neighbor friend (who moved to Indiana when I was 14 or so) was coming back to Michigan to visit.  Her mom and my mom were also great friends during my elementary and middle school years.  Sadly, her mom passed away several years ago from an apparent fall down her stairs at home.  Ironically, my mom had a similar fall a few years ago, but thanks to a neighbor, was found in time to get her help.  Tracy misses her mom terribly, and has had a very rough time as she just lost her husband to cancer in November.  He was only 54 years old and they have five children.  
     The visit ended up being late at night as we tried to pack so much into the one day we had to spend together.  My mom was awake, but ready for bed.  It's been many years, but she remembers Tracy!  I knew she would.  It was a short but emotional visit as my mom kept asking about Tracy's mom and saying how sad she was that she was gone.  Earlier in the day, I had also shared with Tracy that my mom actually cried when I told her that Tracy's husband, Paul, passed away.  My mom almost never (maybe twice a year) shows that kind of emotion any more.  Tracy was touched by that and when we left my mom's apartment, truth is, we had a small sob fest in the hallway as I think Tracy understood how difficult it is for my mom, misses her own mom...and just the sadness of the direction sometimes life  takes us.  I am very grateful she insisted on visiting my mom and know  my mom appreciated it.  Tracy said she always saw my mom as a bit of a mother figure growing up, and I also felt a connection to her mom for all those years.
     Then, a few days ago my mom got a visit from two of my cousins and their kids!!  I am so grateful for that!!  I've probably said it before, but any caregiver in a situation like ours knows what a treat it is, not just for my mom, but for me to know my mom is getting a social visit from someone besides me or my brother, even if only for a short time.  They said their visit went well and they liked my mom's place.  My mom also told me how cute their kids were and I know it made her very happy.  Thanks, Karen and Stacey!!
     Next on the agenda -- a very urgent matter!!!!  I have to get that dog "Muffin", the stuffed animal, into a washing machine -- and soon!!!!!  Stay tuned and thanks for checking in!!!

My Mom and Tracy
July 2013



Anne Marie said...

I always liked your mom, as did my mom! They were the young cool moms on the block! I hate that she has this disease; I work every day with people diagnosed with this. But how neat that you are writing about your life!!

Shirley said...

I stopped by to see how things were going in your world. I know you are going through some trying times and being a caregiver definitely gives you a new outlook on things. I really enjoyed your daughters birthday party. It sounded as though it was a lot of fun and the girls all had fun. Prayers and Hugs are coming from Your Missouri Friend.

Kim said...

Cindy, you are being so smart with your mom. You do need to think one step ahead all the time and it sounds like you understand this. It's better to be proactive. It's amazing how much trouble they can get into quickly. The good news (if there is such a thing) is that these phases often pass quickly, like the nail files. But best to remove the temptation.

Kerri said...

Cindy- you're doing a really great job with your mom...can't imagine how it feel for you to have to take little things from her for her own good.
Thanks for the simple reminder to all of us about making time for others. When we were in Ohio earlier this summer I stopped in to see a friend of my moms who isnt doing very well...it was a last minute thing and I almost didn't stop by. I am so glad I did...as she was still talking about our visit days later to my mom. It makes me sick to my stomach to think I was almost too busy to stop and say hello.
Good luck getting Muffin from your mom! :)

Arlene - Caregiver ordinaire said...

Cindy, you are doing so good! You are definitely thinking ahead! We had to do all of those things at our house too. You know, there are a million things you can have your mom sort. We did greeting cards one time. Or those foam craft shapes come in big bags. Your Mom's smiles are so genuine. I'm so glad that she feels a little connection to the past. I am feeling so happy that we've encountered each other online. I'm so comforted by you. :) a