When Your Heart Keeps Going In...One Direction

     Over the summer, and for the past year and a half or more, Megan has lived and breathed for the boy band -- One Direction.  You either know who they are -- or ya don't, but they are all the rage!!!!
     The band recently completed their "5 Seconds of Summer" tour.  Tickets for the one night concert went on sale over a year before the concert date in our part of the country -- and sold out immediately.  I kind of thought it was a "phase" and that the band would come and go out of Megan's life by the time the concert came.  Maybe she would move on to the next band that came along. 
     I was wrong -- instead her "LOVE" for them continued to grow!!  She follows them on every form of social media there is.  Many of our conversations turn into One Direction updates.  "You should see Liam's haircut" or "Guess who's birthday it is today"???  

     As the year went on and the July 12th concert date grew closer and closer, I realized just how badly she wanted to see them.  She had it bad and the tickets were long gone.  She never really begged for us to get her tickets or whined about it because she knew it was sold out.  However, she checked many sources for tickets and in the weeks leading up to the concert tried continually to win tickets on the radio.  There were days when our entire family was calling WAMP radio trying to be the right caller number.  Megan actually got close to winning several times.  I was surprised she was even able to get through.  I didn't want to discourage her, but I knew the odds were not the best!
     One interesting twist to all of this -- I used to work for the Owner of The Palace and distribute tickets for all concerts and events as well as monitor our corporate suite and all of those tickets!!  Back in the day, getting tickets to this event would not have been a problem.  Sadly, both my connections and my former boss are gone.  I had a few friends also trying to make connections for some tickets, but in the end those didn't work out either.  Obviously, I was not willing to pay thousands of dollars.
     Meanwhile, Megan's 16th Birthday was looming -- September 12th.  I knew the best thing we could give her for this special birthday was tickets to this concert.  Although we try (really!) not to over indulge our kids, seeing Megan staying up through the night to try to win tickets and continually looking for any means possible to get there finally got to us.  A day or so before the concert, she finally just asked a friend to get her a t-shirt from the concert.  My heart was breaking for her.  She realized her hopes of winning tickets were not to be.
     Before we knew it, it was the night before the concert.  No tickets were won -- the ticket fairy did not come to our door.  I convinced my husband we had to try to find her some tickets. 
     We jumped on the Internet and made some phone calls to people in our area trying to sell their tickets.  After only a few calls, we settled on somebody who said they could meet us with a "paper ticket".  It was rather late a night.  I made my husband handle it.  The whole thing was rather seedy to say the least.  The price for two tickets was way more than face value.  My husband paid cash and basically got two pieces of paper for it!

     We did not know if the seller was honest.  We only new they appeared to be.  They could very well have sold copies of the same paper ticket to several people. The only way to know for sure was to go to the concert and scan the ticket!!!
     My nerves were shot!!! 
     But now the fun part -- we presented a big card with the tickets inside to Megan early the next morning -- the morning of the concert!!  We told her she could invite whomever she wanted although we were pretty sure which friend she would choose.  She was shocked and thrilled and called her friend right away!  (We also had to tell her there was a small chance the tickets would not work -- can you imagine!!!!!?????)
     Our family was to attend a graduation party that night, but instead my husband offered to drive Megan and her friend to the concert so I could attend my BFF's son's graduation.  I was on pins and needles praying we did not get taken for a ride on the tickets.  Thankfully, the tickets were legitimate and the girls had the time of their lives!  Once I got a text saying the girls were at the concert, I could finally relax!!!
     This was her 16th birthday present -- no car, no big party -- just two tickets to see Liam, Harry, Niall, Zayn and Louis!!!!!

     Jacob and Kristin did their best to "fake" their jealousy, but the truth is they are not as big of fans as their big sister.  They were excited for Megan and we had fun at the graduation party!!
Sure, they weren't front row seats.  They weren't in the fancy suite.  But she was there.

Thanking your mom on Instagram for an amazing night -- priceless!!!!


Chicago...My Kind of Town

    Back in August (don't judge my tardiness...remember I'm determined to catch up on stuff not related to my mom), on a Tuesday night, my husband randomly says...  Remember how I wanted to take Jake to a Tiger game in Chicago?  Well, they're playing tomorrow and I'm thinking of going.  Say whaaaaat?  I mean, I can be as spontaneous as the next person, but really!? 
     To review, we did not go on a family vacation this past summer.  The closest thing was probably spending part of 4th of July weekend up north.  I don't think I ever went into this, but Megan had to take a "Personal Fitness" class from 8am-12 noon for the first six weeks of the summer.  Monday thru Friday and could not miss a class.  See, you may find, like we did, that if your kid happens to take a foreign language class and is in music, their schedule does not allow for the personal fitness requirement.  Thus, we got to pay for a summer class, drive her to it, and be stuck here for six weeks...  Lucky us!!  Then, of course, band and football start in August, Megan started a job in June, the husband was tearing up our deck and rebuilding (still is!) and for those reasons and more we were close to home all summer.
     So, because I was stir crazy I said if you're going then me and the girls are going, too!!!  After making last minute dog sitting arrangements with our neighbor, getting Megan excused from marching band, and my husband getting game tickets on Stub Hub, we kind of had a plan. 
     We left super early (like 4 or 5 am) to drive the 5 plus hours to Chicago and make it by game time.  We did stop for a quick breakfast and coffee on the road at the famous...Cracker Barrel!!


     Both of my husband's sisters used to live in Chicago.  One still does.  My husband and I have been to Chicago many times, but I realized rarely have we gone in the summer.  Family holiday visits were typically in the Fall and Winter it seems.  I was scrambling to try to come up with a plan to make sure me and the girls got to see the maximum amount of stuff in the minimum amount of time.  I made a list in the car that included things like "The Bean", Michigan Avenue, Lakeshore Drive, deep dish pizza, Garretts popcorn, the Apple store and shopping...  No art, science, museums or aquariums this trip... 

     We arrived by 1pm and parked right in the center of the city and the boys took the "L" to Cellular Field for the game. 

     Our first stop was Millennium Park.  Interestingly, my girls are always up for a "photo shoot".  We had a beautiful day and the park was active and pretty!!

     Meanwhile, the boys were sending us some shots of their fun at the baseball game.  The Tigers ended up winning that game and they had a great time!!!

Our first time taking some shots at "The Bean" (Cloud Gate)!!  Can you tell I don't do "selfies"
all the time, but some of us know exactly how to do it!!!!


We walked and we shopped and the girls got some clothes.  We
couldn't even resist stopping at this downtown Target which was also a lot of fun!!

Garrett Popcorn was also on our list and we had not eaten since breakfast.  I remembered Oprah (my bff?) talking about it and when we finally got there it did not disappointment!!  Yummy fresh carmel corn and cheese popcorn!!  This place probably always has a line, but it moved fairly quickly and was not too long when we were there.  Took a bunch of popcorn home and munched on some at Starbucks while we waited for the boys to meet up with us. 
Throughout the day we had been texting my husband's sister who had no idea we were in town.  Her office overlooks Millennium Park and luckily, she was able to suggest a pizza place and meet up with us for dinner.  I think it was Pizano's...  There's a couple of good ones.  She said she has actually gone on a "pizza tour" through Chicago before where they got to sample from each place.  Pizano's was her preference and it was good!!  It was nice to catch up with her -- the kids love their Aunt Jill!!

We knew that 8 pm was our witching hour.  That would get us back home by around 2 am.  My husband had to work the next day (believe it or not) and the kids also had some commitments.  That's what happens with poor planning!!!!
However, our seven spontaneous hours in Chicago were a lot of fun -- and it was nice to hang out with my girls for awhile!!!!
Chicago -- we'll be back -- and this time Mom will plan the trip!!!



Monday Memories With My Mom

The Adventures of Caring for a Mom With Alzheimer's Disease
     Well, this past week was a very "mom" week for me.  Often, all of the things that go into caring for her are like a part-time job.  As I indicated in my last post (below), a meeting was set up with the supervisor of the Med Team, Executive Director of her facility our case manager from the Area Agency on Aging last Tuesday. 
     Interestingly, when I went upstairs waiting for the conference room and the others, look who I found hanging out on the second floor sitting in the sun from the skylight above... 

That's right -- The Don!  Seems every time I say that they don't see much of each other anymore...they see each other!  However, if you ask my mom she will confidently say that she never sees him anymore!  That's her story and she's sticking to it -- for now!
     I came to the meeting with some notes and a typed up Care Plan for my mom...virtually the same care plan that was outlined over a year ago.  I guess the reason I was a bit nervous is that I was not sure if the staff would immediately go on the "defense" and try to deny my claims with regard to lack of care. 
     It wasn't long before I was leading everyone through the details of my mom's care and then giving specific examples of the care that is not being given, being given incorrectly or is inconsistently being given.  They listened and primarily the Med Team supervisor would occasionally make comments or ask questions.  She was not defensive and did not deny any of my claims.  For that I was relieved.  
     I have to admit, I did get emotionally tearful when I recounted how it was 90 degrees in my mom's apartment recently and how my kids could not understand how come the staff did not help their Grandma.  They were sympathetic, but I was disappointed that I didn't quite make it through the meeting without getting emotional....
     During the meeting, it was confirmed that the time and expense allotted by Medicaid to cover the necessary care was more than adequate.  My Agency on Aging care manager suggested that the Med Team staff develop a checklist to be kept in my mom's apartment where the staff initials each task throughout the day as it is completed.  Also, each staff member of the Med Team is supposed to sign a copy of my mom's Care Plan so they cannot say they are unaware of it.  It is also posted in two locations in my mom's apartment (and has been for over a year!!)  I will be looking for these improvements soon.
     Remember, things were going relatively smoothly except for the last 6-9 months or so!! 
     I told them my frustrations with the communication, the turnover of staff, the unreturned phone calls, messages not being shared, etc...  I also complimented a few things and some of the recent improvements I have seen signs of. 
     In the end, I think everyone "gets it"!  Changes need to be made.  I felt better just saying my peace to everyone and knowing that now, nobody can claim ignorance.  If I have issues in the coming weeks, I am to contact my Agency on Aging case manager as she is now on site and having regular meetings with the staff.  Again, I definitely get the impression that there are several of these similar meetings taking place with other families.  I am hopeful and have already seen signs of improvement.  Most importantly, my mom has just looked and seemed better.  As I've always said, when she gets the care she does okay.
     When I went back to her apartment, I wanted to see if any of those snacks I had left for my mom were still there.  They were not...  She ate them all as I expected!!  The good news is...she ate them all.  The bad news is...she ate them all.  (Except for the ones I hid in a cupboard.)  I got a bag out while I was there and she ate it immediately.  This has always been the problem with me getting her any type of food or snacks.  I only did it this time out of concern for her not eating in the dining room, i.e. leaving before the meal is served.

     My mom was also reviewing the procedures for the practice Fire Drill they were going to have that day.  I have never been there during their practices, but I am sure my mom was anxious about it as the alarms probably scare the residents.  I don't even want to think about an emergency like that!!  I have talked to her about it before and told her that she always has to act as though it was "real" even though it is scary.  She seems to understand, but who knows how any of us would react in a real emergency, particularly my mom.

     That same night, the Condominium Association where my mom previously lived was having a Special Meeting with regard to changing the Master Deed to limit the amount of units that could be rented.  Since there is always the possibility that we may want to rent my mom's condo in the future, I thought I had better attend the informational meeting.  It ended up being a good thing that I attended, and the attorney who was helping run the meeting ended up giving me what I think was some good advice on how to handle things in our particular situation.  It was a long meeting with lots of residents having questions and not necessarily understanding the answers so it took longer than I would have liked (they always do!).  That was a particularly long mom kind of day.
     I had scheduled a doctor appointment for my mom this past Friday with her primary care physician.  I was pleasantly surprised to see this when I arrived to pick her up...........

     The facility installed a lockbox on my mom's thermostat.  I knew they had them within the building itself, but did not know they would do that for us.  Maybe it was my tears...  I am grateful and left a message thanking the Executive Director.
     I was also glad that my mom was dressed decently and seemed to be more lucid than I have seen her recently.  This made me soooooo happy!!  I had a morning where I was able to have (almost) normal conversations with my mom on the drive to the doctor.  We both got a laugh that when I went to buckle her, "Muffin" accidentally got buckled in, too!!!  We decided Muffin would be safer that way!!! 

     The repetition on the drive was not too bad.  Her anxiety level did not seem particularly high and she "knew" the doctor she was going to and that it was for a checkup.  Needless to say, I was elated that on this day the drive was actually pleasant.  She was, though, very interested on what roads we were on and what road her doctor was on.  While I am grateful things were going well, it will always make me sad that when we drive right past my subdivision and many landmarks that my mom used to know so well, she does not recognize any of them, although she does read the various streets and signs.
     Things were going so well, but then we waited AN HOUR AND FIFTEEN MINUTES before we were taken back to be seen by the doctor!!!!  Thank God my mom was not overly agitated and mostly sat calmly while we waited.  I teased the nurse that she was lucky my mom wasn't having a bad day!!!  In the waiting room, my mom was more fascinated by the address label on the magazine than she was the actual magazine.  The doctor's office happens to be on a street that was a major crossroad right by my mom's condo residence.  I think she kind of knows it.

     I hate that I do most of the updating and questioning during the exam.  My mom sat silently, only occasionally answering questions when asked. 

     I updated the doctor on her falls and frequent sleepiness.  I told him that she slouches on her couch and often falls asleep there.  I even asked if he might be able to write a prescription for a Geri Chair like my friend Arlene at Momma n Me has for her mom.  He did write the prescription, so I will be looking to see if that is an option for us and if my mom's insurance will allow us to rent or get one. 
    The doctor said he does not need to see us for six months.  Her neurologist also has been saying four months or more.  This, to me, is in response to the fact that there is not much else they can do that we are not already doing.  He drew some blood from my mom to see if her sleepiness could be a result of her levels of medication.  Or, just a sign that she is entering that phase of the disease where there is more and more sleep (my words not his).  This is another reason why I'm working so hard to get the staff on track -- I can't properly evaluate my mom unless I KNOW she is properly getting the care and medications.
     By the time we left the doctor's office it had been three hours since we left my mom's place -- ugh!  We were both hungry, but rather than going out I got us each a sandwich and we ate in the car.  I really really wanted to get my mom's hair trimmed.  She has not had a cut since the day she cut her own hair super short.  I think she does know what she did that day and is somewhat traumatized by it.  She occasionally mentions how she is glad I took her scissors away.  My mom also frequently says, "I look like a short fat man".  That all started the day she cut her hair short.  I went to the Great Clips that I take my kids to sometimes.  I got lucky -- there was only one person ahead of me and I got the girl who does my son's hair -- she is good and super quick!  She immediately understood what was going on with my mom and did all she could to make it as comfortable for her as possible.  She gave her a great trim and answered all of my mom's questions appropriately.  At the end, my mom said "what's your name again"?  "I like you Andrea".  Andrea got a very big tip from us!!
     Yes, of course, a slushie was also purchased along the way.  My mom had quite a day!!!  I should also note that by the time we left the doctor appointment, my mom was more like she usually is -- lots of questions and repetition and not so much conversation.  By the time we got her back to her apartment, we were both tired!!

     I got her settled in, turned on Channel 4, and we said our goodbyes. 
Special thanks to everyone who gave their support!!


Monday Memories With My Mom

    So, if you missed my update post from last week, I received a call from one of the aides who basically said that my mom was not cooperating with getting dressed or going to lunch.  She called around noon.  She also said she used my name and even pretended to telephone me to try to get my mom to cooperate.  I thanked her for trying and asked that she at least make sure my mom was brought her meals, lunch in this case.  I also told them to try again in awhile.  I said I would try to visit so I could redirect her appropriately.  I should note that this particular aide is the only one who I know for a fact my mom does not like.  My mom has a rather funny nickname for her and has mentioned on several occasions her annoyance with this particular girl.
     After thinking about it for a bit and checking the calendar, I realized this was going to have to be the night that I do another sleepover at my mom's place and see what is going on. 
     Over the 20 hours I was with my mom, I learned a lot.  Some new, some not so new.  I will try not to ramble too much or get off track, but there is a lot to say...
     When I arrived at 5 pm my mom was on the couch.  I was immediately alarmed by her appearance.  It was obvious to me that she had sat there on the couch for at least 6 hours -- if not all day!  I was extremely distraught and immediately asked her to get up so I could properly get her taken care of.  Although I give lots of details on this blog, I do draw the line sometimes.  This is one of those times.  My emotions were running high -- upset with the staff, frustrated with my mom and her inability to complete her ADLs (activities of daily living), but I needed to take care of her. 
      By the time I got her ready for her day, it was 5:30 pm.  However, I decided I wanted her to go to the dining room for dinner as I was quite sure she had not been out all day.  I wanted to see if the staff would come and how she would respond to them.  I also talked firmly to my mom about accepting the help that is being offered to her.  Explaining as best I could using my "mom psychology" why it is so important.  She often says things like "I'm not stupid" or "I can do that".  Accepting help has always been difficult for my mom.  She was independent for so long and on some level she knows she's not 90 years old.  However, the fact is that she does need to be prompted, reminded and most of the time helped! 
     I threw in a load of laundry down the hall and at 5:50 pm (right on schedule) an aide (not the one that called me) from the Med Team arrived to escort my mom to the dining room.  I tried to "stay out of" the exchange and see if my mom would cooperate on her own.  She was confused, but went with the aide fairly willingly and this aide approached her appropriately.  To add to the confusion, apparently one of the elevators in the building was out of service for several days waiting for a part.  My mom repeatedly asked if the elevator was working.  On this day, it was not.  There were notices posted around the building about it.  I believe this made my mom very uneasy.  The aide indicated it was unsettling to many of the residents.  However, the elevator closest to my mom's apartment was working.
     I watched my mom eat and it appeared she was a member of the clean plate club that night.  (Which leads me to wonder if she had eaten at all that day????)  I was also cleaning up and doing laundry while my mom was eating.  I also settled my stuff into the extra bedroom at my mom's apartment.  My mom never questioned why I had my stuff and we never talked about me staying over.  After dinner, my mom made her way back to the apartment herself.  Shortly thereafter, the aide came to confirm she was safely back in her apartment and she indicated she would be "back later to get her ready for bed".  I again took the opportunity to explain to my mom that when the aide comes back she needs to cooperate and let her help get ready for bed.  That is the girl's job and that's what she needs to do if she likes living where she is, etc.....  (more mom psychology).

     Around 7:30 pm I ran into Tina in the hallway.  She was passing out the medication and had been to my mom's apartment while I was in the laundry room.  I asked her if my mom was cooperating with her meds and she said, "Oh yeah, your mom is always fine with her medication - she's all set".  I said, "Oh good, I just wanted to make sure she is cooperating."  So, I walk a few more steps back into my mom's apartment.  My mom was still holding her little paper pill cup and -- inside the cup were her pills!!!  Well, if you know about these things you know that the aide is supposed to MAKE SURE my mom actually takes ALL of the pills in her presence before she leaves!!  Ugh!!  So, I asked my mom to take the pills, which she did right then.  However, another red flag for me!!  For those following along, Tina is also the person I talked about here after my last sleepover adventure in June.  I did not say anything to anyone at the time, because there is no supervisor on staff at that time.  In fact, I think she was the "lead" that night.
     The other aide returned around 9 pm to help my mom get ready for bed.  My mom, although repetitive in her questioning, cooperated and went to her bedroom and got ready for bed.  My mom also then kept asking if she could go back and "watch Channel 4".  However, not long after she came back to watch Channel 4, this dozing off thing started happening.  By then, I was bored and getting tired so I just decided to sneak off to my little bedroom and try to wait and see what was going to happen next...  Finally, I decided around 9:30 pm to try to plant the seed and get my mom to go sleep in her bed.  I turned the TV off and directed her to her room where she kind of sort of laid in bed.  Sadly, the idea of actually going to bed did not seem at all obvious to my mom.  After awhile, I snuck in and turned off the light.  When I peeked in, she had dozed off.
     I was startled awake around 12:30am when I heard someone in the apartment.  I quickly realized it was one of the aides and apparently my mom was in the bathroom.  She talked to her and kind of asked her if she was ok  or needed help and then she left.  The aide had no idea I was listening in the other room -- and remember I'm trying to be a fly/spy on the wall.  I waited and waited for my mom to go back to bed on her own...she did not.  Almost an hour went by and I finally had to go in the bathroom and strongly suggest to my mom that she should go back to bed.  Obviously, I was also afraid of scaring my mom since I had no idea if she knew I was still there.  After the usual questions, she did go back to bed.  This time, I was able to get her all the way into the bed and tucked in...
     By then it was probably close to 2 am.  Once I confirmed she was sleeping, I eventually fell back asleep. 
     At 7:45 am I heard an aide come in and talk to my mom about getting up and dressed and going to breakfast.  She was very pleasant and seemed to know how to work with my mom.  I even heard her mention that Don would probably be at breakfast.  My mom seemed to indicate she does not really see him and then the aide said something to the affect that "Don has Alzheimer's and doesn't seem to want to be bothered with anyone lately".  Hmmmmmmm.......the things you learn.  Within about 20 minutes or less they were on their way to breakfast.  This was my cue to get a quick shower and continue my work...as spy, daughter, caregiver, patient advocate.
     Once I regrouped I headed to the lobby to grab a much needed morning cup of coffee.  As luck would have it, the Med Team supervisor AND the aide who called me the day before about my mom not cooperating came into the hospitality room, too.  The supervisor first greeted me, and I told her that I had spent the night in response to the call I received about my mom not cooperating.  I told her the condition I found my mom in when I arrived.  When the other aide arrived, I explained that getting a call at noon about my mom not cooperating and arriving at 5 to find my mom completely not taken care of was NOT what I was expecting.  The supervisor agreed that it was unacceptable.  I then decided to show her the pictures on my phone of my mom when I arrived.  I did not get angry, but was firm in what I said.  I told them both that the way they approach my mom is key and that if she would not cooperate with the first aide, I certainly would have expected some other(s) to try by 5 pm and not leave her there on the couch all day...  The aide (as they always do) said she cannot "force" my mom to do anything and they do not want her to get "combative".  I get that.  My mom is not to that point.  Unless her buttons are continually pushed inappropriately.  After the aide left, I explained to the supervisor that it may be just as simple as not having that particular aide care for my mom.  It's obvious my mom, for whatever reason, does not like her.  I am quite sure that consequently, she does not care for my mom either.  I then told the supervisor about the medication not being appropriately given the night before.  She agreed that was also unacceptable.  I did also compliment the aide who came that morning on how she got my mom dressed and ready for breakfast.  The supervisor asked that I send the photos of my mom when I arrived the day before to her cell phone.  I was surprised she wanted them, but was happy to send them to her.
     I then went to the dining room to see how my mom was doing.  She appeared to be done with her breakfast and then "this guy" arrived!  It's been awhile, as far as I know, since my mom has "hung out" in "the Don's" apartment.  I get the impression that lately they are not spending much, if any, time together.  Perhaps only at breakfast if at all.  While I was there, neither my mom nor "the Don" were particularly talkative to each other.  I left my mom there wondering when her "escort" would get her and return her to the apartment.
   Since I was on a roll (ha!), on the walk back to my mom's I stopped in at the physical therapy room and asked the therapist how my mom had done on her recent round of physical therapy.  She actually thought she was doing pretty well.  I then told her that, unfortunately, my mom fell flat on her face the week after her physical therapy was over.  I also questioned her about the possibility of my mom getting those little support rails for her toilet.  I told her that I really thought she could use them even though several months ago the occupational therapist didn't think she needed them.  She told me she would check their supply closet to see if anyone had donated any.  Otherwise, I would try to get them prescribed by my mom's doctor.
       It wasn't even 9:30 am and I was feeling like I was "kicking butt and taking names" (not my usual style, although my kids would probably disagree!)  I went back to my mom's apartment and was dreading spending a long morning waiting for "things to happen".  I decided if my mom seemed okay I was going to try to color her hair, which was long overdue.
  Shortly after, my mom wandered back to the apartment on her own.   A bit after that, the aide came to confirm that my mom had made it back safely.  It appears that the return escorts are not happening.  I'm not sure how long my mom is supposed to sit and wait after she is done eating, but for someone who has virtually no real sense of time it seems only natural that she would eventually get up and start walking back.  I don't have all the answers, but clearly "the system" is not really working in lots of areas.   
     After my mom settled in and we watched a bit of morning tv, I told her I wanted to color her hair and she was fine with that.  I've had the color in her apartment for awhile, meaning to do it millions of times.  I secretly wished I had an assistant like last time when Kristin helped me.
     Covering that gray does wonders and anyone who doesn't think that a little hair color and some simple foundation and filling in her eyebrows doesn't make much of a difference.  Well, I beg to differ!  Below is my mom the night before and then "after" on the right with the hair color and two minutes of makeup application!  I actually think we got to not just 10, but perhaps 20 years younger!!

      I watched some tv, tidied up and took some more notes on my phone about my adventures.  I then decided to check and see if my new Area Agency on Aging case manager was on site so I could introduce myself in person.  Her temporary office is in the Ceramics Room at my mom's senior facility.  You may recall, she is newly located on site to work specifically with people like me and my mom.  I found her, introduced myself, and gave her a quick update of my sleepover and the shortcomings I observed.  She asked if I thought a meeting with the American House staff, the Med Team supervisor and herself might be helpful to get this figured out.  I said I would love such a meeting.  I told her my availability and she called later that day to indicate I would be meeting with the Executive Director of the facility, her assistant, the Med Team supervisor and herself tomorrow, Tuesday morning at 10:30 am. 
     Honestly, I'm a bit nervous.  I quickly realized that it's me...and then four of "them".  Although my Area Agency rep and the other staff should be on my side, the truth is I barely know this new rep and the Executive Director and her assistant are also new to the scene.  Thus the other problem, tons of turnover in these key positions.  This is my third Area Agency case manager since June as my previous rep went on maternity leave and then did not return.  The Executive Director who was instrumental in getting my mom into this facility two years ago left a couple of months ago (I am not sure why).  This Med Team supervisor has only been on site I'm guessing 6-9 months.  Ugh!! 
     I have again realized how truly alone in this I am -- or at least I feel pretty alone.  The meeting just got confirmed and I'm quite sure my brother has to work.  Of course, my husband has to work.  There is literally nobody else who understands all of the ins and outs of my mom's care and her needs.  Just me.  In fact, recently when I have discussed these various things with my brother and husband on separate occasions, one of their first reactions is "do you think they are going to say that they can't care for mom anymore"??   Not the encouragement I was hoping for...  Honestly, no I do not think this is the time for that.  However, if they do not step up and follow the care plan outlined we will be forced to find another solution before I believe it would be necessary.  Needless to say, my brother and husband's questioning is not making this any more fun for me.  I could definitely use some moral support and that's where you guys come in!!!!  That's why I am grateful to have found here on this little blog support from other caregivers and just some nice compassionate people.  This blog...a place I never would have expected to find it. 
     Now back to my adventure, the aide returned around 11:15 am for a toileting check.  They are supposed to kind of remind my mom or ask her if she needs any toileting assistance.  On this day, I discussed some issues with the aide and she did a great job helping my mom.  My mom is not a big fan of these "checks" and you can tell she finds it indignant and humiliating.  I feel for her, however, I reminded her they are just there to help and she should be grateful that they are doing their job and that she should cooperate "if she still wants to live there".
     Then, it wasn't long before this started happening again.  Around 12:50 pm the aide came and took my mom to lunch.  This was my cue to leave.  After 20 hours, I had enough information. 

     I checked back a couple of days later and brought my mom quite a few supplies that I noticed she needed while I was there.  I also took the suggestion of my friend, Arlene at Momma n Me and decided to put some snack bags together since I'm not sure how well my mom is eating lately.  I'm a little skeptical that she may devour them all took quickly, but I thought I would give it a try since it's been awhile since we kept any food in her apartment.  I also discovered that the physical therapist had, in fact, delivered the support rails we discussed for my mom's toilet.  (I thought she forgot about me, so I was happy to see someone being proactive!)  I also replaced the tennis balls on the legs of my mom's walker with these new "skis" in hopes of making her walker use literally "smoother". 

     Today I will be typing up a new plan of care, going through my notes and carefully outlining the items I would like to highlight and discuss with the staff.  As always, I welcome your advice, tips and support!.  I hope and pray it all goes smoothly and that I'm able to leave my emotions out of it and focus solely on getting the staff to understand my mom and to give the care that's best for her!!!