Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Back to Blogging

Well, really. Has it been that long? More than a year?

There are reasons why, even though I'm still caring for my parents, I haven't blogged about it in sixteen months. No excuses, of course, but reasons galore.

Here are just a few:

  • On March 30, 2012, Mom broke her hip. She had surgery, spent a week in the hospital, and then 100 days in the nursing home.
  • During that time, Dad realized that she wouldn't be able to move back into the small house we'd been living in on the farm.
  • We spent a couple of weeks looking at the few homes on the market in Rural Town and found out there weren't any that could easily be made handicapped accessible.
  • So... we built a modular home. Dad paid for it. I did all the leg work.
  • Eight days after we moved into the new house, Mom came home from the nursing home, unable to walk, transfer, or go to the bathroom by herself.
  • For the next four and a half months, she woke me up 2-3 times a night to use the bathroom.
  • Then, she had another surgery after we found out we'd gotten poor follow up care from her first surgeon in Big Town. Yes, the second surgery was done by a different doctor, in Big City.
  • After a few weeks in the nursing home, she came home, and with the aid of a vertical transfer pole, she is almost always able to use the bathroom by herself at night. (Yay, sleep!!)
  • In the meantime, Dad was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. In the past six months, we've had the doctors call the family together three times, because it was "the end." Each time, Dad miraculously pulled through and after a short time in a nursing home, he returned to our new house.
  • Just before the last of those occurrences, Dad went on Hospice. They have been wonderfully helpful, but the rules have changed--now, when we would normally bring him to the hospital, we have to call Hospice. More about that later. Hopefully, more about each of these items later.
  • A month ago, Mom was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia.
  • Last week, Dad had a mild stroke, but seems to have recovered pretty well.
So, I hope you forgive me for not keeping up on the blog. I'm hoping to write more consistently now that things have calmed down to a dull roar.

Friday, February 3, 2012

No Clean Underwear--Again???


None clean.


Yes, in today's Eldersitting blog post, I'm airing Mom and Dad's dirty laundry.

Dad had a heart attack in November. They put in a stent the next day, and he's recovered quite well for an 83 year old with COPD! Since then, he's had cardiac rehab three days a week. In Big Town. About 18 miles away. And he hasn't driven in the intervening months. So, I drive him there. Did I mention it's three days a week?

So, three days a week driving to cardiac rehab. Another one or two for physical therapy or various other appointments. Plus, I've been sick a couple of times, myself. (Unfortunately, I think the mild winter, which I've thoroughly enjoyed otherwise, has something to do with it.) Between all these things, I have fallen behind on housework. Very far behind!

One of the things I'm farthest behind on is laundry. It's actually one of my favorite jobs to put off in the first place, so having no time is a great excuse to not get it done. I finally got Dad to let me know when he takes the second to last pair of underwear from his drawer. In the meantime, I had to buy some extras for him. At first, I never had to worry about Mom running out--she had more pairs than Dad, and since I had to wash his, I washed hers, too, and she didn't run out. But, now that I've bought him more underwear... you guessed it, now Mom sometimes runs out. And she's not yet trained to let me know when that happens!

Today, I bought her a package of underwear. Ten pairs. That oughta last awhile.

Of course, by then Dad will have forgotten to let me know when he's nearly out, so I'll have to buy him some more. And then Mom will forget to let me know when she's nearly out, so I'll have to buy her some more. And so on. And so on. And so on.

I can see it now: we have a large capacity HE washing machine that holds four times as many clothes as the old washer did. And there's going to come a time when I fill it to capacity with nothing but underwear.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

It's Time For Bed, Young Lady!

You've probably heard it said that taking care of your parents is a lot like taking care of children. Of course you've heard it said--I say it all the time!

Tonight, I had to send Mom to bed.

They brought one of the barn kittens into the house after getting him neutered and declawed. Kitten is sweet. He loves to sit on laps, climb on shoulders, and I think he's really good for Mom and Dad. Mom actually sits down a lot more now than she did before!

But, at nighttime, he's not good for Mom. She walks around pushing chairs under the table to keep him from getting up there. (If he wanted to get up there, he would just jump.) She doesn't remember that he's a nocturnal creature. (He's not likely to go to sleep at night.) And she doesn't want to go to bed until he's settled. (Why? I just don't get it!)

She's like a kid asking for the proverbial glass of water to avoid going to bed!

Tonight, I could hear her still moving things around almost an hour after I'd dressed her for bed. I went upstairs and, like she was a little girl instead of my mother, told her in no uncertain terms that she needed to go to bed!

She wasn't happy about it, but she went.

Goodnight, Momma. I love you!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Turning Into My Parents

Wow! It's been a long time since I posted!

I've picked up some hobbies in the past few months. I had tried others--they didn't stick, but boy, have these two! In June, I began researching my family tree. Dad likes to quip that since I started, I've only found one pirate and two horse thieves. ha ha

Then, the beginning of August, I rediscovered knitting. Ahh... knitting. My new comment on life in general is, "I have yarn; I'm happy!" (We won't go into the idolotry contained in that statement at the moment. I'm working on it.)

Anyway, there have been a lot of projects keeping me busy the past few months, but today, my Husband commented that he misses my posts. Aww... it's nice to be missed!

I discovered today that he and I are turning into my parents. I suppose after living here for 18 months, it's bound to happen. lol

All summer, Mom and Dad enjoyed watching Their Favorite Baseball Team. One would say, "Go First Name" and the other would say, "Get a hit, Last Name". It was so cute to see them!

We've been watching the World Series together. My Husband grew up in the city of one of the teams, so we're rooting hard for them! And here we go, saying, "Go First Name" and "Get a hit, Last Name."

Just like Mom and Dad. :)

Mom and Dad's team didn't do very well this year, so my Husband was ribbing Dad at dinner the other night, asking him to root for the opposing team so his hometown team will win. They've been having a lot of fun with that one!

Hoping not to be so long between posts again!

The Eldersitter

Thursday, June 2, 2011

How Many Children Do I Have Anyway?

The past several weeks, we've gotten into the habit of taking my Sister to church with us on Sunday mornings. Then, we bring her home for dinner, spend the afternoon together, go back to the afternoon service, and take her home after supper. It seems to be just the right amount of time for her to be home. When she spends the night, breakfast becomes very stressful for me. She is such a morning person --- I, on the other hand, I'm not. Most of the time when she's with us, she never stops talking, and what she says is just repetition over and over and over again. Don't get me wrong, I love her dearly. It's just that it does increase my stress when she's home for more than a few hours of time.

There's a lot more to monitoring her than some people might think. She needs to be watched all the time so that she doesn't get into things that she's not supposed to be into, very much like a small child. We've had trouble with her with everything from eating too much food to cutting herself with razors. She can't be left alone at all! For example, yesterday afternoon when she was home, I went downstairs for 20 minutes, and while I was gone, Mom and Dad went to take a nap. When I got back upstairs, sister had helped herself to a snack. It was less than half an hour after we finished eating.

One Sunday morning, we were going through the line at coffee after church. Sister started taking the amount of food she wanted, and then I had to have her put some of it back because she taken too much. I looked up at my pastor's wife who was serving coffee and shook my head. She chuckled and said, "How many children do you have now?"

You see, I have three children of my own. Two of them are grown and on their own, and one was at home with us. I have a stepson who is married, and they have a baby. I'm taking care of my parents, which is often like taking of children, except I can't discipline them. And then there is Sister.

Yes. I have nine children. And I am truly blessed.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Results of Mom's Testing

After several months of waiting for appointments, driving miles to get to them, and talking with doctors, we have finally found out the truth: there is nothing that we can do about Mom's memory problems. She doesn't have Alzheimer's, but the confusion that she's experiencing cannot be cured and will not go away.

We went to a neurologist in November and found out that the memory problems were not caused by her strokes. He sent us for neuropsychological testing. That testing happened in March. A week later, we found out there is absolutely nothing wrong with Mom'smemory Her memory is actually extraordinarily high for a person her age. Then, we went back to th neurologist , who really didn't tell us anything more than the neuropsychology guy did.  The only thing he did say was that Mom needs continual supervision.

And that's what we're here for. :)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Neuropsychological Testing

I had a lesson in communication with doctors this month. Always ask about follow-up, and make sure you understand who is going to contact whom. And don't be afraid to call for clarification.

Early in March, Mom had an appointment for neuropsychological testing. Previous to that, a neurologist determined that she doesn't have Alzheimer's Disease, nor are her memory impairments caused by the mild strokes she has had. This testing was supposed to tell us which part(s) of her brain aren't working properly.

Oddly enough, her memory is as far above normal for her age as a person with dementia is below normal.

So, what is wrong? We don't know, yet. And because of a misunderstanding between the doctor and myself, she can't get in for a follow-up until the end of June! The doctor who did the test said he would let the neurologist know his findings, and the neurologist would be in touch. After two weeks, I called the neurologist only to find out they had "told" me that I was supposed to schedule an appointment after her test. She is on the wait list, and I hope she can get in sooner.

Her appointment with the neurologist was in November. It took until March to get the testing appointment. Had I known I needed the follow-up and scheduled it in November, we could have gone almost directly from the testing to the follow-up with neurology.

I suppose it's a shortage of specialists in Big Town. I just wish they'd been clearer about the process. In the future, I will be more diligent.
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