Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Seroquel. Not just for bipolars any more.

They are putting my mom on Seroquel to try to stop the delusions and paranoia that she has been having. I'm not sure how I feel about that. But I guess I'm willing to try almost anything at this point. They also took some blood samples to make sure that they (once again) weren't missing anything. I'll keep you posted, of course. DH has been unbelievable, for the most part, helping, being supportive, and last night when we went to the grocery store, he didn't whine or complain at all when I didn't want to buy candy or ice cream....he just said "ok". That's a big one for him, really. He's really been trying hard. And I can't imagine what would be going on if he was unstable right now. I'd probably become mentally unstable myself.

MMES score: 14

Hi everyone, it's been a very chaotic time in my life, I'm very sorry I haven't let you know more about what is (or isn't) going on.

My mom is about the same. Very agitated and confused. She knows my name in some sense, but she frequently doesn't connect it with me. The other morning, I guess, before I got to the nursing home, she was very agitated and all she would say was my name--"Carol (my maiden name)!" over and over again. When I did get there, every worker asked me if that was my name.

Most of the time she doesn't recognize me when I first get there. But after we spend some time together, she seems to be more comfortable and have a clearer idea of why I'm there. She remember's DH, and my brother and asks constantly where they are. The other night she asked me "Where's DH?" I told her he was home cutting the grass (yay!) and she said, "That's impossible. The grass wouldn't take that long."

Sometime she just repeats "there's something very, very wrong..." over and over. And she is often suspicious of the staff--this morning she called the nurses' aide "dangerous", although I've been there every single day, and have never seen that aide exhibit anything other than love and respect for my mom.

She won't eat unless I am there. I've been getting her to drink Ensure shakes, to make sure she gets enough calories, but honestly, I am having such a hard time dealing with this....I always thought I would kind of see this coming, you know? Like maybe she would have an "episode" and then be ok for a few weeks, then have more, until I knew that this was the "new normal". I didn't expect to have her wanting to go out to eat after a doctor's appointment one day, and then a week later not even know who I am. It's so shocking and scary.

A huge part of me still is not accepting this. It just doesn't happen like this in the books....even the Alzheimer's web sites don't lead me to think this is normal. So I really want to believe it's not normal. I want to drag my mom, somehow, down to the hospital and insist on more tests, more treatments...have them check her stomach, her heart...but in the state she's in right now, the intellectual part of my brain knows that even if they found something, unless they could fix it with a pill, she probably wouldn't make it through any kind of treatment.

Yesterday they administered the mini mental status exam, which is a common way of determining the skills that an Alzheimer's patient has. She scored 14 out of 28 (Usually the test is 30 points, but 2 questions they didn't do, because I told them that she never knew her address or phone number when she moved to the assisted living--there was really never a need and it just seemed like a lot of work to help her remember something when I was doing all the driving anyhow) Anyhow, when she was in the hospital/nursing home in February/March, she scored a 19. So this is a very significant decline. I asked them if they could re-administer it in a couple of weeks just in case. They said they could. I'm not sure if there will be a change, but I just have such a hard time accepting this still.

Today I went to the nursing home to make sure my mom ate breakfast. She says things that make sense, and I don't know what is real. She says she is too hot. Then she says she is too cold. But she is in the same room and nothing has changed. I don't know if she's really cold or hot, or just feeling something else that she can't express? I gave her some chocolate pudding and she got really angry with me, yelling "THIS ISN'T CHOCOLATE, WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME???" I felt terrible. She was angry because I wanted her to eat. She was angry because she was hot and cold and wanted her sweater on, then off, then she had to go to the bathroom, then about 30 seconds after she got out (with the help of an aide), she "had to go" again, so we called the aide again. I tried to ask her to wait, but she said she had to go right now. Then, when she got done with breakfast, we went back to her room and she wanted to take a nap, but I tried to explain that almost all the aides were down helping with breakfast, so it was going to be a few minutes before someone was going to come, and she got angry again. I found myself getting pretty frustrated, so I gave myself a "time out" and left. I'll go back for supper.

It must be even more frustrating and scary for her to be in this dark land where people do things you don't understand, and you don't remember from one minute to the next what your body needs or wants....every time I really think about how she must be feeling about all this, I just get all shaky and want to cry. I hate thinking that she is afraid. And the worst thing, and the thing that is hardest, is that there is nothing at all that I can say that reassures her. Sometimes I lie just to calm her down. Talk about guilt. "Yes, I talked to Uncle Frank last night, he'll be calling you later this week." "Yes, I checked on your cat three times today." "I just saw an aide coming down the hall. She'll be here any minute." Lying to my mom. I did it when I was a teenager. But now I'm doing it again.

I took a week of vacation this week, so I don't have as much computer access as I usually do. But I have so much I want to write. I'll try to get to the library tomorrow to tell you more. Thanks everyone, for all your thoughts and prayers, I'm so grateful.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

My mom....nursing home.....

Well, my mom was discharged from the hospital yesterday. All the tests came up negative, so they figured she was ready to go to "rehab". Only the nursing home folks came by and determined that my mom was too confused for "rehab", so last night she moved into a long term care bed at the nursing home. Could be temporary. Supposedly, anyhow.

Yesterday she told me that someone came to her hospital room and told her that my DH had passed away. I told her it was probably just a bad dream, because I knew that my DH was fine. She just worried and worried about it, and wouldn't stop worrying about it, until I had DH go to the hospital to show her that he was fine.

So then, she decided that she had heard wrong, and that it was probably my brother that had died. But then she talked to him on the phone. We had about a dozen more conversations about how dreams can seem real, but it was probably just a bad dream, and then I went home for a few minutes. When I got back, she was upset because it must have been her brother who died. I thought we had it covered, but she just wouldn't let it go.

Then, at the nursing home, she started in again. Only the nursing home didn't know what was going on, so they helped her call me once, and then they called me to get her brother's number. I told them that he would probably expect my mom to be rational and we should not call him right now. So they said they would just reassure her. Then, DH went to visit her, and she told him he was dead. All of this is just so crazy, you can't talk to her at all, she's so wound up over whatever it is that she's worrying about at the time....I haven't been sleeping well, because I am so worried. But I had to get back to work, I can't use all my vacation time right now, because I might need it more later. But I sure want to.

In the meantime, DH has been going to visit her, which is nice, and he only turns into "That Guy" once in a while...but nothing at all is getting done at home, and I wish either I had time to do it, or that he or DD would actually lift a finger :-(
Well, maybe with my mom at the nursing home now, there'll be a little more time to get things done. I hope so!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Not my mom.

At the hospital, there is this person, she looks a lot like my mom. She has my mom's voice. But suddenly, she is not my mom. My mom is very easy going. This lady is getting upset about every little thing. My mom is trusting and appreciative. This imposter is accusing the nurses of trying to poison her. This strange, sad, person, can't remember from one minute to the next, what I just said.

One small week ago, my mom knew what my work schedule was. She knew what town I was going to be working in, and what night I stayed in the City. This person does not know if it is day or night. This person doesn't understand that the phone in the hospital doesn't work like her phone at home.

One small week ago, my mom could hold a conversation with me about the weather, was I busy at work? ....what she had for supper....now she is just repeating and fidgeting....

On Monday night, my mom (or this imposter) had to be sedated, because she was causing a ruckus in the hospital. The hospital did a bunch of additional tests, in case she was in pain and wasn't able to communicate that. All the tests came back normal. They took Xrays. Normal. And her sodium is just about back to normal. But my mom is not normal. I just reviewed the stages of Alzheimer's (available on www.alz.org) and it appears that my mom may have just jumped off the cliff, from "Stage 5 with a teensy bit of Stage 6 once in a while", to "smack dab right in to Stage 6". There are only 7 stages.

I'm terrified. I'm not ready for this. I'm just not. I am praying that this is a situation that she can improve from, at least a little...it's got to be.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Ash Trees.

Well, here I am, surrounded by elderly dogs that are filling my life with pee and sadness, and then....remember I told you my mom had a bad day? Well, she's had a few bad days now, and the other night I stayed in her apartment with her because she was truly very agitated. The staff at the assisted living place were sure that she had a urinary tract infection--that can make elderly people kind of "confused"....they did a test, I was told, and it came up positive. I was relieved, because we knew what the problem was and my mom didn't have to go to the hospital. (It seems like every trip to the hospital makes her Alzheimer's worse...)

So....the doctor wanted to culture the sample. The lab sent it back as "contaminated" and so yesterday, on exactly zero hours of sleep, we made a super-rush trip to the doctor at a clinic 30 miles away so that we could get a prescription for an antibiotic. The doctor said she didn't think there was a UTI, but prescribed an antibiotic anyhow....and supposedly did some blood work, too.

It was very confusing, because supposedly we were SURE that was what the problem was. But it wasn't.

I had told my brother what was going on, and he could tell from talking to my mom on the phone that something was very wrong. But he doesn't come up too often, and I wasn't expecting him this time either. (When my mom was in the hospital earlier this year, and then in the nursing home, he never came). (It's not really that my brother doesn't care, but he has 2 kids, so he's very busy with his kids all the time) But this time he came up and was able to see what was going on. Now. My mom has Alzheimer's, but usually you can still hold a conversation with her. It might only be about what she had for supper, or what the weather guy on the news said, but she's usually mostly oriented. That was why her "bad day" the other day worried me. Then yesterday, my mom was getting obsessed with weird things. Especially her right shoe. When she got her shoes a while back, she couldn't tell the right from the left. So I took a Sharpie and wrote a capital "R" on her right shoe and she was very happy with that. But yesterday, while I was home trying to sleep and my brother was waiting for the antibiotic to get rid of the UTI, the "R" on her shoe was all she could talk about and she was looking for it on her Kleenex boxes, and on her walker, and on her jacket and didn't seem to understand that those things weren't her shoes. Very not normal for her.

Then I took over and decided to take Mom for a drive to see if it would calm her down a little. She was still talking about the "R", then she asked me "What are those trees that they're cutting down?" She's been very concerned about an outbreak of the Emerald Ash Borer here in MN, it's a bug that kills Ash trees and a lot of trees are being cut down because they've just discovered it in MN. So I said, "Ash trees". And EVERYTHING became an ASH TREE. Her Kleenex, the toilet paper, her cat, even when we got back to her apartment, she was looking for ASH TREES. And then she went to the bathroom and asked me about her partial dentures. "They're in your mouth", I said. "In my mouth? We'd better take them out, right?" No. And then everything was a partial. And the toilet paper was her partial and she was trying to eat the toilet paper. My mom is usually pretty good doing the bathroom stuff by herself. This was all very very weird and very hard to see. But then, she had to use the bathroom and she suddenly, even though I was telling her what to do, couldn't figure out where or what the toilet was. Both my brother and I got really worried and we brought her in to the E.R.

In the E.R., we learned (from a new test) that my mom did NOT have a UTI. I'm still pretty confused about that one. But her sodium level was very low....120....and I guess it's supposed to be over 136. Her chloride was low, too. And I guess that these numbers can cause the confusion that we were seeing. So, once again, my mom is in the hospital, and she's pretty worried and upset about it. I guess it's not just a matter of eating more salt, it's more complicated than that. So they have to adjust her fluid intake and try to figure out why it happened. I'm relieved that someone else is helping her with this confusion. I'm very patient, but it was getting very hard. But I'm so worried about where she's going to be cognitively, if and when they get this fixed....all I can do right now, I guess is pray and hope that they can take care of this in a couple of days, before she has to relearn all her apartment stuff again....

Friday, June 12, 2009

On friends....

I've written before about how, when DH started to act "weird", most, nearly all, of his friends drifted away. The only one he is still in touch with is Jim. And we are talking about a guy (DH) who used to make friends everywhere he went. He would start talking to some guy at the hardware store, and the next thing you knew, he was going to their house, or they were coming over. That's all gone.

But this post is about me. And what bipolar has done to my friendships. When this started, I had three close friends. I'm kind of an introvert, so I was fine with that. The first friend of mine, I've known since I was 11 years old. We've known each other through a lot. But when it comes to DH, she doesn't want to talk about it. She'll ask me how I'm doing. And I'll say something about what is going on in my life and, if it involves mental illness, she ALWAYS changes the subject. I feel like she wants to be my friend, but is afraid of the bipolar. And she has no idea how to support me, because she's never dealt with this before. I don't know how I would act if I was in her shoes. It's uncomfortable, to say the least. For both of us. Maybe we'll be back to being close friends when DH is more stable, or when his problems are not front and center in my life any more (i.e., if I "get used to" the situation and it becomes "normal").

My other good friend, I've known since DH and I got married. We have so much in common, so many shared interests and I really enjoyed her company. We could email each other literally for hours and hours! We both moved to our town at about the same time, and had similar upbringings. It was a lot of fun. So, maybe she "drifted away" too, you think? Nope. I blew this one. Big time. Because of bipolar and my own insecurities about it. When DH started to have problems, I, who had shared so many happy times with my friend, didn't know how to talk about it. I was embarrassed. I was nervous. And I didn't want to think that any "weird" stuff from DH was more than just a fluke. I'm sure my friend would have sympathized. I have no doubt. But the more time went on, and when she would tell me that she and her DH were going on a big vacation, and how excited she was, I just couldn't bring myself to tell her what was going on in my life. I was afraid of the stigma. I was afraid of being the one who didn't have the perfect marriage any more. And I didn't want her and her husband to look at us differently. Well, that happened anyhow, so in hindsight, all I did was make myself miserable.....I couldn't tell her that the reason I never sent her a Christmas card was because I was too busy dealing with working 2 jobs and taking care of DH....I couldn't tell her that the reason I never sent a card for her daughter's graduation was because I didn't have any money....and I couldn't invite her over any more, because this was the friend of mine who had always teased me that our house was so clean, people could eat off the floors....now, if she saw it, she might not even want to walk on those floors!!! Anyhow, there were a lot of things that I didn't think I could do. And now, I'm realizing, as the emails from her are less and less, that I did this to myself, although I didn't know it at the time. That is sad. I'll try to learn from it, for sure....but still sad....

My third friend, I'm still friends with her. She's the one whose husband passed away last year. I don't remember why I felt like I could confide in her and not my other friend, but that's the case. She tries to understand and she worries about my lack of funds. But she has never experienced anything like bipolar either, so sometimes it's hard to explain my thinking....and I don't want her to know details, because I'm still kind of scared as to what she would think, even though my heart knows better than that.

But you know, despite the fact that bipolar has helped me to grow away from my friends, there is a friend-related benefit, and that is all of you!! I had no idea that there were people with relatives with bipolar, people who actually have bipolar who can give me their point(s) of view, and friendly people who really just want to offer support, advice, or a cyber-hug....I had no idea. When I started this blog, it was all for me. It was a diary where I could express my feelings without hurting anyone. I never envisioned all the other benefits I would get out of it. So in that sense, I just wanted to say "thank you" to everyone who reads this blog, and, whether you comment or not, I appreciate you and treasure you all!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Carol and the animals...

Ms Kizzle left a comment that was very supportive of me, regarding my dog Sarah, and her vet bill(s). I really appreciated that, but it made me think that there are probably a lot of you who wonder why, if we are so broke, do I/we have so many animals....and I really don't know the exact reason, but I wanted to share a few things that popped into my head just so you know me a little better :-)

The very first thing I need to share is that they say that everyone has a "special talent". Well, it appears that my most special talent is that I'm a "stray magnet". Stray cats and dogs will come to me under very strange circumstances. I don't understand it and probably never will. The animals just find me.

I don't go out and "get" animals. I've only done that two or three times in my life. I went out to "get" Kirby when he was a puppy, sixteen years ago, from a farmer, because I wanted a dog. I set out to "get" a friend for him, when he was about 6 months old, that was my/our dog Oreo (I didn't know DH at that time, it was 16 years ago!). We got Oreo from the Humane Society, and she died when she was 12 of hemangiosarcoma. Then, I missed Oreo so much, that we went to a different shelter and got Sarah. Otherwise, strays just find me. I've been like that my entire adult life. Even in college, stray cats would find me. It was easier back then, though, because there were people around who were willing to help.

I only take in an animal if I feel that it's life is in immediate danger. And I always try to find the owners. It's still very difficult for me to recognize in my heart that someone could "throw away" a dog or a cat.

I hate having this many animals, especially when I'm not home enough to give them the kind of care I feel they should have. But there's no way to decide who would stay and who would go, because I love each individual one.

There are no animal shelters in my county. None. There are some people who take in stray dogs, but stray cats...? Well, if someone finds a stray cat in my area, the options are: a) shoot it b) let it die on its own or c) find someone to care for it

Even the vets really don't value cats. When my cat Que-Queek was dying of kidney failure, the vet told me, "you know you could get a new cat for a lot cheaper..." I was appalled. But that's kind of how it is around here. Animals, especially cats, are a dime a dozen. Or even less than that.

Most farmers I know just shoot the cats they run across. There really aren't a lot of options. So the cats that come into my life stay. All the animals are spayed or neutered. I understand way too well that the reason there are so many animals in my house is because there are more animals than there are homes.

Many of these animals were family members of mine long before I was struggling financially. And a couple of them arrived while I believed that DH would get better, and things would get "back to normal". They didn't, as you know, but I had already made the commitment. For me, it's a lifetime thing.

The chickens and ducks, I've been just letting the numbers dwindle via attrition. I hate dealing with them in winter, and right now I'd be fine with just two or three chickens for eggs, and that being all. But...I've made a commitment to them, too, and I'll let them live out their lives if at all possible. I'd be really sad, thinking that any of them ended up in a soup pot.

And the two rabbits. I think they're about 6 years old. Supposedly Mrs. Bun has uterine cancer. DH bought the buns as babies for a dollar each at a farm auction when nobody else wanted them. I don't find stray bunnies (yet anyhow, LOL) so there won't be any more.

And as crazy as things get, I have to tell you, that there are many days when those animals have saved my marriage. They've saved my sanity. They've made me laugh when I was miserable. And the love and gratitude is so worth it to me. I wish I was home more. But they don't complain. Some days, those animals are all I cling to....when DD is being hateful, and I'm married to "That Guy", the animals are my family....and I'll deal with their old age issues just as I would any family member, to the best of my ability.

I love my pets. They're the best.

My mom had a bad day.

When I got to my mom's yesterday, she didn't know what day it was. I told her it was Wednesday, and she said, "Oh, ok!" I didn't think TOO much about it, because hey, when you don't go to work or school and eat where you live, I can see how it would be easy to get mixed up. But then she asked me again.

I said, "Today's Wednesday, and remember, I won't be coming home tonite." (That way she knows not to try to "call" me at home) (She can't actually dial a phone, but she has a voice-activated dialer to do it for her. All she has to do is tell the phone who she wants to call--i.e. "Carol's cell phone".)

So then she said, in a surprised voice, "You're working tomorrow?" And I said, once again, "Yeah, today's Wednesday, and that's the night I stay over at my friend's house." She said, "You do?" "I'm all mixed up." I thought that maybe she was just waking up from dozing off or something. Normally she knows my work schedule better than I do.

So then I told her, "I put some money on the kitchen counter for when you get your hair done tomorrow." And she said, "I'm getting my hair done tomorrow?" (She gets her hair done EVERY Thursday, at the salon where she lives. And EVERY Wednesday, I put $15 on her kitchen counter for her to pay for it.) And I reminded her once more that "Today is Wednesday, tomorrow is the day you get your hair done here, by Cheryl, the hairdresser. Tomorrow's Thursday."

At this point I really had to go to work, so I told her that I would talk to her on the phone later. And that she didn't have to worry about calling me, I'd get a hold of her even if she didn't call. Then she said, "Carol's cell phone, right?" And I said, "Yes, if you want to call me on my cell phone in the next two hours, call "Carol's cell phone". After that, you have to call "Carol at work" because I'll be at work. And she said, "Carol's cell phone". And I was still thinking that maybe she had just woken up, and that in a little while she'd be back to knowing. So I just told her again that I'd talk to her later.

Then, about three hours later, I got a call at work from my brother. He said, "Can you call Mom? She's worried about you. She said you were coming over in two hours and you're still not there. And you're not answering your cell phone. She says she's called you about ten times now." (Of course I didn't know that, because I was at work and my cell phone doesn't get a signal when I'm at work) So I called my mom and reassured her. But the way she got confused has me concerned. It's probably just a "bad day"...I hope....it's so painful....

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Kinda stressing out....

I always tend to think that if the need is truly heartfelt, the money will come from somewhere. But now that I'm thinking about it, I'm kind of stressing out about where in the budget that money for the veterinarian is going to come from....and another test on Friday....

I guess I've still got the roof money....and I can work some extra shifts to make up for it....well, when you have animals there are some things you can put off, but this wasn't one of them. So be it, things will work out. Right?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I guess it could be worse...

Well, here's something for "That Guy" to chew on:

You know all those urinary problems with Kirby? Remember he's got kidney failure probably cancer....? Well, Kirby still seems to be feeling better, he's following me around outside when I do my chores, wagging his tail more, digging in the garbage more (I know, not usually a good thing, but in this case I think it is....) and all in all seems to be feeling better. But still not able to go through the night without an accident. Every single morning I have to clean up the floor in the laundry room. But I know Kirby doesn't have much time left, and that's just how it is going to be for now.

I'm lucky that for this week, anyhow, "That Guy" seems to only be lurking in the background...DH has been trying to do more around the house to help, being more considerate and less selfish....not quite "normal" DH, but doing pretty good.


Last week, Sarah, our 14 year old blue heeler dog (that's her in the picture--the white kitty next to her is Que-Queek, he died two years ago of kidney failure) started having accidents in the house. LOTS of them. Everywhere. Mostly in front of the door, but some of them were like she knew she had to go, but couldn't get herself up and to the door in time, so there was a trail....anyhow, it's been pretty bad. So I brought her to the vet yesterday. And after $250 worth of tests, here is what we found:

All of her blood work--kidneys, liver, white count, blood sugar, thyroid, etc., are fine. Absolutely perfect, and probably better than you would expect in a 14 year old dog. But....her urinalysis proved otherwise. They did a test called "specific gravity" and it was way low. The vet believes Sarah may have a disorder called "Diabetes Insipidus". It's not regular diabetes, but it's where a dog (or a person) can no longer concentrate urine. Which means that there is a lot of drinking and a lot of peeing. Supposedly this is caused EITHER by a lack of a certain hormone, or the body's inability to respond the hormone. So we may be able to try treating her with the hormone, but the vet says he hasn't really seen good results. Not much else we can do. Not life threatening, unless she doesn't have access to water, because she can get dehydrated very quickly. The vet recommended that Sarah become an "outside" dog.

We are going to have one more test on Friday to determine "for sure" whether she has it. We have to take away her water Thursday afternoon and they will check her urine on Friday to see if the specific gravity has changed at all.

I'm really lucky that "That Guy" has only just peeked in occasionally to let me know he's still around. He did get upset with the peeing until we knew completely that it wasn't Sarah's fault. Then he seemed to accept it. And today, I told DH that "Every time I think about starting to get Sarah used to being an "outside dog", I get really sad. I hate the thought of that. But I also hate the thought of all these accidents." Then I told DH, "I completely understand if you want to start leaving her out more, I am just having a hard time with it."

And DH said, "Yeah, I know what you mean. She's old. And she's been an inside dog all this time, and we can't explain to her why she has to live outside. Maybe I can tear up the carpet in the entry way by the door and put some linoleum down. I don't think I'm going to be able to make her live outside either."

I'm afraid to even think about what "That Guy" would've said, but I know it wouldn't have been that. This is part of what is so confusing about the bipolar. I never know which guy I'm married to that day. This guy is the one I married. Too bad I'm stuck with the other one, too.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Smile for the day!

Thursday, June 4, 2009


From a couple of the comments on my last post, I felt like I needed to clarify things regarding the youth "ministry" group in our town. I don't know them personally. These kids are not from my town, they COME to our town in order to become a part of this "ministry". I do know that they have all been in trouble with the law and that the ministry was started "to give them a chance to turn their lives over to God." I do believe very strongly in forgiveness and in second chances... and I think that most of these kids are just doing the best they can....

And if DD was a "normal" teen, I'd feel a lot less trepidation about them. But she has FASD, and that makes her very impulsive, with little cause/effect judgment, about as mature as a 10 year old, and she also wants desperately to have friends and fit in. My fear regarding the "ministry" kids is really less about them than it is about DD.

Even if every single kid in that group has changed his/her life, I have no doubt that they have had experiences that I would not like DD to have.

A 16 year old with "normal" judgment could filter out the bad, and dwell on the good. But DD is not like that. If she thinks another kid is "cool", she is going to want to be just like them. If they joke or reminisce about their past(s), she is going to want to be "like them".

And, the very real possibility exists that a number of those kids are not doing this because they want to give their lives to God, they are doing it to get out of going to juvie. DD could and would very easily be misled. Since, as a parent, it is my job to keep her safe, I think that keeping her out of situations like that is my responsibility (and DH's too, if he can do it).

And for those of you who asked, here is why DD did not get a consequence that day:

She does not truly understand DH's illness or that he is sick at all. Since her maturity level is still around 10 year old, everything is "all about her" and she does not have a very good ability to recognize another person's situation/problems.

And on that night, she wouldn't have known that DH was not "with it" that night, all she knew, really, was that "Sometimes Dad says no, but sometimes if I ask him again, he might say yes." So that's what she did. Any kid would do that.

I think the first night, the one that DH didn't remember, where DD lied about her plans, called for a consequence. And the consequence was that she not be able to hand out with her friend that night. (DD lies almost all the time, so a bigger punishment (piled on top of the consequence for tomorrow's lies, and the next day's, etc....) might end up causing consequences to stretch into next year!)

But this time, the only thing DD really did was ask. DH was the one who didn't remember the previous time.

I keep telling myself: She's 16. She's not doing drugs. She's not pregnant. She's not in trouble with the law (yet). So she's doing better than a lot of teens. But part of that is a result of being proactive and knowing how she operates.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Memory problems in my non-Alzheimer's family member

There is a "ministry" group in our town. It is made up of teens who have been in trouble with the law and have decided to turn their life around as Christians. I think that's wonderful. But no matter what is in their heart, they make me very nervous. And many parents in our town.

Last week:
DD asked DH if she could go to a "church program" in the library basement. Supposedly her friend's church. I was at work (as usual) but DH was doing pretty good on the parenting stuff, and, after a few questions, it came out that the meeting wasn't actually AT the library, it was in the park across from the library, and it was with this "ministry" group, not a church. After a call to DD's friend's parents, we learned that they felt the same way about that group, and no, their daughter goes to the Baptist church in town. So DH knew something was up, and said no way. I thought that was a good call. DD is very impressionable and needs to be around people who are GOOD influences.

I was at work (again) and called the house. No answer. I called DH's cell phone. "I'm at (DD's friend)'s house, waiting for them to get done at that concert."

Me: WHAT???? I thought we talked about that last week.

DH: We did?

Me: Yes, there was a "meeting" in the library that turned out to be in the park, supposedly a church group, but it was this "ministry" and DD lied about it....and we decided that it was an absolute "no way"??????

DH: That sounds familiar....

Me: What is going on?

DH: I don't remember all that from last week.

Me: You don't remember how DD lied about her friend going to that "church" for years and years????

DH: Well I kind of remember about that....

Me: I thought we decided that she wasn't going to be allowed to do that!

DH: Well, um...I....

Me: I'm not mad, I'm confused and worried.

DH: I'll call you after I get DD in bed.

Next thing:
Earlier this week, I bought some little tomato plants for the garden, and some rhubarb. I told DH that the rhubarb needed to go in a spot by itself, because it comes back every year and if we put it in the garden and dig up the garden, then the rhubarb will not do well. I told him this twice.

Then yesterday, he came in and told me that he'd put all the plants in the garden, and I asked, "And you put the rhubarb in a spot by itself, right?" No.

He didn't even remember me telling him anything about the rhubarb. Or to save some of the dirt to start some seeds with, either.

I don't even know who to be mad at. He doesn't remember. And he clearly isn't on the "good parent" bus this week, either. Everything is so unpredictable. I just wish I knew what to expect from one minute to another. I think when he goes back tohis PDOC, I am going to bring up the memory problems. It's scary sometimes.

He thinks he remembers just fine, until he doesn't.