Monday, November 30, 2009


Today I brought my mom to the church services that they hold in the nursing home that is attached to the assisted living where my mom lives. Every week a pastor from a different church in town (they take turns) comes and holds a short service. The one this week was really dry. He kind of jumbled a bunch of bible verses together and I didn't understand what the point of the sermon was, so I know my mom didn't, then, the songs he chose were unfamiliar, and since most of the "churchgoers" can no longer read or write, that kind of flopped, too. (Most pastors choose things like "Amazing Grace" and "Rock of Ages", hymns that all the seniors know and love).

So on the way back to her apartment, when my mom started to lament that there hadn't been ice cream for lunch, I offered to bring her to Dairy Queen, and she got really excited. Unfortunately, when we got out to my car, I saw that I had a flat tire.

I've been babying my tires, all four of them for weeks now. Every day I need to put air in one or more of them. They're really old, and I've been trying to hold out "for a couple more weeks, until I can afford to get some better ones." But it's just been so hard to come up with that money. I knew I wasn't going to be able to put it off any longer.

My mom was kind of upset about not being able to go to Dairy Queen. So when I called DH to come and help, we took her there first. Then we stopped and bought a can of fix-a-flat and used that to get the car to the tire store, where we left my car for the overnight.

I went home and tried to take a nap before work, but all I could think was "I can only come up with enough money (maybe) to buy two used tires at the most. But I know I need four tires. So should I put the two better tires on the back (because that's where the worst tires are) or in the front because that's where one would normally put the "better" tires?" And I was really getting myself down, because it feels like we're just getting farther and farther behind. (I just finally got the bill paid off at the vet's office from when Kirby died and I've started getting the bills from when DH was hospitalized for the H1N1, and I have no idea how to pay those either). It's just been so hard. There's absolutely no wiggle room, for when something like this happens. And my car has 250,000 miles on it, so I know there'll be more "somethings", for sure. I was worried that I might not even have enough "wiggle room" on my credit card for the two used tires. Maybe not even one. I couldn't sleep. But I tried.

When I got up, DH said, "well, I've got some good news, I think..." and I thought he was maybe joking. But he told me that his mom (my mother in law) had called him and he told her about my/our day. And I guess when he told her that I've had four bad tires for a while now and just kept driving, hoping nothing would go wrong, she got kind of angry and told him that I drive too far to be doing that. And he told her that I was doing the best I could. And she told him that she wasn't going to sit home and worry about me driving "all that way" on tires like that, she's buying me four brand new tires(!) When DH told me this, I couldn't stop crying.

It used to be, when DH's mom offered me money, I would always say no. She's not my mom, I'm (supposedly) a self-supporting adult, and I didn't want her to think that I was a "mooch". It's hard for me to realize that at this point, I really don't have much of a choice. I owe so many people for so many favors and handouts. It's really a blow to my pride. I just keep telling myself that things won't be like this forever (I hope, anyhow), and someday I'll be able to show my mother in law and everyone else who's helped me out, that I really do appreciate and remember.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

What are you doing for Thanksgiving? Whatever it is, I hope it's full of family, food, and love......

I am cooking Thanksgiving dinner at my mom's apartment. I suggested to my brother that the 2 hour drive to his house might be hard on my mom. But when I brought it up to her, she wanted to go. My brother "compromised", by telling her that he'd come up with his family to visit over the weekend. I got the impression that he was happy we weren't coming. That made me kind of sad, but it is a long drive....

So anyhow, when I get home from work in the morning, I'm going to make the Hillbilly Housewife's Easy Crockpot Stuffing (see my blogroll for a link to her amazing site)...and then take a nap for a couple of hours. Then I'm going to my mom's to get the turkey started. If I organize it right, there's really not too much to do.

Here's our menu:
Turkey (cooked in a Reynolds oven bag--the only way I can consistenly get a really moist turkey!)
Stuffing (see above)
Mashed potatoes and gravy....I'm not very good at making my own gravy, so I did buy a backup jar :-)
Candied sweet potatoes
Watergate salad (with pistachio pudding, marshmallows, Cool Whip, and fruit coctail....)(I'm going to have my mom make this, I think it'll make her feel good to be a part of things)
Jellied cranberry sauce (from a can)
Some kind of rolls
Pumpkin pie

That ought to be enough, right? I'm hungry.

Black Friday....I'm sleeping in. Not sure how shopping will work this year, but right now there is $34 in my bank account, and I'll be needing cat/dog food....so no Christmas presents yet....I've been trying to figure out why things feel tougher this year than they did last (financially) and maybe it's just because I'm tireder(?)

Today when I got up (after 6 hours of sleep) DD, who didn't have school today, said "Mom! Your eyes are really white!"


Anyhow, I hope all of you have a wonderful holiday, and don't spend too much on Black Friday....I'll talk to you soon!

Almost afraid to post!

Things have been amazingly good (with my mom, anyhow). I don't know if it's a matter of the old medications getting out of her system, or the new medications taking effect, but the difference has been nothing short of miraculous! She's been remembering things that she hasn't known for over a year. She's not getting lost in her apartment. She's having ZERO incontinence problems. And she's laughing and singing. Amazing. She's still in her apartment. We are not staying with her any more. She didn't need us, she was doing everything by herself, and what she needed help with, the "helpers" had no problems with.

Thor's girlfriend seems to be gone. Sometimes my mom is still a little confused, but nowhere as bad as she was. She called my brother "what's-his-name" today (grin). But she is, for the most part, making sense, and doing better than she has in months. So the move to the memory care facility is on hold, no pressing need at the moment. I keep waiting for this to "crash", for the "honeymoon" to be over, but so far it's been great. She even remembers what she had for breakfast--"An apple turnover" as opposed to "some kind of roll". Wow.

On the other hand, I got pretty angry with DH. He was bringing DD (and her bio mo) to the movie theater in town. That's one of the things we allow them to do without us supervising, because it has a "start" and an "end". This time, however, nobody realized until they got to the theater, that the movie was rated "R". (The movie theater in our town only has one screen, so it's "take it or leave it" when you go to see a movie.) DD begged. And begged some more. She (and DH) know very well that we don't allow her to see "R" movies. She's so impressionable, we don't want her to think that life is really like that (full of sex and violence) (even though it is, to a certain extent, if she believes that it's ok, she'll be more likely to try to imitate)...DH let her go.

I haven't been so angry in years. I slammed cupboards, slammed doors, Didn't talk to him for two days. He knows better. But he took the "lazy" way out. He didn't feel like dealing with one of DD's tantrums, so he just let her do whatever. I'm still angry, thinking about it. Really angry. He's been helping out so much with my mom, but in other areas, the laziness is just taking over. He can't take three steps on the deck to put his cigarette butt in the ash tray, so there are cigarette butts all over the ground. The trash can that we put our aluminum cans in is full, so instead of emptying it into a trash bag and starting over, he throws his cans on the ground. And the dogs. Buffy, is a full-blooded collie. And she's a bur magnet. She doesn't go too far away from the house, but every time she is given any freedom, she comes back covered in burs. And I don't have time to groom her every day. But DH is too lazy to walk outside and put her on the leash, it's so much easier (for him) to just open up the door and let her go.

I'm sick of the laziness. Really. DD does more work around our house than he does, and that's not saying much. I've started speaking to him again, but mostly because Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and I don't want to ruin it by being mad. (But I still am, LOL). I figure I'll wait until after Thanksgiving to bring up the laziness.

But really....except for keeping an eye on my mom, I really don't ask much of him at all.....

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thank goodness, I think.

We/I finally found the owner of the dog. He was two miles away from home when I found him....they were sure he had been shot by a deer hunter...I hope they keep him closer to home from now on....DH will miss the dog, and actually, so will I--there's something about an older dog that's already "broken in"--you don't have to teach it all the doggie-manners that you have to teach a younger dog...but....we do have five other dogs that need attention, too....and most of them are already "broken in" too :-)

My mom is, apparently, being discharged from the geri-psych unit tomorrow. So right now, the tentative plan is to bring her back to her apartment, and see how things go until Monday or Tuesday and at that point decide if she'll be moving. I did look at the dementia/memory care assisted living, and I do believe that it's what my mom really needs. But, of course, it's not that cut and dried, because it's quite a bit more expensive than where she has been living. Her current apartment with services is about $3,000 a month (not a typo, for those of you who have never had a parent in a "facility"). The demential care assisted living would run about $5,000 a month. That's quite a difference. My mom is not rich. Her funds consist of social security and the money she got when we sold her modest house (we sold it for about $160,000). So it will run out. And since we don't have an "official" plan in place as far as my mom moving yet, it seems like we should give it the old "schoolyard try" and see if she can make it for another couple of months before she moves. I'm rather doubtful. And I'm a little bit more comfortable with the idea of her moving, now that I've seen where she would probably be going. It's a pretty nice place, a lot newer than where she lives now, and LOCKED. She would have more attention there than she does (from the aides) at her apartment right now. But she would have to give up her cat. I'm not sure how big of a deal that would be for her. Sometimes I don't think she'd notice much, and sometimes I think she really depends on him. I guess we'll have to see what happens.

Oh--and yes, I'm stressed out about all this. I wasn't ready for my mom to come home yet. I wish she could stay there for another month. It's so nice to know that she's someplace where they know what she really needs....now comes the hardest part, I guess, seeing if she can handle her apartment for a few more months or not....luckily, if she does end up moving, the weather is still pretty nice....

And DD. I don't know how I'm going to make it three more years with this crap. Let's see....yesterday she threatened another kid at school and the kid's parents called us. DH told them that it was ok for them to call the school--that maybe they could do something. DH was, I could tell, on the brink of a mood swing, so I told him not to even bring it up with DD, because if they both have short fuses, there's no telling what could happen....

So then today the school called and DD had apparently written or copied some kind of poem about "I want to die" and something about school. It was about two years ago that she told a bunch of kids at school that she had a "hit list" and that they were all on it, so the school takes things rather seriously. Apparently when DD was confronted by a teacher (or an administrator, I don't know which one) regarding the poem, she had a tantrum there in school. And refused to go to the EBD room to calm herself down. So they called us about that. I was visiting my mom at the time.

So apparently then she got home and had a tantrum because she didn't want to do her chores. And so DH had said "Ok, then I'll do them." And she just flew into another rage. DH was so mad that he was yelling at me when he was telling me this stuff. I'm just so sick of all of it. I'm sick of DH's drama and DD's drama. I've got enough real-life drama, and I wish they'd both just shut up.

It's three more years until DD graduates if she manages to stay out of jail until then. I have no idea how I'm going to do it.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Just what I needed. (right)

Well, yesterday was a good day. I visited my mom, and so did my brother. We sat in the "day room" of the unit, with three other patients. We chatted about the weather, and about the "fancy" whirlpool bathtub that they have there. My mom told us that "it was really fun!"

I was wearing one of my favorite old sweaters, it has three wolves embroidered on it. One of the gentleman patients asked me what was on my shirt. I said, "I think they're wolves." He said, "Wolves?" I said "yes, I think so." Then he started to howl like a wolf. I was worried that my mom might think he was crying or something, and be upset, so I said to her, "He's howling like a wolf." So then my mom started howling. Then the lady across the room started howling too. I haven't laughed so hard in a million years--what a "pack" of wolves!!!! And the patients all laughed, too. And one of the nurses (and I did too) had tears, she was laughing so hard....it was great. I went home with a big smile on my face, thinking that things were getting better.

But this morning, I guess, "Thor's girl friend" showed up, and my mom apparently became very disruptive. The nurses were very surprised because up until now all they've seen is a sweet little old lady with a bad memory. Anyhow, when I visited today, it was obvious that she wasn't as cheerful as she was yesterday, she was much more anxious. I didn't really know what to make of it, I do know that the nurses were going to call the on-call psychiatrist to see if anything needed to be changed.

Then, when I called tonite, the nurse on duty told me that my mom has a "low-grade fever". "But she has a UTI, so it could be part of that." I didn't know she had ANOTHER UTI. But I guess she does. So I don't know if I should worry about this or be relieved that there still might be something that they can possibly fix that will help her....I don't know!!!!

And then, to top things off. You aren't going to believe this (ok, you probably will)....please don't put me down for being who I am.....I was driving home from visiting my mom and I decided to drive past our house and go into town and clean out my car a little bit at the gas station. I got about half way from our house to town (it's 4 miles to town) and I saw this obviously elderly dog, standing in the middle of the highway, running up to every car that went by. It was very sad. But I thought to myself, "I can't stop. He must belong to someone. We just got down to five dogs, and as much as I really miss Kirby, even five dogs is still way too many." And I kept on going. I went into town and did my thing, then turned around and went home. The dog was still there, still in the middle of the highway, looking very lost. There were no houses around. I saw images in my brain of this dog lying dead on the side of the road, and I knew I had to do something. So I pulled over and called him over to me. He wasn't sure if I could be trusted, but he finally came to me, but he wouldn't get in my car. So I called DH and he brought a leash. Another lady stopped and tried to help. But the dog would only come to me.

So eventually I was able to get the leash on him--he didn't have a collar or anything, and then he hopped right into my car. We drove around, knocking on doors, trying to find his home. He didn't look like a starving stray, he looked well-cared-for. But nobody knew him. I'm now wondering/speculating that possibly he was "dumped" on the highway. I don't want to think that, though. I want to think he was chasing a squirrel and got too far from home.

He's at our house right now. We haven't introduced him to anyone really, yet, I want to find his owners so bad.....I really very much don't want another dog, but I also don't want him to die....I wish there were more resources for stray animals in my area. We called the sheriff, and the radio station. The radio station will be announcing him tomorrow afternoon. Hopefully someone will claim him. It's been just a little more stress worrying about where to put him, since we don't know if he's cat-friendly, or if he has fleas or anything....got to keep him separate for now, anyhow....sometimes I'm proud of my "stray magnet" thing--the way strays and I seem to find each other....but right now I'm really really wishing that I was a "normal" person, at least in that sense. From the time I first saw the dog, probably a hundred people swerved to go past him. But I'm the sucker who couldn't just drive by.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Craziness. Pure and simple. And oh, the guilt....

My mom. Last time I posted, I was telling you about her cat's girlfriend, who "went out and got pregnant by someone else." Well, when the aides went to give my mom her medications, my mom started yelling that she "wasn't taking anything from her, that tramp, I want her out of here!!!!!!!!" And nobody could get her to calm down until the aide left. They tried a few hours later, with a different aide, and she (the aide) was also "a tramp, hurting Thor like that, get out of my house!" Very alarming.

So after weighing all the options, and realizing there really weren't a lot of options any more, I decided that we should go to the geriatric psychiatric hospital about an hour away from our town. My brother agreed, and so I brought my mom there yesterday afternoon. I know that even if all the other weirdness gets cleared up, she'll probably still lose ground there, but things just couldn't go on the way they were--they were really, unfortunately, only getting worse.

So my mom was admitted and so far has not had too much confusion there. But it could be just too early for that. Today I visited her, and she seemed about the same, with a little more sadness thrown in. She's still very upset with "the girlfriend", I guess, and I guess the aides in the hospital ran up against the same thing as the assisted living aides did ("get out, you tramp!"). I forgot to ask how they eventually got her to take her meds.

They also told me that she needs a lot of "cueing". In other words, they have to instruct her on everything. They can't just help her to the bathroom and say "I'll wait outside. Just give me a holler when you're done." They have to tell her each step of the process (I won't share the process with you, I'm sure you know what to do) as if she has never been in a bathroom before. That's kind of what was going on at home, too. And the assisted living just isn't equipped for that kind of constant care. So DH and I were doing it, in hopes that things would improve, but they weren't. So basically, unless the psychiatrist(s) figure out what the problem is, she probably won't be able to stay in her apartment.

When I think about that, part of me is relieved. She needs so much, and it would be so nice to know that she was having all of her needs met in a safe place. But also, you hear so many bad things about nursing homes, etc., and when she was in the nursing home in June, it was "adequate" and the staff were caring, but I felt like if I wasn't there, a lot of things wouldn't get done or would get done incorrectly. I need to visit some more facilities, I know I do. But I had planned on doing that last week, and when it came down to it, I got a HUGE case of "head-in-the-sand-itis". I didn't want to think about my mom needing to move to a nursing home. So if I didn't think about it, well, you know....it wouldn't happen, right? (I know how stupid that is/was, and I recognized it that day, but I just couldn't bring myself to go and do that. Now I think I'll need to get on the ball.

I know I just need to be patient, too. She has only been there about 24 hours now, and that certainly isn't enough time to effect changes, so I really just need to trust them and hope for the best.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


DH just called and told me that every time my mom would hear a sound in her apartment, she would start screaming about Thor's girlfriend being back. DH "chased her away" several times, but my mom apparently was so upset that "that cat broke Thor's heart, she's indecent and shouldn't be allowed here!" that she just couldn't calm down. The aides finally came in and gave her a PRN Xanax (that's the only PRN my mom has for anxiety) and she just fell asleep.

Thank God for the angels that work at the assisted living facility. And thank God for DH.

Things are just so weird all of a sudden.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Cats and craziness (or...I'm scared still/again)

Last night I got to stay with my mom in her apartment. And I dared to get hopeful. Nothing she said was weird, she didn't come out into the living room to find the bathroom, and she fell back asleep after the aide came in to remind her to go to the bathroom....I started thinking "maybe the antibiotics are helping!" HaHa. I know better than that, don't I....really.....?

Remember from Nov. 7, the post about my mom's cat's girlfriend? (Just in case you don't, you might want to click and read up on her).....

Anyhow, DH went to stay with her tonite (I'm working, as usual), and she was angry with someone. He asked her who she was talking to, and she said, "Thor's girlfriend. I want her to leave. She did a shameful thing and went and got pregnant. I don't want her here any more." "But I told her to leave and she won't go."

So DH (bless his heart) told her that he thought the girlfriend had already left, because he thought he heard Thor tell her to "get out, he didn't want her around any more." So my mom had him check the apartment to "make sure she was really gone" (and of course she was)....and then she went to bed. At that point, DH called to update me.

About 10 minutes later, he called me at work, in a whisper and asked me to call the "helpers" (aides) on their cell phone and have them go to the apartment because my mom needed "an anxiety pill or something, right away". So I called, the aide said she was on her way, and I haven't heard anything since.

I'm scared again. Freaky crazy scared. I don't know if I should head home, or if it's under control. It's 2 hours to get home. So do I take 6 hours of vacation for this? Or save it in case I need it for something even more alarming/serious? I don't know.....I just hate it. Tonite I was fantasizing about my mom being in a nursing home, because I/we could get some semblance of a family life back....and then I felt instant guilt, because I still feel that this is not a "natural progression"....

And....to top it off, "That Guy" has been making very brief appearances. I'm sure at least part of that is due to the crazy sleep schedule he's now on, from staying with my mom....but I can't, I just can't have him get unstable too.....he swears he's been taking his meds...all I can think of is this crazy schedule is wearing on him.....I didn't call the doctor yesterday because I was thinking things might be improving....then tonite I asked DH if he thought I should call the doctor, and DH said we could make it until Thursday....I don't know.....I wish I knew what was going on....I'll give you an update as soon as I know....

P.S. To those of you who have been following this blog because it is a blog about bipolar, I apologize--it seems that right now it is more a blog about my mom's dementia, and I know some people aren't probably very interested in that. I'm glad that DH is stable enough where the dementia is first/foremost in my thoughts....and I hope things stabilize soon....

Monday, November 9, 2009

Making things more difficult than they are

Today I'm obsessing over my mom. Yesterday morning the assisted living facility called me, because my mom had asked the aide if she "had heard about Carol, she was in a terrible accident." Of course the aide said "no, oh--that's awful, was she hurt?" And my mom said "Worse." So they called to make sure I was still alive. It seems like every day there's something kooky.

I guess it's needless to say that we haven't seen any improvement yet. But I'm supposed to wait until Thursday to get back in touch with the Dr.

Yesterday, though, for some reason, my little brain became fixated on the likelihood that the Paxil could be to blame for this. I want to ask the doctor if we can try to taper off of the Paxil. And I want to call him right this minute. But, of course, I also want to give the current plan enough time to work....and I don't want to be telling the doctor what to do, either--if I was a doctor I would become resentful really quick if a patient or family member kept doing that....

So do I wait until Thursday, or call the doctor today? It's a tough call. I know I'll call the doctor today, of course--it's my mom and if we can take a stab at fixing something, why shouldn't we start sooner rather than later? But I guess I'll just worry about it for a while longer.

And speaking of worrying, I made some chicken nuggets and french fries for supper last night, and ever since I've been at work I've been worried that I didn't turn off the oven when I left. And DH is staying with my mom right now, and DD sleeps like a rock and wouldn't hear or answer the phone in the middle of the night. I'm not really so afraid of the oven being on for seven hours as I am worried about using that much of our very limited propane. Oh well, there's not much I can do about it now....I'll be home soon and hopefully I was just worrying for nothing....heck....pretty soon I might need Paxil myself!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

I'm falling apart.

First, I need to tell you about our doctor's visit. The doctor doesn't seem to think that what is going on with my mom is a "natural progression" either. So even though all the tests say otherwise, he put her on some more antibiotics, in case there is still a UTI or other infection that is not being picked up by the tests. And he re-upped her Aricept, which is an Alzheimer's drug. When my mom first started on Aricept a couple of years ago, we saw an immediate improvement, even though we had been told by the doctor that the drug isn't supposed to be able to improve things, it just slows down the progression. Then when she was in the hospital in January of this year, they doubled her Aricept dose, but that didn't do much. And when she was having so much trouble in the hospital in June, they thought that maybe she was getting too much Aricept for her system, so they brought it back down again. Now the doctor is raising it again. He also did a bunch of lab tests that they don't do on a regular basis, but for various things that can cause confusion (or delirium, as he called it). He said it is possible that it is a natural progression, but he doesn't typically see it happen this quickly. So since I'm not all that confident in the Aricept, I'm really hoping the antibiotics will do some good. I have to call the doctor on Thursday and tell him what I'm seeing, and he will decide what our plan is from there. I like him, he's a really compassionate and thorough doctor.

Last night my mom called my brother and told her that the people on TV were invading her apartment, so she was telling them off and she needed help. I have been trying to tell him how weird she's been, but I don't think he really believed me until that. And he was very disturbed. But not disturbed enough to come up and help. I shouldn't say that, I know he's busy too, but sometimes I do get a little resentful. I'll get over it.

In the meantime, my mom told me today that "I think Thor (her elderly cat) has a girlfriend." I asked her what made her think that. She said, "Well, there was this bowl full of food, and I don't know where it came from. And he went over there and ate a lot of it." (How she got a girlfriend out of that, I'm not sure, but it was cute.) I said "well, I'm glad she can cook." And then I told her about my cat Ninja, who, when the food bowl is empty, will climb up onto the counter and rip open the bread and snack on that. She laughed and laughed. That was great, she hasn't done much laughing lately, and it was nice to be able to say something that would make her laugh.

So anyhow, more about me. I just realized that our garbage didn't get picked up this week. And there's only one reason for that and it's "Carol didn't pay the bill." And I'm so embarrassed. I'm going to have to go in there on Monday and pay it...That means the truck payment will be later than usual, because I'll have to take the garbage money out of that...I always put the garbage bill in the "Pay it when I can" pile, because I can't pay that one on line. I have no idea how late I am/was. I don't remember getting a recent bill. But things have been so crazy, I might've gotten it and not even realized. It's getting where I'm avoiding the mailbox because I feel like I just can't think about all the juggling I do to keep things afloat. I just can't do it. So I ignore it. Not a good solution, but maybe since I'm telling you this, I'll recognize how pathetic that is and get on the ball. At the very least, I should call some people and tell them that the payment is coming, just not right away....

And then I went to put gas in my car. I was doing pay at the pump, and my credit card was declined. I knew I was close to the limit, but I was kind of surprised that I was already there. Luckily, I had the other credit card. (I know it's not god to use a credit card and I know that it's bad news when your card is maxed out, but there are so many bills that often after I get paid, then pay all the bills, there's no money left for gas, etc.....DD's child support has been really sporadic in the last two months....I usually get $300 a month, but last month we only got $6, and this month we only got $3. I don't know what's been happening, but I've been relying on the credit card(s) to make ends meet.

When stuff like this happens, I really feel like I'm not doing a very good job of holding things together. I keep telling myself I've just got to make it 'til spring, and then we'll finally have "wiggle room" (when the damn truck is finally paid off). But when things get this close to the edge like this, I go into panic mode and think I'm not going to make it until spring. I hate feeling out of control financially. I just hate it. I'm not like this. I'm the "saver" in the family. Unfortunately, there's not much left over to save.....but I still try. I feel like I'm losing control. And I still don't know where the propane money is going to come from. I guess what I'll try to do is get the tank filled around Thanksgiving, and use wood as much as possible. Last year I think we turned on the furnace on Dec. 3 or 4? And we kept the thermostat at 58. If we wanted the house warmer than that, we had to use the fireplace. It's a high-efficiency fireplace and it puts out a lot of heat, so the only reason we really need propane is to keep the pipes from freezing when we aren't home to keep the fire going. But the propane...they won't deliver less than 200 gallons, so that's at least $400. I'm just trying not to think about it.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tomorrow's the big day

Sorry I haven't been writing too much lately, sometimes I want so much to tell you all everything that's been going on, but it makes me so sad that I hate bringing it to the front of my brain long enough to type it--does that make sense?

Tomorrow's my mom's Dr. appointment. I'm trying to list all of my concerns so that I don't forget anything. And I've got to remember to not tell my mom that there's an appointment tomorrow, I'm hoping that will keep her from getting worked up about it. I've got so many questions--I hope that maybe they can do another test for a UTI and find something that's easier to fix than what I'm thinking it all is.

And I've decided to call Public Health. I'll make the call tomorrow when I've got some time off. I had requested some materials about a memory care facility in our region, and they also included a brochure on how Public Health might be able to help...it sounded like it had potential, so I figured I'd give it a shot.

There've still been some crazy things happening. At least twice this week my mom got into her nightgown in the middle of the day and went to bed, telling the staff that it was time for bed. Then another time this week, a "helper" came into the apartment to walk her down to supper, and my mom was standing in the corner in her dining room...just standing in the corner. The "helper" asked her what she was doing, and she said that she "was waiting in line to use the bathroom."

And I just remembered something. Drat. Last night, DH told me that my mom thought all the people on the TV were her friends and had come over to her apartment. That's really not all that shocking, because it wasn't too long ago that she thought the "church" on the radio was really in her apartment. But I just remembered: I just got off the phone with her, and I told her that DH would be coming to stay with her tonite. She asked me "Is he the only one?" And I said, "Yup, just DH". Now I'm thinking that that comment was related to "all the people" who "came over" last night. I hope nobody turns on her TV....and I hope DH calls me before he goes over there.

I'm kind of scared of what the Dr. might say. But kind of prepared for it, I guess....I hope so much that they can find a reason for this drastic change. I hate thinking about it....but it's all that I think about.....

I think DH is trying hard to do "what needs to be done", but I think he is having a tough time with this, too. And although he's known my mom for many years, she's not his mom....and I'm worried that having DH staying over there so much will affect his own mental health. That would be all I need--all three of them unstable :-( yikes

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Taking Pictures

I hope you all had a happy Halloween....DD was angry because we told her that 16 years old is too old to go trick or treating....I thought she was going to have another tantrum, but she just had a regular "mad". That was ok.

I'm still so worried about my mom. On Friday night, when I stayed with her, she didn't even need me at all. She slept, got up to use the bathroom when the "helpers" woke her up (I suggested they try that approach, so that she wouldn't get lost looking for the bathroom....and they were happy to give it a try....so far it seems to be a good thing)
And falling back to sleep. So Saturday night, I told DH (who is really helping out) that I really need him to take care of his own mental health, and that he could probably leave early if he thought things were ok. So he did, and things were "fine".

But today, I was thinking that it'd be nice to get out of the apartment for a while. So I asked my mom if she wanted to go out to eat, and she said yes and seemed happy about it. I gave her a choice of two of her favorite fast food places in town, and she picked one. So off we went. Just like usual. Except once we got in there, we were the only customers. The workers were (not surprisingly) all teenagers, and they were laughing and joking with each other. And the restaurant had their "muzak" on, too. My mom started to get upset because there were hundreds of people there. Nothing I could tell her reassured her, and so she did eat, but she was really bothered by the "crowd". And there couldn't have been less of a crowd. I can't remember the last time we were the ONLY customers. Ok, not a big deal....

So we got back into the car and I asked my mom if she wanted to go right home or if she wanted to go for a ride. Usually, back when things were more "normal", she always wanted to go for a ride. And she wanted to go for a ride this time, too. The sun was going down. We drove through town. My mom became upset about someone "taking pictures". I didn't know what she was seeing, so I just told her that "tourists" like to take pictures to show to their families. Then she got upset because she "didn't want anyone showing pictures of her", so I assured her that they only take pictures of the houses, not the people.

I started driving a little faster, and my mom started to panic. And then I realized what the "pictures" were....it was the sunlight shining through between the buildings as we drove by, making kind of a flashing effect. I couldn't stop it at all. She was very upset and telling me that it was terrible, dangerous....and I told her we'd go home right away. And she didn't want to, because she wanted to go for a ride. But she was breathing so fast and she was flinching every time we drove past another building, I just headed back to the apartment.

It really wasn't any more sad/crazy/shocking than anything else that's happened recently, but I guess it was just that we were going to do something that we've done hundreds of times before, and suddenly it was a bad thing, and not a good thing. Made me sad.

And then, my mom called me, asking if it was me that called her (because I guess she didn't get the phone in time). I told her it was probably my brother, and I reminded her of what to say to call him (on her voice activated phone dialer). We said goodbye and about 20 seconds later the phone rang again...."CArol? Was it you that called? Oh! Did I just talk to you?" Sigh.

I started second-guessing myself, thinking that maybe my mom is having more confusion when we mess with her routine. Like after the UTI when we went to my nephew's birthday party, and then after that the confusion got worse. And the last couple of nights, things weren't "great", but they were stable, and then I go and bring her out to eat, and she gets confused again.

That's one of the things that's so painful about this disease....it's all a bunch of guesses. I'm hoping that the doctor will have some idea in his bag of "tricks" that will help. I'm clinging to every hope, despite what my educated brain is telling me.

Oh, and I'm so grateful for DH's stability right now....I'd be completely lost without his help....he's been staying with my mom every night that I have to work...