Me, Mom, Aunt Jo, Uncle Bob, and Cousin John

Me, Mom, Aunt Jo, Uncle Bob, and Cousin John
Me, Mom, Aunt Jo, Uncle Bob, Cousin John

Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Recent Day in the Life - from Mom's viewpoint

7:30am - Am I awake or amd I still dreaming. Where am I? Who is that girl in the bed next to me? She seems familiar... she's smiling; I guess I'm safe. I don't want to get up. I don't want her touching me. Why is she changing my underpants and cleaning me? I don't like that. I'm mad cause she's brushing my teeth and hair. It doesn't feel good. I can do this myself. They keep telling me I can't get up on my own or walk. I'll show them...Oh, maybe they're right. Where is she wheeling me to in this wheelchair. That band thing is squeezing my arm again. It hurts. She tells me to relax and not move. Now she's hurting me again by sticking my finger. Ouch! There's food and orange juice in front of me. I'm not hungry or thirsty.
9:00am Now, she's wheeling me into another room. This is not my house. What building am I in. When is Wilbur getting back? I wonder when Ken and Twyla are coming. Oh, there's Bob! How did he find me here? I'll just take a little nap. Kathi's trying to wake me up. She says lunch is ready. I'm too sleepy...not hungry. Who's making that racket in the kitchen? Why are they laughing? I'm trying to sleep in here. Waking up again. I need to go home. Where's my car? Why can't I get up? Oh, I'm in my classroom. Ok, kids line up for the program - pilgrims come in the indians. Getting sleepy. The TV is on but I don't understand what's going on. Who's little children are those. Why doesn't Kathi make them be quite, they make me nervous. Kathi says they're my great grandchildren. Bob seems to really enjoy them. I've got to get to church to practice the piano and organ for the choir and I can't find my music. This is upsetting.
2:00pm - The nurse is here. She ask if I'm hurting anywhere. I'm trying to figure out where I hurt. I can't seem to express what's going on with my body. Wait, don't do that, It's uncomfortable and humiliating, especially with my daughter here, but I need someone to hold my hand. My tummy does feel better... but please don't do that again. Kathi says I should at least drink an Ensure, but nothing sounds tasty to me. Why can't I remember how to swallow? When I do, I just seem to get choked.
8:00pm - Kathi says it's time for bed. I don't want to stay here. I should go home. This is not my bedroom. I don't want to change. She's undressing me. I could do this myself if I wanted to. This is embarrassing. This is a comfortable bed, whose ever it is. So sleepy. Oh no, I dropped a needle. I've got to get this dress ready for Kristen for her pageant next week. So many ruffles. Who is my roommate, she's nice and this is a nice dorm. I just wish they wouldn't be so loud in the room over us and in the hall. Am I in the right bed? I wish she would turn off her light so I can sleep.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


The snowball is picking up speed downhill and getting bigger now. I remember last October thinking Mom might not make it til Christmas. She recovered somewhat from the frequent TIAs and what I believe to be small strokes from her high blood pressure. Then, I thought she might not celebrate her 83rd birthday in April, because she began having difficulty swallowing and was getting choked on food and even water. Looking back, now, I can see how much more she has deteriorated since. No longer able to walk, stand, or even balance by herself, speaking only a few words a day, her bodily functions are shutting down, and can't even swallow her meds. She has no appetite; not even thirsty. I feel the time is close. Maybe a few weeks, but not more than a couple of months...only God knows. Am I ready - no. Do I want her to drag out like this for a long time - no. I know she feels like her dignity is gone(I would). What is the right way to pray? "God please take her now?" Is that a selfish or selfless prayer? I only know what I would want in that situation, and what she has told me in many discussions through the years while watching and caring for my father during his long, painful journey with Parkinson's Disease. I'll just say, "God, have mercy"

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Still Counting Blessings

After hearing a song called "Blessings" by Laura Story(if I was better at blogging I'd post it, but it IS on my FB status), I decided to try to count some more blessings.
1. I'm learning care giving, patience, perserverence, long-suffering, empathy, compassion, selflessness, unconditional love, and so much more.
2. I'm able to pay back Mom for taking care of me.
3. I'm learning that I haven't stopped learning.
4. The whole family is able to spend so much more time with Mom AND my Uncle Bob AND each other.
5. My children and grandchildren will have gotten to know their grandmother and great grandmother more than I ever was able to do. ( 4 generations in 1 home)
6. I have the priviledge to take care of my own Mom, like I did my own children (I didn't have to let someone else do it for me).
The song talks about "what if" the terrible tragedies or crisis or hurts of any kind where actually blessings we couldn't see. Keep opening my eyes, God. I'm looking real hard.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


The Tuesday night Songwriters Association in Norman tonight was at Michaelangelo's. I sang a song Dave wrote just for me to sing about coming out in the world after being withdrawn for so many years. We had our music loving granddaughter with us. Dave explained how I had been a caregiver to my mother, etc... anyway, I botched it up a bit, because my precious Davie was wanting me to hold her and she wanted to sing with the microphone. Later a woman came over and introduced herself as Holly. She just had to put her husband in the nursing home. He has had dementia for 5 yrs. She's going through the grief stage right now, and has just started getting out some. I'm so glad to meet others out there that are dealing with this in their families as well. She invited me to a luncheon at MacFarland Methodist Church tomorrow for Alzheimers Support group,and suggested books to read. Thank you Holly, I look forward to talking with you more.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Blessing and Gratitude

It would be totally remiss and ungrateful if I didn't talk about how we have even been able to keep Mom in her home these years of her illness. If I said only by the grace of God, it wouldn't be true or fair for the millions of sons and daughters who take care of their parents without this particular blessing that I DO thank my Heavenly Father for; but I also thank the wise, prudent, and hard working efforts of my own earthly father as well, to save and provide for his family. It was years ago that he set up a trust fund for Mom, and also invested in long term health care, when he was first diagnosed with Parkinson's.
After Mom struggled with taking care of Dad for so long, and finally moved up here to Oklahoma so we could help ease the burden; she tried to make me promise to put her in a nursing home, should she ever get a long term illness such as what Dad had. She knew how taxing, physically and emotionally, it was. "I can't promise that, Mom...we'll do all we can do for you if that time ever comes."
We decided at the time of her diagnosis, to sell our house around the corner from her and move in with her, because she was comfortable and familiar with it, and it had an upstairs where we could have a semblance of privacy.
I realize this is a huge blessing and will always be grateful for my dad's financial wisdom and hard work his whole life and for thinking ahead for his family.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Now, Middle, Beginning, and End

I don't know where to start.  I sound like I'm in a therapist office.  The best place to begin would be the present, with flashbacks to the middle,  sometimes the beginning, then when we get to the end we'll know, right? 

     I could admit that my worst fear is getting this dreadful disease.  I've joked about having Alzheimers my whole life, because I'm bit of an absent minded professor<minus the professor part>.   Myself, loved ones, and I'm sure not so loved ones, have descibed me as somewhat ditzy, flighty, forgetful, spacey.  The names that come to mind are Captain of the Space Cadets, Airhead, Dumb Blonde< one reason for going red>, etc..  But after Dad suffered from Parkinson's Disease for at least 15 years and now Mom, I don't joke any more. 

     I remember sitting in the doctors' office with mom 6 1/2 years ago in February.  After seeing him that morning and taking a very expensive brain scan that insurance only covers after 6 months of diagnosed deteriorating symptoms, Dr. C had called after lunch and wanted me to bring her in to discuss the results.  Knowing what the diagnosis was already,  I pondered  the previous year -  We had taken her car keys away and had began to pick her up to go to church with us on Sunday mornings.  I did her weekly shopping and took her to weekly hair appointments.  I took her and My Uncle Bob( who lives next door) to lunch every day.  My Father had passed from his long struggle with PD in July.                                                               About every 20 minutes or so, I could hear Dr. C walk up to the door, get the folder out, pause. and then walk away.  I knew he dreaded telling us the news.  He had been our family doctor since the girls were in their single digits, and Mom and Dad's since they moved to Oklahoma from Texas ( so I could help Mom with Dad's illness).  Finally after all the other patients were gone, and hearing the same routine at the door, he came in.  He knew that I knew what was about to be spoken out loud.  After all the questions and information,  Mom ask him if she could hug him.  She knew it was probably as bad a day for him as it was for us.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

She's Still My Mommy

She hasn't been my "Mommy" for years now.  The roles reversed some time ago.  The other night as she lay in bed, unbeknownst to any one in the household, she was aware enough of what was going on to be justifiably concerned.  "Are you alright?"  she asked me as I walked in the room getting ready to bed down in the bed beside her.  I told her it had just been a tough day for everyone.  "Are you sure you're OK?" she spoke with a very furrowed brow.  I tried to assure her everything would be fine in the morning after we all got some rest.  " I love you" she told me and reached out to hold my hand.  I bent down, kneeled at her side, and laid my head on her lap.  "Mommy,  your the best mother in the whole wide world...I love you, too".  As tears began to well up, I excused myself, went to the kitchen, poured myself a glass of wine and cried  for a long, long time - big, ugly, loud heaving and bawling...the kind that distorts your face, and rocks your whole body.  Later, I heard someone come in the garage door, so I quickly gained composure, and dried my tears just in time.  When I finally got to bed, mom and I lay in the dark.   I could tell she was still awake.  "Mommy?...would you mind if I crawl in bed with you and snuggle?"  "Of course not, honey, I'd love that".  She wrapped her arms around me and patted my shoulders, as I lay my head on her chest.  "Am I hurting your arm?" I asked.  "No, you stay as long as you like" she said with more vocabulary than she's had for months. 
     Lucidity gone, the next day she was very agitated, didn't know where she was, and wanted to "go home", as has been the" usual" for awhile now; but for the first time for Kinsey, she didn't know who she was all day and was very leery of her.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

First blog; first blog post

Finally, with a lot of experimenting and trial and error, I'm ready to begin. I'll work out the kinks as I learn more about blogging, set up, pics, etc..

WARNING: Read at your own risk...this could be potentially boring or harmful to your Psyche.

This blog is mainly for my own mental health and therapy, but also a way to document our family's history, Mom's illness, and how I handle this time in my life.  If it is helpful to one other person, even by learning from my mistakes, then I'll be doubly grateful.