Monday, December 5, 2011

susan*jayne: Luminaries @ Golf Course Acres

susan*jayne: Luminaries @ Golf Course Acres

Luminaries @ Golf Course Acres

This year is the 33rd Annual Light Up and will take place on Saturday, December 17, 2011. At dark thirty.

These photos were taken in 2008 in front of my house in Elizabethton, TN. I wish I could find pro photos taken of these lights because my cellphone just doesn't do it justice. It really is a magical evening with everyone driving around with their parking lights on and neighbors in their yards and street all afternoon and evening. Mother and I made us an eggnog cocktail and sat back and watched the traffic come by.

I know it's nothing grand but I like the charm of small town tradition and it's traditions like these that have been a part of my holidays for 30+ years now.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Plenty Of Company

"No-- just don't say anything to him," my Mother states.

She is referring to one of many imaginary people around her that she talks to daily. The main one is a man she refers to as "John Doe". He pompously sits in judgement of her, taking her seat, using her pens. He gets most of the blame for things that 'go missing'.

I used to try to reason with her about "the people" when this was the first real sign of her Dementia that showed up besides her loss of balance. She first mentioned "the people" in Dec 2009. I argued with her about it.

"Where Did The Time Go?"

That is something you will NOT hear my Mother say. Her days are sooooooooooooooo long to her. If she has an Atlanta Braves baseball game coming on that evening @ 7:00pm, she will ask me several times a day if it's time for it yet.

Tiptoeing in to see her sitting in the family room watching the morning news while having her breakfast, I greet her and say, "How are ya feeling today?"

She answers me with a smile and a 'thumbs up' while I fix my morning cup of coffee. I get my dog a treat for breakfast and walk back to my room to sit down. I can feel a sigh release from my body and my shoulders visibly relax.

I note to myself that I'm glad that she still reacts to me. And a smile from her is pure gold right about now.

I realize now that the times I can go away and leave her on her own will be limited as I take off for the drug store to pick up my high blood pressure meds. I need to go back to the doctor and get this dose doubled but for now $4.00 buys me 15 days worth of help and I can push it down on the TO DO LIST to see the doctor later this month for a checkup. Double up this prescription and see about more nerve pills like he's given me in the past.

On the way back I see the Sammons Hotdogs sign and pull in the drivethru to surprise Mother with a hotdog for lunch. These are the best and biggest and beefiest dogs around with a spotless reputation.

I give her her hotdog, take my slawdog to the table. When I went to the drug store, I left her stripping a cob of corn to boil. One whole cob of corn or a small bowl of potato salad or cole slaw fills her up.

I get back and the corn is shucked and sits on the counter. She tells me that she couldn't remember what else to do to it and gives me the confused face. As she tells me this, I mentally retreat, not wanting the dementia to backslide... hoping for it to stay the same.

Small defeats and miracles make up my hours and set the tone for my life now. I hate that I am so consumed by this but it has to be for now. Writing, I hope, will help me cope better.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Brighter Day Today

Hallelujah! I slept six hours last night. I feel a lot better but still have some way to go with mental health, I'll admit.

I DO feel like I can say that I am off of some sort of death watch. Not 100% but enough so that I can claim it today.

I ate a whole bowl of cereal this morning and had a bit of tea and grapes.

Mother fixed her own breakfast and is chipper and bored today. Time has really slowed down for her. Time is still relevant, so that's a good sign.

Today I will try to find the joy in what I DO have going in my favor as to what I DON'T have going on.


Over the past few weeks I keep desperately saying, "Now what is it I usually do to keep the blues away?"

I can usually keep it at bay and WITHOUT help from drugs and/or alcohol. So I may have to turn to the doctor for some stress relief soon.

But I am off of unofficial 'death watch' for now. I know that but my stressed body doesn't know that yet. Soon, I hope.

**UPDATE: I got my The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People with Alzheimer Disease, Other Dementias, and Memory Loss in Later Life book that Sandi Rainbolt recommended to me today. Already very helpful.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I Expend A Huge Chest Swelling Sigh

After six nights of only stressed induced sleep-- you know the kind where you get up the next morning and your eyes are stinging and feel like there is sand in them from lack of sleep? Not sleeping over 20 minutes at a time.

All from worrying about my Mother. Basically I've moved in to watch her fade away from this life with as much dignity and grace that old age will allow.

She woke up screaming to be taken to the hospital a few weeks ago and we drove to the ER. I've never taken her to the ER before and to make a long story short, they xrayed everything and withdrew all pertinent fluids and came up with nothing. Perfectly fine. But I heard the word Alzheimer's posed as a question which has never been spoken before.

Anyway, they gave her some meds to calm her down which threw her into almost a rage which didn't suit this genteel Southern Lady at all. It took her four days to recover from the ER visit and they sent us on our merry way with a basic antibiotic for an impending infection which she may or may not have.

Here's where things go really south-- after the hospital visit and four or five days on the antibiotic she's getting progressively worse. Her symptoms are almost like she has been poisoned and I see, for the first time, those ugly red spots on her lower limbs.

Those ugly red, splotchy, raised dots that indicated to me that vital organs were shutting down. I'm later relieved to see them dissipate(is that the word I want? probably not) slowly.

And I'm so afraid to close my eyes on her. I finally look up this medicine on the internet and I read that this medicine is NOT to be given to the elderly, specifically anyone over 65.

It's a big holiday weekend. Doctors are out of town, and I damn sure don't want to take her back to the hospital for young stud and weekend beach bum, Dr Shawn Whatshisface, to fucking shut her down with the pharmaceutical favorite cocktail du jour.

I count minutes and gauge severity of splotches and watch her rummage all hours of the day and night. She takes a shower @ 1:30 am. Not a good time but thank goodness she can do it on her own. She doesn't know day from night sometimes.

I know at any minute I can call the rescue squad if needed. We are probably 3 minutes from the hospital. But we hold on. I fix her favorite things and applaud when she nibbles a few bites. She weighs 98 lbs and is 4'11" so she's always eaten like a bird.

She begins eating more and gains more clarity a teeny bit each day but you desperately search for positive signs of life when you could be actually watching the last hours of life. She turns the tv remote to the program she wants to watch instead of bringing me the remote and asking me to help her out.

I still didn't sleep last night. Probably only an hour and a half altogether. I've watched out for Mother all evening again and peered at her from down a darkened hallway with nightlites lighting the way in most all the rooms.

I come in closer for the usually dreaded morning observations. eyes stinging, hands trembling, swallowing hard. I see that Mother has dressed nicely, and combed her hair for the first time in two weeks (besides weekly salon visits) AND she has put on lipstick.

We were going to try and catch her doctor this morning but by the time I got through he was booked for the day and will be out all week.

I expend a huge chest swelling sigh... Although it's moment to moment and can take a u-turn, for today it looks like she's going to do just fine.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What's Your Color?

Found at Shirl's.

You Are Colorful Because You Are Delightful

You are simply a joy to be around. You are cheerful, cute, and charming.

You truly respect and appreciate other people, and it shows. You are extremely non-judgmental.

You avoid confrontation, and you hate fighting. You try your best to make sure that everyone gets along.

Life is hard, so you try to be easy on people. More importantly, you try to be easy on yourself.