Saturday, June 25, 2016

A New Experience




It's been awhile...mainly because there wasn't much to write!
But yesterday changed that!
Miscommunications meant that Mom was taken to the ER from Oakwood, and was there by herself for over an hour while I drove out to Oakwood thinking she was there, and then to St. Mary's. I was relieved that she was doing fine, but she was really glad to see me. Because she was experiencing a significant amount of rectal bleeding, the ER was definitely the right medical choice.
I don't know about anyone else, but for me, time CRAWLS in the ER. Everything seems to take so much time, but at least they had decided that Mom would be admitted. The doctors and nursing staff were wonderful, and were totally correct in their assumption that it was a diverticular bleed.
Once in Mom's room, again the nursing staff were amazing. The GI specialist made the decision to scope her last evening, and not only found the bleed, but clamped it, and as of right now, there hasn't been any bleeding since! I can't say enough good things about St. Mary's hospital and Dean doctors!

What I really wasn't fully prepared for was how Mom in her current stage of Alzheimer's Disease would handle a hospital stay. She is so disoriented, but then for small bits of time seems to "get it".
Taking off the heart monitor leads, messing with the IV port, picking at the ID, fall risk and DNR bracelets, being fixated on finding her clothes, getting up out of the chair and taking herself to the bathroom while I was away getting some food, and of course, the same questions over and over and over.
I have been in tears today more than usual, and chalk it up to exhaustion and stress...because physically Mom is doing well and should return home to the Knoll at Oakwood tomorrow.

Thankful for Jessica and Will who were with her this morning, allowing me to take a walk through the gardens and zoo; and for Tom, who when I was at the end of my rope, took over and allowed me to run some errands and have a bit of time at home.
Also incredibly thankful for the staff at the Knoll... I always appreciated what they do, but after today, that increased exponentially!

So now I feel ready to go back to St. Mary's for a few hours this evening, to be patient and answer those questions over and over and over...

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Venturing Further


Just as I've ventured further on a path I like to walk, 
(some of it still unknown to me), 
 and come upon an unexpected obstacle...
so it is with my journey with my mom.

I feel like I'm venturing further into the unknown area that is her Alzheimer's Disease.
Unexpected challenges pop up and must be dealt with.
More and more often she wants to "go home",
and I feel so inadequate, 
not knowing where she thinks "home" is, 
and always pointing out that she IS home 
(and all the positives that go with that).

I know that it is a blessing for her to be at the Knoll at Oakwood Prairie Ridge.
I know that we are fortunate that she can afford to live there.
I appreciate the staff and the relationships I am building with them.
I am blessed with a supportive family, and friends who are "family".

Even so, I feel alone...
with no way of knowing what's around the bend,
as the journey to the unknown continues.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Changes


Changes are coming...
I can feel them as the air cools.
I can see them in subtle ways,
and like the leaves, changing right before my eyes.

Mom never calls my cell phone anymore, just our landline (and the number we've had for more than 25 years). She thinks she's working at the Care Center in Prescott, and needs to get home, but doesn't know the code, and she's told Tom, "I know that Kathy knows the code"!
Today she acted like it was years ago that she lived in the apartment at Oakwood...
I kind of wish I had asked her where she lived in between...

Somehow God gives me patience and the ability to answer calmly, over and over, and over.
I try not to look too far down the road,
yet I know that changes are coming.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Sunshine and Clouds


Sunshine and Clouds
Moments of joy in the midst of tears

The past week for me has been a blur of meetings, phone calls, 
and settling Mom into her new "home" in Oakwood Knoll. 
Emotional and exhausting...
Confusion and disorientation have been very present for Mom.
She has a difficult time realizing that she is still at Oakwood, 
even as we point out familiar places whenever we leave the Knoll, 
and she can see her apartment from her window.
The first afternoon she was convinced that she was in a hotel room in Wisconsin Dells, 
(I don't think she's EVER stayed in a hotel in the Dells!) 
and seemed amazed that we had brought her recliner and her orchids!
It's an adjustment process, and really, she's been a trooper!
She's friendly to the other residents
(the latest is that she thinks she's working at the Care Center in Prescott)
and has had visits from her friends who've known her for years.

Each day seems to get a little better


And I focus on the sunshine rather than on the clouds.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Suddenly...

I knew it was coming. I agonized over how the timing would work out... when would a room be available ? How would I know it was time? When to start the Long Term Care policy knowing that there's a 100 day elimination period? Praying for these answers...

and then suddenly...
while talking with the Health and Wellness Coordinator, I told her that I thought we were to the point where we would take it when a room opened up...
and then she told me a private room had become available.

In the next couple of hours, there were phone calls I had to make, and bursts of sobs as I anticipated telling Mom about the move, (would she react in anger, feel like I've betrayed her?) quick facebook messages requesting prayer, and then the drive to Oakwood. I can't say enough about the amazing staff at Oakwood. The social worker was already in Mom's apartment when I got there, and she facilitated the discussion.  Mom  handled it so much better than I had feared, and I felt relief in that we've cleared the first hurdle. I told her we would make the room her home, and she asked me if I was sure about that. I answered that I couldn't be sure, but I was hopeful.

So much to think about, to take care of, paperwork...her move will officially be on Tuesday providing her doctor's forms get to Oakwood by Monday. As long as I'm busy with tasks, I am fairly strong.
Still, breakdowns occur at odd moments or in the middle of leaving a phone message, or telling a friend...

As emotional and hard as it is, it is the right next step, and it is the right time.
God answered my prayers.
I am supported.
I am loved.
I will rely on His strength as I continue to walk on this journey.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Search


Today I felt the clouds closing in as I arrived at Mom's to take her to a couple appointments, and was greeted with "I can't find my purse"...
I started to ask her when she remembered having it last, but then stopped, because of course she wouldn't remember. Instead I asked questions, made phone calls, grasped at "straws", and finally determined that the missing purse must be somewhere in her apartment.
So the search began.
Every room, closets, cupboards...
not just once, but multiple times.
Where would a person with Alzheimers' Disease
put something valuable like a purse?

Praying to God that He would reveal to me where I should look, 
and for patience and kindness in dealing with my mother who is now more like a child.

Meanwhile, one appointment cancelled, and the other kept in the midst of the search.
Mom kept saying how bad she felt, 
and I assured her that she didn't lose it on purpose,
and blamed the disease.

 I kept looking...
Strange places like the oven, the refrigerator,
under the sink, back to the closets...
on the phone with my daughter, I flipped the top of a shoebox.
And there it was...
the missing purse,
in a SHOEBOX!!

I experienced such relief, but also such sadness.
Another step on the darkening path of this journey...

Thankful that God goes with us every step of the way.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Hidden


In the midst of seemingly endless repetitions of information...
the search for framed photos that weren't in their normal place, 
and eventually finding them in a tote bag...
going through the calendar of life events, 
and making sure the days that have passed are crossed out...
suddenly there was a moment of lucidity, 
(increasingly hidden)
and a question if this was all getting too heavy for me...
my answer that it is what it is,
and we're doing the best we can.