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The Chronicles of Pern: First Fall

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Thursday, January 30, 2014

I Want My Father Back

Another snow day, another day where the wind chill is below zero and another day that I shouldn't bring dad to see mom.  It is too cold outside.  Mom has been clear when the weather is bad or simply too cold keep dad home.  Still last night was horrible.  Dad was talking about dying and was so depressed.  Not even a donut from his favorite donut shop helped.  

So this morning the kids woke up and were less than helpful.  I asked P to make grandpa some bacon.  Somehow he decided to make all the bacon, a full pound.  Then forget to grandpa any.  My hip may have been throbbing but I managed to get them to remember what needed to be done and grandpa did get his bacon!  I got some too.

I knew it was coming, he wanted to see Mom, and could I blame him?  No!  They love each other!  Of course Mom, S, and I have a rule, if school is canceled because of the weather Dad needs to stay home.  Easy to say, not as easy to enforce.  Yesterday with S as backup, Dad stayed home and I went to the new place Mom is at to fill out paperwork and have a short visit with Mom.

Today it is just me and my children against one man on a mission.  He wanted to see his wife.  I reminded him about the weather and the temperature and that Mom wanted him to stay home.  He got up grabbed his walker and followed me into the kitchen.  He played the guilt trip card!  "How do you think she feels in there all alone?"  I caved and we got bundled up for the journey to see Mom.

First I had to check the ramp, it needed to be shoveled.  Luckily B volunteered to do that.  Then I needed to salt it so he wouldn't slip.  Then I got his coat and hat and made sure he had his gloves.  We all were ready and the kids got into the back of the van and P was ready to grab grandpa's walker. We got to the car and got dad inside.  Off we went into the windy white blowing snow polar vortex.  In other words it was cold and hard to see.

School was cancelled and the visibility was low, but I knew where to go and was focused on getting Dad to see Mom.  He was confused and had no idea where he was.  
These were roads he has driven himself, places he has taken me.  These were place he has been in and buildings that he has worked in.  He turns to me and says "I've never been in this part of the city before."  It was heartbreaking because we were right next to the building that he he went to school and earned his Master's degree in.

Now we are at the new facility.  All the close spots are occupied by other cars.  Including the three handicapped parking spots (really three, maybe four handicapped parking spots for a skilled nursing facility?).  I have to find a parking spot that is slush free on the left side of the van because I knew I had to deal with a temperamental wheelchair and a Gather who wanted to see his wife.  Sadly the spot I found was almost as far away from the front entrance as possible.  

My original plan was to drop him and the kids off at the entrance then I could hobble in from any old parking spot.  But the large ambulance parked right in front of the entrance ruined that plan.  So I opened the back of the van and wrestled the wheelchair out and onto the ground.  OUCH! My hip was protesting. 

Then I had to open it.  I've seen my brother pop it open and other people have done it too.  It is like it opens up magically for them.  But for me it is like trying to open a locked safe without the combination.  I push and pull and get it open about four inches.  Not quite wide enough for even my daughter's tiny butt.  I roll it to my Dad's door and he just opens the door and I swore he would have jumped into that chair if I didn't stop him.  

I had to bring out the big guns, I sat on that wheel chair and I used my gluteus maximus to open that wheel chair seat to its maximus.  It worked, it hurt but it worked.  I got him in the wheelchair and looked across the long cold parking lot of despair.  My kids were already off to the front door.  They were much faster than me pushing that wheelchair with a sprained hip.

I never realized how much I use my hip, especially when I am pushing something.  Something like a 78 year old man.  Now my next concern in the snowy wasteland they called a parking lot was locating a wheelchair ramp.  The ambulance was still there and I feared that it may be blocking the ramp.  How was I going to get him in to see Mom if I couldn't find the ramp. 

There it was in front of the ambulance.  I was so cold and the door just seemed to be getting further away.  But I got there and we got inside.  There was a security guard, very different from the hospital.  Roped off areas kept us where they wanted us to be.  We had to sign in, I don't think we ever signed out.  I hope there is no penalty for it.  The facility is lovely from the outside.  It the weather was nicer I would have taken a photo of it.  On the inside it is like a maze.

Luckily I was at Mom's room yesterday and somehow managed to find her room again.  I got him into the room and everything was alright again.  He was happy, she was happy.  I even got him closer to her bed so they could hold hands.  The world just for a moment was perfect!

Once we all got a short visit with Mom, Dad was ready to go home.  After all the work I went to and the pain I had in. My hip I asked to please stay a few minutes longer so I could recover a bit before the long journey back to the car.  

I must say that I like where mom is now, they seem very attentive to her physical, emotional and spiritual needs.  Her auditory needs were a bit lacking.  Her room is semi private and her room mate was a moaner.  She wanted attention. It was constant and just loud enough that it is hard to ignore.  How can you complain about someone that just needs some love and attention.  Okay I mentioned it, but I made sure to phrase it as nicely as I could.  I didn't know her story after all.

To home we went. My kids went to spend time with their dad and my dad took a nap.  

Before he fell asleep he asked about dinner, I said it would be ready in about an hour and I made one of my favorites, pork cooked in sauerkraut.  I fixed his plate and he wouldn't wake up.  I waited and finally around 7:00 he woke up.  But it wasn't him.  He didn't know where he was.  I have dealt with this before.  This was more though.  He asked me who he was?  He asked if I was his wife.  He wanted to know who he was, that was new.  He wanted to know if he was still working, what kind of work did he do?  So many questions that I was unprepared for.  My father went to sleep and someone I didn't know woke up.

I had to show him where the bathrooms were.  I managed to get him to eat his dinner.  I tried to answer all his questions.  But some were difficult.  He wanted to know what happened to his body.  Why was it not working right?  Then he asked me how he got so ugly?  Tears came to my eyes.  

Bed time came and I brought him up to his bedroom.  Sometimes he thinks the room is ugly, sometimes it is messy, sometimes it is too girly.  Tonight it looked good to him.  Some relief.  I tucked him in, even though he refused to take off his shoes.  And went downstairs.  Just a few moments alone before my children came home and performed a show for me.  It was just what I needed to cheer me up.

I finally managed to pick up my pain cream that took two days to be made so now that all are asleep I am finally feeling a bit better and can only hope that my father is back when he wakes up in the morning.  

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

My Gluteus Minumus

Since moving back home so many things have happened.  But until now nothing had injured me.  Last Friday night was a night like any other I thought.  the kids had both thankfully fallen asleep and I was almost there myself.  Then I heard the familiar tapping of Dad's walker.  He informed me whenI asked that new as going downstairs for coffee.  There was no coffee so I assumed he would sit on his chair and either fall asleep or watch tv.  That is what usually happens when he wanders downstairs at night.

Time passed and I fell asleep, then of course I heard him calling for me.  It was almost midnight and the house was dark.  I had no idea where he was.  It turns out that I wasn't the only one.  He was downstairs and told me that he was lost.  So I thought he was I. The middle of a room and just wasn't sure where his chair or the stairs where.

Instead I turn on the light and he is sitting on a stack of two boxes.  The Christmas tree box and the plastic ornament bin.  He won't let me up decorate the tree untill Mom is home.  So those darn boxes keep getting in the way.  Never like this though.  He is sitting there on top of the boxes like a king on a throne.  Bonus, his walker is not within his arm reach.  How on earth I think!

My first impulse was to call my brother, but it was almost midnight so sadly I didn't do that.  Instead I tried to help my father up.  I had been a caretaker fom one of my aunts many years ago and she would often fall to the floor.  I never had trouble picking her up.  Of course I was twenty years younger, and she was a bit lighter than my father.  Still I hugged him under his arms and told him to hold onto me.  We tried to stand together but we couldn't coordinate our efforts.

So I take a deep breath and move his walker to him and tell him that he needs to stand up.  I was amazed that those boxes where holding him up and knew that soon they would give up.  He pushed his walker away.  I guess he didn't want stability that night.  Instead he pushed up with both hands on the plastic bin and the bin surrendered.  Down he fell! The box collapsed the plastic bin imploded and my father went down, CRASH!

Okay plan one didn't work, plan two was a disaster, what would plan three be?  I know now that he is effectively on the floor I will not be able to pick him up alone.  Together I think we can do it, but teamwork is hard when one member has no idea what the other one will do.  First I needed to get him out of the boxes.  At the time it wasn't funny, but looking back now the image of my father with his bottom stuck in the red and green ornament bit is priceless.  No, I did not stop to take any photos.  

He managed to crawl out of the boxes and wiggle over to his chair.  It took some time but he did it.  With the chair behind and under me for support and Dad leaning up against my knees I believed we would have the leverage to get him up.  Again I grabbed under his arms and the two of us tried to stand up together.  It was working.  I had him up on his feet!  All I needed to do was step to the left and let him sit on his chair.  That is not what happened!

Instead his legs and body decided together that he wanted to sit down NOW.  So down he went with me under him.  Now if you thought the mental image of my Dad sittin in a collapsed bin was funny imagine him sitting on my lap on a recliner.  Never in my life did I think my father would be sitting on my lap.  Still he was off the floor and we both were okay.  Too bad that didn't last.  

I needed to get out from under him so he slid to the right and I slid to left and moved my left leg over the arm rest.  POP!  My hip made the most horrible sound I have ever heard.  Worse, I felt the pop in my hip.  I felt parts of my hip that I never felt before and it was not a pleasant feeling.  Breathe!  I was still half under my father and had to keep going.  Plop! He was in his chair and I was standing ( on my right leg) next to the chair.  I knew I had hurt my hip, but not badly.

Tentatively I put weight on my left leg and it hurt but I could do it.  I walked to the couch and collapsed onto it.  I was shaking and in pain.  He however was up and ready to go back upstairs.  So up be went on his chair lift and I so ehow managed to follow him up all those stairs.  Every step was horrible but I kept going.

I got him into his room and into his bed.  I even got him some acetaminophen because his back hurt a little.  Why did I put the acetaminiphen so far away from his bed.  And why did I have to go on my comply bed to get at it.  I resisted the temptation to stay there and pass out and brought him the pills.  

Then back to my bed where I literally fell onto my memory foam mattress of comfort.  I was shaking and in pain and realized I had brought my self upstairs away from the car and the ER.  Though I didn't want to go to the E r.  I was not happy with how they took care of my mother.  Maybe Urgent Care, I had no idea where they were.  The pediatric one I could get to blindfolded though.

So now of course I call my poor brother.  If I went to the ER he would have to come to my house to stay with the kids and Dad.  I woke him up and he tells me I was babbling.  Finally he calmed me down enough to call my doctor.  So I hung up on him and called my doctor and left a message.  Should I take the acetaminophen?  I decided to wait for the doctor to call me back and I just laid there with the phone in my hand.  Soon the phone rang and my doctor was calling me back.

After I explained the whole thing he said that because I could bear weight on it it most likely wasn't broken or dislocated. If it still bothered me on Monday to give him a call and maybe I would need a MRI.  Friday at midnight I settled down with some Tylenol and my anxiety meds hoping for some sleep.  Dad however felt like exploring the house that night and I had to stumble out of my room on more than one occasion.  

Saturday my brother helped out thankfully and on Sunday he even took Dad to see Mom so I could rest.  Monday I still had a lot of pain and Dad insisted I call my doctor, he had. 2:30 opening.  So I hobbled through the day.  Luckily I lived in a house with extra canes and walkers literally just lying around.  Also at my disposal was a chair lift to get me up and down the stairs and a walkin bathtub/ jacuzzi.  

At the appointment my doctor pinpointed my injury and told me that I had a sprained hip.  Nothing horrible but it would take some time to heal.  Specifically he suspected that I sprained my gluteus minimus.  I guess I never thought about it but if we have a gluteus maximus we must have a gluteus minimus.  I'm just glad there is something minimus about me.  Although I wouldn't mind it if it would hurt less. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

How the Underpants Battle Led to New Clothes for Me

I can't remember the last time I bought clothes for myself at a regular store.  I usual went to Salvation Army or Goodwill.  Sometimes I would buy a tank top or a pair of pants, but never outfits.  I have been wearing the same brawl coat for at least 5 years.  It is thin and never had buttons, not even button holes.  The last few winters have been warmer than usual so I just dealt with it.  I made rue to by my kids clothes but not really me.

A few weeks ago I finally bought myself new bras and underwear.  It amazed me how just doing that gave me such pleasure and made me so happy.  I even went back the next week and bought more.  Yes, there was a bit more pep in my step after that.  It is amazing how such a simple thing can make you feel so much better.

Now if you recall I have moved back in with my parents to help take care of them.  My dad can't see much and can't hear well at all.  He also has, what the doctors call, low level dementia.  So living with him can be entertaining sometimes.  Since I have moved in my brother and I have been taking care of the house; laundry, dishes, garbage, vacuuming and anything else that needed to be done.

My father has had two focuses since Mom's head injury, her health and his underpants.  I know those two things are very different and it may seem like there is no link between the two.  But Mom would always make sure he had clean underpants.  To many clean underpants are something we take for granted, i know my children never stop to think about how they always have clean underpants.

Now Mom is in the hospital and Dad can't get into the basement, to do laundry.  He needs a walker to move around and his washer and dryer are in the basement.  S, my brother (I guess I will have to add him to the Who is Who page) has been doing the laundry at my parent's house because I have an irrational fear of the basement.  I am talking panic!  If I have to be down there longer than a few moments my heart rate increases, my breathing becomes rapid, it is a full fight or flight experience.  Usually I choose flight.  So my brother has been doing the laundry.

The first problem is my Dad wants his underpants always washed, not an unreasonable request.  The second problem is he doesn't always put his used underpants where they belong.  I understand that he is not the only male (or female) who has this problem.  But it is like he is hiding Easter Eggs.  So as much as S tried to keep his underpants clean they were slowly disappearing.

Okay there was one other problem S put the underpants in the top drawer.  That is were mom always put them for us and that is where we put them in our houses.  I guess after we moved out underpants migrated to the second drawer and my brother and I were just not aware of the underpants migration.

So Dad was panicking, he was running out of underpants and his underpants drawer was slowly emptying.  For two months my brother and I have been trying to convince Dad that he had underpants and we didn't need to buy more.  But for two months his underpants have been possibly escaping, being hidden or just MIA.

Finally two nights ago Dad handed me cash and insisted that I go to the store and buy him more underpants.  I admitted defeat and said that I would go.  But it was 9 PM so I did say I wasn't going that night he would have to wait until after I get out of work the next day.

My ex refused to wear underpants.  So I never had to buy them for him.  Wow there are so many choices; boxers, briefs, hybrids, some that look like ladies panties, some with long legs and some I just can't describe.  The colors amazed me.  I expected the basic white and black and of course grey, but pinks, bright blues, purples, and pastels were a little bit of a shock.  I drew the line at the pink, purple and teal striped ones.  I just couldn't buy them for my dad.  With my luck he would get his vision back and scream at me, lol!  My dad is just not a pink, purple and teal striped kind of person.

I know I said this lead to me buying new outfits for myself, so fat I have only talked about underpants.  Well, to get to the men's underwear department of Target I had to go past the Woman's department.  First I noticed that once again the maternity department had moved into the usual Woman's department space.

Then I saw it, the glorious sign - CLEARANCE AT LEAST 50% OFF!  One long row of Woman's clothes were marked down.  Since I had to go past it I took a look and found some great outfits.
I bought; tops, pants, a suit coat and a winter coat.  A warm winter pea coat, why are they called pea coats?  It has buttons and a liner and most importantly it has buttons!  Did I mention that it has buttons?  I spent more than I wanted to, but at least they were all on clearance, right?

I can't wait to go to work in my nice spiffy new clothes.  Who knew that a battle over underpants could lead to a new coat and wardrobe for me.  Maybe I'll just go buy him underpants more often.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Facebook Comparisons LOL!

On Facebook there was an app that made a graphic image go your most used words.  So I made two.  One from my Facebook posts and one from my ex husbands.  Bigger words were used more often.  The biggest word is the word we used most often.  This says it all I think.

My Image

His Image

I have nothing more to say, lol!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Fourth Time She Almost Died

We The phone rings and of course I answer.  It is the hospital, worse it is Mom's doctor.  This can't be good and my hunch is correct.  Earlier that morning her breathing got worse, bad enought that he thought it might have been a stroke.  As they worked to find out what was happening her breathing got worse.  She wasn't exchanging oxygen well.  The obstruction in her trachea that was just an annoyance had become a life and death problem.  

He had to put me on hold but couldn't figure out how to do that so he apologized for having to hang up on me then promised to call back.  That was of course after he said that Mom might not live through this.  He stopped short of saying get to the hospital now.  Of course I didn't need to be told to do that.  

Dad got ready and the kids also got ready to go.  They wouldn't be allowed in the ICU so I had to call my ex to take them.  Luckily he didn't argue and met us at the hospital.  My son shoveled the ramp and brushed off the cars windows.  I was so proud of him.  They were being brave because of course they heard me loudly (he has trouble hearing) tell Grandpa that we had to get to the hospital because Mom was being prepped for surgery that she might not survive.

She has been through so much.  This would be the fourth time she almost died in just under two months.  I was worried that she would give up.  I was worried about putting her on a vent.  Something she doesn't want permanatly.  I am her health care proxy and I had to make this decision if it looked like she would never be able to get off the vent could I say no?

We got to the hospital so fast that the doctor called me back as we were pulling into the parking lot.  My son answered the phone and clearly told the doctor that we were almost there and again I was proud of him for the second time that morning (maybe afternoon I really was unsure of the time).  

Dad was so upset he was upset when the kids were just talking in the backseat.  Of course when he tried to get out of the car once I pulled up to the main entrance he didn't hear me yelling at him to stay I. The car so I could get him a wheel chair.  Luckily my brother was there to help.  I think Dad was going to try to walk on his own.  Just what I needed another medical emergency when he fell, luckily that didn't happen.

So I managed to get a close spot, an advantage of having to take care of handicapped parents.  I rushed in and we all went to see Mom.  I talked to the doctor and recognized him from her original ICU admittance from her head injury.  That was when she was intubated, where the obstruction came from.  Her body was overhealing an abrasion from the intubation.  He said it was something that occasionally occurs from an intubation.

We got Dad up next to her bed and he told her that he needed her, please don't leave.  Hearing him say this and see the worry on his face as he held her hand was so emotional for me.  I have been his care giver for so long and am so used to telling him where he is and where he needs to go that to see him so with it and scared was almost overwhelming.

They came to get Mom and we moved to the surgical waiting room.  I managed to get Dad to eat something, not much but he loved the orange that I brought him.  It must have been amusing to see me walk back from the cafeteria carrying a tray loaded with multiple bowls of soup, bags of chips, pop, milk and some hummus for good measure.  It was a long slow walk back from the elevator, which was right next to the surgical wing.  

After we ate and talked the surgeon, who were were told was THE BEST ENT SURGEON came in. As soon as I saw him I knew she was okay.  He talked to us, not at us.  Always a good quality in a doctor. He even thinks that he will be able to start removing the obstruction on Wednesday like he originally planned.  Although he did warn us that it could take several visits separated by 4-6 weeks to completely remove it.  

The day ended with me making Dad his favorite dinner, lasagna.  I used a small bread sized pan because I knew we wouldn't be able to finish a big one.  Plus I have one in reserve for a quick dinner later this week.  My ex brought the kids back, grumbling this time because I didn't pick them up.  

I was lucky that I made it home with Dad.  We are so emotionally drained.  Still he waited until 8 pm to go to bed.  I really wanted to sleep too. But I knew and was right.  He had him midnight potty break and couldn't find a way out of his room.  Luckily, like a mom can pick her baby's cry out of a crowd, I am tuned into his cries for late night help.  

Now we wait until Wednesday when mom is moved to the county hospital and then hopefully back to rehab to build her strength again. This all started on a Wednesday, maybe it can end on a Wednesday too. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

So Many Changes

Last night was a bad night.  Dad was up and walking around upstairs.  It starts with the click clack sound of his walker as he shuffles along.  Then he gets stuck and has no idea where he is.  He doesn't believe that he is in his own house and he says he wants to go home.  It just breaks my heart.  I try to tell him that this is his house and he doesn't believe me.

He was like that all night and I only managed to sleep in short bursts.  Oh I was tired in the morning.  Luckily I have a great brother who took over for me in the morning so I could sleep.  Sleep glorious sleep!  Oh how I love to sleep!  The came the phone call.  And finally someone listened to us..

Mom was intubated when she was in her coma.  Since she was extubated she has been coughing and wheezing.  Her breathing has been so labored.  Her pulse ox has been normal and even though we kept bringing it up we were told it is normal, she needs to see a specialist ( never mind she has been in the hospital so much that we never could get her to see one), or maybe it is asthma.

Yesterday it was worse and today the nursing facility that has been giving her rehab sent her to the ER because her breathing was much worse.  The phone call let us know that she was being moved.  At the ER they found an obstruction in her trachea.  Seriously, her lungs have been x-rayed so many times and no one looked at her throat.  Come on, the three basics are ABC, AIRWAY, BBREATHING and circulation.

Dad had a hard time at the hospital.  He didn't really understand what was going on and even when he was next to Mom and her bed, he would ask us when Mom would get a bed.  It was so frustrating!  Poor Mom was having such a hard time breathing that they gave her a Xanax.  My SIL took Dad to get dinner and I sat next to Mom listening to her Darth Vadar breathing.  

Now it is night, Dad once again seems lost.  He called me his jailer because I wanted him to stay in bed and sleep so I could.  He had a moment when I haned him his blanket where he seemed very aware.  He hugged his blanket and pillows declaring them his.  He let me tuck him in and kiss him good night.

But just now he woke up and had no idea where he is.  I talked him into the bathroom and back to his bed, but he refused to believe me when I told him that this was his house.

I put myself in his shoes.  He can't see much, basically light ang bright colors.  He is having trouble hearing, of course if he would put his hearing aids in that could improve.  Mom has been in and out of the hospital too often in the last two months and now his daughter and her two children have moved back into his house.  

So many changes and his body is giving up on him.  Maybe the world in his head is better?  Tomorrow I work a full day.  I hope he will be able to be alone for a couple hours.  I hope I won't feel guilty for going to work.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

CRASH! A Bad Day Begins

It is 5 am and I am peacefully sleeping.  I hear my father get up and use his walker, he must need to use the bathroom I think to my self and stay tuned because sometimes he gets lost.  Some time passes and I hear no sounds of distress, I fade back to sleep and then CRASH!

I jumped up and rushed to my door and I see my dad standing in his doorway, okay he is alive and hasn't fallen.  I see a lamp at his feat and think the crash I heard was maybe the lamp falling on the hardwood floor, but it is so small.  

He is so confused, he doesn't know where he is and as I survey his room I am shocked.  The floor is covered in something wet.  I am pretty sure it isn't water.  His dirty clothe shaper is knocked over, there is a foul smelling stain on his bed.  Then I see the top of his dresser.  Usually there is a lamp next to a television there.  Not one of the new flat screens, this is a tube tv.  It is heavy and bulky with a built in VCR and DVD player.  The top of the dresser is empty, the tv falling to the floor was the crash I heard.  It is still connected to the cable but I doubt it will work again.  It has landed on the tube.

I get him into the bathroom and have him change his clothes.  He is very cooperative and does what I ask him to do.  I clean his floor, pick up the broken pieces of the lamp, change his sheets and get him back into bed.  It is still early enough to have him go back to bed and he complies.  Soon he is snoring away.  I am tired and leave the tv where it is, it is heavy and bulky.  I don't know if I will be able to pick it up,by myself.

Somehow both my children slept through all of this.  I crawl back into bed and I can feel the fear in my stomach.  I can feel the fear that I pushed aside to get everything taken care of.  I called my brother hoping that he can stop by before he goes on a short road trip.  I hope that he will be able to help me get that tv moved off the floor.  Amazingly after that I fall asleep.

My brother stops by late in the morning, we are all still sleeping.  He picks up the tv and SURPRISE! It still works.  Even though it landed on the tube, it is still in once piece.  The new tvs may look nice with those rectangular flat screens but they don't hold up like the older tvs do.

The whole day is a bad day for dad, he doesn't recognize his home.  He can't see much at all.  He doesn't know where he is.  When we visit mom he can't steer his scooter so I steer for him.  He really is like a lost child.  

Then we visit mom and she can't breathe.  I am getting overwhelmed.  It is a bad day for me too.  I hope tomorrow dad is more aware, I hope mom finally finds out why she is having so much trouble breathing.  The X-rays show nothing, but we all can see and hear how hard it is for her to breathe.  At least tonight the kids are at their dad's house.  I hope we all can get a good nights sleep!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

I Control My Future

Since I have moved back in with my parents, even with all the medical drama, I have been so happy and relaxed.  I have started being me again.  Over the years I somehow lost myself.  It didn't happen overnight, it happened slowly.  Maybe I wrote about this before.  I compare myself to a frog.  If you put a frog into boiling water it will jump out.  But if you put the frog in water and slowly raise the temperature of that water the frog will slowly die and be cooked.  I was slowly dying and was close to being cooked.

Even as I struggled to get out if that pot I almost slipped back into that hot water.  It would have been so easy to just stop fighting and disappear.  I think if it wasn't for my children I would have done that.  I think I would have just stayed.  I would have let him control me and lost myself.

Once long ago I would get my nails done every two weeks.  Now my nails are broken and misshapen.  I can't remember when they were last painted and nice.  I used to color my hair and have bright colorful clothes.  I look at my wardrobe and it is mostly black.  

Last week I bought myself some new bras.  They are bright and colorful and more importantly supportive.  It has been years since I bought myself anything like that.  I m talking neon green, pink and black, and yellow.  I may go back this weekend.  I want more colors.  I want to express myself again. 

I also am cooking again.  I love to cook.  I love to add the ingredients together and create wonderful flavors.  I love the smell and making the food look as good as it tastes.  I can grocery shop and get the ingredients for amazing food without worrying about what he will say when he sees what I bought.  Plus, I don't have to worry about being punished for something by not being allowed to shop.  

I am paying bills and cleaning the house, cooking and caring about my appearance.  I am capable of doing it.  All these years that he has been telling me that I couldn't do it are gone.  I can't get them back.  But I took charge of my future and have all those years once again!  I control my future, no one else will take that away from me again!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Taking Care of Those Who Once Took Care of Me

Every night I watch my father wake up and reach for his walker to hold onto so he can get out of bed.    He slowly stands up and slowly turns his body and walker towards his bedroom door and then he shuffles slowly across the floor.  The look on his face is a mix of sadness and confusion.  His world is altered.  His senses and legs have betrayed him.

He pauses at the door and takes a breath.  I wonder what his thoughts are like.  Some nights the dementia is not noticeable but other nights it rears it's ugly head.   Last night was one of those nights but luckily he found his way back.

From my vantage on the bed I moved into my bedroom, the bedroom I slept in as a child I can see the confusion on his face and know it is going to be one of those nights.  Then he lifts his head and calls out; "Is anyone there?" it breaks my heart.  He thinks he is alone.  I rush over to him, the man who took care of me when I was a child, and loudly (because he is going deaf) tell him that I am here.   He asks where he is and I remind him that we are in his house and he is in the doorway between his room and our upstairs hall.

I can see him struggle to get his bearings, besides losing his hearing he also is losing his sight.  Somedays he can see or hear better.  Yesterday was not one of those days.  He asks where Mother is.  I have to remind him that she is an assisted living center getting rehab to rebuild her strength.  He nods and processes the information and he believes me.

Then he asks where the bathroom is and as soon as he touches the sink he is back.  He has his bearings and I sit in the hall to make sure he gets back to bed okay.  I don't think that he is aware of my presence as he go back into his room.  Just the day before a woman with dementia left her house at night and died in the severe cold.

So many things to think about and so many changes have happened in the last month.   Now I take care of those who once took care of me.  

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Why I Moved Back Home With my Parents

I said I would never move back home with my parents.  I have two children and the older they get the more they really enjoy it when my children go home.  Oh they love them, no doubt about that, but they also love quiet.  So I never even considered moving home when I wanted to leave my husband.  It just wasn't an option.  My old bedroom and my brother's have become their rooms and there are no extra beds in the house.  Even the sofa bed doesn't have a mattress.

That was before November 20th, 2013.  That was before the phone call from a paramedic telling me that my mom was unconscious in a store parking lot and dad was alone in the minivan that he couldn't drive.  That was before Mom almost died three times in four weeks.

This has happened to my parents since the week before Thanksgiving.
1. Mom was knocked over by the wind. She ended up with two brain bleeds and was in a coma - doctors had us prepared for the worst.

(This is when my ex decided that he should take up the invitation from a woman he never met to come to Saskatchewan, Canada to watch their version of the Super Bowl, Sorry your mom is in a coma but I am leaving the country for fun. You watch the kids and work and take care of your family without me is what he basically told me.)
2. Mom wakes up and recovers so well that she is home with in a week just before Thanksgiving.
3. Mom shows signs of infection cDiff back to the ER and home but on antibiotics.
4. The day the antibiotics are finished. But Mom's blood sugar is at an 800 back to the hospital she goes.
5. Thursday night my father discovers that he can no longer see.
6. My brother has to lead my father around the house so he knows where he is.
7. Friday Mom is finally stable to come home (again). I have to be taught to give her insulin injections and am responsible for her diabetes management.
8. Mom is home by 7:30 pm on Friday and I go to the grocery store to get things she needs. 
9. I take 25 minutes to visit high school classmates and pick up my kids to spend the night at my parents house. 
10. I am back by 9:30 and Dad is telling me that this is not his house and where is he.
11. My brother and his wife come from work and their house to help convince dad, who is more confused by the minute to go to the hospital.
12. My brother calls 911 (resulting in my father disowning him) and within minutes the para medics are there.
13. My father doesn't believe they are there to help him and swears at them and resists all attempts of help.
14. The police come and Dad doesn't believe them either.
15. Because he is in an altered mental state my mother makes the decision that they need to take him to the hospital, he resists.
16. He pulls a knife on the paramedics (my kids are there and even thought I am trying to shield them as much as possible this is witnessed by them). Somehow the police officer knocks the knife from his hand while a paramedic sheds our view because now we are freaking out.
17. Dad is restrained and forced onto the stretcher. He is screaming and obviously in distress.
18. He is taken to the VA hospital around 11 pm. That is only 4 hours between one parent coming home from the hospital and the other going in.
19. My mom is not strong enough to go to the VA and my father refuses to see my brother so I have to goto the hospital. My kids are freaking out and want to go home. Their Dad is at work.
20. My husband almost refuses to leave work to pick up his hysterical children and doesn't understand why I need to go to the hospital.
21. At the ER my dad is compliant and docile. He claims he was trying to clean his nails with the knife.
22. He talks to me about the grecian urns and statues around the room and how large his (tiny) room is. He counts the many beds for me, his is the only bed in the room.
23. He is admitted.
24. I officially move back into my parents house.
25 I visit the next day and he tells me I can't stay because he has leprosy. I tell him that I am in a leprosy proof chair so it is okay that I stay.

26. I visit on Sunday and he tells me about his breakfast with "THE Santa" he also gleefully tells me that he isn't wearing any underwear.

27. Dad is refusing to eat.
28. Tuesday, I manage to get mom to her endocrinologist appointment and he changes her insulin dosages to one my brother and I think is more realistic for her.
29. Mom finally gets to visit Dad at the VA, he is so happy to see her and he finally eats a little and drinks a nutritional shake.
30. This morning Mom's toe was bothering her and she makes an appointment with her podiatrist.
31. I come home from work and her sock is adhered to her toe, she is in a lot of pain and can't walk.
32. She doesn't want to go to the ER, but allows me to call the paramedics.
33. The paramedics and Police ask how dad is doing, they remember him.
34. They see how swollen her leg is and want to bring her in to the ER.
35. Dad calls home hoping we will come pick him up (he doesn't always know that he is in the hospital) while the paramedics are there.
35. I convince dad to put someone else on the phone so I can let them know what is happening, luckily he gives the phone to someone who works there.
36. I have to bring my kids with me to the ER because Dennis wants to go back to sleep for his overnight shift.
37. Kids are not allowed in the ER so luckily a friend from work offers to sit with them.
38. Mom has a blood clot in her leg almost from her hip to her ankle. Also an infected toe, possibly from lack of circulation.
39. One doctor says she is going to be admitted. She needs IV antibiotics and blood thinners.
40. Another doctor says maybe not, I admit that I pushed for her to be admitted. She can't walk and is at risk for falling. She could bleed out if she falls.
41. Mom is admitted to Kenmore Mercy for the third time in four weeks.
42. Dad came home.
43. We still don't know when Mom will come home, but it will take at least 6 months for the blood clot to dissolve.

44. Mom is moved to a Nursing Home/rehab center, the same one my 96 year old Grandmother is at.

45. Mom develops a half dollar size blister on the top of her foot, the same foot with the infected toe, the same leg that has the blood clot.

Here is the part I didn't expect. I am happy. I am more comfortable away from my ex. Even with all of the above I am at peace and happy! People ask how I am holding up because it is unreal what our family has gone through recently, but I am fine (mostly). Sure there are times that it hits me and a little thing like losing my keys can overwhelm me. But overall this has been such a positive experience for me. Hopefully it stays that way!

One Book Read Already

Yes, I have finished my first book already.  How you may ask?  Simple my daughter wouldn't go to sleep and just when I thought it was safe to go to sleep my father got sick.  So among the overnight chaos I managed to read so I wouldn't go batty.

So Mote it Be (Circle of Three, #1)So Mote it Be by Isobel Bird
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just finished reading this book for the second time. It is a great book to illustrate that whatever we do we shouldn't take any shortcuts. When we do they can bite you back.

View all my reviews

Yes, the review is short, but it is an important lesson.  More words would just muddle it up.  It was a perfect book for a late night read as it was written for a younger audience.

Dad is feeling better, the kids are going to their father's for the night.  School starts tomorrow and I have to start getting back into work mode.