For seven years my mother has braved a battle of deteriorating health, sometimes with fierce anger, sometimes with silence, sometimes with humor and laughter. It has been a long road with many dips and plateaus both physically and mentally. Often I would come home drained and angry. I’ve mourned the loss of who she was, trying to reconcile the strong image with the frail woman she became. (more…)
Archive for the ‘it’s long term care, the good, the bad and the ugly’ Category
January, usually a long month after the holidays, flew by. Mama had pneumonia. We were on worry and watch. Well, I was. Big brother finally came for a visit after ten months or so. Little brother came for the weekend and sat with Mom for two days. Little sister was a no show or phone calls. Older sister doesn’t drive and her husband has dementia, middle stages. So…back to me carrying the load with mom. We did have a little respite before the pneumonia…
So was it food poisoning or the dreaded Norwalk? Same symptoms according to the Nurse Hotline. I am assuming the very rapid walk through the halls to visit Mama on Friday afternoon was all it took. Mama is fine. No symptoms. I promised I would visit her in two days. Sadly I have disappointed her and cannot visit until New Years Day. Feeling like I have abandoned her on Christmas, much like the rest of her children who do not visit. Life does suck at times.
On the other hand, half the family spend the day together, the other half worried about their little one and did not come. Norwalk is very contagious up to seventy-two hours. We will have two Christmas celebrations. So…it was a very quiet, full of laughter celebration with eldest son, wife and Marlowe, the wonder dog. He loves visiting our house, bounds out of the car and waits for the door to open. He knows he gets treats and kisses. I think we should have a dog again. Perhaps this coming year. Hope your Christmas day was full of family cheer and love. Looking forward to a wonderful 2012. Stay warm, safe and very much-loved.
Who would have thought it? I’m sure Mom never thought she would live to be 96. When she was 90, she said she was going to die at 95 or after S & A have a baby. Well, the year has come and gone and what a year it was. A very big downward spiral physically, mentally and emotionally. It really has been a roller coaster ride. Many times I thought this would be the year but she has a strong heart. She is here for the very long haul. I’m going to need a lot of money if I have inherited the “strong heart gene.” If one has good health and mobility and a sharp mind, it wouldn’t be so bad to live well into one’s 90’s. The key word is “if.”
I bought a beautiful bouquet, very festive colours to celebrate her birthday and Christmas. I forgot the Purdy’s Turkish Delight. Santa will have to put it in her stocking. Mom did acknowledge it was her birthday and marveled at the number. I couldn’t stay long, I have a cold. They don’t like anyone visiting with a cold, fever, etc. The staff were advised it is Mom’s birthday. Many wished her a happy birthday. She was very gracious and thanked everyone. We had a little hug and a “love you” before I left. As I was leaving the building I noticed the “STOP, No Visitors” sign and “Do not Cross” ribbons which were not there when I arrived. The first floor has an outbreak of Norwalk, also known as the “winter vomiting flu.” Life just keeps on throwing stones on my path. Hoping Mom’s immune system will fight it off when the germs ride the elevator upstairs. You just know they will.
A very happy birthday to my dear Mama. Happy 96th! Here we are at the last Christmas party.
An update on Mother ~
Up: she knows me and we have had some lovely conversations.
Down: not drinking or eating and I’m not her daughter, again.
I really think she is just being obstinate as only she can be. Tonight, she gave me the ‘once over’ look, well…the once over the face ‘look’ with the “I’m not going to cooperate” expression and then she said it; “You are not my daughter!” Right. There was a little lift of the lips. Ha, not fooling me, Mom. I had to laugh which shocked the care aid. What? I’m not suppose to recognize when my mother is being obtuse. Mama understood she is about to become a great-grandmother very soon. The mind was all there. So it was good, even if I wasn’t her daughter and I kissed her hand three times which brought a smile to eyes and lips. Tonight was the ‘good’ in the long-term care saga.
Hope your weekend was wonderful. Mine was grand. More about my four days at the SiWC later. Also known as the Surrey international Writers Conference. Also a roller coaster ride of confidence in my writing. Yes, Lani, I am a great writer. There. Stay safe.
My mother never swore or very rarely used swear words when I was a child. Once in a while she would swear. This was always a surprise to me. My mother knew swear words and even more astounding, she said them. Mother is very proper. She always used big words , words to get her meaning across to me. Mom also corrected my pronunciation and told me what the word meant and how to use it. Swearing was not part of our speech. Today was a different story. (more…)
Staying true to my journal “of sorts” as this blog has become, I am returning to the good, bad and ugly life in a long-term care residence. There have been many changes in the facility. One very good change according to the memo; the hiring of more staff. Thank you! Truly, there is not enough staff to care for the residents. Some, including my mother, cried out in distress and did not seem to get much response from staff. I’m hoping more staff means more care or should I say more “aware” care.
Mama is spiraling down to the next level of being. She is sleeping a lot, not eating much, very anxious or very silent or stuck in first gear when she does speak. (more…)
It really is time to change things up a bit. It’s getting rather blah around the blog site. I have a few options and one being “going dark.” Perhaps, it is just the time of the year or the weather on the west coast is wet and cold, just plain grey. No colour. Or it is just the blue-ish grays because it is getting a little chilly in the evening and wow…we had NO summer. The last three weeks is not enough time to be classified as a full season. So… I’ll be tinkering with the categories, tweaking the colours, writing short and snappy, not short and sappy, although I may do that too and still remaining true to why I started the blog.
Mama is doing fine, bored, wants out of the chair, knows me and said she loves me at the end of my visits. Yeah! I’ll be cutting her hair tomorrow and we all know how that has gone…usually with a few longer uneven bits and at least one “oops.” Stay dry.
I’m not a huge fan of rollercoasters. I don’t like the plunge down the other side after the long climb up the hill on a rollercoaster. When my stomach lurges up my throat and drops like a stone is not a good feeling especially after eating mini-donuts. So, I avoid rollercoasters as much as possible. Although, I do like the Thunder Mountain rollercoaster at Disneyland. I took our youngest son when he was in grade 9, “the make or break, which-way-are-they-going-to-go” year and we rode the coaster three times. The first time, I was hiding behind him, head down, sitting in the last seat of the log. The second time, still in the back, head up, a smile on my face. The third time, hands up in the air, big smile, and we were in front. I got over my fear. Now, some of you may say, “that’s not a rollercoaster, you need to go on one with loops, long climbs up and straight down valleys, that’s a rollercoaster.” No thanks. I really like my feet on the ground with the occasional flight of fancy or two.
Visiting Mom is like a rollercoaster ride now. I never know if I will be heading straight down a valley or climbing up towards a peak or just on the flats when it comes to mother’s countenance. Will she know me? Will she be silent or angry? Will she tell me to go home? And is she eating?
Today was so bittersweet, it broke my heart, again. Mom was sitting up in bed, napping, no music on, and she had eaten all of her breakfast. One good thing. Very quietly, I took all the dirty clothes out of the basket before sitting on her bed. I always take hold of her hand before I say hello. Mom held my hand, stroked my hand and my arm and then she patted me very gently. She never said a word, just patted my arm. I lost it. We sat like that for a long time, me weeping silently and Mom holding my hand. Someone once said something about that which does not kill you, makes you stronger. I may be getting stronger but my heart is breaking. It hurts. Serious pain, people. I ache for my mother and the indignity she must endure. Then I question how long this has to go on. No answer. No inner voice talking. No audible voice speaking. No inner sense of peace, only sorrow. This long, slow dance towards the light strips me raw some days. Today, my mother knew I was there. She patted my arm like she did when I was a child. She said, “I love you” with touch. I kissed her forehead and slipped out of the room when she fell asleep again.
Stay warm. Stay safe. Stay loved.
Hop with an e. Ever watch little ones when they are excited. They hop around, do a little dance, a little “please, please” whirl of anticipation, hoping they get their heart’s desire. I woke up hoping this morning that Mom will open her eyes and be happy to see me and talk to me with clear thinking, instead of “I’m-mad-and-if-I-keep-my-eyes-closed-and-I-will-not-talk-and-the-world-will-go-away.” At least I’m not getting the “Your not my Mother. I’m not your Mother” speech. On this Easter morning, I am hoping for a small miracle when I visit my mom today. I am hoping she will be happy to see me and we will talk and laugh together about wonderful things and memories. Here is to hoping with a little hop and a whirl of anticipation. Happy Easter. Stay safe, warm, and very much-loved.