Vegging

Just got home from caregiving for my friend, who is 94 years old.  I am also due to work with him tomorrow, too.

It’s exhausting. It’s also incredible that even with my Mom gone 5 years, you can fall back into caregiving so easily. Part of the reason is rather simple. I try to treat them as I would want to be treated at that age. Usually, they are lonely and are happy to  have some one to converse with, as opposed to talking about them, over them, or ignoring them. After that, the rest is rather easy. Cook for them, clean up for them, help with whatever they need. My motto, or mantra? ” There but for the grace of God go I.”

I am ready for bed, as tomorrow is another busy day, complete with a 7am start at physical therapy for my shoulder. In the meanwhile, I am vegging out watching Oceans’ Eleven before bed.

Good night!

Sunday Night

…and we are waiting for the winds and rain that are due to hit down here. It has been more like London than “Amity’ here.
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One hard part is that Zush is feeling the aches and it is so hard for me to try to get her comfortable, although after a little while she does quiet down and go to sleep. I didn’t take it personally after I got my body down to the floor next to her bed to massage some oil onto her and as soon as I was done, she gets up like nothing hurts her, and then moves to her next sleeping spot.

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So, gentle readers, keep my girl Zush, along with me in your thoughts. Care giving, be it canine or human, is rough, especially since they eventually can’t take me with them.

Caregiving, again

As I put a ham steak in the grinder to puree it for Zush, a thought struck me.

How many people I have taken care of through the course of my life.

Grandparents, parents, pups, husband, friends…how many people I have had to puree for them because of teeth extraction, digestion issues…how many people I had to have applesauce or pudding on hand for to slip pills into.The worry that sticks with you when the pill doesn’t go down, or you find it in the side of a bed or on the floor.

There’s a lot to be said for caregiving.You are doing it for people you love.

It gives a new meaning to the term bittersweet.

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Hard to go

It’s getting to a point where my job is my job and that’s great.

My baby Zusher isn’t well.

I am trying to see with the first call from the lead vet, and waiting for the information for the second reading of the labs from a Philly vet, in order to take her for her second opinion.
If we get good new, for which I am praying, that would be great. If not and hospice is the term for Zush, I probable will leave the job to savor every day I have with the girls.

It all is in the hand’s of God and his hands on the heads of the vets.

Still praying for the girls….ALWAYS.
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Mother’s Day Blues

I miss my Mom.

It doesn’t help that I read Facebook and a zillion posts about Mother’s Day.All that does is make me miss my Mom even more.

Sure, there were different stages of Mom, from when I was young, teenager, young adult, married, and finally, caregiver.There were so many different facets to the relationship since I was the only daughter with two sons.Part of that was made the caregiving a no-brainer, because, after all, she was my Mom, even though, with the dementia, she had no clue of who I was.

Yes, I am a pup Mom, nowhere near the same stratosphere as a human Mom, but it just wasn’t in the cards for me.I know that my fur girls love me, so that is of some comfort to me.My Mom knew Zush, so she is my remaining tie to Mom’s well days.

Happy Mother’s Day in heaven, Mom. I miss you and love you! If you are blessed to still have your Mom with you, hug her tight on Sunday and if you are a Mom-Happy Mother’s Day!

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A calorie is a calorie….

..especially when you are averaging 15,000 steps a day.

After my GI bug bout,I decided to come back to walking with a vengeance.So, with the exception of this past Sunday, when we had to go back to Pennsylvania, I had 15,000 steps, at least,each day last week.I did cut myself some slack since we were socializing on Sunday.

It’s incredible when you are so conscious of what you are doing, in my case, walking, how it affects what you eat.I have completed behavior modification in the past with success, only to put weight on when my Mom got sick and I was caregiver for her with my brother,

Now it’s a new day, a Fit Bit zip, warmer weather, and 2,000 more steps for 15,000 for the day.

Pardon me…I have to go walk my girls…and me!

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Trying to put a spin on the negative

We just came from the street we used to live on to pay a sick call to one friend’s Dad and a sympathy call on another friend who lost her 47-year-old daughter to cancer Thanksgiving eve.

Jim says to me .”Everyone’s dying.”
Me:” We’re still here.’

Kasia and Zush in the back of the car coming back and Kasia starts:” Barkbarkbarkbark.”
Me: “I grabbed her leash and told her we all have a right to walk the sidewalk.”
She stopped.

Jim and I had talked about how we loved living on that street and how it became a street where everyone was moving, sick, or dying.We said where we are moving is a different spot, where people are like us going through or having gone through what we have.We tend to socialize there more than we do here.

I am praying for an upturn.

Just for me

Three years ago today, I moved my blog, Thereisnosanityclause, to this platform at Word Press.

It’s been a long three years.

I want to take this commercial break, if you will, to thank you all for reading my posts.It means a lot to me and I do appreciate it.What has started as an exercise to keep me going while caregiving for my late mom has become something I look forward to doing.Your occasional comments help keep me going.

Thanks,reader,for stopping.Do come back tomorrow.I’ll be ready with a new post.

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Blog #1,000

“I was twenty-one years when I wrote this song.
I’m twenty-two now but I won’t be for long
Time hurries on.
And the leaves that are green turn to brown….”

Paul Simon wrote these lyrics for a Simon and Garfunkel hit circa 1966 called ” Leaves that are Green”.I thought this was an appropriate start for the blog numbered 1,000.

I started this blog in 2011, when I was 51 years old. I was sharing care-giving duties for my Mom with Dementia with my brother.I was married for 9 years back then. I had crappy knees and was waiting to get knee replacements.And yes, I was thinner,

So on the occasion of this blog #1000, so much has changed.

Mom is gone, I am happily married, next month, for 12 years. I have new knees and a belly because emotion still gets the best of me.I am working on that, though, and trying to get things together.

Jim and I have a new home and we’ll be occupying full-time in a few months.I, knock wood, am on the road to retirement.My girls are still with me: Zush is 12 and Kasia is 5. Jim and I are trying to set up housekeeping and farming down here at Undisclosed.The emotions are mixed at folding up our tent and leaving the big city, but more times than not, we are more than ready to leave it behind.

This blog has been therapy for me to vent and also to keep the memories of what has happened, be it good, bad or indifferent. It also has been a way for me to share my stories and experiences with you, dear reader.Thanks for reading and being here for me. I appreciate the fact that you check in with me and the family. For that you have my thanks and a giant hug.

Thanks!

And to quote the tag line from the Beverly Hillbillies…”You all come back now, hear?”

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Two Years

My Mom left me two years ago today.
There is not a day that goes by that I don’t miss her and/or think of her. Perhaps it’s because my Brother Bob and I took care of her for close to five years after she slipped into dementia.

There is so much I know she experiences from a higher vantage point: her children, her Philadelphia grandsons,her sister, her family,her church.I am sad because she never got down here with Jim and me,but am taking some comfort she’s up there,watching with my Dad.

My parents always said that we’d miss them when they left us.The only thing? They didn’t tell me how badly I’d miss them.

R.I.P. Mom.

Miss you guys every day.

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This is my eight hundredth post.

I can’t believe I have been doing this long.

Today(12/19)is my nephew Gregory’s birthday-he is 24 years old today.
I lost two of my buddies to heaven.
Zush was younger and Kasia was a wee one when I started.
Mom was sick and still around and Bob and I were care-givers.
Jim and I lived in a different house.
I wasn’t this close to finishing out my first career.
Undisclosed location wasn’t even around.

It has been a while, and I need to thank you, my reader.I appreciate the fact you find this blog and open and read it.I am thankful for those of you who like the blog, leave comments, and even express your opinion on the blog.

Here’s to 800 more.

BTW, Happy birthday Gregory. We love you lots!

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Eternal Rest

I was here working on a scarf last night; not for long as my eyes were tired and almost ready for bed.

I received a text on my phone.

Sue had passed.

It’s over. My friend had gotten her wish to be with her Mom.

After the text from the caregiver, around ten minutes later, Sue’s husband phoned me to let me know. I told him I was so sorry, and he started to tell me how he was waiting on hospice to come. He knew the day was coming but he was in shock.He cared for her for the last four years and was married to her for the last thirty-two. I guess I’d be in shock too.

Rest in peace, my friend. You’ll be missed but you’re in a better place with your mom.

Sleep warm.

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Goodbye my friend.

I do sick calls for the Church.

I see three, maybe four people.One of them is my pal Sue.

After getting off the phone now, I have mixed emotions.Her secondary caregiver informed me they started her on hospice yesterday. She is getting morphine for pain every four hours.

**sigh**

Sue and I have talked about dying and pain and how she wants to see her Mom again, and the two of us believe she will.Being Catholic, it’s one strong belief we both share.She could talk about it to me, because we know we could always talk about anything.We even kind of laughed about it, because the last time we talked about it, we chuckled that she would have the last laugh and one day I’d come down to see her and she won’t be there.

So I’ll go see her today, and Jim and the girls will go with me.I know in my heart that she wants to go, but as I type this, I know the emotions I have will be rough. I don’t even know if she’ll be awake from the morphine.

She has been a major part of my married life. She was a friend I could talk husbands with, talk dogs with, joke about weather girls with.

I always joked that when she goes to heaven, to help me out while I am down here.I’ll miss her, but she will always be in my heart.

Rough

I make sick calls for my Church, bringing Communion to those who can’t make it to Mass.

Last night I stopped first and saw my buddy Sue. What a rough visit.

Her condition is going downhill.Her husband, although he probably knows it, doesn’t say it.
So when he is out of the room talking to my husband, Sue and I talk about a lot of things.
Basically we talk about dying.

Her quality of life is getting poorer by the day. She was speaking of how she can’t get in
the car and ride any more.She can’t walk Eby, her dog.As ahe speaks to me, the tears fall
from her eyes. Her degenerative brain disease obviously hasn’t gotten to her emotions
yet, although she told me yesterday her eyes are starting to fail.

I did manage to make her laugh though.

We talked about her leaving and eventually seeing her family again, as is the belief or
the faith we share.I told her that one day I would come to see her and she wouldn’t be
there.I looked at her straight in the eye and asked her who’d have the last laugh?

She said she would, of course….and we both started laughing.

Hold a good thought , or say a prayer for Sue if you would, please.
It’s rough,leaving one spot behind.

Thanks…appreciate it!

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An August 15 years ago

Saturday marks 15 years since my Dad passed away at home. My Aunt and Mom took care of him while I was at work: I had him from 4PM until 6:30am.

I knew I was losing my Dad 8 months earlier. My Dad, who loved to drive, stopped-end of story.
I knew something was wrong.

My Dad was diagnosed with Non-alcoholic stenotic hepatitis.The disease took him away after 8 months.In a way, it was the best and worst time of my life.I was always tight with my Dad,and when someone hands you a full urinal at 2am, well, we would talk until we fell back asleep.
It was a terrible time because my Dad didn’t want to go to the hospital to get drained, which had accompanied the disease.We couldn’t even get him downstairs, he was so blown up. We managed to get him down, and I promised him that if he went that one time, he’d never have to go again.

We kept him home in hospice care from the V.A., and I was glad that we did.I know it gave him some peace that he was home. Roughly 18 months ago, my Mom left from the same house,but her disease was Dementia. I was glad my brother Bob and I kept her in her home.I know she, too, had some peace.

There is not a day, especially of late, that I don’t miss them both. I am grateful they brought me up with a faith that is firm and believes that I will see them again one day.They are both wagging their fingers down at me and my life from heaven….I know I will see them again some day and they’ll still be doing the same thing…lol.

I miss you guys-sleep well.

Mom's last pic
Mom’s last pic

Sick call

I am done work and have been sitting with my friend, Sue,

If you remember in a prior blog, she has been my friend for 12 years. She is suffering from a detiorating brain disease. I am here for her comfort,as she has a bad cough. It is a good perspective when you feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders, and you’re with a good friend who is basically, in hospice.

She just offered me a cookie: that just like her, as she entertains in her house. The dogs are passed out from running around playing.

God is certainly with me here.

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Not feeling it today..

It’s a beautiful day today.

We are still busy, but dealing with a possible 590,000 people will make you busy.

I’m still hacking and at work.

A BFF is having newly hatched-possible caregiving issues with her Dad.

Another buddy is on the verge of having to put a fur child down….

I don’t know if it’s the medicine or what but my nerves are shot and I feel as though if here was the edge,I’m THISCLOSE to it.
Adding insult to injury is the fact that I am here in the city this weekend and I HATE IT.

**Climbing down from soapbox**

Thank you for your support…lol

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Bah!

The 90’s hit “You’ve had a bad day” came home with me tonight.

Jim is sick with a hacking cough. Hot soup for dinner~ he doesn’t want to eat. I went up with the girls to see my friend who is very sick.She fell off the toilet because her legs are getting worse. Now I have to go down to my friend whose husband is in rehab. She is scared about caregiving: she has been married 55 years and is afraid to see what happens down the road.

I try to help, but after a while, it’s a rough gig!

A P.S.- to cap dinner off, my husband just dropped a roast beef, albeit a small one, on the floor ….

Did I mention Zush is happy? 😀

Three hundred sixty five days

Mom is gone one year.

One year since I got to look into those eyes, hold the soft skin of her hand, sing ,talk,and pray in Polish with her.

One year since I had to sleep on the sofa, worry about her paperwork,figure out what I can have her eat,jockey with Bob regarding issues on Mom’s care, pay her caregivers….

I’d do it ALL again.

I was blessed to have her for 52 years. She always will be a big part of me.

My nephew Greg and my Mom,.circa 3 years ago
My nephew Greg and my Mom,.circa 3 years ago

This is a picture of Mom with her grandson-my nephew, Greg.

Quiet Sunday

It’s a quiet Sunday.

I have been up and down, as Jim has fallen prey to the GI big going around. The girls and I are good, so we have. Been providing him with nursing care. Ginger ale, pretzel rods, jello and chicken soup are the menu of the day.

We went to a work Christmas party for Jim last night at his friend Box Bagwell’s house. I enjoyed it as much as he did: it was a great party.

Here’s hoping for a good week for us all.

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My brother’s birthday!

My brother Bob, who was a caregiver of my Mom alongside me, turns 62 today.

62.

I remember my Bob riding me on his bicycle on the driveway of our house on Mitchell St. Bobby who would go out back and make a snow fort for me to play in, Bobby who was always there for me.

I’m blessed to have him in my life.

I am happy that he sees 62 today, as I know that his health often has me worried for him. I know the bittersweet quality to today~it’s his first birthday without Mom. We were on the phone this morning and talked about that. We are glad she is gone and we know where she is at, but still, you miss the person who brought you into the world.

Everyday I have my Bob, I am blessed. He is a great guy and I am thankful he is my brother.

Sto Lat, Bob!

 

Below-a shot of Bob and his oldest son, Matt, when he got his Master’s degree this past summer at Millersville University

 

Bittersweet Pleasure

When I come and go the office, my train is called the Norristown line.

For four years, I’d hobble with my bad knees, sometimes to the bus when caregiving for Mom, but ALWAYS in a hurry leaving the office. There was a husband to talk to, and also care for, fur children to take for a walk, and of course, chores to do. When it would be my night at Mom’s, I’d have to hurry to relieve the caregiver .

When I got off the train, it hit me. I was in the next chapter. Mom has been gone for 2 1/2 seasons. I can take my time walking home to my family. I don’t mean to make it sound that I don’t want to hurry home to Jim and the girls: I do. It is the highlight of my day.

I just realized the mad dash of caregiving being done equals a leisurely walk home.

Truly, a bittersweet moment…..

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PS-I used a shot of Shingleman for this post….he’s my rock and reason I come home!

This Friday’s five…

This Friday five starts with my appreciation of prayer. I do it every day, my friends ask me to pray for them and their families. I am a firm believer
In it. ‘Enough said!

I am appreciative of my friendship with Sue Harmer.She is a good friend who is suffering from a degenerative brain disease. Today is her 62nd birthday and I spent the morning with her. I cherish each day I have with her.

I am grateful my friends come to me and let me know when they hear things about me. It’s incredible how stupid people think others are.

Modern medicine gets my thanks: Jim is hacking his lungs out and I know cough medicine with codeine will save the weekend,

I am grateful Zush made it through the heat. The thanks only God knows!

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A rainy 200

This is kind of a big deal for me.

Back in October, I started this blog as a therapeutic outlet for me while I watched my Mom on her downward slide with dementia.

Today, she is physically gone from me, I am still writing, and this is blog number 200. From Food network gripes, Mom, Shingleman, Undisclosed location, life working at a government agency , and, of course, my golden girls, you have been there for me and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Here’s to the next 200!

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Thanks

A friend of mine was talking to me briefly today about my blog.His comments had me thinking about you,my reader.

I thank all of you, friends and strangers alike, who take the time to read this. What started as therapy for me while caregiving for Mom, I write now for the therapy and the pleasure of it. From Shingleman, allergies, caregiving and other daily thoughts, I would hope you enjoy reading this as I enjoy writing it. I would hope you keep reading: I promise to keep working on it on sunny and stormy days ahead, and for now, sending out warmest wishes to you, from the Wissahickon valley.

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Wishing it were over…

…and I could wake up on Monday.

One holiday that always was tied in to my upbringing and childhood was Easter. There was always the Holy Week services, walking down the hill with two or three of my classmates on Good Friday and we would go to all five of the parishes in the area and say a prayer. As I got older, I helped a few friends decorate the altar for Easter Sunday and pin the grave that the crucified Jesus would lay in on Good Friday and get the side altar for exposition on Holy Thursday and through the weekend.

On the secular front, when nephews were younger, I would go to the local confectioner in town and get everyone an Easter egg, including my Mom, who was a coconut creme girl.I would always buy my Mom a white hyacinth for Easter, kind of in homage to all the Easter processions I walked in as a kid. My brother Bob would always get her a grape one. My Dad, when he was around, always got her an Easter lily. When I was in high school, my brother would bring home a horseradish root which was divine. See, it was as if it were homeopathic we would take turns with the grater and a bowl while sitting on a stool on the front porch and we would grind our own horseradish. Who needed decongestant? Bobby and I both still have Philadelphia sinuses, so we didn’t mind.

When I was a younger, the Polish tradition dictated that we are up early Holy Saturday morning, as the priest would be coming to your house to bless your Easter table. You would have a carved butter lamb on it, Easter basket, your kielbasa, babka, which is Polish cake/bread ,your horseradish, farmers cheese,hard-boiled eggs, salt and pepper, wine and oil and vinegar on the table. All had some significance for the Risen Lord. As we got older, we took the baskets, and my brother still does, down to church to have the food blessed.

For six of the past ten years, I would have an Easter brunch here for my family, and then go to Jersey to one of Shingleman’s sister’s for Easter. The past four years were quiet for me, as I was watching Mom with Bob. It was the best, and saddest time with her, as her faith was steadfast, but you knew there was an expiration date that you just couldn’t see yet.

I really don’t know how I am going to get through Sunday. Yes, I have the memories of my Mom, but when you go with other people, they really don’t care HOW you are feeling. For all they care, your grief stopped when you put your Mother in the ground, It’s not that easy. Somehow, I guess I am going to have to try to get through it, wishing instead I could be alone with memories of Mom. I just hope people will leave me alone, as things have been on the edge for both Shingleman and myself, and we are shot. We are good actors, because when people see us, they don’t figure it out. Our smile goes off as quickly as it goes on. We have both been through a ton since the holiday, and, quite frankly, we are still going through it.

I would happily trade places with the younger me who walked in Easter procession in 1967. The current me is so deep in emotional loss that it almost takes my breath away, as it is that intense.

“You can’t go home again.”……if only I could.

Wish a shingle was only for a roof.

Jim’s shingles are a new experience which, quite frankly, I wish I never bought a ticket for.

I love my husband. Really.I do

Coming off of care giving for Mom, at least with Mom you could figure out how to make her comfortable. In a sense, it was basic care 101.

Shingles? Hah.

My friend Kate has been holding my hand through this and the doctor actually responded to me this morning but, **shaking my head** I just don’t know.It’s as though the Bermuda triangle has hit and we can’t seem to pull ourselves out of it. I know I can’t make his pain go away, but at the same time, I can’t seem to even help make him comfortable. It is a very frustrating situation that I find myself in. The doctor called with a basic increase in medicine this morning, and perhaps that’s the ticket. I hear from people who had relatives who had it and how badly the pain affected them and, quite frankly, I get scared. Cancer hits, you know you are losing control of your body.When possible, you do everything within your power to rid yourself of it. Dementia hits, the scariness is that your mind is going. Shingles, that damn dormant chicken pox virus, lies dormant, comes out with stress, bites you in the butt and seems to suck the life force out of you. It is truly an “E” ticket ride.

Me? Well, I’ll keep on keeping on, keep working the beads, and looking for only the “A” ticket rides.

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Undisclosed emotions at undisclosed location

 

 

What a ten day stretch.

 

I find it incredible that  the most outstanding emotion that I am encountering is exhaustion to the point of sleep. I need the sleep and realize that, and a not fighting it, although it is such a beautiful day, it is truly a shame to waste it.

I am going through a mug of cappuccino and planning to enjoy every minute of my time, as the lesson that I am walking with today is life is too freaking short. You are here and a heartbeat later you can be gone.

 

Thanks to you, readers and friends, for your support and understanding during this time: your words have warmed my being. I originally started writing this blog as an outlet for caregiving. Maybe, now, it’s just an outlet for life, period.

 

 

Hugs,

M.

 

 

 

 

This little piece of paper

Is a leave slip that you have to submit when you take a day off in this government.

OK, normally I would have done that without question, but guess what folks, uh, my Mom is in the midst of taking a long one way trip and , uh, can we just say other things are on my mind?

This morning really just had me rolling my eyes in the back of my head- I received a SECOND NOTICE that I have not returned the slip in. Never mind the fact that I have been going steady back in Human Resources, getting and filing out FMLA forms,but, NO-O-O…they are going to hunt me down  for this one stinking slip.

They say that government is a bureaucracy overrun with paperwork.

‘Nuff said…………..

Afraid to sleep

It’s quiet.

I am at Mom’s and with the exception of her snoring, it is quiet with waiting.

I talk myself into delusions of being burnt out,and being ready.Mentally I am but the tears in my eyes as I type this let me know my heart is breaking, as it has been for almost four years now. I have joined the generations of caregivers who have held hands, stroke brows,prayed, sang,and so on. In the long run, though, all you can do is let your faith guide you and pray as you wait.

I am without words for my brother Bob,who gave himself selflessly for Mom and also for my Jim. Not all men would be there through all of this.

Mom and I?
We are truly blessed.

Cold and clear

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I posted this winter shot of the Cape May Lighthouse, because it reflects a cold, crispness in the year, and also what’s going on

We are waiting on a week of medicine to determine if, indeed, her kidneys are shutting down. If there is no change in her urine output,then we have verification,as cold and clear as winter air, that we are starting Mom’s final chapter.

There are a lot of things going on,and to me, somehow, in this time of year,things are clearly out there in the cold world…no leaves on trees to distort your picture.

It is what it is.

Going through withdrawl…

 

 

It’s been a bit since I have been down to ” Undisclosed location”

Due to caregiving and holiday related issues, I’ve had to be in the city.

It sucks.Really.

Sure there’s all the holiday and family and work …there is also rushing, pushing, ill-mannered people. People who have no respect for other people or their things. I know, I know, it can be like that everywhere , you say. Well, I have had enough of it through the past week and a half and am oh so eager to turn the light out on my time in the big city. Maybe it’s me. Maybe you have to be young and under 35 to get the rush of bustling around in the city.Clubs, restaurants, movies, etc…I have bought my ticket long ago and it is all punched out. When I have to come in to the city on the bus, with chanting going on in my head to calm my soul, something is not right in this picture. Don’t get me wrong :I love prayer and meditation, but, as my husband will attest, when you are so fed up, not too much in that line is successful.

Time to start folding up the tent.

The mother all snuggled …

….up in her bed, but no sugarplums are in her thoughts…She ate some babka and had coffee with her breakfast… She is resting now,with Oreo snuggled next to her. Thanks to my brother Bob, she is going to have pierogi and mushrooms for lunch:a far cry from Christmases past. We’ll take it, for all is calm…

Merry Christmas!

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Shifting into low gear

Knowing I have Mom tonight and tomorrow night into Sunday day, I think my body is correspondingly trying to fall into low gear. I just can not seem to get started today. Cold caffeine, hot coffee, nothing…Maybe it’s just I know that there is only the expectation of me for Mom and I really don’t have to do anything else. I am going to my in-laws Sunday night, after my brother who helps me has a family dinner with his boys. I will do my little celebration then.

Here’s hoping everyone has a Merry Christmas and a healthy 2012!

love,

Mar

Laying low..

…before a night at Mom’s. There comes a point where you just work the candle at both ends, but today I literally crashed and burned, so that 45 minute nap was a God send.The last few times at Mom’s, she was restless and I had minimal sleep.This was, now I have taken a little edge off my tiredness, so I am ready to get up there and sit with Mom on this important night…

Why, you ask?

Tomorrow is my birthday and I am so mindful of being with the woman who brought me into the world.Since her illness, I realize the time we have together is limited, as she was 37 when she had me and tomorrow I will be 52.I always remember that she told me how happy her mom was when she had me, because she had said that a daughter will take care of her for the rest of her life. It’s funny, because as I type this, I can hear my Mom tell me that.

It’s a good memory.

Bittersweet moments…

It’s quiet.

I have just spent 25 minutes singing Polish Christmas carols& hymns to the Blessed Mother, but now Mom has settled down.

As her condition has been deteriorating ,I have had her in hospice care at home. I listen to the phlegm rattle in her throat as I sing.This is new to me.. No, not Mom making a vocal comment to my singing, but watching and waiting. I sit and wonder what will be.Will she be granted a gift to see her 89th birthday this Sunday?Will she see Christmas?New Years? I sat with her wondering if the woman who brought me into the world will be here for my birthday-Not that she would know the day, but will she be here? My chest is tight as I think of that. I’d like to think almost four years of caregiving has toughened me up,but obviously not.The book has been almost 52 years in the making,and all I can do is wait.

This is not quite as hard as having to tell my folks I had cancer, but it is a close second.

All I can do is pray.Any you can say for us would be deeply appreciated.

Thanks, my friends.

No pretense here.

The picture you see is a neighbor’s house at the Undisclosed location. It is only part of his light display he puts up yearly, and the picture, I will be the first to admit, does it no justice. But it is probably the biggest piece of Christmas you will get from me.

My Mom’s mental state is down to a 4- when she first got sick she was iand 8 and THAT was severe. The best you can have is 30. I got off the phone with my brother, and we were talking about Christmas. I really don’t care, knowing the chance of actually getting a caregiver who will work is slim and none.Some things are expected, at this point of the game. Mom’s birthday will be Sunday, and 89 will be the magic number. Will she know it’s her birthday? No. Will she recognize me? No. I went to get her a birthday card and looked at the verse: would she understand it? No. So I got her a bunch( 9 pair) of fuzzy socks, as that is what keeps her feet the warmest while she lays in bed. She’ll think it’s just socks-no clue it’s a gift and that’s fine.

My godson Greg has a birthday the nest day and mine is three days after that. Once again, there is no spirit. I am just plain washed out. I will celebrate Greg’s birthday with him on Monday, but mine will just be another day, spent waiting, and praying.

So in lieu of a Christmas greeting, here is the picture of the Undisclosed Location neighbor’s lights.

Merry Christmas.

Losing my mind…

..or so it feels.

They all say care-giving is a stressful job. Well…duh…! Lately, however, it seems as though my normal overload is pushing the limit.

I am normally someone who puts something somewhere and can remember where I put it. Yes, I am also a graduate of putting things in a safe place**insert snicker here**, until I put plane tickets in such a safe place that I didn’t find them until a day before the trip. But, hey, the plane ticket scenario was seven years ago. I have to admit it is quite annoying having to split my time through 3 houses and when I think I left something in house C and then I find it in house B. Suffice it to say Saint Anthony gets a lot of work from me, and one sister-in-law has me seeking the finding power of St. Theresa the little Flower.

On a serious note, I follow dementia and Alzheimer’s studies religiously and try to make corresponding changes so I lower my chance of following in Mom’s footsteps. I really do believe what I am experiencing right now is caregiver overload. I mean, half the time I amaze myself on the things I juggle for Mom and manage to keep track of. So I am not really that concerned, at least, not right now.

If you do have a spare minute and you’re not busy, send Saint Anthony back to me, ok? Got a few items I need to ask him about.

Holiday Malaise

My nephew Greg and my Mom,.circa 3 years ago
My nephew Greg and my Mom,.circa 3 years ago

It’s that time of year.

I hate it.

Yup… ABHOR IT!

At least I have for the past three and a half years.

For all intensive purposes, it’s me and my brother, Bob. We spoke this morning and he wanted me to ask the gals who work for us if they are working on Thanksgiving.

Yeah. Right.

They are women, I wanted to tell him, and remind him that we are not that lucky. Both Bob and I have split the holidays with mom for the past almost 4 years. He has two boys, or should I say men of 24 and almost 22. He wants a family holiday. It’s me and Jim and the fur girls. I also have in-laws, to which we are invited.

Is it too much to hope that we much luck out one year and have a holiday? No-it’s a fat chance with a capital F. It’s bad enough that you wonder how much longer, you wonder, will you have to deal with care-giving. You WANT to be with Mom. It’s to the point where Mom doesn’t even know that its us. We don’t even mention the holidays for fear of triggering her sun-downing.You don’t even DREAM of envisioning what a holiday will be without the existence of Mom: I sat in Church trying to wrap my mind around the concept of not having a parent and, quite frankly, I didn’t like that. I KNOW that life goes on and look forward to it, but I still don’t like the reality of Mom being gone. Then I remember that she isn’t really here. I look at her care as taking care of my Mother, for my Mom has been gone for almost four years.

I miss her.

I can’t even walk and chew gum at the same time…

I can’t even walk and chew gum at the same time…and juggling life issues is something I really can hope to stop doing someday.

Looking at people 5 times my size on the bus this morning and wondering what can I do to move far away from my current size, outside of sewing my mouth shut… I am writing down and counting calories, but looking at fellow passengers on a bus at 5:40 am, well, makes you question metabolism, sleep and a “hurry up and eat or you’ll be late” mechanism.

Just got off the phone with my brother Bob talking about Mom and family issues.

**sigh**

Trying to keep my life at home going at an even keel.

Trying to recover from Saturday’s fall.

“The job”.**sigh**

Zush and Kasia on Benadryl.

I guess you just keeping juggling until you drop something, right?Guess I just have to go out and get some fresh velcro for my hands to keep things going.

Here’s hoping things are going better for us all.

Greatly needed Friday..

..because the last two weeks were too long, today is a day I am looking forward to.

It’s always been amazing to me to see the amount of things we cram into a weekend. Hell, sometimes I think I do more mandatory activities on a weekend then I do during the week. There’s stuff with mom, obviously, then food shopping, wash, dog walking, cooking, …you get the point.

This weekend, I intend to do NOTHING…outside of the basics, naturally. Any down time I get I will be in a reclined position. Anything taxing on my mind will be swept out, albeit temporarily.As they always say, take time to stop and smell the flowers…well, this weekend? I’ll be taking tons of bouquets in.

Here’s hoping you get a chance to do the same.

A new month to get through

It’s November and edging closer to the winter, and I barely made it out of October.

We had issues with Mom’s electric and gas heater last month which got straightened out, and all is good, as she is hanging in there. The issue, as the holiday gets closer, is who watches Mom for holidays. My brother has two sons. I have my husband and in-laws.As many times as we would have tried, it was always difficult oto work a holiday with Mom.My brother tried bringing his family up to Mom’s one year, but she really wasn’t cognizant of anything, so that was the end of that. You acknowledge that things will no longer be how they used to be,and it does make you sad, but basically,it just becomes an issue of sitting there taking care of Mom when it’s a holiday.For the past three years, people are wishing you Merry Christmas and you are anything but merry.

As a caregiver, it’s awfully hard to be upbeat on a daily basis. So be forewarned. I’ll have a rough couple of months until after New Years.

Bear with me,ok?

Wednesday is cancelled for lack of interest..

..boy do I wish!

Didn’t watch the weather last night**mental note to self-watching the weather may NOT be hazardous to your health** so had to pinch a rain coat/jacket from my Mom’s closet to make sure I got into the office relatively undrenched..lol. There is something bittersweet about having to raid my mother’s closet for a jacket that I know she will no longer have to wear. Plus, add the fact that I am 5’6″ and my mother is a whopping 5 foot, and yet amazingly, the arms fit me. Figure that one out. So I trenched off to start the day in not the most light-hearted of moods.

Then, to come into this government agency where I call home for 8 hours a day where it is dreary as all get out, most of us just are thisclose to going completely off the track and payday is the only saving grace…no, wait, ..I had a hot K cup of coconut coffee to push my mind’s button to ON.

Well….Thursday is around the corner….