Friday, July 20, 2012

I'm feeling overwhelmed by everything today.   So much so that I almost just published those six words as my blog entry.

Betty went to visit her niece for a Friday, Saturday and came home Sunday two weeks ago.  During the night she got up and hit her leg on something, in the dark room and pushed her skin back on her left leg.  Her niece heard whimpering, which is what Betty does when she gets frustrated or upset, and when she went into the room Betty's leg was all bloody.

So, when she brought her home I started bandaging it as I have had to do many times.  By the week-end it was getting redder so on Tuesday we took her to a walk-in clinic where she has visited before when she was up north visiting.  They gave her a prescription for antibiotics and marked it so that we could tell if the redness expands.

It does seem to be getting a bit better but I will be sending her off to her daughters with all of her bandages.  Betty will be going tomorrow to stay a week.  Lots of stress today as I have attempted to have her change out of her soiled clothes so that I could wash them for her trip.  She put the dirty ones back in her drawer which she has been doing but insists that she NEVER would put soiled clothes back in with the clean ones.  I finally said, "Betty since you do realize your memory is not what it was maybe you need to trust someone, Bob or me, to help you keep track."  I asked her to please put on her denim shorts with a t-shirt. Please.  Fifteen minutes later down she comes wearing the soiled ones.  There was no good morning hug for me and no small talk repeating.  

So, I am tired.  Tired of having to cajole and tired of trying to do any of this.  I need the week off.  If all goes according to plan Bob and I will be arguing before we pull away!  That seems to be our pattern now. Fighting. Arguing.  I am just tired.  Went to the doctor myself this week where I was told my blood pressure was 140/90.  I have gained 40 pounds in three years.  The doctor prescribed Cymbalta for my pain and depression but at $41.00 a month is it worth the effort?

While I sit here typing this all of these poor people have been shot and killed and injured in Colorado.  I should just be thankful for the many blessings I do have.  

I have too many things to do today to get bogged down over a dirty short set.  I have to convince Betty that I need to wash her hair and then I have to help her get packed.  An all day project.

This is my mom who passed away in 2002
I wish I could call her right now!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

It has been awhile since I posted because I have been worrying about what I post.  Somehow that just doesn't seem right so I have decided to go back to posting what I am feeling, the experiences we are having with Betty and the struggles we face ahead.  I understand worries about her picture being posted and I will refrain from posting picture's of Betty's face but I also know the value of having pictures for me and for others who like to see Betty.  

I have taken care of Betty for a few years now and have given up a lot of my time, freedom and rest to offer all that Betty needs to have an independent life lived with as much dignity as possible.  I have helped her son learn how to cope with losing the mother he knew and living nearby this new mother who repeats and repeats and repeats and communicates in what we fondly refer to as AW. (Alzheimer's World)  I helped him to move near her when it was not really in his plans for his retirement.  I made sure pills were taken, groceries bought, clothes washed, showers taken, sheets changed, cards for family birthdays purchased, special calls made.  If a birthday card was bought and sent it was because I made sure it happened.  If what she needed was more time with us I made the suggestion even when it was not well received.  

There have certainly been times when I have felt exasperated and wanted to scream.  There have been times when I wondered what I could do to make Betty's life easier and let me tell you there have been many discussions with Bob about what we will do in the future.  I have done this all very lovingly with never a raised voice, no visible resentment and with as much patience as I can muster.

So, on that note I will say that if you are reading my blog and have a problem with it I would ask that you contact me directly.  Don't worry that I would get upset or angry.  I am a sixty-one year old woman and feel quite sure a bit of concern or criticism will not send me off a cliff.  If you see something on here that endangers Betty in any way please feel free to send me an e-mail; and I will respond as soon as possible.

My purposes for this blog are many but one is a place where I can vent some of my frustration.  If you have not lived with someone with dementia for an extended period of time I would ask that you read some others blogs along the side of my wall, read some of the books that are available for caregivers, visit a few websites and try to get an idea what a caregiver goes through on a daily basis.  Try to imagine getting someone to change out of an outfit they have been wearing for two weeks when they are SURE they have worn it twice.  Try being the one who has to agree with some nonsense that you know is not true just to keep the person from arguing. Think of being the person that has to try to get someone to get out of bed to go to a doctor appointment when they decide they are not going.  There is nothing easy about this life I now live and although I would not have chosen it I am honored to do it.  I protect Betty's dignity all the time and work hard to make sure that she is as unaware as possible of the work and frustration that is involved in her day to day life.

As for how things are now that we are up north; 

  • Pills are being taken on a regular schedule.
  • Breakfast happens by 10:00 every morning.
  • Lunch is served between 2:00 and 3:00.
  • Dinner is on the table most days by 6:00.
  • We play cards most days but that is becoming more and more difficult without help.
  • Reading is more and more difficult and the "funnies" seem to be too confusing to enjoy.
  • Crossword puzzle work is mostly looking and counting than actually solving but there is still some enjoyment in it.
  • Still enjoys the music channel.
  • Does listen to the business channel we are watching and comments.
  • Still difficult to get clothes changed.  Wears over and over and will re-fold and put dirty back in drawer.
  • Bed made three days out of seven. (Always done in past)
  • Questions every other day which of her brothers and sisters are alive.
Let the card game begin!