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The MAD Life: Episode 23

Mom is feeling better. Which means she’s more bored than ever because they’re still social distancing. Although she has many people to call, she just isn’t doing it. If you have a moment, please give her a call and/or send a card. Please let me know if you need the number or address.

Sleeping Beauties: Irene, Beth, & Jean (before mom got COVID).

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

The MAD Life: Episode 22

Well, it’s going around again. My mom has COVID, as do several of her fellow residents at Amber Place. The good news is that they’re all vaccinated, and they have mild cases.

Mom sounds stuffy and thinks she just has a cold. Other times she remembers that they told her it was COVID.

Mostly, she’s bored. Phone calls and cards are greatly appreciated. Please let me know if you’d like her phone number and/or mailing address.

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

The MAD Life: Episode 21

Please keep my mom, Jean, in your prayers. She does not have COVID at this point, but 4 of her fellow residents at Amber Place do. All residents are now confined to their rooms and the staff have increased the PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) that they wear.

Normally, all are permitted to gather together for meals, games, walks, movies, outings, and sitting in the sun in their garden. Since COVID is now present in their home, they must each stay in their rooms. Mom could really use LOTS of phone calls and mail to help with this. I’ll be taking picking up the newspaper for her each day it is printed and oodles of magazines. She isn’t into crafts, and not so much into crosswords and such. Sometimes she’ll color, but not often. She enjoys reading your letters and short articles in magazines and the newspapers. She loves short jokes and updates on family and friends.

Anything you think of to help her pass the time would be greatly appreciated. It’s only been a day since they’ve been confined to their rooms, but she’s already bored silly. She is use to engaging with her fellow residents, and she has made good friends with two of the women. She’s missing their companionship very much.

Please keep all residents and staff of Amber Place in your heart and prayers. They all have their vaccines, but this does not preclude them from getting COVID. Hopefully, their cases will remain light. However, these precautions mean that the staff must now deliver all of their meals individually to their rooms, plus any snacks and such. Their workload just quadrupled to say the least.

Your prayers, phone calls to Jean, and any mail or letters to Jean are MOST appreciated!

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

Silly Checklist Title

This is silly!

The things to be done soon can be put in a sticky sheet, because there are only 1 or 2. There are too many lines for this title.

Plus, I like to include things I’ve already done so I can get started on my checkmarks.

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

The MAD Life: Episode 20

Alzheimer’s sucks. My mom does so much better living at memory care. Although it makes her think she’d be fine at home. I wish the utopia in her mind were a real place.

While at home, everything was a fight. Taking medicine, basic hygiene, eating well, and so much more. Now that the memory care home ensures she has all of those things, and so much more, she’s stable, mostly, for now. With the memory care home she has a long prognosis for health and comfort, even though she currently disagrees with that assessment.

I’m glad she thinks that she was happy at home. I’m glad she thinks she is capable of self care. I’m glad she doesn’t remember the daily intense screaming she so passionately provided. Obviously, if any of us thought it was possible for that place to exist in this home, she’d be here.

This disease is terrifying. My mom taught me that hitting was always wrong. Now she says that it’s okay to hit when you’re mad. My mom taught me that throwing things at people is always wrong. Now it’s okay to do that anytime. My mom was never one to believe a scam phone call. It is only by the assistance of 10 million angels that she didn’t change to a new Medicare policy with each of the 2 to 6 daily calls during open enrollment for Medicare. She use to pay her bills early and accurately … that ended long before I realized it was a problem two years ago. She would never have given any information to a spam phone caller … and now we have the highest security possible on her finances because I heard her start to give her social security number out at least twice, and she told me of two other times in the last year.

This article explains the signs of the disease: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-are-signs-alzheimers-disease.
– Of the symptoms for Mild Alzheimer’s, mom has 8 of the 10 listed.
– Of the symptoms for Moderate Alzheimer’s, mom has 10 of the 13 listed.
– Fortunately, she only has one symptom of Severe Alzheimer’s.

My mom can appear to be okay, even while possessing most of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. She can carry on conversations better now than 5 months ago. She can do some basic math again. She even knows her husband’s name half the time, and sometimes she knows that her husband is my dad. This is only because she is in a better place than she even imagined existed when she bought a long term care policy over 2 decades ago. We didn’t know places like Amber Place and North Woods Village even existed. I’m so sorry they need to exist, and yet I’m so very grateful they exist.

And now, her brother has passed on. She is the only one of her siblings and their spouses still living today. This is such a difficult time for her, especially between the move and now the loss. Please keep her in your heart and prayers.

Moral of the story: Alzheimer’s sucks the life out of everyone involved. It’s as though life is constantly blurred by thick rain and fuzzy windows. Praying for everyone involved.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
 
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Posted by on June 13, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

The MAD Life: Episode 19

I thought that there would be less stress when my mom moved to the memory care home. To a degree, this is true. In other ways, it’s just different.

The last half of 2020, there was increased screaming and anger and depression every day. She just couldn’t hold it together, but she also refused medications, eating well, hygiene, etc. Depression and anger are part of the disease in general, and especially when these symptoms are untreated.

Now that the care givers are able to regulate her medication, meals, and hygiene at her memory care home, mom is doing much better. She was great for March and the early part of April. Then she started having the same type of issues again. This is typical as the disease slowly progresses. There will be leveling off, a few highs, and then more loss.

Now the screaming is back. Fortunately, she seems to do well with most other people, or at least she doesn’t let her anger take over her whole being like it does with me. This is also typical that people with Alzheimer’s lash out at their primary caregiver.

I know part of it is the disease, but part of it is always how she has treated only her descendants. Most of the time, she’s fine, but not always. The screaming has happened every few months all of my life. She also tells us how dreadful we are in a way one would think we’d committed murder, done illicit drugs, and kidnapped babies (all, not just 1). Obviously, we haven’t done anything like that. It’s random, but her words and tone of voice have caused great grief in our family that leads to long term pain.

At least I am getting better at not responding back to her anger with more anger. I just wish it would help to calm her. It’s almost worse when I remain calm. Nothing I say distracts her from her anger. Others can change the subject with her, but that makes things worse when I do it.

Until a few hours later. Then she may call me back and have no recollection of the anger from shortly before. Other times she remembers for days. I never know who I will be talking with when I call her or answer her calls or see her in person.

I need to be here for her. I am her primary caregiver, just like she was once for me. I need to ensure she has the best life possible while enduring a mind ravaging, progressive, and terminal disease.

I vow to do what I am able to do with her best interests in heart and mind. She can scream and insult and berate me all the day long, but I will be here to support and love her. I just wish she treated us descendants like she does everyone else. But this is what we have, and we all do our best to bring to life the joy my dad wanted us to have in our lives. This involves a therapist and my doctor providing support and medication for me, while her doctors do the same for her, and that’s a healthy piece of this 3D puzzle called life.

My dad endured a lot in his lifetime, and yet he found humor and joy most every day, even with the loss of two daughters and his first wife while they were far too young to leave this world. He is my example of a life well lived, and I pray we are all able to strive for that.

Moral of the story: I am sure I will see humor another day. It’s just not today. Probably not tomorrow. But I will do what I am able to have joy in my life and try to bring mom joy, just like my dad repeatedly said he wanted for all of us.

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

The MAD Life: Episode 18

Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA): Borgess

  • If you give a DPOA form to any office or single location in Borgess, it will only be applicable to that office for medical purposes only.
  • It will not be sent to their billing department unless you do so directly.
  • It will not be sent to all of Borgess, even though you were told it would by two staff people when you gave it in person.
  • You will need to provide it to each location individually for medical.
  • You will need to provide it to each location individually for billing.
  • It will not be applied for 7-14 days from the moment that they acknowledge accept receipt of it, A N D they may not acknowledge receipt of it for months (M O N T H S).
  • I’ve sent it 5 times in 13 months (email, mail, and fax).
  • They have only now … when it is too late for my mom’s tax documents … acknowledged receipt of it … in O N E billing department.

I am so very, very, very glad that my doctor moved from Borgess to Bronson in the mass exodus. I had zero issues requesting the same from Bronson. I had it in less than 5 business days back in January.

Moral of the story: Being a DPOA sucks. I never dreamed I’d be doing any of this. Mom never dreamed she’d be living with this disease. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Then praise the Lord of Love while counting your blessings seventy times seven for the best of friends and family.

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

The MAD Life: Episode 17

The one thing in the world my mom wants most is the one thing I have been severely warned to never do for her: she wants to visit home.

This disease is so exhausting on her and her caregivers and all who love her. I want to give her moments and things that make her happy: attending church virtually, potted flowers, visiting with friends and family, hair care products of her choice, and the list goes on. But the thing she wants most is to see the home and farm where she has spent the last 54 years of her life.

Yet every child of someone with Alzheimer’s and every care giver and doctor of those with Alzheimer’s tells me it would be the worst possible thing I could ever do for her. As bad as she thinks her 1st month at North Woods Village was (it was better than the previous 8 months at home), and as hard as a move will be, they all tell me even 5 minutes on her property, and never mind going in the house, will devastate her for the rest of her years. And she may never recover from that.

It’s not just anyone who is telling me this. It is not only people working in the neurobehavioral health field, it is the children of parents who had this mind boggling disease. These are the people I trust the most. They lived through this. They made these pain filled decisions. They saw the ramifications – for good and bad – of their decisions.

These fellow children wearing these ill-fitting shoes do not warn me lightly. They are expressive, and some filled with regret. Their stories will break your heart and rip your soul.

So the one thing my mom wants most, she cannot have … because I love her and want her to enjoy this life while able.

Morale of this story: Alzheimer’s sucks. In every way.

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

The MAD Life: Episode 16

With Alzheimer’s, there are good days and bad days. In a single day, there are good moments and bad moments. In a single phone call, there may be good minutes and bad minutes.

I don’t usually know if my mom is my mom, or if the Alzheimer’s is more present until we start talking, even in person. It can change in a moment with trigger words (that I don’t realize are trigger words until it’s too late, if they trigger anger). There are good trigger words for bringing her back to happiness, such as “ice cream”, “waffles”, or “bacon”. Okay, so I guess it’s food. Foods she enjoyed when she had taste buds trigger joyous memories for her.

I have triggers too. The longer we’re in this, I see why there are numerous books on caregiver care. This disease is traumatic for both of us.

Today I had 3 doctor appointments. Before the 2nd appointment, my mom called wanting to visit home. I have been told by memory care doctors and children of people with Alzheimer’s that they can never go home again … even for 5 minutes or a simple drive by. This is because the moment they get back to the memory care home, it’s as if they have never been there before, and the acclimation process to the memory care home starts fresh. Sometimes, they don’t ever acclimate again.

I don’t have to figure out how to deal with that until covid settles down, and she’s allowed to have fun outings. Until then, covid is the answer as to why there are no visits home. However, today, nothing mattered. She just started screaming and ranting about her need to see what she her home. Not that she’d recognize it. She thinks the home she most recently lived in is her childhood home that she moved out of over 50 years ago. I did my best to calm her and end the call on a good note, even though when she’s angry with me, she likes to stay angry.

At all 3 appointments, they took my blood pressure. At the 1st one, it was 125/70. This is about normal for me.

At the 2nd one, it was 151/94. I asked the nurse to take it again at the end, because I had just spoken with my mom in the parking garage. She stopped me and said, “Say no more, I have one of those too. She raises mine at least 50 points every time.” At the end of the appointment, it was 149/90. Not great, but it was a short appointment and this was going in the right direction.

At the third appointment, it was down to 135/84. Still not my normal, but closer to my normal, and a start in the right direction.

Her anger from this morning still weighs on me this evening. I never know if she will still be angry with me in 5 minutes, 5 hours, or 5 days. Or if she’ll let it go now and then remember in 5 months. There’s no explaining it to her, because the disease alters her ability to reason. This is so frustrating for all involved.

Moral of the Story: We all impact one another, for good or bad or both. That impact may be mental, emotional, physical, or spiritual. According to chaos theory, the simple flutter of a butterfly’s wings can start a tsunami. We impact one another. We mark one another with our words.. May we all want and try to make it a positive impact to better each other and ourselves. I need to work on this.

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

Happiness is … (005)

Watching the leaves fly, hearing the wind whistle, visible joy in Joy’s watchful eyes.

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2021 in Uncategorized

 
 
Write With Joy

Freelance writer, editor, hobby photographer, and administrative assistant

Ex-Mana Book Group

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read." Groucho Marx