My experiences while living with my mother and her Alzheimer's Disease.(her birthdate = January 2, 1925)

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Copies of email to family and friends:
Mama seems really weak tonight. Penny left early, and I spent some time just holding Mama's hand and giving her love pats and kisses. Beverly is here for tonight. I really do not know what to do to make Mama more comfortable, so it is nice to have someone else around to share the concern.

Am tired. It has been a stressful week. A couple of parents are upset with me on top of everything else. It was not my best day!! I came home and took a nap, but I am ready for bed again.

Mama greeted me this morning with "Thank you." and she said, "Good Morning" to Beverly. She is still very weak, but she is smiling, waving, and giving us kisses. Of course, by this evening, who knows?

Need to go check on her.

Penny did not show up yesterday so I had Mama all day by myself. Beverly came around 7 last night and stayed until 7 this morning. Linda, David, and Tara came for a visit this afternoon. Other than that time, it has just been Mama and me. Michelle is due in tonight at 10.

I am not sure if Penny will be working for us anymore. She has been having problems getting to work, and has an attitude when she is here. Michelle has found someone willing to work 5 PM to 10 PM every week night. I told Michelle to tell Christy to start Monday since I cannot count on Penny any longer.

Mama does not watch too much television. She looks at it occasionally, but not too often. She will look through magazines with pictures and catalogs, but she just rubs her fingers over the pictures. I sat her up in the chair for a little while today, but she has been in bed most of the time. The catheter makes it a bit difficult to maneuver her around too much. I have no clue if she is better or worse or the same. She has not talked very much today, but she did eat a little bit of scrambled egg, some yogurt, and some rice pudding. I may heat up some broth in a bit.

I must go grade a few more papers and check on Mama.


The nurse from Hospice came to check on Mama today. Beverly said the nurse said Mama seemed to be doing better than the last time she came. She is more hydrated, her blood pressure is pretty good, and her temperature is staying down. She still has some infection, but she did not want to do anything else about that yet. I guess the antibiotic they gave her in the hospital and we continued at home, is supposed to work for a few days after the last dose.

Penny was unable to work the evening shift so Christie started today. She is Michelle's sister-in-law--they are married to brothers. She seems real nice.

Beverly said Mama ate two helpings of grits, some yogurt, drank a couple of glasses of water and a bunch of juice. She slept for three hours after eating all those good stick-to-her-ribs grits.

Once today, she told Beverly, "Let's go." Beverly helped her up and to the front door. She said she just looked out, and never tried to go out the door.

I am cautiously optimistic about Mama's condition. I am afraid to get too positive just yet!!.

My puppies have been getting closer and closer to the highway so I bit the bullet and put the zapping collars on them. I tried to "lure" them to the boundary, but I guess they remembered the first time we tried this. I got Huzza Huzza to go to the end of the driveway once, but Blackberry would not get near it even for his favorite treat of cheesy hotdogs. Of course, he did get zapped pretty badly the first time. I called the company, and they told me how to reset it so it works properly. Both 'boys' crawled up in my lap on the porch and just let me pet them to sleep. When I got up to come inside, they just stayed on the porch. Will just have to see how long it takes for them to brave the yard again.

Mama is getting stronger and stronger. She is sitting up in her chair holding her own glass of juice. She ate well today, and had her first poopy since the hospital. Luckily for me, it was while Beverly and Michelle were here.

Christie seems really nice. She is working every evening from 5 to 10. Betty and I have tickets to see "Hair" in Houston Friday night and have been invited to attend a cast party afterwards. That will be a different type of Friday for us. Christy will be here Friday evening, Beverly that night, Michelle Saturday during the day, and either Beverly or Christy Saturday night. That way, we can spend the night with Betty's daughter instead of trying to drive all the way back home in the middle of the night.

My "Hair" experience was interesting. We were worried about it being rained out, but there was no rain around until we headed home this morning. Mary Ann, Betty's daughter, and Kat, her roomie, took royal care of us. They fed us before the performance, drove us to the theater, and picked us up afterward to chauffeur us to the Cast Party.

The performance was okay. As always, the tallest person in the place sat in front of Betty. At the very beginning, she could not see much. We moved to some empty seats, and the view was much improved. They had a lot of incense burning to simulate the 60's which caused havoc with my contacts. At the end of the performance, the actors danced out into the audience to "invite" people to dance with them. A girl actor stopped and tried to get Betty to go up with her, but Betty would not go. She looked around Betty, saw me in my tie-dyed shirt, and said, "Oh, you wore your tie-dye; you have to come with me." I thought we would just be jumping around in the aisle, but she drug me up on stage--not the back, but the front. I did a few steps and then everyone raised their hands for the "grand finale" of the song, so I raised mine too. When the music finally ended, 'my partner' started giggling, hugged me, and said, "Thank you, sweetie." I told Betty she probably thought I was 80!! The people in front of me stopped to have a chat with another actor so I had trouble getting by them to get off the stage. When they finally moved, I started down the steps off the stage, the person in front of me stopped, I sat down to keep from falling. Just like in Peru, a little ole lady on the front row reached over to "help" me up.

We met up with our chauffeur and headed for the Cast Party. It took us a bit to find the place, and then we had trouble finding a parking spot since there were so many cars there ahead of us. We pulled into this store parking lot where someone else was getting out of his car, and asked if our vehicle would be safe. He turned out to be really young and said in a squeaky voice, "I hope so." We got tickled and then spent quite a few minutes wondering if we would fit in with this after-theater crowd. We finally decided that we might as well try it, and we headed for the party. We had to have name tags before we went in. When we opened the door, we almost backed out because so many people were packed in there. We inched our way into the room looking for the refreshments. We finally had a drink in our hands, and we began to shuffle toward the door to the patio. Just as I opened the door, I hear, "Connie, were you on-stage tonight?" I looked at this guy I had never seen before, and wondered how he knew my name. Duh! Name tag!! I laughed and said, "Oh, yeah that was me." He said, "And you just loved every minute of it, didn't you?" I just laughed and ambled on out the door.
We stood around and chatted for a little bit, and then decided it was too crowded so we left. When we got to the car, I started laughing because it seemed like we had spent more time in the car worrying about whether we would fit in with the crowd than we spent at the party. We picked up some snacks and headed back for the apartment. We laughed over the night's events, and started telling stories on each other from other adventures. We laughed until around 2:30, and then went to bed. I was really tired, but the theme song to the old TV show, "Green Acres" started going through my head. I would almost doze off and another few words would pop in. I was ready to call my Mama-sitters and fuss at them since they are the ones who have been watching that show.

We woke up to pouring down rain, loaded everything up, and headed home. We dropped Betty's dogs off at her house and ate some breakfast at Gems Restaurant. I stopped off at the grocery store, and then headed home to take a nap.

At home I was informed that last night Mama had a major poopy episode with Christie. I guess Mama had saved it up just to initiate her. Christie called Beverly for reinforcements. When Beverly got here, it was bad enough that she called in Michelle to help with the cleanup. I am extremely glad I was not here! They got her all fixed up and Christie showed up again for work tonight so guess everything worked out okay. Sure hope Mama does not try to entertain me in the same fashion.

Well, Mama and I have almost survived another Sunday together. I tried changing a poopy Depends, and am not sure how clean I got her since she fought me the entire time. We were both huffing and puffing before it was finished. Will get Michelle to help me check her when she gets here at 10.

My cousin, Mark Haskell, dropped by for a brief visit today. He and Uncle Bill had come out to check on the country home. I went out and had a quick chat with Uncle Bill, too. I really miss our family gatherings.

I have been able to get a few papers graded between checking on Mama and the puppies, but I have a few more to finish up so better cut this short.


Aunt Jane, I will try to answer your questions. Mama is pretty much bed ridden at this time. We can get her up and sit her in the chair some, but she is not strong enough yet to walk by herself. She does not go into the bathroom any. She still has the catheter, and we have adult diapers/Depends for her for other bathroom needs. She is not feeding herself at this time, but she has grabbed her glass and keeps it hidden under her covers so we won't take it away. We are still feeding her soft foods--grits, potatoes, oatmeal. Today I snuck her a couple of Honey Grahams and she scarfed those down. Beverly has been cooking meals for me so I won't "waste away" (like that is going to happen!!)

The girls had called the Hospice nurse out on Saturday to check on Mama's catheter. He is going to tell our "regular" nurse, Jackie, that we want to try Mama with a walker. She seems to want to do for herself, and I figure maybe if she has a walker, she will do more about getting up and around. Or not. We will just have to wait and see how she does. I would like to start having her at the dining room table for meals, but I did not have the energy to get her there today.

hope this answers some of your questions. Need to go check on Mama.

from Aunt Jane's letter:
Connie, we are so proud that Martha could manage the walker. She is not brave enough to get out of bed and try to use the walker by herself, is she? I sure hope not. Will this take her off of the hospice program?

my response:
I hope Mama is not brave enough to try the walker by herself. She is not strong enough to do it by herself yet. This does not take her off of hospice since she qualified in several areas.

We had the nurse take her catheter out yesterday, hoping that she would not need it anymore. She told us to watch her and see if her undies got wet. I told her I wanted to give it a try, but didn't want her to get as bad as she was the last time. Her undies were not wet this morning, so the nurse had to come back to put a new one back in. Beverly said Mama fought them every step of the way. Guess she will need the catheter from now on. It makes it a bit harder to go anywhere with her, but she does better with it than without.

Christie and I just now helped Mama use her walker to go to the dining room for supper. She did really well. She wanted more juice than food, but she fed herself and picked up her glass all by herself, too. We let her stay at the table a while, and then we got her positioned with the walker, and helped her back to the living room. We were trying to get her to the blue rocker, but she wanted to sit in the maroon lazy boy. We let her go where she wanted! We are real proud of ourselves because Beverly and Michelle have had to wheel her back to the living room after their excursions. I left my good digital camera at school so will have to take some pictures tomorrow.

I take my puppies to the vet tomorrow to get them neutered. I am sure they are not going to be happy with me, but I do not want them running around looking for girlfriends. I have to bring them in tonight since they are not supposed to eat or drink anything after 10 tonight. The only way I can be sure they do not put anything into their bodies is to have them in my room. Guess they will sleep well, but I probably will not!!!