Friday, December 30, 2011
I just wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a year filled with as much health and joy that is possible for each one of us. We may all be in different places in our lives yet let's try to reflect on the joy that is still part of our lives. I would also like to wish that peace may return to the planet..
Happy 2012 to everyone.
Monday, December 26, 2011
POTATO PANCAKES AND SANTA CLAUS
How special is special ? Yesterday when I spoke to mom and wished her a Happy Hanukkah she thanked me and I tried to explain the eight days of celebration, and how I wished that she could join us for the holiday. My mom was having a more difficult time understanding where I live, or where she lives, or anything about Hanukkah. Anyway, what was so cute was that after I spoke about Santa Claus my mom burst out singing "Santa Claus is coming to town". Mom was actually able to sing the entire song on her own.
I give credit to Elaine my mom's caregiver . When I was just visiting she had on the radio Christmas Carols, for mom to enjoy and sing along with. Our very sweet Elaine got back on the phone and told me that she was going to make my mom fresh potato pancakes with apple sauce. "Wow Elaine ,that's really great. If it's easier for you,you can just buy the frozen ones, like I will be doing". "Oh no, Lisa, I love making them fresh". Now I ask you, how special is Elaine ?
I have mentioned before, how blessed we are to have Elaine and her daughter Trudy, taking care of my mom each day (even if it is only six hours). We have been waiting to get a check from the VA(for over a year) since my dad served his country. Dad was in the Navy during WW 2. My brother who filled out all the paperwork just got the approval. When the check finally arrives, we will then be able to increase Elaine and Trudy's time with my mom to eight hours a day. Eight hours is certainly better than six, although I wish we could have them take care of Ruthie for many more hours each day.
Elaine just left for her birthplace of Jamaica to be with the other half of her family. When I spoke to Trudy and asked if she will be able to see my mom, since Christmas is her holiday , her response was "absolutely". Without Trudy or Elaine I do not know what we would do. They really take special care of my mom .
Mom was cute the other day. Mom commented that she does not sing when the tv is on. Ruthie said that she always allows the tv to do the singing. Then mom explained, "I'm only kidding because you know the tv can't sing". After we finished giggling we threw our kisses to each other and my mom said, and I quote, "enough kisses or my lips might fall off". I asked my mom if I was still her favorite daughter and she laughed and said "yes, you're my only daughter". I guess I spoke to mom at a good moment, one that she had some humor and clarity.
Anyway, I am so thankful for those potato pancakes and of course Santa. Wouldn't you be? I would like to take this time to wish everybody a year filled with much love and health that is possible. Happy New Year to everyone and may this year bring all of us some peace and comfort.
Sunday, December 18, 2011
FEELINGS, OH SO MANY FEELINGS
"Mom, do you know your mother"? "No Lisa, I do not remember her". "Mom, who are you to me"? My mom then answered, "I am your good friend" and she gave me a kiss on the top of my head as she exited the room. My heart sank for a moment and when mom came back I responded with, "mom I love you so much". My mom then said, "I love you also" and I asked "as your daughter"? My mom then said," yes as my daughter and my friend".
This was pretty much how my visit with my mom was this trip. It was one that had me realize that my mom's Alzheimer's was progressing. I was so grateful that my husband had come with me and that we were also not staying at mom's house. I got to see my mom for six days in a row and when I left her I had my husbands love and support to help me cope with my mom's condition.
While I was in one room, my husband in another and my mom in another my husband heard my mom say "is anyone here, is anyone here"? We answered and she then said "someone please come here, I'm very lonesome".
Monday, the day before we left to go back home my mom seemed listless. She had no energy, nor did she want to do anything. Mom was not interested in anything as simple as even getting or giving hugs. As I sat at the airport the next day, waiting to return home my eyes were filled with water which could have quickly turned into tears. My heart felt quite heavy and filled with sadness as I wondered what may lie ahead.
The next day when I phoned, my mom wanted to know when I would be coming to see her. I just left and my mom had no memory of my having just been there. It's ironic, I get upset when I see her, and I get even sadder when I cannot see her.
I wonder why after every trip visiting my mom I feel like I'm getting sick. I return feeling trapped and perhaps helpless. Helpless, yes that's an interesting word. Helpless in the sense that there is nothing that I can possibly do to help my mom. Her whole life and existence has disappeared like it never existed. The thought that this disease can do this to anyone just boggles my mind and since it is my mom it also breaks my heart in two. I just want to hold her and be able to protect her, a feeling that I have for my own child. Our roles have reversed, although I still get glimpes of my "real" mom. There are parts of her that still shine once in a while. Either way the pang remains in my heart and soul for my mom.
On Thursday my spirits finally lifted after I spoke to my mom. My mom was having a really great day. She was alert, sharp and sounding happy. It's amazing how much lighter I became. I told my mom that she was my favorite mom and we both giggled as my mom then said to me "you're lucky because I'm your only mom". It was only three days ago that my mom thought she was my friend and not my mom. I told my mom that she sounded so happy and she responded with that she is always happy.
I know that this may not last, yet I loved our conversation. I feel happy, excited and rejoice in the happiness that she was able to express today. It's amazing what a difference a day can make.
Sunday, December 11, 2011
UP, UP AND AWAY
Last year around the same time my husband and I stopped off to see my mom in Florida before our final destination to Bueno's Aires, Argentina. Since that trip I have visited my mom several times during the year. Today my husband and I are leaving for Florida to visit mom for 6 days, while we will also see some friends and family from Bert's(aka Fonz's) side of the family..
I hope when we finally see mom on Thursday that she will be doing a little better. Some days my mom is still pretty good ,although the disease is taking it's course.
Yesterday when I spoke to my mom I asked to speak to her caregiver Trudy(Elaine's) daughter. My mom was confused as to who she was speaking to on the phone(namely me). She did not know what to say. Was it Lisa, her daughter on the phone ? She first said someone, then after I questioned her she said Lisa(?) with a real question in her voice , and then she said her sister(she never had one) and finally her daughter. I was thrilled that she was able to figure it out.
Anyway, Trudy did say that this was a harder morning on mom because my mom kept asking where the bathroom was. You see my mom has lived in the same home, her home for the last twenty five years. Need I say more. Hopefully when we arrive, my adorable mom will be doing better.
It's Thursday and I have just arrived at my mom's house. After mom opened the door she could not recognize my face for the bright light was blinding, and her macular degeneration also got in the way. Between that and having Alzheimer's it is not always easy for her. Yet as soon as she realized that my husband and I were visiting she became alive and started dancing with both of us.
After spending our first day with my mom I came back to our hotel room and I started feeling a little sick to my stomach, not from food or a virus. My stomach and heart felt achy from sadness. As I spoke to my husband after watching "The X Factor", I started to cry. When I awoke the next morning I didn't feel much better.
Yesterday my brother and I got to speak about my mom, although I am still left feeling uneasy and confused about my mom's living situation, given the progression of her Alzheimer's. My mom out of her disease has become a prisoner in her own home. She never wants to leave and for her, her home is the only place she feels safe. She doesn't understand this ,yet I now do.
As my brother and husband were playing tennis right in front of her home, I took my mom to watch them play. I had to hold her hand every step of the way, for she could not see from the bright sunshine that was beaming in the sky. From the moment that we left her home she only wanted to go back home. Later in the early evening we took my mom out to dinner and as always she only wanted to come back home. She looked highly uncomfortable as we sat in the restaurant and complained about how cold she was. Mom ate maybe two bites of her dinner and we had it packed up and brought it home. We went into her home to help her get undressed and washed as my brother drove away. My mom did not want to do anything from brushing her teeth, to washing, to getting into a night gown. This occurs whenever I do visit, except this time I got her to do half and decided to avoid struggling with her.
After I left her home, I thought of the three hundred and sixty five days a year that she's alone after her caregiver leaves in the afternoon. Who has been there to help my mom along the way? Not me, not my brother, not my dad who passed away many years ago. I realize how I have pleaded through the years that it is now getting close to the time that my mom needs to be put into a home.
No, my mom has not wanted to leave her home and my brother and I have not totally agreed about this. Mom wanted to stay in her home and my brother wanted to let her remain there. I know that no one including myself would want to leave their home and go into a nursing home. It must be so frightening and between my mom's childish ways and her mind in and out of reality, today she was able to say, and I quote her " no one wants to die". This she said with total clarity.
I now wonder what I am going to do with all my thoughts and feelings. Growing old is not much fun and we are not all so lucky to just go to sleep and not wake up. There are many different illness's that we can face. My mom's happens to be Alzheimer's.
Sunday, December 4, 2011
OH WHAT A BEAUTIFUL MORNING, OH WHAT A BEAUTIFUL DAY
"Hi mom, I'll be coming to see you in five days". "Oh how great," mom says with a big cheerful sound in her voice. Are you bringing the children?" (I only have one child). "No mom, I'm not coming with Logan, he and I just visited you eight weeks ago. Mom I'm sorry but Logan has to work. I am coming with my husband Bert and we will be staying for 6 days". "That's wonderful," mom replies. I just loved hearing how excited she sounded. "Mom, tomorrow I will be seeing Darlene (see picture above). She's here in New York for a couple of days. Mom several years ago we all met Darlene for dinner in the city". Mom then says" the name sounds familiar yet I don't really remember ". You see, Darlene was once married to my brother Gil. Both my parents absolutely adored her and even though my brother and Darlene parted years ago we have all remained very close to her. Logan calls her his Aunt Darlene, and to me I love her like the sister that I never had.
They call it Alzheimer's. A disease that has robbed my mom of just about all her memories. It's sad that one's life can just disappear like it never even existed. Oh well, on a brighter note, one that I do not take for granted, I still have my mom and she seems to be quite happy.
Yesterday when I spoke to my mom I asked her to speak to Elaine, before mom and I had a chance to throw each other our daily kisses. When my mom returned to the phone I said" mom what would a day be like if I didn't get my daily kisses from you". We both giggled and my mom then said "thank you for loving me so much", and I replied "and thank you for loving me back".
It's so strange how one second my mom says to her caregiver "oh my daughter Lisa is on the phone " and the very next second when I ask to speak to Elaine my mom then says "someone wants to speak to you". Wasn't I just speaking to my mom and didn't she know who I was? I know she did at the moment,yet it just amazes me how her mind no longer can make the connection.
Does this upset me ? Maybe if I would choose to dwell on it. Yet mostly, I shrug it off with a smile. It somehow comforts me that I can now in someways take care of my mom the way she took care of me. My mom certainly has her childlike ways. How innocent she has become, how sweet and how loving. Again, I out of her illness have been able to open other doors and share such love and affection with my mom that I can now cherish all of it.
"Okay mom have a great day and I'll speak to you later". Then I start to serenade my mom as she joins in, with "oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day, I have a wonderful feeling, every things coming my way".