in which the stream of consciousness flows, sort of
I know it's dumb to say, but when I bust my hump and spend all day and all night taking care of mom, it does still pain me sometimes for her to accuse me of being lazy and doing nothing to help her. Yes, I know she doesn't remember. Yes, I know (or hope, at any rate) that she would not say some of the things she says if she were in her right mind. And I know, as an excellent article I recently read said, that despite the uncanny resemblance, this person I am caring for is really no longer my mother. Still, it does hurt.
This post was going to be partly apology for not having written in a while, and partly a little getting into the weeds of speech therapy stuff, specifically some things I've noticed in the course of caregiving that relate to things I learned in school. But between the time I pulled the concept together in my head and the time I got onto a keyboard, life happened, so this is turning out to be sort of a stream of what is going on with us right now. It's getting more and more labor intensive to care for mom, since the family members who have been helping me have more on their own plates. The time I'm not spending wrangling her and keeping house, I have to put into my paying writing, so blogging sometimes gets pushed down the priority list. I hate that because I really do like having a chance to spew all over a page every week or so. LOL
I hope this post comes out sounding halfway coherent, as I am writing it in spurts in between taking her to the bathroom and managing her latest sudden burst of angry behaviors. She was good this morning, other than some pain from a tooth that needs looking at. We had an appointment today, but from 3 AM on she kept saying she just didn't feel like she could get ready and go. See, now, how is it she doesn't know who I am three quarters of the time, but at 3 AM she not only remembered she had a dentist appointment today, but what time it was?
The past few weeks, she has almost daily at 10:30 AM had an episode of agitation wanting her 10:30 PM blood pressure pill. She doesn't get time anymore, so she generally ends up so upset when I try to explain that I just say Okay, I'll check your blood pressure, and it's usually elevated by then, and since her pill is a low dose and her doctor lets her have one extra one a day if needed I wind up giving her one.
Well, today that didn't happen. I thought I was home safe. That only lasted until she started asking where her car was. It was sold five years ago when she decided she couldn't see well enough to drive anymore. Thank goodness for that! So many caregivers have that nightmare of getting the keys away from the LO (loved one) who cannot safely drive, so that's one bullet we dodged. Except today she suddenly decided she still works at Clover Bottom and has been driving every day, and wants to know where her car is.
My friends in the online caregivers groups I belong to tell me to play along, make up stuff and go into her reality. Problem is, though I can turn out a good story on paper, I'm not much of a liar. Even she can tell. So she gets mad because she knows I'm lying. Fortunately, most of the time, within an hour or so, she forgets. Operative thing there being 'most of the time'. Yesterday, she argued with me about her pills from 5 AM til 11:30 PM, literally without stopping. Being the duck ain't easy!
As I type this, she is now asking me to take her home. Then she's asking me to take her to Whatsername's house to look for her car. A little while ago, she told me very nastily to go fix her something to eat so at least she wouldn't die hungry. (At lunch she ate her usual, a big baked sweet potato with butter and sour cream (I know, sour cream on a sweet potato. Don't ask, I have no clue either. Been that way for years), half a chicken salad sandwich, and two bowls of sliced bananas and caramel ice cream. So, no, she ain't dying hungry.)
At this moment as I write these words, she's saying she knows I wish she would die, and saying she doesn't have enough blood to go another 24 hours. Taking her vital signs and showing them to her? I do it, but why bother? She doesn't listen. It proves nothing to her. Reason no longer works when the frontal lobe of the brain is rotting from the inside.
I keep typing and hoping she will doze off, because sometimes a short nap is like hitting the reset button, and she wakes up much better. Of course, sometimes she wakes up much worse. No way of knowing which one I'll get till the wheel spins and stops.
Well, another post full of gripes. Sorry. I should put a warning at the top so folks will feel free to scroll or ignore. Some good things do happen, I promise! My paid writing is going well. When I got the job last spring I was told their contract year runs from September, so they would decide then whether to keep me on. It didn't take them long, apparently. I got my full year contract extension on the first!
And last week I got a nice email from a supervisor who in the course of a routine audit pulled one of my lessons, and wanted to let me know how good she thought it was. One thing I love about working for these folks is they give you great and specific feedback, both positive and negative. Unlike some folks, I do like negative feedback if it's positive, haha! I mean, if it's constructive, telling me 'you did this, but you should do that in the future'. I'm good with that.
Okay, I'll shut up now. If I can piece together some quiet time later this week, maybe I'll try to write that post about speech therapy things.
I'll end with one brief good moment with mom, when she and I sat and ate ice cream the other day. I took the dishes to the sink and looked down at our spoons side by side in the sink. It reminded me of all the good times we have had in my life, and to hang on to the small ones when they appear now.