• Lisa

it's the little things

Happy Thanksgiving, fellow Americans! And a good Thursday to the rest of the world. I was going to write about my gratitude jar, it seeming an appropriate topic for the day, but last night was somewhat traumatic and I need to get this out of my system. Feel free to scroll, or leave

altogether, if you like. I will understand. I promise, it is going to end up having something to do with giving thanks.

Mom was pretty confused and agitated most of last evening, but calmed down somewhat by bedtime. At least, I thought so. Boy, how wrong can ya be? She went tinto what I call ‘jack in the box’ mode: going to bed for 30 or 45 minutes and then popping back up. She started grabbing her medicine bottles and stuffing them in her pj pants pockets. I got scared she was going to try to take a bunch of them, but trying to get them back was a literal struggle. She started kicking, scratching, and yelling for help. I finally wrestled them away from her and put them in a safe place, then went back to bed.

She got up and went into the kitchen (have I mentioned that her mobility is much, much better when she is extremely agitated?). While she was gone, I started to smell something…poopy. Sure enough, when I got back up to investigate, there was poop smeared on the chuck on the bed, where she had been sitting while I tried to get her pills back. Just then, she came back into the bedroom and started yelling at me. I hustled her into the bathroom to change her. Well, that was a whole ‘nother struggle. She literally fought me, kept trying to get up, and at one point smeared poop in my hair.

Now, bear in mind, I had not slept. At. All. I say this not as an excuse, but as an explanation, for the fact that I went off on her. I yelled until I guess my vehemence shocked her into quiet, and I was able to change her, scrub my head with a wet wipe, and haul the poopy stuff off.

The rest of the night, she was still in jack mode. Every time she got up, I went with her. She kept giving me the side-eye and muttering curses under her breath, which I often find funny, but was too dang tired to tolerate last night. She ran half a glass of warm water, demanded orange juice on top of it, and then proceeded to gargle with it in the kitchen sink. I finally got her into bed to stay around 5:30 AM. And of course, I had to be back up at 7 to fix breakfast and start a huge load of laundry and give her her pills.

She woke up calm, but complaining about a home health nurse that beat her all night. Sometimes I still try to re-orient her to reality, and sometimes not. You have to pick your battles. This morning I just reassured her I believed her, and I had called that agency and cancelled our contract with them, and that old b**ch would never come here again.

If you have read this far, congratulations for putting up with me. You may, however, be wondering what this has to do with Thanksgiving.

Well, here’s the thing. Yesterday afternoon, I was hanging out on Ravelry, and noticed a discussion on wrapping hair. This is not what African American gals do to keep their hair moist, but what many Jewish and Muslim gals do for religious reasons. I meandered in to read the thread and discovered A, many other women do it for as many different reasons; B, it’s easy and scarves are gorgeous; and C, a great online store was starting a gigantic sale at midnight.

A friend in college used to say of me that if people asked what sign I was born under, I ought to say Clearance. I can sniff out a sale like no other. And it occurred to me, that in caring for mom, I have some hair issues. It’s been a year since I was able to get away and get a haircut, for pete’s sake. I pull it back with ponytail holders and hairbands (the ones they call Alice bands in England) but my ears stick out. I’m very self-conscious about them and they get cold!

I have several good scarves, so I thought I’d hunt them up and give this a try. And what do you know, I got two simple wraps on the first or second try, they were totally comfy and kind of cute (as cute as I can get, which ain’t much) and kept every stray strand of hair in place!

Now, to the Thanksgiving point. There are two, really. One, this new skill came to me literally hours before I needed it. I washed my hair last night, see, and didn’t really want to have to do it again and dry it out, just because of a dollop of wiped-away poop. So wrapping it up seemed perfect!

My only concern was, mom sometimes seems to lose track of who I am when I change my clothes or braid my hair or do something else to change my appearance. To try to circumvent that, I brought a scarf down from my bedroom this morning after I got dressed, commented my hair was driving me crazy and some of my knitting friends on the computer (that’s her understanding of the internet, lol) had been showing each other how to put it up, and I thought I might try it. Then I put it up in her bathroom, right in front of her. Result? She stopped mid-fictional-nurse-abuse-rant and said “Oh, that really looks good!”

The other Thanksgiving point: while I was prowling the scarf store sale (it’s here btw: I had another window open on facebook, and I got a message from a long-time friend. A mutual friend was recently diagnosed with cancer and is about to do chemo, and friend 1 was gathering up a group to go in on a gift card for someplace friend 2 could get hats or wigs or such. I suggested Wrapunzel, and was duly designated to, without giving away the surprise gifting, ask friend 2’s opinion. Friend 2 was tickled, thanks me and said she would go check it out.

For me, both occurrences go in the ‘Lord will provide’ department. What are the chances this information just came to me by chance, on the very day I ended up needing it both for myself and to help a friend?

The gratitude jar I mentioned at the top, which I will probably post about next week, is full of teeny things I am thankful for. As I labor on through this journey, I find it’s the little things I must cling to in order to take each small step forward. I hope on this Thanksgiving, you have many little things to be thankful for.

#caregiver #food #dementia #holiday

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