The other day, mom was looking for a meat vitamin. No, before you ask, I didn't know what she meant either. She got very irritated with me for that lack. "I'm out of them so I'm just going to be out since you don't know what I need!"
I tried twenty questions. "Okay, how big is it? What color is it? What does it look like?"
"It's not a vegetable like those," she said and pointed to the pill bottles on the table. "It's brown, like a bean and looks like this." She held up her little finger and indicated about half its length.
So a big brown pill? She doesn't have one. For an 80 year old hypochondriac with dementia, she's remarkably healthy; her blood pressure pill, her Xanax and anti-depressant, and some vitamins are really all she takes.
"If I could get hold of Peggy she would know," she huffed. Peggy is her only sister, still working part-time at 75, and sharp as a tack. I decided, maybe she's right, and called my aunt. No, she had no idea what a meat vitamin might be, though she agreed it sounded like a good thing and she kind of wished she had some to take. She offered to try to talk mom down; but sometimes they do that thing sisters do and end up yelling at each other, so I declined in hopes mom would forget all about it in a little while. I was lucky, this time, and she did.
Welcome to my world! I'm Lisa. Last summer after 26 years as a speech pathologist, primarily working with adult patients, I had to quit work to care for my mother full-time. With that much training and experience, you'd think I'd know all about how to manage dementia in my own house, right? WRONG. 24/7 is a whole other bag of squid, as a friend from Florida was wont to say. So I decided to start this little blog to connect with other caregivers. I hope you can read my efforts, occasional wins and frequent fails, and maybe we can share notes and ideas.
Despite all that, my life is not all caregiving, so my blog won't be either. I do what I can to take care of myself, and I enjoy doing lots of things. Hopefully we can share those too. And dreams! I have a secret fantasy (okay, it's all on the internet now and most of my friends know about it, so hardly secret): some day, when mom passes on, or when she needs more care than I can give and has to move out of my house, I want to travel. Specifically, I'd like to buy a little RV and hit the road. I'll be yakking about that in here too, and I'd love to hear other people's dreams too.
The blog is called The Rose of the Wind for a number of reasons. It's a name for a compass rose.
It's the thing you see in the middle of a compass that shows the directions. Among other things, the compass rose symbolizes finding your direction, honoring the past, looking forward to the future, and my dream of travel. Also, I always sort of wanted a tattoo of one. Don't ask, I don't know why really. Dementia patients often seem to be blown around by the wind too, so it speaks to that part of my life, the now as well as that which lies ahead. Finally, there's this.
When I was 11, my daddy bought a small farm outside Nashville, and he, mom and I moved from our little suburban house. For the next 37 years, we shared space with cows and dogs and cats, a small barn that daddy built and his huge garden that was the envy of half the county. The year after the move, he bought mom several rosebushes and planted them around the house, Over the years, one by one they died, except the one you see there. It's a blood red long stem called Mister Lincoln. Every year daddy picked its first blooms and brought them in for mom to put in a bud vase. He died in 2011 and the next year I bought a house in town, closer to family. Mom wanted to try to move the rose, and though doubtful, we dug it up and replanted it in my back yard. The next summer, it leafed out nicely. The first bud opened on Father's Day. I'm not kidding. It was daddy's way of telling us he was here, we said. Now, though mom has forgotten so much, she looks out the back window nearly every day at that bush, which is still going strong, as you can see. So my blog name is a way of honoring that too.
Anyway! Enough about me. Please introduce yourself in the comments and tell me a little about yourself. I'm guessing a lot of fellow caregivers will show up, but everybody is welcome.