Keeping it real

From October 14

I’ve totally been in a weird funk lately. I’m not really sure what started it, but I just couldn’t snap out of it. To the point, that I started taking medication again. Why do I tell the whole wide world that I take medication when I’m in a funk? Well, basically for multiple reasons. One, Lexapro (which I originally started taking for Post Traumatic Stress- a whole other post) greatly helps with my anxiety, and most likely keeps everyone in my family breathing. Two, we’ve got to let each other off the hook. For some reason, we feel the need to project this version of ourselves that isn’t real. Then, all the other mommas of the world think less of themselves because they don’t have it together as well as we do. That’s not right. And, for the love, can we break the stereotype that if you need some mental balance it means you don’t really trust God? For real people, I trust that God made that fellow smart enough to create a drug that restores the chemical balance I need in my body. And, I praise him for the doctors that led me to it. Do I plan to take medication my whole life, I certainly hope not. But, for now, it’s what my body needs. And, I am not afraid to admit that.
I recently got a whole lot of credit and accolades for the work of about 200 people. Following that, all these poor mommas that I look up to came to me wanting to know how I do it all, and manage to be this unrealistic perfect version of superwoman. Well, honey, here’s the deal….. 1)I’m so far from perfect it would surprise you 2)Coffee and wine, my friend, coffee and wine 3)Sometimes wine just doesn’t get it done, and in talking with my therapist and doctor I need a little extra help. And, if you do too, guess what, it’s okay. Needing an antidepressant or prescription for anxiety doesn’t make you a drug addict, it doesn’t make you a failure as a woman, it makes you normal. In fact, it makes you more normal that the rest of the women out there, because over 60% of us have a have a little extra help sometime. So, there it’s out there, let yourself off the stinking hook!
I’ll roll off that soap box for a little bit to get back to the kids, dog and grandma. The kids are on fall break. We didn’t plan a trip for fall break…. that’s awesome. Did I mention my kids are essentially out of school for 11 days and we aren’t on vacation. Might I also mention that my kids and I really, really, really need routine. And, I made zero plans for routine over those 11 days…. We’re on day 6, it blew up like Mount Saint Helens today. I’m pretty sure I still have lava running down my back. But, it’s cool, we love each other. It makes it even better when you try to work with these little people who like routine and are bored out of their mind and choose to amputate each other’s limbs just as you take an important work call trying to duct tape a deal together with a totally irrational person. It was awesome. I waited the rest of the day for DCS to show up. I was pretty sure the agent I was talking to called them as soon as we hung up the phone. Tomorrow, I have a rock star baby sitter coming to entertain the kids for a bit. I am totally okay with the fact that my kids like her better than they like me. After she leaves, I’ll drag them somewhere they don’t want to go to wear them out, so then I will drink coffee and pull it together to manage to crank out 8 hours worth of work in 4…. It’s cool, I’m good like that. Remember the secret? Coffee and wine, coffee and wine….
Monday morning Lexi Kate and I went to a “grooming class” with our groomer to have her show us how to take care of our dog. It was her nice way of saying I am tired of you bringing me this mangy dog expecting me to work miracles. Well, I’ve figured out she isn’t a miracle worker. And, if you’ve seen my dog in the last 2 months, you’ll realize what I’m talking about. But, I do want her to have a long cute hairdo, so we’re trying to work together here. I’ve always had poodles. You keep their hair short. It’s easy. Shi-poo hair is not easy. Its a bigger mess than I have on my head. And, right now we’re in the midst of changing coats from puppy coat to adult coat. Holy crap, and that’s all I got to say about that. Well, and don’t get a dog. Big mistake….. don’t tell my husband I admitted that.
Granma is doing so much better. She’s on drugs too. It’s fun, see the moral of tonight’s post, just take drugs. Just kidding. Totally not making light of taking drugs. It’s just that I really need you to understand that it isn’t a big deal if you need it. It is a really big deal if you abuse them. Please get help for that. But, my heart is for those that feel something is wrong if they need help. Anyway, we’ve finally found a good mix for Grandma. It’s Aricept and Celexa. Some dementia patients are sweet and good and loving child like. Well, that’s not what I got. I got paranoid, mean, tantrum three year old dementia grandma. And, I have two kids living here, so we had to get paranoid and mean under control. She still has moments, but we are definitely seeing an improvement. I’m really praying for some older ladies to come along side her and take her to lunch and do things with her. She is desperate for community and I really don’t know how to provide that for her. Part of her paranoia is not trusting people, so that throws some what of a monkey wrench in the whole situation. But, pray with us that God will just work that out. I’m also pretty sure she has a crush on her physical therapist. He comes two days a week and she talks a little too much about laying in bed with him, but there’s nothing too it. It makes me giggle inside. My 81 year old grandma feels the need to tell me their is nothing to a 35ish year old, 6’5″ dark haired man laying on her bed with her. Wasn’t worried, but thanks for telling me. He’s working with her on balance and getting in and out of bed without hurting herself. So far, so good. And, she loves the company. Maybe too much, but whatever. I’ll break it to her that the went back to his wife and toddler when medicare quits paying for the PT.
I know all of 3 people really read these posts, but it’s really my outlet to get things out I need to hear. The big thing for me, is just be kind to each other and give a little grace to others and most importantly, to yourself. We can’t do it all. No one can. And, that friend you have who has a super hot husband, that makes a bazillion dollars each year, and they live in a perfect house beautifully decorated from Restoration Hardware, and her floors get waxed each week; her kids are excelling academically and she made a 5 course meal tonight by 5:30. Well, guess what, her shit stinks too. And you know what else, there is a part of her life that is a mess, even if you can’t see it. She may be hiding it, or she may be desperate for you to know the truth. But, I’m pretty sure she isn’t Christ sent back to the world, therefore she isn’t perfect either. Her circumstances may look more appealing than yours, but her life sucks sometimes too. Lace up your sneakers and just run your race with grace today.

Tomorrow will be a new day…

From October 1

Jeff is at a golf tournament today, which means he is not at home to keep me from posting this. He swears one day I am going to get myself arrested for just being my blunt and honest self. Well, after the last few weeks, maybe a couple free nights in a not so swanky hotel wouldn’t be so bad. Please know my heart, I LOVE my family, all of them. I am not upset with God about the circumstance we are in. I don’t regret our decision to move Grandmother in with us. I wouldn’t trade our situation for anything. Well, except maybe some plush accommodations on the beach. No, just kidding. I’d take my circus over the beach, just don’t offer it to me….
I digress, back to my story. This whole circle of life thing is quiet amazing to me. You really do grow up to only become a child again. The 81 year old in my house is experiencing a case of the terrible twos that made my kids’ tantrum threes seem like a cake walk. I really wish I understood this disease. How is it in an instant you can be sane, then suddenly worse than ever before?
We went to KY two weeks ago. Within an hour of arriving, Grandmother was ready to leave. The day after we get home, she is insisting I take her to KY because she hasn’t been in weeks. We talked about just going, and that as it was approaching the end of the month, I wouldn’t be able to go for a couple weeks because I was crazy busy with work. That didn’t go well, so she called her sisters demanding they come get her. They explained they couldn’t right now as they have their hands full as well. So, begins the “life isn’t fair” saga.
Let me tell you, hearing a child yell “life isn’t fair” grates my nerves. Hearing an adult scream life isn’t fair at me, sends me into 75 kinds of orbit. I try so hard to let it roll. “Misty, let it go. This is just a disease talking. You can’t rationalize with a disease. Let it go.” Well, I’m a stubborn soul and I usually suck at letting it go. I’ve told Grandmother a date that we can go back, so maybe she could focus on that. Not so much…..
This past week Grandmother has threatened to steal my car. For some weird reason, this has been that thing about having a dementia patient live me that is terrifying. I honestly don’t think she could figure out how to open the doors or crank the car. But, if she did, my Yukon would become a murder weapon. She had her driver’s license medically revoked 10 years ago. Her vision and judgement are terrible. Bad, bad things would happen with her behind the wheel. Please, Lord do not let that happen…..
This afternoon, I chose to work from home, as I have been gone from early in the morning to late at night all week. This makes Grandmother even worse. So, as I am pecking away on my computer, Grandmother is in my ear telling me how terrible her life is, how she doesn’t know what she ever did in her life to have to pay for it so much now, telling me I don’t treat her right, life isn’t fair, I should skip out on responsibilities at church or work to take her where she wants to go when she wants to go because she is 81 and she shouldn’t have to wait on people to get her way. Thankfully, I worked at home with toddlers, so I’ve mastered the art of engaging in meaningless conversation and working at the same time. In typical fashion, when I don’t respond the way she wants me to, or I just don’t respond at all, she stomps off with, “No body cares about what I say, I’m just not going to say anything else at all.” Whatever, you can’t argue with dementia, just go pout.
I leave and go get the kids at school. We come back, and as I am reading with the kids and doing spelling practice, she is demanding to eat dinner the whole time. I get really up in arms when she is mean to the kids or interrupts their special times. They’re giving up enough having to witness this progression, don’t take away my time from them. I kindly told her that I was taking care of homework, and we would have dinner at a reasonable hour. She should fix a snack. She grumbled, but settled for a minute. As we finished homework, I got a work phone call I had to take. She follows me out of the room, demanding I fix her a sandwich. I whisper what kind, she says just fix something. My precious 9 year old steps up, and says, “Grandmother I will fix your sandwich. It is my night to cook dinner anyway.” Of course Grandmother baulks at that, “No, you shouldn’t have to fix my sandwich, make your mom do it.” LK explains mom is working and she is free to fix it. She again asks what kind of sandwich she would like, to which Grandmother again insists she just make something. Well, LK decides to fix a turkey, peanut butter, strawberry jelly, colby jack sandwich. I am about to die as I watch this going down while talking on the phone. Grandmother tells her to take the turkey off. LK says, okay, but you told me to fix you whatever kind I wanted. Believe it or not, she at the sandwich with the cheese. I am quiet certain LK’s crazy sandwich was an attempt to teach Grandmother a lesson. She is after all, my clone, and that is totally something I would do if I didn’t have that adult filter that keeps me from being so childish.
Anyway, after our 4:00 sandwich, LK starts fixing our real dinner. For all the times she drives me crazy, she is truly a super amazing kid. She made corn and black bean salsa, guacamole, and chicken and cheese quesadillas all by herself. Grandmother of course had to have one of those too. To which, she replied this is terrible I’ve never had anything like this. I’m thinking, you just had an amazing fresh meal and you prefer a disgusting sandwich. Weird.
But, now she is in bed. My kids are in the shower, and I am drinking wine. I will watch my DVR tv shows, go to bed early and pray for more energy to face tomorrow.

No good deed goes unpunished

From September 19

So, today I surprised Grandmother with a trip to Mayfield. She has been pitching a major fit to come for the 20 days she been back in Nashville. You can’t tell her these things ahead of time because she will wear, you, out about it. Worse than a 3 year old ever thought about being….. So literally, I told her to get in the car we were headed to Mayfield.
We get to town around 11:30. I dropped the kids off at my stepdads house and took grandmother to the graveyard to put flowers on mom’s grave and my grandfather’s grave. The premade arrangements didn’t fit the vase, so I got the bright idea to cut the styrofoam down with the butcher knife I had in my truck….. As a result, I’ve been sitting in the ER for 3 hours. I left the kids with my stepdad, and grandmother with her sisters. So much for the fun day I had planned in my head. But, I’ve come to find out that my plans don’t generally work out.
I’ve finally seen a NP and now just waiting on my tetanus shot and sutures. But let me just tell you, this place is a freaking train wreck! I don’t like to be judgemental, but holy cow… This hospital is a mess and the people waiting in the ER are an even bigger mess.
The lady at the desk said, m’am, you look uncomfortable do you feel okay? So many things I wanted to say. But, I just stuck with the last time I was here my mom died….
And the funniest part of all is that grandmother already wants to leave her sisters to go see the kids. While I’m bleeding all over the place, I’m having to talk her off the ledge.
Moral of the story, I should have just stayed home.

It’s okay to be miserable….sometimes

From September 6

We could use an extra dose of prayer and patience…. I never expected this journey to be easy or fun or calm; I didn’t have any real expectations at all. But, I certainly didn’t expect Grandmother to hate living here. She’s said little things along the way. But, I’ve taken that all in stride. After all, I ripped her independence away, took her out of the town she’s lived in her whole life, and took her away from the brothers and sisters that have been her life blood the last 18 months in one fail swoop. I expected her to be sad about those things. I didn’t expect her to hate being around the way we do life. We’re loud and messy. My grandmother isn’t loud or messy. Our house is always full of wild and crazy kids, only two of which live here. I’m short and to the point, and I don’t enjoy morning small talk. Actually, I’m not big on small talk at any time of day. Grandmother gets bored and likes me to sit and chat. For these reasons, she’s miserable. I hate that. I’d give anything to fix it.
Tonight she told me she wanted to make arrangements for her to move back to Mayfield. I explained that just isn’t possible for a number of reasons. She told me she could live with either of her sisters. While short term visits are okay, neither of them are in a position for a full time arrangement. Not to mention, they’ve asked when I plan on putting her in a nursing home.
I don’t want to put her in a nursing home and I don’t want to move her back to Mayfield. But, we’ve got to find some joy in her living here. She’s miserable, and honestly Lexi Kate is too. And when 2 of the 3 girls in the house are miserable, the 3rd girl is a wreck! I know beyond a shadow of a doubt this is exactly what God has in store for our family at this point in life. But, that doesn’t make it any easier. I don’t want my kids to not be able to enjoy the normal things in life, but I don’t want grandmother to be miserable either.
In other news, we go back to the doctor on Tuesday. Grandmother’s counts are way out of line for different areas. Her swelling and fluid retention have gone down this week with a medicine change, so I’m really hoping this week’s blood work will show some improvements.

Sometimes you just say a prayer and roll with it…

From August 20

Grandmother has been begging to go back to KY for a visit, and it occurred to me yesterday that we have a perfect opportunity coming up. We are going to the lake this weekend with my dad, and the next weekend they are coming down for LK’s birthday party. So, if she could stay a week, this would be convenient. I talked to her sister, who said it was fine and then I talked to her and she said she would love too…. Which, really makes me think she hates it here. Because, before she wouldn’t leave home for more than 2 hours, and she is now willing to stay away a week. Oh well, too many other things to stress out about than to beat myself up over that one.
In preparation for this trip, we went to do her blood work today, that is due next week. Her INR levels have been fantastic for a couple months now. Today, they were lower than they have ever been. Her INR is at 1.5, her goal is 3. Doesn’t sound like a big deal. But, with her issues, it is a HUGE problem. 1.5 puts her at an extremely high risk of throwing a blood clot and/or having a heart attack. So, my next words, were, “how does this affect her traveling to KY next week.” The nurse looked at me and says that is a terrible idea! Awesome! This will be like telling a 3 year old the person in line in front of them got the last of the ice cream. We talked about a dosage change and left.
Something weird happens when I leave a doctor’s office. I become a brilliant physician with years of experience. I was just analyzing the information we’d been given and trying to think of a way not to have this 3 year old that just got denied ice cream mad at me all week. I came up with some ideas, and a plan b and called the doctor when we got home. And, what do you know, they agreed with my plan, confirming I am a brilliant doctor, and the trip is back on.
Granted, we are still at a huge risk! And, because she won’t be tested again in 4 days like the nurse really wanted, we won’t know for sure how brilliant my plan is. But, if she doesn’t die, we’ll know I am in fact genius. And, well, to be bluntly honest, if she does die, at least she’ll die in her happy place.
Losing my mom at such a young age (and every day older I get, I realize how young 56 was), showed me a lot about balance in my life. So…. if I eat bacon every day it is going to take 2 years off my life. Well, who gives a crap about 89 versus 87, at least I enjoyed the pig. So, in thinking about Grandmother, her days are already numbered. And, she could have thrown a blood clot at any minute, or her defibrillator battery could fail (it’s already lasted 2 years longer than they said it would). So, if one trip back home does her in, what did it really cost her? Please don’t read this and start thinking I am that weird person wishing someone to die. I dread that day like the plague, because in a way it will be the end of all I have living of my mom. But, I no longer live in fear of death. I chose to celebrate the moments we live. And, if any of us get to meet Jesus a day sooner doing something we love, that’s a win.
So, now we pray. We pray the plan works, we pray the trip is a success, and we pray we all live to tell about it.

Back to School already

From August 14

It’s been a busy few weeks around here. The end of summer and beginning of school, along with work has pretty much every breathing hour consumed. Just before school started we took the kids to Holiday World for a quick overnight trip. This marked the first time we were leaving Grandmother at home by herself overnight. I was slightly concerned about it, but had that “you lived by yourself forever you can survive one night” feeling too…. She wasn’t real happy about being left at home and not going to KY. But, the logistics of driving 6 hours to KY and back, plus going on our trip just didn’t make sense. I hired 2 different care givers to come in while we were gone. So, really a few hours mid day and at bedtime were the only time that she was alone. Although she was apprehensive about it, she managed well, and even asked if we could have them come back.
On Monday of this week, I left Grandmother alone for maybe 45 minutes to take Lexi Kate to get a “First Day of School Pedicure”. Just as they were finishing up one of my neighbors called to say grandmother had fallen on the sidewalk in the cup-de-sac. We rushed out to get home and see how she was. Despite being scraped and bruised a good bit, she was fine. That evening I noticed a more severe mental lapse. It almost made me wonder if she was having mini-strokes. That may explain her sudden loss of balance and the mental issues as well. But, I am no doctor, so I can’t say for sure.
Yesterday, we had an appointment scheduled at Vanderbilt Bone and Joint already to follow up on the April back injury. Thankfully, x-rays revealed that there wasn’t any additional damage done. Her spine curvature is worse than it was in April, but that was likely not a result of this most recent fall.
Yesterday she was still more mentally disturbed than normal. We went to the grocery and she put several random things in the cart. When we got to the check out to pay, she realized she only had $3 in her wallet. Keep in mind, I had no intention of her paying for what she bought, you just have to let these things play out with her. She of course immediately wanted to go to the bank to get cash. We couldn’t do that because I had to get home and pick the kids up from school. That started an out of control spiral. As I was explaining it was fine to pay for groceries, she got irate. She insisted on writing me a check for the groceries she wanted. I assured her it was fine, and I prefer she not write me a check, as I didn’t want to have to take time to go to my bank and deposit. As a compromise, I offered to just buy all our groceries next week out of her account. And, that’s when it started. She got in her head that I was stealing her money. She thought I was paying all my bills out of her $1100 a month social security. Considering $500 a month comes out of that for insurance/medicine, that leaves $600. I couldn’t possibly explain to her that wouldn’t last a week. $600 a month would maybe pay our utilities or 2 weeks worth of groceries. But, it wouldn’t cover much. Anyway, she was UPSET! Finally, I just let it go and ignored her repeated request to argue.
On a good note, I think she feels “at home” now. When we were unloading the groceries she was separating her stuff and our stuff. I asked her if she wanted her own shelf in my pantry for just her things so she could find the snacks she prefers. She looked at me so strange. I explained again what I meant; that she was welcome to any food in the pantry, but if it would be easier for her to find what she was looking for I would clear a special shelf. Then, she started telling me that I was welcome to anything I wanted out of her pantry, and that she was happy to share her food with me. She talked about her kitchen and wanting to cook and remember what all she had purchased. She truly thought she was in “her house”. As much as I wish I was living in a house she had paid the mortgage on, it was also a huge relief that she felt that this was her house and I was just living in it….
So on we go, treading through this life of raising young children and raising adult children. Praying for God’s guidance each day to do it “best”. I am convinced there isn’t a right or wrong, showing up is success in itself. My primary focus is to protect my children while caring for her. Please be praying for them as I know this is hard on them. The lady living in our house isn’t the Grandmother I grew up with and loved so much. And, they’ll never get to experience that.

The Sandwich Generation

From July 23

The Sandwich generation is a generation of people who care for their aging parents while supporting their own children.
According to the Pew Research Center, just over 1 of every 8 Americans aged 40 to 60 is both raising a child and caring for a parent, in addition to between 7 to 10 million adults caring for their aging parents from a long distance. US Census Bureau statistics indicate that the number of older Americans aged 65 or older will double by the year 2030, to over 70 million.
The problem with this situation is, I’ve never really liked sandwiches. And, now I find myself as part of the sandwich generation. Perfect! No wonder, I’m not really happy with this situation. I had a friend in a similar situation, except she has 4 kids not 2, and she is caring for her mom, not grandma, write a blog post recently about our situation. I love her take on this sandwich generation. Rather than a sandwich, it’s more like a panini! Yes! This resonated with my soul. Not only has some crap been thrown between 2 slices of bread, my crap has been heat pressed on every side. My guts feel squeezed tight, my sides are burning, I am literally toast, and I just hope all the cheese (the only part of a sandwich I love) doesn’t completely melt and run out.
Last week, our original family unit had a little vacation, sans GranGran. I am not sure who of us needed it most. I really felt guilty on the plane home. I not once even stopped to call my Aunt and check on them to see how things were going. I was kinda relieved she didn’t let Gran call me either. I know all involved well enough that Gran had tried, and she probably had to cut the phone line to keep it from happening. But, the kids were really needing some one on one focus time. For my thoughts to not be scattered between work, keeping house, caring for them, and caring for Grandma. I was all in with them. I even went deep into the ocean to play with them. If you know me well, you know I LOVE the beach. I don’t love murky water where I can’t see what is wrapping around my legs. But, it was great to just be in the moment with Jeff and the kids and have not a worry in the world, except avoiding becoming shark bait. And, we got to celebrate my beautiful niece becoming a MRS. I will admit I was a hot teary mess. She was Lexi’s age the first time we met. And, now she is a wife. Not ready for my babies to grow up!
I had one little incident in the hotel where I almost lost my religion. There were 2 ladies in their 60s having a conversation in the breakfast line about how great it was to grow old with their mothers. One had her 88 year old mom there with her, and the other had just lost her 87 year old mom. They went on and on forever about in adulthood having your mom as your best friend and raising your kids with her, and seeing grandkids get married. I politely just kept my head down and stayed out of the way. Then, one of the ladies addressed me, and said don’t take these days for granted. You better cherish your mom while you have her. I LOST IT. I snapped back that I would love to cherish another moment with my mom but unfortunately she died 17 months ago, and the opportunity to grow old with her was ripped from me, and I’d appreciate them not talk about their luxury in front of me. SILENCE.
Anyway, we’re all back home now. GranGran enjoyed her trip to KY this time. And, we’re settling back into our normal routine at home. GranGran is retaining fluid and has a bad cough. If you know much about heart patients, you know this is classic congestive heart failure. We all had a cold before we left, and she just can’t kick hers. We’ve upped the fluid pill meds to try to move it on through, and go back for another check up tomorrow.
Yesterday was a hard day around here. It was my mom’s birthday. And, I’ll be honest, its one of the hardest days I’ve had in several months. People say that your grief starts to fade and you get used to a new normal around the 15-18 month mark of losing someone. I will say, that had started to be true. In the last few months I could talk about what happened without getting upset, and remembered mom with joy instead of grief over the loss. Yesterday, was grief packed. I couldn’t even see a mom, think about the date, or do much of anything without tearing up. Last night the kids did their annual Chinese Lanterns to celebrate mom’s birthday. It really is a sweet picture seeing them release them and send birthday wishes up to the clouds.
I am feeling very much like a panini today. I am trying to work from home and clean house, while Gran sits in her chair. Every 37.2 seconds she asks me to come do something else for her. It’s 10:19 and the only room I have managed to completely clean is the kitchen. It’s driving me a little crazy. But, at least Uncle Sam and Aunt Ella won’t be joining us for dinner now that I have sanitized.
In the midst of cleaning and Granny sitting I have managed to do some listing marketing and take calls for new listings, and work on some meetings I have scheduled for next week. And, again, I set her realizing how super duper blessed I am. I am in pjs, haven’t showered, living in my upper middle class house, making a great living, have 2 absolutely adorable and pretty amazing kids, and get the opportunity to care for the woman who spent so much time caring for me 30+ years ago. Life is toasty sometimes, but it is really, really, good.

Summertime Adventures

From July 11

We’re gearing up for a big week around here…. Tomorrow we are expecting a visit from one of Grandmother’s brothers, sister-in-law, and nephew. Then, on Wednesday, we are taking Grandmother to KY, Thursday the rest of the family will fly to Charleston for my niece’s wedding. Cutie, our 9 month old shi-poo will also be having her first sleep away from home experience with some neighbors. Life should be grand!
Grandmother DOES NOT DO WELL with things being different. She is already stressed out about going to Mayfield. Last time I took her for the weekend she thought I had went off and left her and she swore she’d never go back once I picked her up. Well, that didn’t work out for her and we’re headed back next week.
Three weeks ago, her doctor told her for my sake and hers she had to start taking some of those “Satan’s poison nerve pills”. The first week she was on them I thought we were both going to go bat shit crazy. I am not kidding you, it was BAD news. But, knowing what little I know about mood altering medication, I knew we had to give it at least 2 weeks. I will say, now things have mellowed out and we have less of the stressed out about being stressed out business.
My goal the last few weeks has been to make her do stuff for herself. She has gotten worse than my kids about expecting to be waited on and having someone else do things for her. It isn’t that I mind doing things, I just feel like she will further digress if she doesn’t force her self to get out of the chair and remember how to do things. When she asks me to do something for her, or to show her how to do it, I have been making her tell me how to do it; or just flat out figure out how to do it on her own.
The same struggle persists in deciding between what she legitimately doesn’t know or understand and what she is faking. She is bad about manipulating situations to get her way. For example, last weekend, she wanted to go with us to some friend’s farm to celebrate the 4th. I explained multiple times that we would be gone for several hours and that we would be eating a later dinner, and would be outside. We weren’t there an hour before she was talking about coming home. After we’d been there about 3 hours, she started demanding we go home. I told her that wasn’t going to happen. She knew the story before we left, and she was just going to suck it up. That, is when she informed me she was going to poop her pants and then I would have to take her home because she didn’t have clean ones. I may have had my head spin around on my shoulders and green stuff come flying out. Honey, you need to remember I just finished parenting toddlers, and still have 2 spoiled children. Don’t even try to pull the manipulation factor on me! I just grabbed her by the shoulders, made her look me square in the face and said, “Grandmother, that would be a very poor choice. We promised our kids they could come to the farm, swim, and watch the fireworks. And, I will not allow you to ruin that for them. If you choose to poop in your pants, you are going to have to explain to that very handsome older gentleman why the seat of your white pants are brown. Now, would you like to go inside to potty, or would you like to continue with pooping in your pants like a child?” She decided she just go into the house and use the bathroom properly…..
Not long after our potty incident, we had a little child drama. Sam was sitting on the stone steps of the old farm house. I had gone inside to fix grandmother and the kids a plate. Lexi Kate comes tearing through the house screaming “Momma, momma, Sam fell and he’s hurt bad!” What in the world, I just left him sitting there 3 minutes ago?!?! Unfortunately, one of the older ladies lost her footing, and kicked Sam off the stair. He was sitting on the top step, and went tumbling off whacking his head on the way down. JB picked him up and brought him inside to me. Once I finally got him calmed down, he was more concerned about his doritos and sprite spilling than he was about falling. When he said his knee hurt more than his head, I knew we were good.
So, this week, we’ll be packing for our road trips and answering the same question five million thousand times….

No, I’m going to have the last word….

From June 24

In the 35 years my mom had to parent me, she was constantly trying to train me to not HAVE to have the last word in an argument. Unfortunately, she never broke me of the habit. I think I would have the last word if it meant losing every tooth in my head. Even more unfortunately, I have passed that same trait on to my beautiful daughter. Even worse than that, I have realized this all came from my Grandmother, who now also lives in our house. 3 females in the same house, 3 different generations, all insisting on being right, and having the last word. And, let’s be real, we all know the only one of us who wins this argument is the one paying the mortgage. So, the other two in theory should shut up before they even get started. But, none of us do….. And, it makes for lots of foot stomping, eye rolling, and storming off around here.
This past weekend I broke down and took Grandmother back to Mayfield. It has been 2 months since she moved in, and we have yet to go back. Life has just been hectic, and we kept putting it off. I got back from New York the Thursday prior, and Grandmother had been a complete pill all week. I thought maybe a trip home would help her get it together. Our trip went a little something like this….
Back up a minute. Thursday night before we left, I had gone to a party, and left Sam home with Grandmother while Jeff picked Lexi Kate up from skating lessons. Sam was out playing with my neighbors, they were fine, he was fine. At some point things went south, ending in my neighbors calling to tell me something between WW3 and a bar side brawl was going down in my driveway. I come home and Sam is squalling and Grandmother is speaking some foreign language and making absolutely no sense whatsoever. I put her to bed and took Sam back to the party with me.
I had told Grandmother and the kids we would leave around 9:30. I had to do a little work before leaving. Grandmother called me no less than 17 times while I was at the office asking when I would be home. I about lost my mind before I ever got going. I get home to pick everyone up, and Grandmother hadn’t even packed a suitcase. For the life of me, I couldn’t get her to pack a clean pair of pants. I finally gave up, and just told her to wear the same pants the whole time we were there. Considering her bladder control tendencies, this was a terrible plan, but see paragraph one above. I let just let her win that one. Pulling out of the neighborhood, the dog pees on Lexi Kate in the car. We turn around and come back home for her to change. So, by 10:15 we are finally pulling out and ready to go. We have 1,897,465 conversations on the way down about where we were going and what we were doing. For some reason, Grandmother had it in her head that we lived in Mayfield and were going to Nashville to visit. Then, she was insistent that her sisters didn’t live in Mayfield. It was crazy town in my car. Once we hit the Purchase Parkway, the rains came down. I am pretty sure it was very reminiscent of the 40 day flood Noah experienced, but we got that much water in 10 minutes. I couldn’t see 5 feet in front of me. At that point. We had another potty accident. This time it was a people accident. To protect the innocent, I won’t name names. But, let’s just say it wasn’t a person with extra pants to wear. Heaven help me! We finally made it to Gibson’s Pharmacy, our drop off location where my Aunt Peggy was picking up Grandmother for the weekend. She was staying with Peggy and I was taking the kids to visit with Dad and Papa for Father’s Day. She really didn’t want to go with Peggy one bit. I was totally baffled, as that is all she had talked about for the last 2 months.
I went on my way. The kids and I took new flowers to put on Mom’s grave and my Grandfathers. Then, we got some lunch and went to hang out at Papa’s for a bit. That evening, we had another new experience. We took the kids to meet Papa’s girlfriend. I wondered how they would take it. Thankfully, they handled it well. They were very talkative and engaging. Maybe, too talkative. But, at least they didn’t tell her to fly a kite. I was terrified they were going to say something to embarrass all of us. Lexi Kate was really upset with the whole situation. She cried a good bit on the way home. We talked a lot about Mimi being gone and no one ever could take her place, but Papa didn’t want to be lonely.
Friday evening Peggy called me to report on how Grandmother was showing out. She was so unsettled. And, couldn’t get it in her head where she was and what she was doing. She was worried about her medicine and me not knowing where she was. I got her on the phone and tried to settle her down some. We repeated the same things over about 10 times and I just hung up. Apparently, Grandmother was up all night insisting that I had ran off and just left her. She felt like she was in a big mess and the world was pretty much coming to an end. Poor Peggy sat up with her from 2-5 trying to calm her down. She finally let it go for a bit and they went out to eat breakfast and she got to see Mr. Johnson again, as well as visit with more family and friends. She misses Mr. Johnson so much and talks about him every day. I thought seeing him would help her feel better, but I am not sure. I picked Grandmother up from Peggy about 3:30 Saturday afternoon. She was one hot tamale!
She fussed the entire way home. She basically told me everything I was doing wrong in life, everything her sisters were doing wrong, and that she never wanted to go back there again. Grrrreeeaattt! It made for a super fun car ride. Once again on the Purchase Parkway, we had an interesting ride. The car beside me decided to cut in front of me. Trying to not kill us all, I slammed on the breaks and went into the median. Our Dr. Pepper, the dog, and my purse went flying through the car. Who knew what a mess one can of Dr. Pepper would make? Once we got into Nashville, we got stuck behind some construction traffic. One of my passengers was literally about to die from needing to potty. Desperate times call for desperate measures. We tried the pee in the bottle trick for the first time. All went well, until….. someone dropped the bottle. Again, names removed to protect the not so innocent. So, now my car is covered in Dr. Pepper and pee.
We made it home around 7:30, and I vowed never to get in my car again…….
We have a series of doctor’s appointments tomorrow. Please pray that I am able to talk to the doctor about the progression of Grandmother’s dementia without a total breakdown. We really need to discuss her maintenance plan and our long term options. We also go back to see the back doctor. Grandmother is still in pain, so I am not sure how the broken vertebrae and ribs are healing. But, I don’t really know what they can do about it either. Finally, we go back for another INR check. If this result is within range, we can extend checkups to monthly instead of bi-weekly. This would be a huge relief for all of us. St. Thomas is fairly close, but it takes a whole morning to get up there. And, it makes Gran totally foul to have to go.
And, we are another day closer to Glory Land, and I have never been more ready to get there in all my life. You can have your gold streets, dancing, and feast. I just need you to show me my heavenly bed and let me nap a little.

Welcome Home

From June 16

It’s been an interesting week or so. Last Sunday, Lexi Kate and I left for a trip to NYC with her dance studio. I was slightly worried about this, as anything out of the ordinary really tends to send GranGran’s dementia into orbit. My biggest prayer was that she wouldn’t also get a UTI while I was away. That would’ve probably sent Jeff over the edge. I had a sitter here during the day with her, and Jeff took care of her at night. Day 1 seemed to go off just fine. Day 2, Gran had locked herself out of the house within 30 minutes of Jeff leaving, disrupting the whole camp car pool saga. They had daily medicine battles. But, Jeff handles that so much better than I do. I get frustrated, wanting her to “understand” why she takes it a certain way. And, battle that with the fact that just 2 months ago, she was supposedly handling this on her own. I keep thinking how did she forget all this so easily, then I realize, she wasn’t taking it correctly then either. I just didn’t see her doing it….
Since I have been home, she has been giving me 10 shades of hell. It’s like I have to pay the price for leaving her here. Her big issue has been the “take over the master bedroom plot” When she first moved in, she was pretty direct in just telling me she wanted that room. I was pretty direct in letting her know that wasn’t an option until she started paying the mortgage. Her new plot was a passive aggressive plot of trying to switch. When I got home from NYC, she went into this state of not remembering which was her room and also saying, “why did you switch rooms with me? You sleep in whatever room you want? Where is your room? Put me wherever, you can have the room you want? I’m sorry I’ve been sleeping in your room this whole time, you can have it back.” I constantly responded that she was in the right place, and we were in the same bed we’ve been in since we moved in…. I want to believe that it truly is dementia related, but I find that hard to believe as she has been on this battle since Day 1. I don’t think she is confused about her room, as we painted it a similar color her room was in KY, and she has all of her furnishings exactly like they were there, minus a plastic chair….. Saturday night, we had a community movie night. When I came in about 9:30, she was already in bed…. In my bed!!!!! I kindly woke her up and explained she was in the wrong room and needed to go to her room. Then, I went outside and laughed so hard I peed in my pants. I guess she figured if she couldn’t out argue me, she’d just join me. The mischevious side of me wanted me to leave her there, and let Jeff crawl into bed with her and give them both a heart attack. Instead, I went outside and told Jeff what had just played out. I almost always go to bed before Jeff does, and he comes into the dark room and crawls into bed. I just couldn’t get the image out of my head of her rolling over to a big, hairy man in bed beside her. I still laugh just thinking about it.
Another funny is our 8 month old puppy is in heat for the first time. I was worried about explaining this whole process to my 6 and 8 year old. Turns out, they are less concerned than my 81 year old…. She just keeps saying, what is wrong with her? Does she feel bad? Is she sick? Is she having seizures? Nope….. In case you don’t remember the lady times, you feel like crap on a stick as your uterus is break down and seeping out of your body. Mixed with the fact that dogs instinctively want to breed during this time, she is simply going from laying on the couch with her tail tucked between her legs, to “dancing” with every thing in the house that doesn’t move before she gets to it…..
Oh the joys!!!!!