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That Was Then . . . And This Is Now
Posted: Saturday, January 7, 2012 9:12 AM
Originally posted by: Val-Re

Thank you for sharing this glimpse of your journey with your mom, Saribet. So much hardship, so much love. My tears are for both.
Peace. Joy for all your journey.
Posted: Saturday, January 7, 2012 9:12 AM
Originally posted by: Jim Broede

There's something sad, yet beautiful in your words, Saribet. Amazing. How many ways there are to express love. You do it well. --Jim
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Posted: Saturday, January 7, 2012 9:12 AM
Joined: 1/14/2015
Posts: 40463

Originally posted by: Saribet

I was remembering 5 yrs. ago when I moved in with Mom (now stage 6 AD, stage 3 then). She had no home attendant, and still had to cook for herself and her husband, my stepdad. She had begun to deteriorate slowly; all morning, she stressed about cooking. No matter how much we told her to relax, she couldn't, and she'd start cooking dinner at noon. My stepfather suddenly didn't want to eat what I cooked, although he used to love my cooking, so I couldn't help my mom.

Then she started to add 8 oz. of cooking oil to the rice, essentially making rice-oil soup. Yucch. Poor thing. I brought in a home attendant.

Then she started hallucinating, parrots in the bushes, a woman on the roof of the house across the way, little critters in the living room, mice on the ceiling. Medicines were brought in.

Every morning she would get up super-early and go downstairs and sit in the dark until we got up. Sometimes I would find her there, crying. Sometimes she would say, "I'm going crazy."

Then, she started to come into my room every morning, silent, but smiling. I'd get up and take care of her. I especially treasure that time period.

Then she started to sit in a chair in the hallway, waiting calmly for us to wake up. Coming into my room was something she couldn't think of to do, especially since she was having trouble with the doorknobs.

When the Housing Authority came to change all our bedroom doors, she cried when they removed her bedroom door, saying it was the door she'd known since we moved in in 1965.

Then she started to have trouble talking, and eventually stopped altogether. Once in a while she'll say something lucid, but mostly, if she tries, it is unintelligible gibberish. We nod and agree.

Now she lies in bed when she wakes up, stroking her hands and arms, playing with a stuffed animal, and singing, again unintelligibly, and, strangely, off-key, until someone goes in to help her out of the bed.

She used to go to the bathroom by herself. Now she's in diapers and uses a commode only when prompted.

When she suffered from constipation back then, she would come to me, silent, and my stepfather would yell out the problem. She would go with me to her bed where I administered a suppository, and all would come out well, pun intended.

Now, she can't explain or sign her discomfort and we use Dulcolax, Activia, and when really needed, Raisin Bran to keep her regular.

She used to allow me to bathe her thoroughly in a bath chair, enjoyed it immensely, thrilled with the water and the suds, scrubbing herself repeatedly, telling me to wash her back right after I had washed her back. I'd wash it again.

Now, once in a while, one of the home attendants places ShammWows on the floor all around the toilet (my idea!) and, while Mom is urinating, the attendant drips water on Mom, head to toe, undressing her as she goes along, talking her through it to soothe her, suds her with Johnson's Head to Toe Baby Wash, and rinses her as she sits.

She used to go to bed by herself, climbing the stairs by herself, following my stepfather, or leading him. Now I have to help her get out of her recliner and help her up the stairs one step at a time.

I have to tell her repeatedly to put her head on the pillow and raise her legs. She does the one but has trouble with the other and I have to gingerly raise her legs and try to slip her into the bed. Nearly impossible. I raise the rails on the bed, bless her, and leave.

In early spring, in the early stages of AD, mom used to go out in the garden with her pruning shears to trim back the rose bushes and scraggly hedges. One day I found her out there, trapped in an overgrown rose bush, with a pair of scissors, both hands bleeding. I had to rescue her and tend to her rose thorn wounds.

Now I do all the pruning, if and when I get a chance.

We used to take her on day trips to Pennsylvania to visit one of my sisters. It was a treat for her, although an anxiety-provoking endeavor for me. But she enjoyed eating ice cream and french fries at McDonald's--an absolute rarity for us--and delighted in walking, with assistance, in my sister's huge back yard.

The last time, she got so confused, and had a serious sundown episode. She nearly fell out of my arms, because she couldn't navigate two steps down to the car. I stopped her going.

Now the farthest she goes is to cash her Social Security check in a wheelchair, after we sign her X. She can't sign any more.

That was then . . . and this is now.