Friday, January 25, 2013

Baby, it's coooold outside!

Winter finally showed up big time today! Lots of ice meant bundling up... Maybe an opportunity to get extra done inside? Or snuggle up next to a fire...

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The mistake and hard lesson

One year ago today, I returned from my early morning work out class and was met in the driveway by my hubby.  I knew she was gone.  It was funny, again, those intuitions.  I had my phone with me in class that day, and it turns out, I reached out to check it and make sure Sherry hadn't called me within 5 minutes of Grandma slipping out of this world.

That time set aside for some stress relief (yes, I realize that most people do not classify a 5:30am workout class as stress relief, but it is for me) came after 4 and a half days of intense around-the-clock caregiving, working from her home while counting the hours until the next dose of medicine, struggling with how much medicine I was giving, begging her to know it was OK to go, lacking sleep, and passing the time with my hubby, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law.  I so appreciate how she brought us together in the end, giving us time with one another and her, showing us once again the important things in life.

I'll tell you something: people pick when to go.  I don't know how or why, but they pick.  And Grandma picked her time, just the way she needed it, holding my hubby's hand, quietly slipping out.

I miss her.  It feels, though, like she's really been gone 22 months, not 12.  Things really went downhill after her fall, and the Grandma I had come to love like my own began slipping out of the world. Today, one last time, I'd like to review my big mistake in caregiving, to finally say goodbye to that pain.

The mistake I made was following advice I was given while she and I were at one of her many doctor's appointments after her fall.  Instead of patiently listening, I tried to distract her from another story she had concocted in attempts of explaining what had happened to her.  She was so stressed about not knowing, tried to come up with explanations that generally included people she had been hallucinating about for quite some time... and I had always just listened... but that day, I tried to stop the story... and the next day, the story became about me.

The more I have thought about that very painful time in my life, the more I have come to realize some important lessons.  Older adults, particularly those with dementia, need stability and predictability.  They need us to remain who we always have been to them, more than any other time in their lives.  They need us to give them the respect they still deserve AND they need us to interact with them in predictable ways.  When they are suspicious, we can no longer just tell them this is the way it's going to be - we have to show them they can fully trust us and our predictable behavior.

I never made that mistake again.  When she finally forgot that story and I resumed fully involved caregiving again, I made sure to recognize her reality and reassure her.  One of the last nights she ever woke me up, she told me she was trying to get up the courage "to smoke me a cigarette."  When asked further, she told me she didn't really want to and was so relieved when I told her she didn't have to.  With that, she let me tuck her back into bed and went peacefully back to sleep.

It can be so easy to get frustrated and short-tempered with the ones we love.  Thank you, Grandma, for the reminder to us to be patient and loving with all those surrounding us... you never know when your conversation and interaction with someone might be your last.

Sunday, January 20, 2013


While I played sicko this weekend (and hubby dragged the guest bed into the living room for me to be pathetic on! True love!), hubby got his grout on.  It's the same color as the floor... and once I get it all cleaned off those walls, it will be amazing, I am sure!

He even did the professional edge on this!  It looks fantastic... now the challenge is for me to finish the walls and not screw up that masterpiece!

I am super-excited to reveal the final product on this one!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

An update from Winston

Hi there, my trusty fans, Winston here, taking over for Mom again.  She's apparently submitted some proposals or something yesterday and has another one this week, whatever that means.  All I know is it means that she's been sitting on her computer a lot more than usual.  Bonus for me is that I get way more snuggle time!  She actually SITS STILL.
Anyway, I thought I should take some time to share with you all what's been happening in the new year.  We've been a bit slow around here because Dad has been sick and Mom has been working on a top-secret project that she'll start sharing in May.  However, it does look like 2013 will bring a fully remodeled bathroom!  Dad has finished the tiling as of this afternoon.  This means that the tile has to set today and can be grouted tomorrow.  Mom is super-excited because it also means that she gets to finish the walls.  Well, she says that she's using sarcasm when she says that... whatever that means.  Anyway, isn't it pretty?  Dad is getting to be quite the talented tile guy.  He was pretty excited because he got to use his mini-saw that his in-laws gave him as a gift around a year ago, and it worked like a charm to make the hole for the shower-head.

Imagine that with grey grout, and we're all set!  I think Mom has been recruited to clean-up crew again, and wow, what a MESS she has to clean up!

Speaking of Mom, I have to give her a shout-out for her first successful fire last weekend.  It was quite a duty because the wood was still a little wet, so she spent about 2 hours coaxing this roaring fire into being.  I enjoyed the warmth, but all those popping sounds are Scary (capital S intended)!

As the bathroom project starts to come together, Mom and Dad have started thinking about how to make the "master suite" more sweet.  One idea they have is to reclaim some hallway "dead space."  This would be a big change (no more running straight from the couch in the front room to my bed that I let them occupy sometimes in the master).  So, Dad stuck the armoire out in the hallway to help us pretend it is no longer an option.  We'll keep you posted on how that goes.