Belated Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day came and went- It was good to see mom.  I remember when I was little growing up with my three brothers (explains a lot of why I’m like I am – lol) we would celebrate Mother’s Day in a carefree child’s way.  For years, we would go to church with mom – we would get up at the designated time during the Service and sing a Mother’s day song with all of the Sunday School Class.    She would be special, like all the other mothers who sat tall and proud in their Sunday best, with a corsage pinned to her dress.   Most moms of that era had at least two children- mostly more.  Mom had four of us to be proud of and four of us who showed extra special love on that day- with a homemade card and picture we drew or a plaster handprint made the week before.   

 She never really got a day “off” until we were in our teens, when we came to understand how much she sacrificed, encouraged, prayed, guided, and most importantly loved us.  We would make breakfast, lunch, and dinner and at times bake a cake for her special day.

 Over the years it has gotten simplified to a card, flowers, or a phone call.  Being a mom myself, I have experienced this same journey.  Along with loving my children, being proud of them in whatever way I can, supporting their decisions- not always understanding them and sometimes not accepting their decisions-but letting them live their journey as they wish.  Sometimes this decision leaves you out of their lives and that’s ok.    Ramble on- I guess what I’m trying to say is my mom and 4 kids, 2 of us stayed close to her while 2 chose to separate from her.   I can relate.  Early on when two of my brothers went their own way, I could not understand it and wondered why. I also wondered how mom could “carry on” without all of us.  As I grew older, wiser and saw life at different stages I understood how she did it.   You just love your children enough to let them live the life they want to live.

Anyway, lol ……. after that long release of thinking- mom and I had a wonderful 66th Mother’s Day together.   She still knows me, she still loves me, she still doesn’t remember much of anything, but she’s still my mom and I am able to remember for the both of us.

 I have a ton of special Mother’s Day celebrations memories with her, and I look forward to many more of my own Mother’s Day Celebrations.

I’m trusting everyone had a Happy Mother’s Day in their own right.

Peace & Love,

Cheryl Doreen

What’s the matter with my skin?

Dorothy was a happy camper when I went to see her this week.  She was in her room with the door locked.  I knocked and she answered, “who is it”.   I replied- “your favorite daughter”. LOL I’m the only daughter, so it makes it easy to be the favorite. She opened the door with a huge smile on her face and we had a great hug.

It as a beautiful day so I opened her windows to let in some fresh air.   And started my hunt of finding things.   She was very talkative and happy.  She helped strip the bed and was too tired to help with putting on new sheets.  Before looking through her chest of drawers, I asked her to pick out some clean clothes for her to put on after a shower.   This task keeps her occupied.       In one drawer of her chest I found several pairs shoes and slippers.   I asked her about it, and she responded, “there was no place else to put them.”  So, I asked her to see if there was any room in the closet.  She found some room and she moved the shoes.  I wondered how long it will take her to move them back after I’m gone. (-:

When my grandsons were little and looking for their shoes, I would play them the awesome BB King video about his song “One Shoe Blues” he sings and stars in it.   Check it out it’s worth 2 minutes of your day.  (-:  

I also found the remaining photos of her granny & pappy and her sister and her with her daddy.  I decided to take them home with me.  Often, they are wrapped up in a towel and placed in the drawer.  Maybe this was a good thing, maybe not.  We will see. I can always bring them back if need be.

After the shower she looked like a new woman, all sparkly and clean.  (-:     She was worn out and needed a rest.  She laid down on the bed and after a few minutes she raised up her arms in front of her.  She asked “Cheryl, what happened to my arms?  Just look at them.”  I responded with “what’s the matter with them.”  She replied, “don’t you see how crinkled they are?”   I chuckled out loud and responded well, you’ve had that skin for a long time- how many years do you think you’ve had those arms?  She replied with “well, two or three years at the most.”  Then laughed and said, “I always forget how old I am, let’s see, I think I’m 94.”  I asked her how she expected her arms to look after 94 years.  Her response was “well, I took really good care of it.” As she was still examining her skin, then said, “well I guess my skin didn’t like the way I took care of it”

I assured her she looked good for 94- she gave me a huge smile and said, okay “who’s going to put my socks and shoes on? Am I going to have to do that too?”   I laughed out loud as did she. The skin issues moved on.

Peace & Love,

Cheryl Doreen

Granny’s Vases….

Dorothy was in a good mood when I went to see her the other day, so I decided to get her out and took her home with me.  It was a beautiful spring day, the sky was blue, the trees were beginning to bloom with the color of April green.  The flowers were popping, and it was warm enough to have the car windows down.  Dorothy had no idea where she was and kept asking “where are we?  Nothing looks familiar.” Then she’d ask “how’d I get here, who else lives here in this State? I don’t remember moving here.”  It was a long ride to my house, LOLOLOL.  

Dorothy had no idea where she was, but she did see a few plates/vases that were her granny’s- which she passed down to me.   When she saw them, she asked me how Granny’s vases got here then she told me the story on how Granny got them.  It’s interesting to me that she cannot remember where she is, but she can remember the long-ago memories.  But that is where she is living these days in the long-ago past.

We had a good lunch; a sandwich, chips and a Sprite and she was ready to leave shortly after. The way back was pretty much the same as the previous ride, with mom being confused on where and why.

When we got back to the home, we did the shower routine and she felt like a new woman.   As soon as she had finished brushing her teeth, she told me it was time for me to go– so she could go visit her friend.    

There is plenty of day-to-day life at the home for her, I suppose that just like my life- some days are easy, other days are filled with unexpected happenings.  Some days we just go with the flow and other days we want to go and hide, be by ourselves and just sit down and cry and wonder what happened, how did I get in this situation?  But most days Life is Good!

It was interesting to me that she does not sing her song much anymore.

The mind is a wonder.  And maybe I don’t need to worry about what she can’t remember and focus on what she remembers now.  Because all too soon, it too will be lost.

In My Life – John Lennon

There are places I’ll remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone and some remain

All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead, and some are living
In my life I’ve loved them all………………….

Love and Light,

Cheryl Doreen

They won’t let me walk to school

Dorothy called me the other day, with the help of one of the nurses. She was calm but confused. She did not even say hello- she went right into “I’m concerned because they would not let me walk to school”.   That was the last thing I thought would come out of her mouth- so I asked her if she was ok, her answer was yes.  I asked her how far it was for her to walk to school.  She thought for a moment and said, “probably too far, that makes since why they won’t let me walk by myself.”   She told me she was going to ask them if she could catch a bus or if someone could drive her.   I told her it was the weekend and there wasn’t going to be any school for a few days, so she had nothing to worry about.   Problem solved. (-:

I wonder, but I do not want to experience what she is going through. Everyone there is different in the mindset of where they are and what they are.  It’s weird.  But it’s her journey and she is where she is supposed to be.   I’m just a helper – to help smooth out the rough spots and bring attention to the things that are happening that shouldn’t be.  (In my mind anyway.)

I’m glad the weather is warming up – I will be able to take her out for an ice cream again.

School’s (almost) out for the summer- Alice Cooper-

Love & Light,

 Cheryl Doreen

Rooster

Dorothy was in good spirits yesterday when I went for a visit.

I won’t go into the issue with her bathroom sink being clogged and me having to report it.   I have questions- but will go into it with the home.   Just be aware and “on the lookout” for these situations -if your loved one is in Memory Care- and please don’t be afraid to speak up.  Speak up loudly, firm, and politely, you are your loved one’s voice at this stage of their lives.

She was happy to see me, as was I to see her.  (-:    she sat on the bed as I swapped out clean clothes for dirty ones- and did my “easter egg hunting”.  She was excited to take a shower and get “clean” as she called it.  Be on the lookout for used “day diapers” you will find them everywhere.

 After wards we went out to the dining area, sat at a table, and colored.  I had gone picked out a simple coloring book- the ones you would purchase for a two-year-old.  With just one picture per page- of a dog or a rooster or a duck.  Simple one object per page.

 She picked out a rooster- we sat, and we colored for about 20 minutes.   I- in that time colored two pages- when I looked at hers, she only managed to color just a small portion of one section of the rooster’s comb. As I watched her, she was so focused on what she was doing, it was like she had to get as close to the line of color she had just placed down before she would draw another line.  It was “perfection” not scribble, scribble as a small child does.   She finally looked at me and told me she would have to finish coloring later- it was too hard for her to do right now.

As we sat there coloring, we talked- like old times, she told me that I did not have to worry about her, that she was fine ‘here’.  She assured me that she felt safe, and she had some friends.   She asked about Jessica and the boys, she asked if Paul ever married that girl.  ???   First, I have ever heard of Paul wanting to marry someone, but I’m sure she was thinking of Paul and someone else at the same time.  But, maybe not all families have secrets.  She told me I was a good daughter for coming to see her and take care of her.  Which brought warmth to my heart and a few tears to my eyes. The point is- she was present for few minutes, she was mom. 

Her friend Martin came around the corner and she told me she had to go.   So, I packed up my colors and left. (-; not without hug.

It’s all inclusive- all of it- all the crazy stages dementia puts them through and us as well. 

Peace- Norah Jones (worth a listen at least once a week (-:  )  There’s a place that I know

                                                                                                  Where the sycamores grow

                                                                                                  And the daffodils have their fun

                                                                                                  Where the cares of the day

                                                                                                  Seem to slowly fade away

                                                                                                  In the glow of the evening sun

                                                                                                  Peace, when the day is done ….

                                                                                                   ………………

-Steven Rimmon Siler/ John R Mandeville

Love and Light,

Cheryl Doreen

Beep All Night Long?

It’s been a few weeks. )-:  I’m in processing mode. (-:    A nurse at Dorothy’s home suggested we bring in hospice.  Hospice?  I asked, mom is not on her last weeks? What are you talking about?  She informed me that Hospice can come in, take over and do a better job of assessing a person’s situation sometimes better than the doctors can.   With the last several weeks of “clusters”- I agreed for this change to happen.   Who Knew? 

It’s been nothing but positivity from the start- they reached out asking questions and getting the paperwork going. Lots of positive energy.  Dorothy has been seen by two folks, within 4 days, one which is the hospice nurse, the other the hospice clergy. They both reached out to me to let me know what they experienced and asked me some questions.  It’s been about three weeks now and she is doing so much better!

Dorothy is no longer in pain- I’m assuming it’s due to the pain pills she is still getting on a regular basis.  And that’s ok- the goal is no pain and keep her in constant comfort.

It seems like an endless stream of circumstances that continue to flow, and they seem to come more frequently these days.   The latest episode below-   I cannot make this stuff up-If I could I’d be a writer for a television show. LOLOL Sigh!

Paul and I went to visit mom last Saturday- and when we walked in all the residences were out of their rooms and either packed into the couches or a comfy chair or even the dining room table and chairs with their heads down on the table, everyone was asleep!  It had to be everyone as   I have not seen that may people out in the common area since I have been going. Most folks choose to stay in their rooms.

When we walked into mom’s room, we heard this BEEP!  Every 15 seconds the BEEP sounded- never stopping.  It was the smoke detector!  It needed to be reset, or a new battery or some type of maintenance completed.   I’m not saying this is the reason everyone was sleeping in the common area-where this sound could not be heard- I’m just Assuming this was the reason. I also wondered how long this had been going on.  I for one would have been batsh!+ crazy.

So, I went to find someone to let them know and to get maintenance to fix it.  I was told that the maintenance man only works Monday – Friday.  I asked if there was an emergency number for maintenance they could call- no, was the answer.  So, I went back to Dorothy’s room and started our feel better, let’s get clean routine.  After the shower, Paul and I talked about just removing the device ourselves.  We decided this was not a good idea-he suggested calling the Fire Department. Brilliant!  

So, I went back searching for a worker and asked them again if they could get the maintenance man out- or if someone there could look at it.  I was told again no, I calmy said, ok then it looks like I will have to call the Fire Department-they will figure it out.   Needless to say, the issue (in moms’ room anyway) was taken care of within 5 minutes.   They found a chair and a tall worker man, and he disconnected the smoke detector.   I’m sure they did not want to explain to upper management why the fire department was there fixing the smoke detector(s).  I’m sure the fire department would have checked everyone’s room- in hindsight, maybe it would have been better to call them in the first place.  ?

Again, I am not saying this is why —– everyone was sleeping in the common area, but I know for sure it was for Dorothy.

I waited all day Monday for a phone call from someone at the facility, I did not get one and at 4:30 I decided to call.   I spoke to one of my favorite workers there and asked her how I should handle the situation.  I told her the story and she stated that there is an emergency number for maintenance on the weekends and off hours.  I suggested that she share that information with the ones that told me they do not.   While I had her I shared a few other concerns of mine- one being when are they going to unlock the front doors so the family can have easy access back in- or at least give them the code to the locked door.   She assured me she would take care of what she could and pass on the door question- she also welcomed more calls from me of any future situations.   (Which I’m happy about, this is what she should have said).

I understand that there is a shortage of workers, I have my own opinion on why this is, but we will save that for another day. I also understand that those who work in this area are worn out, it has been along few years, and everyone is ready for change for the positive.    I also appreciate them very much.

So, Dorothy, I will continue to have your back- I will continue to be a good advocate for your last years here on earth.  I will continue to help you be heard and hopefully never have to listen to a smoke detector and its BEEP ever again for any extended period of time.

 Tom Petty- I Won’t Back Down.  ❤

Love and Light,

 Cheryl Doreen

For now, all is good…

It took another half day on the phone to get Dorothy’s pain relief situation under control.  Finally, last Tuesday, the issue was resolved. The doctors blame the pharmacy, the pharmacy blames the doctors, and the nurses’ hands are tied.  And nothing moves forward or gets done- unless you keep on top of it and follow it through.

In these types of situations, I have never cared what happened or who is at fault. My goal: either work or personal- is to get the situation fixed as soon as possible and then figure out what went wrong, figure out a solution and create a new process and procedure to keep this from happening again.  It’s not rocket science (Or maybe it is , I know nothing about rocket science.) I lean more towards common sense.

Anyway, Dorothy is feeling a little better- not totally pain free., but she does not look so distressed. I spent a few hours with her on Sunday.  She’s tired, she’s in some pain and she’s confused and sad.   But we always find something to laugh about. And it’s in these moments she is herself.  Laughing at her expense or something that Paul or I said.  For now, all is good. (-:

I am looking forward to Spring, it will bring the opportunity to have the windows open longer in her room, (fresh air is like a long hot shower- makes you feel good!) it should also bring relief to mom’s bursitis.  It will also show me a better understanding on how she will rise above this pain and how much this affects her dementia decline. 

My Girlfriend “B” lost her mom a few weeks ago- a long battle with Dementia- the last three spent in a nursing home- mostly bedridden and not knowing anyone or anything.  Ms. Betty was able to stay in her own home and was cared for by her husband and daughter for as long as possible.  Eventually, they had to let her go to the facility- sometimes Dementia gets to the point where the “professionals” need to take over, both for the demented one’s care and for the family’s well-being.

It was a rough three years.  In the end “B” was able to be with and connect one last time with her mom.  Ms. Betty remembered her daughter- which brought joy and a sense of peace and a renewed connection to them both.  Ms. Betty was also able to do the same with her husband and son. ❤

 Experiencing watching a loved one go through a long illness; one you can see they suffer in: with either pain or not knowing where or who they are: we come to understand that the end is a Blessing.  Especially when we believe in the power and the promise of God. Ms. Betty was able to go out of this world knowing the ones she loved were with her until the very end. I can only imagine the comfort that calmed all of their souls.

“How Great Thou Art” Carrie Underwoods Version- my favorite line “ Then Sings my Soul” if you think about it this line speaks volumes.

 I am hoping that all of us get the same gift of contentment with our loved ones before we pass on.

 I believe that our souls are what matter, they guide us, they support us, they light our way- every. single. day.   I also believe they give us one last moment before we fly away.

Love and Light,

Cheryl Doreen

Help me understand…….

Never a dull moment in Memory Care.   Last week Dorothy’s home was on lock down because someone tested positive for Covid 19.  So, the facility was shut down for 10 days.   During the last part of the shutdown moms Bursitis flared up.  It’s in her right lower back, hip and down the side of her leg to her knee. It’s painful! While I called several times over the last two weeks during lock down to check on mom- no one said anything about her being in pain.   I know that pain like this is quick and out of nowhere. So, I do not know how long she has been complaining. The home called the doctor, and the PA came and did an x-ray on her on Friday- no broken bones- so the doctor did nothing.  Not even pain pills to help with the pain were given. 

  ???? Really????

We learned of this Friday late morning when I called the home to check on mom. I immediately called the doctor’s office – but the answering machine came on. I left a message at 11:45- knowing that the office closes at 1:00.  I “ASS”umed that they would call me back before they closed the office as I stated it was urgent and that mom was in pain and needed some relieve.  They did not call back. I called twice after that on Friday afternoon and early evening – I did get a” live in person” every time but it was the answering service, but no call back came. Again,  I stated that this was urgent, Dorothy wa sin pain and we needed to talk to someone.   )-:

At 6:00 am on Saturday, I received a call from an unknown number- I do not sleep with the phone in my bedroom- and when I checked the phone at 7:30- the message said to call back on the number that they called in on.  The number took me straight to the answering service, who stated that “they” could not help me- no one was on call, and it was an emergency to go to the emergency room.  They called Paul as well but at 7:00 AM – and he was busy and told them he would call them right back- when he called back it his call also went to the answering service with the same response and the same response. )-: So I went “virtual” I left a few messages on the Patient Portal on the doctors website. Thinking the virtual assistant messaging might be more “logical”.

Saturday after lunch the shutdown was lifted at moms’ home, so, Paul and I went to see what was up with mom.  When we walked in Dorothy was sitting in a chair with pain all over her face.   I said “Hello mom!  How are you feeling today”?  Her immediate response was “Well Cheryl, I’m not doing good at all – my back and leg hurt so bad I can hardly stand it”.  Knowing moms demented state this confirmed to me how much pain she was in.  So, off we went to Urgent Care.  

Two hours later- (which was a record visit to an Urgent Care) we were back at the home. After talking to the doctor at urgent care and bringing him up to speed- he prescribed pain meds-enough for 5 days- and a three-day steroid. While I’m not a fan of steroids I was hoping it would help relax the inflamed area.   We gave her a pain pill before we were out of the parking lot of the pharmacy.  Looking back, I wish I would have given her two. (-:    

When we got back to the home, she felt like taking a shower-so, I helped her get clean and “feeling refreshed “– as she says. Still in pain but ready for supper and bed. (-:

I left a third message on the patient portal at the website Saturday evening.  I let them know firmly, but kindly again to help me understand why we have not heard back from them.  Is no one on emergency call?   Why were pain meds not ordered for Dorothy when she was in obvious pain? Help me understand what constitutes an emergency?  Aren’t old people are subject to emergencies all the time, and sometimes they do not require an emergency room visit.  they just need someone on call to help them get through a “weekend”. Especially with demented folks- they cannot talk for themselves, and they should not be sent to an emergency or anywhere alone.

I also let them know of the day’s events that occurred at Urgent Care, and what the doctor had prescribed and that he had given pain meds for the next 5 days. But that I still needed someone to reach out to me.

  I was off to see mom and as soon as I got there, she had just finished lunch. So, we went back to her room- I rubbed tons of cream on her and put on the hot patches.  As she was already laying down on the bed, I covered her with a blanket and told her a nap might be a good idea.  She agreed and before I was out of the room, she was asleep.  (-:   I gave the over-the-counter cream to the nurse, told her of the conversation I had with the PA and that the directive was on the way along with the pain pills.   Which would be needed if the 5 days that the urgent care was not enough.

It’s Tuesday as I sit and write this, and I am still fighting for mom to be pain free. I just got off the phone with the home and the drugs are still not there and the directive they gave for the over the counter cream was “pea size” for the area. ?   “A little dab will do you”  is not going to work  in this case. Where is the common sense?    Sigh!   Heavy Sigh!   

At 9AM on Sunday morning I got a call from the Physician’s Assistant, not the doctor.  The doctor has never seen mom, only the PA.   Anyway, she informed me that the doctor instructed her to call me direct after he read the messages I had sent.   I asked the questions and she answered them.   She said she had put in an order for the pain pills on Friday but could not guarantee when they would be delivered. Really?   The AP and I spoke for a while and got things “ironed” out. My message was clear to her- that our goal is to keep mom worry and agitated free, and out of pain and very comfortable.  Dorothy has lived an amazing life,  but, while she  may still be “living” she is at the end of her life.  She is not going to get well again, she is not going to be the person she was a few years ago, she is going to continue to go downhill from here and she needs to be able to do it in comfort, with grace and painfree.  The PA agreed and assured me mom would have her medications and the directive for “BenGay” or similar pain cream – (which I asked her if she could give a directive and that I would pick up over the counter.).  The phone call ended on a positive understanding on both sides.

I know the easy option would be for me to bring her home.  But I cannot give her 24-7 care.  I was not given that gift.  Even the nurses and caregivers at the facility get to go home after 8 hours.

So, I will continue to carry the flag for Dorothy and help her in anyway that I can.  As I type this, I have sent a text to the PA- waiting on a reply. I am also waiting on a reply from the pharmacy which is in Alabama- which the request for help must be made online on the portal- they do not take phone calls. ???   But I am of full hope that this issue will be taken care of today. (-:      

It’s unbelievable. !@#$%%^&*()  What do people do –who do not have anyone fighting for them?  Why is the system at this stage of life not geared towards common since and comfort for those who need it most? 

Someone please help me understand that.

Continued Love & Light,

Cheryl Doreen

Random Phone Call(s)

Sometimes, some of the nurses at the facility will let the residence use their phone so they can call their loved ones. I will answer the call if I know the number and I have gotten into the habit of putting all the nurses’ numbers in my phone, when I get these calls- so I don’t just blow it off as “spam”.

I did not recognize this number, so I let it go to voice mail.  When I listened to it, it was mom in a cheery voice- it went like this:

“Hello Cheryl, you know my name and my number, and I am calling to tell you that we are going to be in Germantown. I don’t know how long, maybe just a day or longer. Let me see if I can find out”.  There is silence for a few moments- and I can hear her asking someone how long are we going to be in Germantown?.   She comes back to the phone and continues “welp- anyway we are going be there, and if you have the opportunity to look out the window – look out the window and see if you can see us driving by”. Love you, By!  Click.  I can only assume her and her friends are the we, which makes me smile.

I’m sure the conversation would have been different if I would have answered the phone- with “why am I here?  I want to go to Germantown. I don’t need to be in a place like this. Who put me here”?  On and on and on she would go and only get herself frustrated and all worked up.   Instead, she was talking into thin air and wanted to let me know that she was okay.   The moment of anxiety had passed.  She was going to be ok.    

When I went to see mom one of the nurses- Joyce, came up to me and asked me if I got moms message.  I said yes, and I thanked her.  She said I’m so sorry I hope it did not bother you, I stopped her right there and gave her a hug and told her I welcome all phone calls from mom.    

I can handle all of them.  She might not like the answers I give her, but I will always talk to her.

Joyce was so happy – and I know why- most of the folks that are in Memory Care and or Assisted Living are dropped off and not seen by their loved ones very often or at all.   And the nurses know who important it is for the family to come and visit their loved ones.   The resident needs to know they are not forgotten.

Do what you can.

Peace & Love & Light,

Cheryl Doreen