Checking In

I’ve been checking in with Dorothy, to see how she is doing, but, I don’t get to talk to her. I get the opportunity to talk to the nurse and she always tells me the same thing. “Dot is fine, she is walking around with her friends”. These words are music my ears, calm to my soul and makes my heart happy.

I do miss seeing and talking to mom, and I cannot wait until this 100 year pandemic is over, my guess -by Labor Day- we should all be back to normal – or whatever the new normal will be. I just hope that the assisted living, memory care, rehabs and Nursing Homes and hospitals get back to the way they were before. Where you can go and visit anytime from daylight to dark. Again, I feel for everyone who has someone in these facilities during this lockdown. There is a light at the end of this tunnel and it is a bright one. So, stay safe and be ready.

I did take a few photos of mom and her dad, granny & pappy and her sister and framed them and took to her a few weeks ago. One time when I called – the nurse told me how happy mom was to receive them. They are from 70 years ago – black and white- and she was so proud to show them off to her friends and anyone who would take the time for her to share.

I’m pretty sure Dorothy is having the time of her life- as her life is now- and I’m so happy we moved her from a place going down hill to a place where she is able to bloom, inspire and be content. ( it seems like she is anyway)

Enjoy the day!

Peace & Love,

Cheryl Doreen

Calm —- short recap


Dorothy and her facility are still on lockdown- so, there is no chance for a visit until next Thursday.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed.  I know she is in good hands and I know she is happy if she’s “in charge”.  And they are giving her “jobs” to help with.  Helping is one of her gifts.   Those of you who know me, now know where I get both these from. (-:

Just a recap of what to look for and do if you are experiencing a loved one with dementia and it’s time for them to get help that you cannot offer.  Only 10 today (-0:

-Never be mean to them- in their mind they are correct- no matter how crazy their story may be, just agree.

-Make sure they are safe and have someone to look after them- they are now going backwards- Dorothy is around the year 10- I’d guess as far as her mind and most memories.

-Be sure to get them outside whenever you can.  You can take them around the same block for a few minutes- they will not know the difference.  

-Talk to them about their life- ask them questions- don’t demand an answer- they will give the information they want.  Again, don’t correct them when they are wrong.

-Visiting Angels – in my opinion- is the best agency out there for early onset of dementia.  They come to your or their home- and adjust to your schedule.  You might have to go through a few to find the perfect fit- but when you do- you will know it.   

-When it’s time to move them into a more protective environment- outside your care- make sure to place them in Assisted Living first- and be sure the facility has a Memory Care Unit they can transfer to.   They will make friends and settle in just fine- they will only want you to feel guilty and tell you otherwise. (-:

-Befriend other patients at the facility along with the staff- it will go a long way when needed.  Make sure you know all the rules and how the game is played- it will be easier on everyone.

-Visit whenever you can-if Covid ever goes away- send them flowers to brighten their day or send them their favorite golf magazine- everyone loves to get something fun in the mail.

-When you do move them – less is more- if their room is full of “stuff” they will get confused and sad.

-You are the boss, you are in charge, you have to make the best decisions for them, not you. 

-Make sure you and your siblings are on the same page, if not it will be an unnecessary rough,                        dramatic ride.

You got this!

Love and Light!

Cheryl Doreen

The end of one chapter and the beginning of another

Dorothy has finally gotten relieve from her cold sore 10 days later.  With the learning curve for me, I take full responsibility for not knowing.

This week I have transferred mom over to one of the “in-house” doctors.   The difference is they are on call 24/7 365 days a year.  So, a tough lesson for me to learn- please don’t make the same mistake don’t ASSume that the service you have will be the right one.  

Questions to ask:

  • How often do you visit?  
  • What is the process for emergencies?  
  • Is there a backup for the doctor in case of an emergency?  What is the policy for weekends, holidays, etc.
  • Are there any over the counter medications that I need to get for you to approve?  
  • What am I missing here- ask them that question- I did this time and it helped with a few things.  
  • Another thing to do is “listen” see how they respond to your questions- see how quick they get the paperwork done- if you have to ask afew times- don’t go with them—if the back office doesn’t run smooth the rest of the operation is not going to run smooth either.  I wish I’d have been smarter on this but, it’s true, you are never too old to learn (-:
  • Remember at this point you are in charge- not your loved one-  they are back to children, honestly! All they need is an advocate.

I called mom yesterday afternoon 1/8/21  and I was able to talk with her. The conversation was noting like I had experienced to date- it went like this:

Hello Mom, how are you feeling today?

I’m feeling quite well today Cheryl, are you home?  I’m at work right now and I’m really busy.

Yes, mom I’m at home but I won’t be able to talk later, so I thought you’d have the time to talk now.

I can’t Cheryl, there is too much going on here at work and I will have to call you later, when I get home.

Ok mom, I love you

I love you too Cheryl, good bye!

The phone goes dead.   

Sigh!  

The good think is she is busy, she is happy and she is not worried about when she is going to get to come home.

Peace & Love,

Cheryl Doreen

Live and Learn

Dorothy is feeling better- she had a rough end of week/weekend with cold sores. After mom gets sick- she ends her sickness with cold sores.  I made sure that she had Vaseline and other over the counter medication for cold sores when she was moved into memory care- just in case.  The end of last week, I got the call that she had them and that she started complaining of her lips hurting.  I let them know that mom had over the counter medicine in her room.  They informed me that they are not allowed- per state law- to administer any medications without a doctor’s directive.  I was like- really- it’s over the counter meds- they refused.   Which I totally understand – they could lose their license.  I get it- but I don’t get it- really! It’s over the counter meds for an obvious need. Oh my! When knew?  I did not.  What else do I do not know.

 Oh My- so in short -mom had to suffer for a few days until I could get in touch with the doctor – because they were shut down for the holiday weekend and they offer no emergency assistance (after leaving two messages and calling back to talk to someone in person – frustrated) when the doctor finally calls -late in the day- they told me they did a face-time with Dorothy and saw the sores and informed me they were really bad, (I can’t imagine the pain she must be in- I hurt for her!)  and she was going to call in an antibiotic.   I feel really bad that I did not know I needed a doctor’s directive for everything —-yes, everything that she needs.  So, I went to the drugstore and loaded up on everyday things, you need every once in a while.  I listed them by name, why she would need them and directed them to the directions on the product for administering.  I will send this to the doctor for them to write a directive on all of this. 

 The list is as follows- let me know if forgot anything. Bayer Back & Body for when she has lower back pain, Band-Aids & Neosporin in case of a cut or scrape, Benadryl cream for an itch, Carmex and Vaseline more- just in case, Phazyme Maximum Strength- even old people get gas, Ricola Sour Throat Drops, Visine Eye Drops, Pepto Bismol- you never know, Walgreens cold & Flu day and night, ZZZZ Quil NyQuil- you never know when you need help getting to sleep. She already has a directive for Tylenol (-:   

I did get a returned call from the facility while writing this- the good news is I am not missing any other information.  So, I feel good about that. She informed me to add flushable to the items I bring her. Remember there are no dumb questions.  (-:   

Also, we are in the process of getting mom transferred over to one of the doctors who are on call at the facility.   They offer after hours and emergency service.   (-:    I am learning so much!

Love and Light!

Cheryl Doreen

I wonder……..

The drive home from dropping Dorothy back at her facility from the ER was full of questions to myself:

  • How can you send someone to the ER with just a upset stomach especially someone with dementia- it’s like sending a three year old – they do not know what is going on    because that is protocol- especially with Covid and the pandemic
  • How can you let a demented person walk around unescorted in the ER area? I cannot come up with a rational explanation for this one- except maybe-  understaffed
  • How was it ok for me to go to the ER and take mom back to her facility- I can’t even go see her because they are on lockdown   it was the thing to do, I was happy to do it, and thankful to be able to do it, and it was free- no ambulance fee going back
  • How can this Covid pandemic get any stranger?  The rules are created in the moment? No rhyme or reason? Set up by who is in charge at the time?   It is what it is – this too shall pass

Oh my!   The things I think about and try to rationalize.  (-:

I call mom before the end of the day to see how she is feeling, and they tell me she is feeling fine- just a little tired.   I end the day thankful for everything that happened- life is good!  

I wake up the next day and call mid-day to check on mom’s status.  I get to talk to her and she informs me she has diarrhea and she wants me to come and get her because she does not want to be embarrassed with having an accident.   I get it!  She doesn’t talk long and hangs up.  I call back and talk to the nurse and am told that she did have diarrhea earlier in the morning and that she has been resting and staying in her room.   Good, I think, rest is what she needs to get over whatever it is she has.

I get a call midafternoon from the hospital- it’s the lab department informing me that mom has E. coli in her blood   ???  explains the upset stomach and the diarrhea.   They ask me how she is feeling and if she has a temperature.  I tell them about my conversation with the nurse earlier that morning and ask if I can have the facility call them directly.  So, that’s what happened.    The nurse called me back to let me know that they are going to let the hospital know if there is any changes with mom.   Nothing I can do.

I can’t help but wonder if the pandemic wasn’t here how much easier this would be- I’d be with mom during the day- making sure she was resting, making sure she was showered and clean- making sure she was drinking enough liquids.   But as things are, I have to have faith that the facility is doing all those things for her.

I have called back to the hospital to see if any other tests have come back for Dorothy- they would not give me any more information they directed me to her online patient portal.  I try to get this on this site- and am instructed to send them an email for access.  They respond saying they do not have the POA (power of attorney).   So, I send them that and I am awaiting a response.

Sigh!   Everyone needs someone to be an advocate for them.  I wonder who mine will be (-;

Love and Light,

Cheryl Doreen

the story continues

The story continues:

   I drive up to the ER and park the car- I wait in line to let them know I am here for Dorothy.  The place is packed- they are trying to do the 6’ safety, but it is difficult.  I see mom moving towards me- I just told the girl that I was here to get her- mom is all by herself, she looks dazed and confused, she is walking tentatively, but she smiles and waves when she sees me.  I tell the girl that Dorothy is walking towards us, I wait until she gets to me, I take off my coat and put it on her.   We walk to towards the car, she has no idea where she is, she says to me “thanks for coming to get me out of this place for a while Cheryl, it’s so boring in here”.  Sigh!    I ask her how her stomach is doing- she says she feels fine. Of course, she does!, they gave her a shot for nausea- she doesn’t remember being sick just a few hours ago.   I ask her if she knows where she is and she says no- I tell her she is just leaving the ER because she was sick this morning with an upset stomach.  She says, I don’t remember that I don’t remember being in the hospital, why can’t I remember that?   Sigh!

We pull out of the hospital parking lot and head towards the back roads back to her “home”- as we head down a road- I see a pump truck- I pull into the next driveway and call Paul to see if it is him.  Yes, it is!  Talk about a God Wink!  Thank You!   We turned around and were able to visit with Paul for a while.  As I sat in the driver’s seat listening to Paul and mom talk, it brought tears to my eyes-but, only for a moment- it sucks!   The entire situation sucks!  Sigh!   Thankful to see Paul and thankful that he got to see mom.

The next stop is a gas station for a Sprite- mom was so thirsty.   I asked her what she wanted for lunch- without hesitation she said a big, juicy hamburger.   I asked her if she was sure and I ask her how her stomach is.  She said yes, I want a burger and informed me there was nothing wrong with her stomach.   I told her what had taken place that morning and if she thought it was a good idea that she had a burger.  Why yes Cheryl, there is nothing wrong with me.   So, I figured a plain hamburger from Burger King would not do too much damage.  So, that is what she had.   

We took the long, country, scenic route back to her facility.  She was ready to be back- she thought she was in Germantown on the ride and was surprised at how much it had changed.  

We got out of the car- rang the bell- we said goodbye-and they let her back in.  

Just like that.   

I sat in the car for a few minutes and wondered —- I cried—- and I thanked God.    Nothing left to do- so, I drove home.

Love and Light!

Cheryl Doreen

Trip to the ER during a pandemic )-:

Dorothy was sick at her stomach this morning and they called 911 – the ambulance took her to the Emergency Room- just to be safe.    There are a few things that went through my head when they called me and told me this:

  • Should she go to the emergency room by herself- she can’t remember from moment to moment what is going on I understand that this is protocol- but it’s a pandemic out there
  • Why not keep her in her room for a day- see if it passes      if she was “normal” she would stay in bed or the bathroom floor until “it” passes 
  • I need to call the ER and let her know she is coming and let them know she is demented- especially with the pandemic going on – I need to find out what the protocol is- why expose her to the hospital and all the sickness there?  This I can help with I can make the call

So, I call the ER- and let them know that she is coming – I ask what the “rules” are for a demented person being sent via ambulance- and what or how I can help with the situation.  I am informed that they are at full capacity it might take a while to get her into a room, and no I cannot come in due to Covid.  When they get her in an ER room and get her blood work done, they will contact me.  So, I wait, and I wonder if it will be six hours or even longer.   If you’ve been to the ER you know it’s like buying a car- slow process. (-:

The doctor calls me after two hours and tells me they are releasing her.  They find nothing wrong with her and she is asking to go home.  (of course, she is- she’s demented she has no idea why she’s there) I tell the doctor she is demented and ask what kind of tests they ran.  She informed me they took 4 vials of blood to run some test- her temperature is normal- they gave her something to stop the vomiting- and they did a Covid test.  She said that when they got any results back, they would let me know.   I asked what the procedure was due to Covid- did the ambulance take her back to the facility? She said no, since she had a ride- (me) that I could come and get her and take her back to the facility.   What?????   A few things went through my mind:

  • I need to call the facility to see if I am able to bring her back- due to Covid— they said yes, it would be okay for me to go and get her and bring her back 
  • Do I need to go get a rapid test? Do I need to have my tempature taken before I get her in the car?    No, it will be okay for you to go get her and bring her back
  • Can I feed her? Or should I wait until she gets back to the facility?  Yes, you can stop and get something to eat that won’t be a problem.

Ok- just one question – if I can do all of this why can I not go see her in the facility whenever I want?   Help me understand why it’s ok to do this now- but not any other time. ????

More tomorrow.  

Love and Light,

Cheryl Doreen

Christmas in July?

Christmas for Dorothy’s family was very different this year- as it was for most everyone else.   We were all separated due to Covid 19 and other obstacles.   The one thing we all had was memories of Christmas’s gone by.  My daughter and son in law were up unit 4:00 AM- I recall those days and it brings a big smile to my face- even at the time all I wanted was sleep.  (-:  

  Months, weeks, days of planning, hiding, whispering, wrapping, building- usually in the final hours- were all worth it- to see the  15 minutes of JOY, EXCITEMENT, and PLEASURE on those who received your gifts.  

I wonder what mom’s memories were- I hope they were happy ones-if she recalled any at all.   I do know that Dorothy is in a good place these days, with people who care and are concerned about her.  I’m sure she had a wonderful day with her new friends, and I’m sure there were gifts to open from the local church.   We will wait and have Christmas in July- (hopefully).  When we can bring her to her family to celebrate, I envision a bright sunny day, sitting in the shade- with snowmen all around.  A soft breeze and Iced Tea and Lemonade along with Santa Sugar Cookies- turkey burgers on the grill with a delicious summer salad.   I will find a tree outside to decorate and string Christmas lights on the deck.  My vision is clear.     

Yes, I am looking forward to July when this pandemic that is keeping us separated has passed and we will reunite again as a family.    

Family Table – Zac Brown Band

Love and Light,

Cheryl Doreen

Bloom where you are Planted

Bloom where you are planted.  A bishop from way back when is credited with saying it- and it is in the Bible a few times. Mary Engelbreit  made it a household phrase in the late 1980’s- or there about.  

Anyway, if you think about it- we get the opportunity to bloom quite often in our lives.   We bloom when we are born and keep blooming throughout our lives, we either bloom in our younger years in a safe harbor and stay for the rest of our lives and stay rooted. Or we may choose to transplant ourselves throughout our short lives to find the perfect spot.  Either way we continue to bloom.  Some seasons we are more vibrant that others, some seasons we do not get enough of something and we look all withered and faded- but we continue to bloom.

Dorothy is finally settled in a place where she is blooming a glorious color.  She is happy, she is content, she has friends, she feels useful.   Paul and my decision to move her to a new facility in the midst of a global pandemic has paid off.   When we first moved her- as you may remember from a previous post-, they had to shut the facility down due to someone inside testing positive for the Covid 19.  Not only was she in a new environment she could not get planted. she was wilting away.  

After about 9 weeks we made another decision to move her into memory care at the new facility.  Dorothy was really unhappy, confused and frustrated in assisted – no-one was allowed out of their rooms- this did not stop her she was out anyway  all the time (lol- you can’t tell her she can’t do something, I know where I get it (-:   ) .    I must admit we had a tough decision- we just moved her out of memory care due to the fact that we were not happy with where she was and questioned the care and the management.  

We moved mom on a Saturday- the one condition I had was that Paul and I did the moving- not the facility.   They agreed and when we got there- mom was in Memory Care where she was freshly transplanted.  She had been there for almost a week during the day and she would go back to her room in Assisted Living to sleep.  She was a happy woman!  When Paul and I walked in- she was not even excited to see us.  She, I’m sure was thinking- “what are you doing on my turf”.  She did not get up out of her seat, didn’t want to help us move her.  She had no interest of leaving her newfound friends.  (more on them in a future post)

Paul and I moved her without any drama, and we were able to downsize her again, this time into a one room unit- with a bath.   As I was moving her closet and purging at the same time, I was thinking of the way we come into this world, with nothing- our parents supply everything we need, when we are old enough to make our money and our own choices on what buy – we buy what we want.  When we get out on our own, raise a family, (or not), we collect and collect and collect.  Clothes, trinkets, treasures and memories.   All the clothes, trinkets and treasures are all minimized along the way to what are needs become.   At the end, there is not a lot we need and at the very end there is nothing we need.  Less, really is more- and in some cases less will make you bloom more radiant.

Peace & Love, 

Cheryl Doreen

Black & White

Dorothy has called me a few times over the past week, and she is very sad because she is worried she will not be coming home for Christmas.   Oh my gosh!  How awful it is for all of the folks “stuck” in limbo with this Covid disaster.   The sadness and sorrow they have felt the last nine months, unable to get out and spend any time with family or friends.   Unable to get a human hug- or a kiss or butterfly kisses.   Ouch!    Sucks!

This will be the first year in decades that we have not spend Christmas together.  I know – there are millions of people in the same situation.  And it is going to be tough. 

 My biggest decision is what to get her for Christmas.  What does she need?  Nothing!  Want? Nothing.  She is at the time in her life where less is more- less stuff to deal with, less options for dressing, less of everything. 

I think what I’m going to do is find a few old photos of her granny& pappy and frame it.  I will also find a photo of her and her sister and frame it too.   These photos are I black and white- and that is where her mind is these days- back in time- back in black and white. I always wondered what the colors of their clothes were. (-:

Reminds me of “In Color” Jamey Johnson

Love & Light,

Cheryl Doreen