Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Linus, our sharpei collie mix passed away at 5:00am this morning
due to complications of bloat. He would have been 9 years old this Saturday.
He passed away quickly and painlessly in our arms. We have many fond memories
of him from the moment he came into our lives at 10 weeks of age. He was our
gentle giant and we feel blessed to have known and loved him.

Linus - Nov. 3, 1998 - Oct. 31, 2007

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Thursday, October 30, 2007

Today was a pretty good day with Mom. She wanted me to take Dad's dresser. I told her I would drop it off at Goodwill but that I could not take it home. She seemed distressed by that because Dad assembled the dresser. I held firm with her and she eventually let it go. Afterwards, we did our usual round of shopping. She ran her motorized cart into me in the meat department...not meaning to...she just was after a particular kind of meat and didn't see me standing there. One of the butchers did hit me in the kneecap when he was swinging a meat tray around. I was glad to leave the meat section! Mom picked out her groceries and then we went to pick up something else she needed at the drugstore. After that we went through the drive-thru at Jack in the Box and got fish sandwiches, a milkshake for Mom, lemonade for me and fries for both of us.

I am thinking that I need to get some kind of rolling cart...dragging all these bags of groceries upstairs is killing me. I finally got everything unloaded and lunch on the table. Mom needed to eat because she was feeling lightheaded. Probably due to that thick milkshake she started drinking. She is kind of like a child with things like milkshakes. She drinks it down pretty fast. To get her upstairs I had to take the milkshake away so she would focus on walking into the apartment building, getting her mail and going to the elevator.

After lunch I carved the pumpkin that I bought her this morning. She seemed really happy with the design once I had it all carved up. We talked a little more about how Dad was before he died and how he never said anything to Mom about not feeling well. I can tell this really troubles Mom because she mentions it every time I see her. She is having a really hard time accepting his death.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Today was one of those days when I wished that Dad was still alive and that Mom had died instead of him. Mom was super difficult today and acted out when I wouldn't give in to her ridiculous request. She wants to buy a $200 trunk to put Dad's suit, sweater and other papers in. It is absolutely ridiculous to save his clothes. When I told Mom I would not take her to the mall to buy the trunk she got nasty. Told me that I was wasting money doing the remodeling at our house. Pouted, wouldn't talk to me...basically acted liked a two year old. I took her to do her shopping and then took her home. I prepared her lunch....but left because she started giving me a hard time again.

I found another store where she can get the same trunk at a better price so I am going to take her there tomorrow. Pamela and I talked and she helped me see that Mom can spend the money she has in any way that she wants I will take her tomorrow.

She is vomiting a lot after she eats, but refuses to go to her doctor. I think it may be acid reflux...but she says that something "flipped" in her stomach. I have no idea what she is referring to but I am not going to force her to go to the doctor.

I get so tired of dealing with all her irrational bullshit. She is living in a world of her own creation that has nothing to do with reality. Today was a bad day with her.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I woke up this morning realizing that I had been hearing Dad's voice in my dream. I could hear him clearly...he was telling me that he was making soup. It was so good to hear his voice again. When I woke up I realized right away that I had this dream. I felt comforted.

Therapy yesterday...still struggling with the ups and downs of being Mom's assistant. Also talked about how much I miss Dad and wish I could talk to him. Voila..he talked to me and I felt comforted.

Just back from a week on vacation in California. I enjoyed everything we did, but felt oddly flat for most of the trip. My therapist says this is what grieving feels like to a person. It is a strange out of body feeling.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Saturday, October 6, 2007

I took Mom to Sears today to buy some shoes to go with her new raincoat. Apparently clerks in the shoe department at Sears don't actually fit people with shoes...just bring them shoes but only if you ask for help. I ended up being the one to find and fit the shoes...we considered four different pairs before Mom settled on the ones that were the best fit. Fortunately, they were also the pair that were the most practical..with flat rubber soles and lace ties. Afterwards, I went to pick up a few things for her at the grocery store. Mom wanted to go have a cup of coffee and a piece of pie, so off we went to her favorite restaurant, Shari's. She seemed to be worrying about how long her money will hold out. I told her that she seemed to be doing pretty well and just take it one day at a time. Afterwards, I took her home, put her new shoes on for her to break them in, put her eye drops in and took off.

When I am with Mom I have so many different emotions. Sometimes I have a lot of empathy for her because she is in a touch place. Dad created a world that she could function in safely for years and now he is gone. Other times I get really exhausted and she just drives me crazy. We do have our good moments when we can share a laugh or enjoy a meal together. Today at the restaurant she told me how much money she has left to live I know she is concerned about how she will get by.

When Mom was in the geriatric mental health hospital last December her social worker told me that she had a personality disorder. It turns out there are several and he never specified which one of them is Mom's personality disorder. From my research is would seem that she is a combination of two:

Schizotypal personality disorder:

Many believe that schizotypal personality disorder represents mild schizophrenia. The disorder is characterized by odd forms of thinking and perceiving, and individuals with this disorder often seek isolation from others. They sometimes believe to have extra sensory ability or that unrelated events relate to them in some important way. They generally engage in eccentric behavior and have difficulty concentrating for long periods of time. Their speech is often over elaborate and difficult to follow.

* Superstitious or preoccupied with paranormal phenomena
* Difficult to follow speech patterns
* Feelings of anxiety in social situations
* Suspiciousness and paranoia
* Appears shy, aloof, or withdrawn to others
* "Magical thinking" - the idea that you can influence people and events
with your thoughts
* Odd, elaborate style of dressing, speaking and interacting with others
* Belief that messages are hidden for you in public speeches and displays
* Suspicious or paranoid ideas

Borderline personality disorder

* Difficulty controlling emotions or impulses
* Frequent, dramatic changes in mood, opinions and plans
* Stormy relationships involving frequent, intense anger and possibly
physical fights
* Fear of being alone despite a tendency to push people away
* Feeling of emptiness inside
* Suicide attempts or self-mutilation

I would say Mom has all of these behaviors except the last one in the borderline personality disorder section. I have never know her to be suicidal or to self-mutilate.

So, given all of this I am doing the best I can. Some days are easier than others. Those "other" days really take it out of me.

I am leaving tomorrow night for a week in California..L.A. and Catalina Island. I need a break.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Today is my 53rd birthday. It is my first birthday without Dad. I spent the first half of the day with Mom...having breakfast, going to the store and bank. She told me the story of the day of my birth again. She tells me the story every year. Dad was so excited to have a baby girl. He came to the hospital to see me...I was born on a Saturday in 1954. Of course he took the guys cigars at the office. He brought home all kinds of clothes people had given him at work and put them up against me to see how I would look. Mom said he acted like he was the only person who had ever been a father before...he was that excited.

After I dropped Mom off I went to the DMV to renew my driver's license....which was a complete exercise in futility. I sat there for one hour and forty five minutes before I gave up, took another number and went off to therapy. My hope was that I would get back in time to use my second number which was 229. When I left they were on 167 and by the time I got back they were only on I had to sit for another half hour before they called my number. Of course the picture the woman took is horrible...I look like an aging chipmunk who just put a pound of nuts in her mouth. I was just glad to be out of that hellish place.

Later I went to REI to exchange a fleece jacket for another size and buy Pamela a fleece sweater and some shoes. Home finally by 5pm.

Today in therapy I talked a lot about how difficult Mom can be sometimes and discussed ways of coping with situation. One thing I am going to do is start pulling back a bit so that I am not available so much. I really want her to go into assisted living and one way to help her see her need for that is by not being her assistant all the time. Pat suggested I get someone to come in and help her..but I don't think this would work at all. I am going to ask Mark to take on the whole moving thing with Mom...she wants to move when her lease is up. This is her pattern..I really don't think it makes sense to move unless it is into an assisted living facility.

I finally made sense of something today that happened a couple of years ago with Dad. Mom and Dad were here for a visit, staying with us as usual. Dad and I had an opportunity to go off together and spend some time. I took him to a really cool hardware store called ReJuve. We also went to have donuts and coffee at Krispy Kreme. He seemed very anxious about getting back to the house by the time he had told Mom he would return. I didn't think it was such a big deal and encouraged him to come with me to Lowe's to do some more shopping. At the time I remember that I commented to Pamela that I thought Dad had Stockholm Syndrome. Stockholm syndrome is a psychological response sometimes seen in an abducted hostage, in which the hostage shows signs of loyalty to the hostage-taker, regardless of the danger (or at least risk) in which the hostage has been placed.

A more accurate description of what I think was going on follows:

Adult physical abuse: In lay terms, this is a reference to any person who, because of constant and severe domestic violence usually involving physical abuse by a partner, becomes depressed and unable to take any independent action that would allow him or her to escape the abuse. The condition explains why abused people often do not seek assistance from others, fight their abuser, or leave the abusive situation. Sufferers have low self-esteem, and often believe that the abuse is their fault. Such persons usually refuse to press criminal charges against their abuser, and refuse all offers of help.

In some ways I think Dad was Mom's hostage, and I definitely know that she abused him both psychologically and physically. I asked my therapist today why he didn't tell me what was going on. I would have gotten him out of that situation immediately. She said she thought he probably didn't tell me out of shame or because he knew that I would take him away from Mom. He felt so responsible for Mom that he couldn't imagine who would take care of her if he didn't do it. I know he loved Mom because I sat in on the session last December with them and Mom's psychiatrist and social worker when she was in the hospital for hitting Dad. He sat there and cried and said he loved Mom. I will never understand their relationship. It just makes me sad that he suffered in any way. I know Mom must suffer too...I know she is so lonely without him now. The entire situation just makes me sad.