Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Shopping at Northgate

Mom wanted to go shopping last Sunday at Northgate, an enclosed mall in Seattle. They have a kiosk there where I can borrow a wheelchair, so that makes it somewhat easier...or rather it would have been easier if the guy staffing the kiosk hadn't been 40 minutes late opening up. I had to flag down security and get them to make some calls before they were able to find the person who was supposed to be on duty. I had brought Mom in from the car after the first 20 minutes and left her seated on a sofa nearby. I finally got the wheelchair and we were off searching for all the things she was after.

Mom cannot go by a clothes sale rack to save her there we were trying to get between all the racks with the wheelchair. We did find her a white coat on sale, a blouse, two pairs of pants and a bra. In each department I tried to cope with her desire to look at absolutely everything. At one point she started to cry because I was having trouble navigating in a tight space. These trips to the mall really wear me out...but it is one of the few activities that she is able to do now. After all the shopping, I took Mom down to the food court where we had fish and chips and some sodas. After lunch, she was ready to I took her to the car, dropped off all the purchases, and then took the chair back.

Once we got home, she tried on everything...both to please herself and for me...if something didn't fit, I wanted to know it right away. Luckily, everything fit and she was happy with the day.

As I was driving home, I started to think that I just can't do these trips by myself much longer. She is a handful, the mall is pretty intense, and navigating is pretty stressful.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Last Sunday I took Mom to the Strawberry Festival on Vashon Island. What she really wanted to do there was have me drive by my brother's house on the island. She desperately wants to be invited over by my brother, but that is not going to happen. He doesn't really want her there and his wife definitely does not want her there. I had very mixed feelings about driving her by the house but I did it just so she would stop talking about it. She liked seeing the little barn that my brother built for his daughter's horses, Reba and Buddy.

After that we drove back to the area where the festival was happening and found a parking place nearby. I put Mom in the wheelchair and then rolled her down the street to see the various booths. She was pretty hungry, so I rolled her off the main road to get to a local restaurant. She got pretty agitated when I took us off the main road, but I did it so that we would have a clearer path to the restaurant without having to dodge in and out of the crowd.

Luckily, the restaurant had a wheelchair ramp, so I managed to roll us up to the door...then hold the door while I rolled Mom into the restaurant. I got us situated at a table and then went to the bathroom. By this time, I was pretty hot and sweaty from being outside rolling my own body weight around in a wheelchair...meaning Mom. We ordered lunch and sat quietly eating. Mom got sick again and I jumped up to hold the napkin while she vomited part of her lunch into it. I got her cleaned up, and then paid the bill.

Afterwards, I took her back to the street fair where we watched a parade of classic automobiles. I loved that...and she seemed ok sitting in the sun at that point. After the show was over, I rolled her down the street again so she could get a strawberry shortcake. She was ready to go after we headed back to the ferry. She seemed to enjoy the outing but was totally exhausted by the time I got her home. Our little adventure lasted from 8:30am until about 3:30pm. I was pretty wiped out as well...but she really needed to get out of her apartment.

Today, I will pick up a few groceries for Mom and head over there about noon to make her some lunch. She seems to comment a lot on how exhausted she feels....some of it is physical and some of it is emotional. I took her photos of her and my Dad on a cruise they took in 1987. That seemed to cheer her up.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I went out to make dinner for Mom last night. I walked all the way into her living room before she woke up and greeted me. There was something different about her but I couldn't put my finger on it. At first I thought that she had some kind of small stroke. She was complaining that she had a horrible headache all afternoon. She had taken her Nurotin during the afternoon so that should have tamped down the pain on the right side of her head from the shingles. Her face looked a little drawn...almost sunken in especially around the mouth. I got her set up to watch the news while I prepared our dinner.

Before preparing her dinner I planted the pink geranium that I brought over. She loved the color of it...and will do a good job of caring for it on the balcony.

I made our dinner...shepherd's pie....cantelope, little pieces of for Mom and cranberry juice mixed with 7Up for me. She seemed ravenous....eating two helpings of the main dish. All Mom had for lunch was a hotdog and some cheese and crackers. I am beginning to suspect that she is going to need more help around food. She just seemed a little more frail today. I got her laughing in the kitchen when we were cleaning up...we were toe to toe, face to face just laughing our heads off. Moments like that are wonderful.

She is still upset that my brother got angry with her last week. Mark did come over for lunch on whatever it was that made him is over. I told Mom the best thing to do is not dwell on it and just move on. She seemed to agree....but when I went to leave she mentioned how upset she was by what happened. It grieves her that Mark doesn't really talk to her or allow her to hug him. There is nothing I can do about any of I just gave her a big hug and left.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Sunday, July 6, 2008

This has been a long day and it is only 6:55pm. Woke up early at 4:30am and couldn't get back to sleep. Puttering around the house, doing laundry, drinking tea...then off to church at 9:30am. As is my usual routine, I drove out to Mom's after church to make her dinner. I also had another tower fan for her that needed a little assembly.

I made corn on the cob, mashed potatoes, and filet of sole. Mom had wanted to buy a huge ham slice, but I reminded her that she had gotten sick the last time she tried to swallow ham. She loved the filet of my substitution for the ham worked. She had made a fruit and jello salad for dessert. It was a good meal and she kept all of it down.

I put the fan together while Mom watched the Olympic trials on TV. I am glad the Summer Olympics are happening this year. It will give her something to watch on TV that she seems to enjoy. After I got the fan put together we placed it where she wanted it to be in her bedroom. Then I shifted gears to figure out why her "Pocket Talker" wasn't working. Luckily it was not a major problem, just needed new batteries, For those who don't know what a "Pocket Talker" is an amplifier that uses headphones and a microphone to enhance sound. Mom got hers while Dad was still alive. I took them both the Speech and Deafness Clinic to get it. It seems to help Mom at the Doctor's office and when she is watching TV.

Today Mom said at the end of our visit that she couldn't manage without me. It is true but I don't like to dwell on it. I am just doing the best I can in a tough situation. She is lonely and lost without my Dad. She doesn't really want to keep living, but she has no way of knowing when her death will finally happen ...which for a control freak like Mom is very difficult to accept.

Tomorrow starts another, twice daily phone calls to Mom, fixing dinner at Mom's on Tuesday night, my own therapy appt. on Monday night. I will just have to take it all one day at a time...on step at a time.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Saturday, July 5, 2008

I spent time with Mom yesterday morning. Mark took over the Thursday morning visit for me this week. I thought Mom sounded a little upset on the phone Thursday night, but didn't find out why until Friday morning at breakfast. Mark has basically yelled and cursed her out the day before when he was there to help with her shopping. Mom has this habit of asking lots of questions....about our lives, our finances, etc. I find this a little disconcerting sometimes because I really don't want to discuss my finances with Mom. She tends to quiz my brother about his children. His oldest son, Danny, had talked to Mom on the phone one day and gave her the information that his younger brother Josh was living with his girlfriend. This is just the kind of information that sets Mom off. I know she said something that pissed Mark off..believe me, I have been in the same place with her many times. She told him that we didn't want any Catholics in the family....assuming that Josh's girlfriend is Catholic. How she made this connection is beyond I have never met the girl.

Mark basically told her that his children don't know her...which hurt her feelings. She and Dad have been sending gifts and money to all three kids for over 20 years. The only reason that Mark's kids don't know their grandparents well is because Mark and his wife have never really allowed them in their lives. Mom feels that she is just going to stop giving gifts and money. I know she tries to control people in any way she can, including giving or withholding money. However, if Mark really didn't want his children to be around Mom and Dad he should never have allowed the kids to accept the money.

Mom said that Mark acted "crazy' on Thursday. Well...the fruit never falls far from the tree. I have long believed that Mom and Mark are a lot alike....and that is why they can't get along. Dad and I often laughed about it and agree that they were two peas in a pod. Mark definitely has some issues that he has not worked out around Mom. She is a doubt about it. I just try to do what I can and step away when it gets to be too much.