Trying to make it through life with His help.

Archive for the ‘Christianity’ Category

Being: Unemployed, Pt. Ducks (deux)

Well, it seems I’ve come full-circle. I started this blog the day I had been let go from my job in Georgia, and here I am three days into unemployment again. Ha!

While it wasn’t unexpected, or unwelcome, it was still a bit of a shock at first. I called my bestie and boo-hoo’d for a few minutes on the way home, but, since then, I’ve been just fine. I know this is a total blessing. I can now have the much-needed, relatively stress-free break I’ve needed for months now. I can go and do things if/when I need to, because I will still have the wonderful care givers from First Light coming in on a daily basis. Primarily because I just can’t take care of my sweet Daddy on my own, 24/7. It’s too much for me to handle.

I will miss some of the people I worked with, and I’ll miss the work I was able to do. I learned so much during the four years I was there. Skills that will help me in my next employment adventure. I was told that there just wasn’t enough work to keep me, as a designer, busy. But, then again, when your boss has a check in the box by your name that says, ‘Don’t give any jobs’, then, that tends to be the case. Because jobs were being withheld from me, the work I have been able to do in the last few months was handed directly to me either by a person who really likes my work, or by my supervisor, (because she was getting all the job bags). It wasn’t being doled out through the system like for everyone else. So, no, me losing my job wasn’t unexpected.

It seems that a situation was being created to fit the narrative that the work just wasn’t there… Many people make the mistake of thinking I’m not as sharp or as intuitive as I am, and, that gives me a bit of an advantage sometimes. They think that if they tell me how things are, I’ll just believe them and go on about my business. I’m really not as stupid as people tend to think I am. (I can be a ditz at times, though! ha!) Here’s a tip for you to remember: just because someone doesn’t SAY something, doesn’t mean they don’t KNOW what’s going on. Many times, I have the advantage, because my Lord takes care of me, and lets me know things I need to know. When it comes time to react, I’ve already processed the information and situation, and can take the news without becoming overly emotional, like most people expect me to. It’s actually pretty fun to throw them for a loop… LOL

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My view because yesterday was such a beautiful, relaxing day!

So, I am now on an extended ‘vacation’! Because of my situation at home with my Dad, I’m not going to be in a hurry to find a new job. I need a break in the worst way. I would love to go somewhere for a week or more, but, that’s not possible right now. So, I’ll be happy to take each day as it comes, doing things at a slower, more relaxed pace than I have in the last few years.

I know that the coming months will probably be difficult. My Dad isn’t going to get any better, and I can already see a steady decline in his health. But, other than that situation, I am truly excited to see what the future brings. I never know, of course, what the Lord has planned for me, but what I do know, is that it will be better than anything I could even dream about. And, I’ll try to keep you all updated.

As always, thanks for listening!

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Being: Exhausted & Frustrated

If you have followed my posts, you may know that my Mom had dementia. Well, this past June, she died from unrelated complications. Since then, my Dad has been on a steady decline. After a brief hospital stay in mid-December, he was placed in hospice care, and is now bedridden. I have Care Givers from a wonderful organization come in and stay with him while I am at work. Because I will do everything in my power to keep him here, in the home that he built and designed with my Mom, I have chosen to go with Care Givers, instead of placing him in some sort of facility.

 

It’s been an increasingly difficult thing to go through, especially since I’m pretty much alone. I have an older brother who lives close by, but – for the most part – doesn’t help. He apparently feels it was my choice to stay in the house with my parents and that it has been my choice to keep them both in the house instead of putting them away so someone else could look after them…so it is my responsibility to do everything without his help. But I just know that as soon as I put my sweet Daddy away, he will whither away and die even faster than he is right now. (And that would have been the case with my Mom, too). So,until I just can’t keep him here any more, he will be here safe and loved in his own home.

 

I got to thinking tonight, if someone were to ask me the question, “What would you like?”, there’d be a ton of answers I could give you, and, here’s a few I’ll share:
 
• I would like to find a church home, and be able to go there regularly.
 
• I would like to find good friends within that church, and get back into Bible Study again.
 
• I would like to feel the closeness of my Lord and Savior again, as I did before moving home.
 
• I would like to be able to make it through the day without feeling frustration or anger because of my situation.
• I would like to spend all day with my best friends again.
• I would like to go grocery shopping, and take my time doing so.
• I would like to be less stressed.
• I would like to find a trainer, go back to the gym, and lose a ton of weight so I could feel comfortable again.
 
• I would like (at least) 6 months off. I would go see my best friend in Georgia, and go somewhere fun with her. Then, I would take her and another friend to Dallas, TX to  the PINK Conference at Gateway Church. Finally, (?), I would go back to England and see my friends there, and make new memories. (And, probably rediscover some old ones!)
 
• I would like to sleep in my own bed for a change. Sleeping on the living room couch, although for a good reason, isn’t that easy. Thankfully it’s relatively comfortable, but it’s killing my back, shoulders, hips, etc. I’ll need a chiropractor one of these days.
 
• I’d like to have someone who loved me, (and my Daddy), enough to help me take care of him. Someone who would come over and stay with him while I either slept for several hours in my own bed, or hung out with a friend. (Something I haven’t done in months). 
 
• I’d like to have time to use the two spa gift cards I’ve been given before the expire.
 
• I’d like to make it through a day at work without feeling tired as soon as I walked through the door, or having my eyes close in exhaustion.
 
• I’d like to have someone to share this with. Going through it totally alone is extremely difficult.
 
• I’d like to have someone to hold me when I cried, (see above).
 
• I’d like to have someone come in and clean the house for me. When I have time, I’m too tired, and when I’m not too tired, I either don’t have the time, or the will to do it.
 
• I would like to not get frustrated at Daddy, especially for things he can’t control.
 
• I would like for my brother to help.
 
• I would like to be able to go somewhere if I need, or want, to, without having to worry about getting back home to relieve a Care Giver.
 
• I would like to go somewhere for a few hours without having to pay someone to stay with Daddy.
 
• I would like to have a life outside of this house and work.
 
“What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” …? 
      If so, then I should be able get through anything after this.
 
• Right now, after the night I’ve had, I would really just like to disappear.

 

In truth, I do have friends I can talk to which certainly makes my life a bit easier. I have very few people, though, to ask to stay with Daddy if I were to go out somewhere. (Thank God Kroger delivers now!) There are very few people Daddy would want to stay with him and do the things that have to be done when someone is bedridden and has dementia. So, it’s up to me.

 

Thank you for ‘listening’ to me vent a little bit. Writing it all down – and, yes, putting it out there – helps. It may not change the situation, (because only He can do that), but it helps me deal with it a little better.

Being Safe at Home

I’m going to start this one out with something that should go without saying: This is my opinion, based on my experience(s). Yours will be, I’m sure, totally different. Any advice I give is done so with the intent of possibly helping someone else who is – or will be – going through a similar situation. I wasn’t paid to endorse any of the items listed below. It’s just what we bought, and thought it might help you. What you do in your situation, will be your decision, based on your situation.

I know it’s been quite a while since I’ve written. But, honestly, I just haven’t had the time, or energy, to do just one more thing that I ‘should’ do. If you know me, or have read some of my previous blogs, you know that my sweet Mom has dementia. It has slowly, but surely, taken over most of my life. Not because I am her sole caregiver, but, because I feel I need to be here for her and my Dad as much as I can, while I can. I don’t think it’s fair to leave my Dad here with her 24/7 without giving him some sort of break from her. That may sound like it’s a really cruel thing to say about my own Mother, but, you try dealing with someone who is confused about pretty much everything, sees and talks to people who aren’t there, can’t get thoughts across, is stubborn as a mule, (ha!), and falls up to two to three times a week, and see how quickly you need a break. I’m not here all the time, I have a job, and I get frustrated with her. But, for the most part, my Dad is extremely patient with her. He has his moments, but, for the most part, it’s because he loves her more than he loves himself, that he takes care of her every need. Which, at 87, can’t be easy.

In this post, I thought I’d give you some ideas about what you might be facing if you’re in a similar situation. That being, keeping your loved one at home with you for as long as possible, before having to place them in a facility to take care of things you’re no longer able to do. First, let me say, get help. There are agencies that help, and are paid through Social Security. Do your research on the internet, you’ll find a lot of them. We lucked out and got some wonderful people from Willowbrook Home Health. They will come out and review your situation and send the help needed. (At least that’s how it worked for us). Every single person we have worked with from Willowbrook is top-notch and so very nice. They genuinely care for their patients. They will advise you as to the equipment you will need to get to make your home easier for your loved one to live in.

I have to say, too, that your loved one must be willing to cooperate with the things you get for them. As I said earlier, my Mom is quite stubborn, and does exactly what she wants to do, and doesn’t listen to us much any more. I have to smile at this, because it lets us know that my Mom is ‘still in there’, somewhere. So, she doesn’t always use the things we’ve gotten for her. We haven’t gotten her a walker of some kind because we know that she will absolutely refuse to use it. (Can you say, “prissy”?!) 🙂

These are things WE were told we needed. Your situation may be different. And, make it easy on yourself, don’t run all over town trying to find things. Order them from Amazon. If you don’t have Prime, it might be worth getting it so you can get things to your home quicker. (If you’re interested, you can use AmazonSmile, which allows a small portion of what you spend to be donated to a charity of your choice).

1.) Car Assistance Handle. This is one of those handy-dandy handles that fits in the inside of an open car door. In actuality, my Mom hasn’t needed this too much, but, I think it’ll come more in handy for my Dad. They vary in price, but you can expect to pay $10-$25 for one. I got lucky and found a kit that had three different items for car assistance items in it. It’s no longer available, or I would give you the link.

2.) Tub Transfer Bench. You’ll need this to get them safely in and out of the tub.

3.) Gait Belt. This can be a wonderful thing to help you assist someone who is unsteady on their feet to walk, and not fall. If you want to see how to put it on, this, (according to the comments), is the best video out there. If you’re curious as to exactly what it is, watch the video in the link above, and it should explain everything.

4.) Hand-Held Shower Device. You may already have something like this. We didn’t, and totally LOVE this one.

These last few items weren’t recommended by the staff who come to check in on my Mom. But, they’ve definitely helped us.

5.) Bedside Commode. Because walking becomes increasingly difficult, you learn quickly that this is a good thing to have around when they can’t get to the bathroom fast enough.

6.) Self-Adhesive Wrap Bandages. I don’t care who you are, these are a pretty handy thing to have. My Dad needs them more than Mom, though. He likes to put band-aids with ointment on all the time when he gets a cut or scrape. (He’s always ‘playing in the dirt’ or puttering in the garage). Because he’s still pretty active, they don’t stay on too well. But, wrap it up with some of this, and it’s not going anywhere! 🙂 There are bigger, and smaller, boxes of these bandages. This one was just a pretty good deal, so I got it. I’ll probably give a few rolls away.

7.) Stove Knob Covers. Oh, my goodness. I can’t tell you the peace of mind these have given me! Sometimes, Mom gets up in the middle of the night and starts ‘cooking’. Most of the time she just fills up pots/pans with water and sets them on the stove. But, recently, I heard her fall, and ran into the kitchen to pick her up. As I picked her up, I noticed she had turned on two or three of the stove eyes. I knew right then that I had to find something to prevent her from doing it again. A friend at work suggested these. I couldn’t wait to get them home! Because dementia patients at this stage don’t ‘learn new tricks’, she’s not able to figure out how they work and turn the knob to heat the eye.

8.) Paper Medicine Cups. You know what these are, they’re the little paper cups you can get at Wendy’s or Arby’s for sauce. As Mom has gotten worse, she’s having more and more trouble taking her pills. (When she takes them. Again, stubborn!) 🙂 So, I figured, for a little bit of nothin’, I’ll see if these will help.

9.) Door Chime/Alarm. These have helped with peace of mind, too. You’ll find that you just can’t be with them every second of the time you’re home. And, people with Dementia and Alzheimer’s can wander if given half a chance. Thankfully, my Mom has only wandered off once without us knowing. Talk about being freaked out! But, these door chimes are loud. (I muted it with gauze, but then my Dad couldn’t hear it, even standing right in front of it. So I had to take it off). So, once installed, you should be able to hear it from anywhere in the house when the door is opened.

It’s a shame I couldn’t think of one more thing to round out the list…but that’s just my OCD talking.

My advice is to do as much as you can, as often as you can. They’re not going to be here forever, and you don’t want to look back later, and wish you’d been there more often, or done more because you were ‘too busy’. If you’re not one of the main care givers, please make sure you help without having to be asked. I can assure you, if you don’t, it makes it hard on those who are there more often. I’m in a very unique position in that I don’t have my own family, or my own home, to take care of. So, I have moved in with my parents, and as difficult as that can be sometime, (especially at my age), I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s mutually beneficial. I’m lucky, too, that the company I work for is a family-owned business, who understands that family is very important. To date, they’ve been very flexible the few times I’ve had to take time off to take care of one of my parents.

I knew when I moved home to Tennessee from Georgia that the Lord had a reason, and that His timing was perfect. I didn’t realize at the time just HOW perfect His timing was, though. I was lucky enough to be there before my Mom got too bad, but it’s been really hard having a front row seat to see the steady decline of both my parents; the tears in my Dad’s eyes as he finally realizes that he just can’t do everything for Mom any more, and that it’s time to move her to a facility. I don’t know what this house is going to be like without her. She’s always been here. I do know that the only way we’ll get through it is to lean on each other, but more importantly, lean on God. Maybe once we get her comfortable in a wonderful place, I can get him to go back to church. I know he misses it.

Y’all, please pray for us, and everybody else out there who’s dealing with Dementia or Alzheimer’s. We appreciate it.

Thanks.

Being An Adult

Ya know… there are a few people on my Facebook friends list who have, especially recently, taken a break from social media. I wouldn’t consider myself addicted to it, I will confess I enjoy keeping up with friends from my past and present. While I most certainly do not agree with everything they post – especially morally and politically – it’s their page, and they can post what ever they want. Right? I mean, everybody has their own opinion and I will always fight for their right to have it, even if I think, (in my ‘infinite wisdom’! lol), that they’re wrong.

If you’ve read any of my blogs before, you will surely have discerned that I’m a Christian. And as a Christian, I try my best to act like one. Every once in a while, something will slip out or happen that doesn’t especially follow the Christian path, but, there is only One Who is perfect, and I am most certainly not He. I say all of this to ask: If you follow my blog, would you really expect me to not post things that reflect my opinions and values? And, if you know me personally, how could it come as any surprise to you that I talk about the One who sustains me on a daily basis, even when I don’t always do what I’m supposed to do?

Since moving home to Nashville, I have found it extremely difficult to find a church home. Somewhere, where everything I need and want in a church comes together. I understand that I’m not going to find what I had in Georgia, and that I need to find a new normal. I’ve also found it difficult to find Christian friends, those with whom I can build a trusting relationship, sharing things I’m going through and get good, solid Christian advice. I’m not saying I don’t have any Christian friends here. Indeed, I have a wonderful and true Christian friend here in Tennessee. And, she’s great. We just don’t get to hang out as much as either of us would like…. (Geography. ugh!)

I’m getting a bit off topic here.

The main reason I wanted … no, needed to write this down, is that today I was told that someone at work I considered to be a friend talks about the things I post on my Facebook page. (Apparently she thinks I’m stupid, naive and no telling what else). She and I are polar opposites in pretty much every way, but, for me, that doesn’t matter. I like her, we just don’t agree on everything. But, she’s extreme, and I am not. Again, though, it doesn’t matter to me. I like her. Admittedly, I have hidden several of her posts because I don’t want to see them in my newsfeed. But for her, they’re nothing but the truth. Which, ok, that’s fine, I don’t have to like it OR see it. I guess it just bothers me that she can’t take me for who I am and what I believe without having to try and discuss it with some of our mutual friends. Creating drama is not something I strive to do. But, apparently, she thrives on it. Something I just hadn’t realized until talking with someone today.

I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that the Lord put me where I am to be His light in the place I work. But lately, it’s been harder and harder to ‘shine’. It’s like I can feel the darkness closing in on me day by day. But, can’t we just be adults and leave all the crap behind? Just grow up and stop being offended, or trying to change others’ minds? Have an adult conversation, or discussion, without trying to beat the other person up verbally just to feel superior?! Honestly, I don’t blame people for taking a break from social media. It does get tiresome. I might have to try it soon. The people who know me, know how to get in touch with me, and that’s all that matters, right?

Have you taken a social media break? Were you glad you did?
What changed during and after the break?
How long was the break?

Would you like to take a break? I think I would. Yes. I think I would.

As always, Thanks for listening.

Being Distressed

You know, it was hard enough when we found out that Mom had dementia, but watching her go through it is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

Over the last 6-8 years I’ve watched my Mother’s mind deteriorate. At first it was little things, like she couldn’t find the right word to say, or she would forget something. But, we all do that at one time or another, right?

The first time we ever had the scary notion that something wasn’t quite right with her was when I was in the hospital for a few days. Mom and Dad are the best parents any kid could ever ask for. They’re always there for me and my brother. And, this was no exception. They drove four hours to Atlanta to be with me while I was in the hospital, and only left to go to my Uncle’s house to sleep. So, yeah, they both were worried and extremely tired. For the most part, I truly believe Mom’s condition, especially at that time, was made worse by worry and exhaustion. The only way I have ever been able to explain it – then or since – is that she seemed confused about what she was confused about. I know it sounds odd, but that’s how it seemed.

I haven’t written anything in my blog for months, because, thankfully, there just hasn’t been that much to say. But, in the last few weeks, I’ve seen a steady decline. Changes that I just am not ready for are happening daily. Her speech is getting softer all the time, she can’t string sentences together very well most of the time, and she’s more and more unsure on her feet. But, the biggest is that she sees people no one else can see. Many times they’ll be people she knows, but they’re doing things the real people would never do. She keeps telling me that my best friend’s Mom is in her closet going through her clothes and just taking what ever she wants. (Never mind that my friend’s Mom is at least 4-5 inches taller than my Mom and couldn’t begin to fit into her clothes…lol)

For a long time Mom has seen these people, but it’s different now. Most of the time she described them as just regular people or small children. Every once in a while though, she’d say something about someone REALLY tall, dressed in white. Not just plain ol’ white, but a bright white. Well now. Hmmm. If you’ve read anything about Angels, you’ve probably come across the same kind of description that my Mom gives of these people.

Being a Christian, and someone who has the Gift of Knowledge, (which, in my case means seeing, knowing or feeling things many people don’t), how can I say that what she’s seeing isn’t really there? I can’t. I know it freaks people out a bit when I see things they don’t, or even tell them about it after the fact. Now I know how they feel on a moment by moment basis. In the last week or so, Mom has gone from just seeing these people, to talking to them, and now, in the last two days, she’s started to putting food out for them. It’s not for these tall people dressed in white, though. (It would make me feel better if it was!) She sees, talks to, and now tries to feed tiny children. A boy and a girl. They have – according to Mom – been sitting in our flower pots, sitting on the shelf in the pantry, and climbing up the cabinet doors. I hear and see her interact with them all day long. And, yeah, it’s kinda freaky.

I’m not looking for any kind of resolution here, I’m just trying to get this ‘down on paper’, and out of my head. As much as I know that God’s got this, and He’s got it all under control and worked out much better than I could ever try and plan it out, it’s just hard to deal with. And, writing about it helps a bit. I would appreciate prayers. That’s the only thing that will truly help.

Thanks for listening.

Being Illogical

So, for the last few weeks, it’s been pretty calm at home. No disappearances, no calling other family members for help, which is a good thing. And, I thank God that nothing major like that has happened again.

The things that do happen are what have become the every day things of living with someone who has dementia. She sees things and people who aren’t there, gets ideas in her head that no logic in the world can convince her aren’t true, makes statements that make no sense, and possibly worst of all, inadvertently hurts the one person who’s been there through everything, and still loves her more than life itself.

For as long as I can remember, my Mom has always gone to sleep while watching television at night. She rarely saw the end of a show or movie. It’s just something she always did. But now when she falls asleep, she dreams dreams we have no idea about, and she can’t always separate fact from fiction. So, most of the time, what she dreams about seems to get mixed up with her reality. We just never know what’s going to come out of her mouth from one moment to the next.

screen-shot-2016-09-19-at-11-02-52-pmTonight, she woke up and asked my Dad if he could sleep in the room with my brother, (who wasn’t even there). I told her that Dad had his own bed. She asked where, and I told her the same one she slept in. She said, “He can’t sleep in the same bed with me! We’re not married!” I didn’t even want to see the look on my Dad’s face. This has hit him a lot harder than anyone else. She – so far – remembers me, my brother and his son, and pretty much everyone else. But my sweet Daddy… well, she doesn’t always remember who he is, or that he’s her husband. I told her to look at her hand. She held up her right hand, “See? No ring.” I said, “The other hand, Mama.” She giggled like a school girl and wouldn’t even look at her left hand. See? No logic can convince her.

So, tonight she’s sleeping upstairs. No amount of convincing will get her down here in her own bed. I’ll be praying that she doesn’t wake up during the night to come downstairs, because she falls so easily now, especially when she’s half asleep. And a fall down those stairs could be really bad. And, if she falls, we might not hear her. Because of that, I may sleep in the living room tonight… I know I can’t keep her from falling, but I could get to her faster from there than I could from my room.

If you have someone in your life who has dementia or Alzheimer’s, the one thing I would tell you to do – besides pray…a lot – would be to check out Prevagen. It’s an over the counter drug to help with memory loss. It’s actually helped my Mom, or more accurately, what I think it’s done is to keep her from getting worse faster than she would have if she hadn’t been taking it. And, in case you’re wondering, I’m not a paid spokesperson for it, I haven’t received samples, nor have I ever been contacted by them to write a review or anything like that. It just seems like it helps, and it might help someone else out there who needs it.

This is hard on us all. But, for me, the hardest thing is seeing how it hurts my Dad. He knows it’s the dementia talking, but as he said, “I can’t do anything with it.” It’s something you just have to learn to live, and deal with. I’ve found that I’m more emotional at times than I even realize I may be. I don’t like to be around pushy, difficult or confrontational people anyway, but I can usually deal with them pretty well. But twice in the last week, I’ve been in situations where I just didn’t handle them well at all. I need to get a better grip on things, but so far, I just haven’t been able to. I guess more prayer is in order.

Thanks for listening.

Being Thankful for Family

Whew! I’m not sure what it is about Sundays, but two weeks in a row now, my Mom has had a bad day on a Sunday. Maybe it’s that she’s put up with not “going home” for another week, and she’s gotten tired of it, and decides that today’s the day!, and she tries to do something about it. I don’t know, I just don’t know.

Sunday morning began, for me, being awakened by my Dad. He came in my room and told me that Mom had just called my cousin Martha, (who was named after my Mom, and just happens to be a nurse), to come get her and take her home. Being the sweet person she is, she told Mom that she was on her way and would come get her. So, a little while later, she and her husband arrived at our house.

They came inside, bringing our Sunday paper with them. (See? That’s sweet. Not everyone would have brought it in with them.) She and Mom went into the living room while her husband, Jerry, Dad and I stood in the dining room and talked for a little bit. A few minutes later, Martha and Mom came back out, and said they were going for a little drive.

Mom and Martha were gone for a while. She drove Mom all around, seeing familiar places, and talking the whole time. You can easily see that Martha is good at what she does. She’s so sweet and patient, and knows what to say, and when to say it.

It’s comforting to have family around when you need them. The Lord knows who you need when you need them. Not that any of my other family members wouldn’t have done the same thing. I truly believe that anyone Mom would have called that morning would have dropped what they were doing and come to see her just because she asked them to. That’s just one of the great things about having such a big ol’ wonderful and loving family.

I know things with Mom aren’t going to get any better. I know they could if that’s what the Lord wanted. Wouldn’t that be wonderful to receive a miracle like that? I know He can do anything He wants to do, and I wish he would give my Mom back to us. But I don’t know what His will is, so all I can do is just pray for it to be done. I have asked for us to be put on every prayer list I can think of. So, there are enough people agreeing for something to happen. I did hear from two different people this week that there is actually a promising cure for Alzheimer’s and Dementia now. But, of course, it’ll take years upon years for the FDA to approve it and get it out to those who need it, IF they ever approve it at all. So, I know it’s possible. Plus, I heard ‘my’ song today, “God is On The Move”, by 7eventh Time Down. It’s just a little reminder to me that He’s still there taking care of me and all that is around me. His way of telling me He’s got this.

Do you have something you feel that the Lord uses to get your attention? Something that happens where you think, “OK, God, I know you’re there. Thanks for watching over me, yet again.”? If you’ll just listen, I bet you’ll experience God.

Thanks for listening.

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