Wednesday, March 31

A delicious Dinner

Tonight was the first time in awhile that my father looked well rested and I actually enjoyed a full meal! It has been a very busy couple of days, but oddly enough, rather drama free. Mom has maintained relative calmness and has been very docile. My mother in law left today and I must say that more than a few tears were shed. It is to her that I look for support and a model of what a wife and mother should be. I am blessed to have her in my life and thank God for her all the time. Can you believe my husband and I got not one but two date nights in less than a week. Ironically the only thing for us to do in this town was Books a Million, but it was nice. Considering we do not drink, we do not have any money, and we both hate to shop, there are only two options Books a Million or Lowes. Unfortunately Lowe's closes earlier so BAM it is. It was nice not having the children. We did do a little bit of shopping-my in-laws wanted to get us an Easter outfit and after three days of shopping, managed to find a dress for me and some shorts for Jason. We have a hard time taking from people and it is not any easier taking from our relatives.

My dad has been a trooper the past few days running around like a chicken between the three people he now is taking care of. The amazing thing is that in all this, God has a plan. He was able to witness to one of them who is an agnostic 87 year old man. After what seemed like a battle that was in defeat, prayers were answered literally and the battle took a turn. This man had gone into the hospital and ended up being backer acted for saying some odd statements. My dad prayed with the gentleman and all the prayers were answered today. The man is free to leave with no ramifications and is one step closer to listening about the Lord. His ways are not our ways that is for sure. What seems like great adversity is really just an opportunity to demonstrate God's abilities. I have already watched one agnostic find answers ((my husband) and it would be fantastic to see another.

Today was a relatively calm day in the am. A quick 1 1/2 hour drive to the airport to drop of Nonna, a few restless children on the ride home, to a very long nap in the afternoon. A few calls from my mother and then it began. My brother's night for movie night turns disastrous because of one fact-all the family is getting together for a dinner tonight. Hmm to tell or not to tell, or better yet to invite or not to invite. We all decide it is better to invite my mother, but she is too confused to understand what is going on. She wants to go but needs her hair done. I offer to do it but she does not want to impose upon her night with my brother. She tries to place blame on my father and on me by stating we are not wanting her to go, that no one takes care of her. She switches subjects to discuss what she wants for dinner. After one comment from my dad, she now believes that movie night consists of two movies-can you imagine my friday night this week. I will arrive at 7, bathe her, do her hair, clean her sheets and bathrooms, fix her some food, and than start two movies-Oh Dad why oh why did you suggest that two movies would be ok-granted you meant the Office episodes, but unfortunately for my brother and I, we do not get the luxury of watching tv shows. We must endure this crazy movies that often are two or three hours long. Six hours of movies... Well the only consolation is that he also has movie dates so he kinda caused himself some problems. If only we could predict what the effects of one statement would cause. Poor Kevin (brother) had to endure Runaway Bride and American President while we got to enjoy such a delicious dinner.

My second cousin came into town and was gracious enough to buy the family dinner-I am generally uncomfortable with letting people pay for my meal and even more uncomfortable when there are two (my daughter was with me). Luckily, she and I do not eat much and were able to share a meal. The kicker came when on the sly I ordered my husband something. As the waiter went away with my funds, it was foiled. My husband became the recipient of another man's generosity and while I am grateful, I cannot help feeling like I imposed too much. Never would I have thought that once the money was in the waiter's hands would it be called back. For those of you that know me, you could imagine how bad I felt. I do not like to take things from others and it seems that since this non-profit started, that is all we are doing. Too many people have been so kind and so helpful. I am learning to accept things that others do for me-As someone told me "Don't steal my blessing". I have learned to use that saying when helping others to ease the guilt of letting others help and it works. I also am learning to accept"the blessing" from others so if you feel the need to bless us you can check out our website at hahahahhaahhahaha, just kidding (my humor is bizarre right now-very tired so please excuse my rambles) I am heading off to work on my evaluation/case study due Sunday. By the way, I had crab legs and mmmmmmmmm they were good! Thank you Bob and Susan for a great evening of fun and food.

Saturday, March 27

The missing videos

Such another strange day. First phone call of the day while I am trying to enjoy an Easter extravaganza at a local church. She is screaming wildly and I cannot understand her. Mostly I catch bits of rantings about never being available as I mention that I am busy at the moment. I try to decipher what I can and call my brother to intervene. Essentially she is distraught because the movies she got rid of a year ago are now gone and so she wants them back. She called multiple times to let me know how horrible I was and am not doing a good job taking care of her. I am selfish and should put her above my family and everything else. She calls back to talk to my mother in law to inform her how rotten I am. After an hour, it blows over and she calls to apologize to me and my mother in law. I offer her supper and all is well. In fact she mentioned that she did not deserve it. But on my way out to my hubby's and my third date night in four years, we drop it off. Interesting day...

Notting Hill tonight

Even with my mother in law in town, movie night continues. After putting my little one to sleep, I was off to the movies to see Notting Hill. Unfortunately, I was a bit late since leaving my two children with Nonna took a little longer than anticipated. What a very strange and deeply saddening night. My heart broke many times for many different reasons.
The night started as so many do, frantic attempts to figure out what she is trying to do. Usually I try to convince her that a bath was needed but tonight there was no arguing with her or getting her into the tub. She was adamant about it being too cold (we live in Florida where the low is in the 60's). She could not stop thinking about how late I arrived without gum drops. She paced back and forth from kitchen to bedroom to kitchen again asking what she was doing more times than I can count. We spent about half an hour trying to fix the bed. That bed has driven me almost crazy. Between my father and I, we have played musical beds with all three of the ones in the house in attempts to find the perfect fit. Luckily, today I did not have to move a bed but I did have to figure out how to make the bed. It is not as simple as putting on sheets and then a comforter. This week she is sleeping on a blue velvet type material blanket that we safety pin to the bed. She is afraid that the safety pins will pop and kill her so I remove them. She decides that it is too hot for the blanket and wants to sleep on the bed with nothing over the mattress. After stripping it down, she gets confused since it does not look right. We remake the bed and stack the five pillows in corresponding order three different times and add the blue blanket, a comforter, two quilts and five mini blankets to the bed in certain order in certain places since the dog needs her own. Mission is accomplished and it is back to the gumdrops and those things that dad eats in the freezer but are not the things he eats. Luckily she believes that my brother knows what they are so a phone call later and deciphering the code we realize it is strawberrry shortcake ice cream bars (which I must admit are delicious). It is faster to run to the store to get the items than to watch her fixate on it for the entire evening.
Before I go, my mom realizes she needs to change her undergarments. She removes her two shirts and proceeds to put her undies on her head. After putting both arms through the holes, she says it is not right and removes them. She than steps into them putting them over her pants. My heart breaks for the first time. She allows me to help her out and she shows me her chapped lips. I offer her some chap stick and she tries to put it on her lips. Unfortunately, the lips she puts it on are the ones in the mirror-chapstick is now on the bathroom vanity mirror. She asks me what she is doing and I explain. She asks how and I try to show her. Again the mirror and then to me. Five more minutes of explanations and we manage to put some on her lips. Heart break two.
I head to the store and arrive back in ten minutes. She actually smiles for the first time that night and begins to inhale gumdrops. We get ready for the movie and she is fixated on the bed again. Luckily I am able to distract her and the movie starts. She no longer can sit and watch the movie-she is up and down from room to room trying to figure out what she is doing. She turned on the air and heat over ten times as she became hot and cold. Movie finishes and we take the dog out. She is confused as to why the light in the pool came on. She tells me that it always turns on when she comes outside. I try to explain that she turned on the switch yet she is convinced that it is on a timer. I let it lie and herd her back inside. The bed becomes another 1/2 hour issue and I am able to leave with her content for now. She starts obsessing about the dog and how she is really sick. I convince her that the dog is ok that all she needs is allergy pill and that problem is solved. She brings me back into the room and hands me her boots. For five years, she has guarded them not wanting anyone to ever borrow them. Today she tells me they scare her and she wants to get rid of them. Heart break three. I am a very tired person tonight and so I am off to bed.

Thursday, March 25

Today was a day full of realizations and difficult for my heart. After 3 hours of sleep, I rose at 5 to prepare for a yard sale (which did very well). By 12 o clock, I closed shop and began preparing dinner for my family and mother. With my mother in law in town, I wondered whether my mother would allow us to visit. She teetered back and forth on the idea until finally the thought of dinner persuaded us to drive up there to deliver it to the porch. On the way there, my father called and informed me that a dear friend of ours was admitted into the hospital. Being 87, we fear for him being there overnight, but it cannot be helped. Possible prognosis-appendicitis. My children, my mother in law, and our hopefully new babysitter travel to the babysitters house to drop her off. Continue our journey to my mother's porch to see if she will allow us in and she does. My mother in law witnessed first hand how much the disease had progressed. Upon arrival, my mother was pacing on the porch and in the house screaming it is not clean wait wait wait no wait no coming in wait more there is more. Frantically running from room to room grabbing everything and putting it in one bedroom. Grabbing her comforter and asking me to put it on top of her bed over all the clothing and other blankets gathered there. Finally my mother in law is allowed in and my poor mom cannot communicate but a few words before stumbling over them. She decideds to clean the counter by dumping her water bottle on it and using her sock to clean it up. She is not with us today, her eyes have that vacant mummie stare and the eyes of a terrified animal. As then noise levels escalates, she starts to get more frantic and upset. I remind her that we need to bring a phone carder to my father and for now, he is forgiven (or so it seems) We stop at my grandmothers to get the items needed by my father and we are finally off to one last destination. A very busy busy day and I need sleep so I am off.

Wednesday, March 24

Another anti-child day

After leaving a few messages on my mother's answering machine apologizing for something I did not do, she finally picked up the phone. Unfortunately, she did not want to hear from me-told me to stop calling her and to leave her alone. She does not want me or my father to call or visit anymore (for the time being) and that I pain her too much. A few more hurtful things and then the distinctive click.

Today was Golden Boy's night for movies and getting groceries. Many multiple phone calls telling him to not come to come, not come and come again. At one point she asked him what he was doing and he mentioned studying. She became irate and told him not to bother since he is so busy with his class. In fact she said he cared more for statistics than for her. Is that possible for anyone to like statistics...???

My mother-in-law is in town and I am exhilarated. It is wonderful to have help around, if only my mother would let me take advantage of a good thing. The one time I have someone around to watch the children is the time she chooses to stay upset. I believe that the reason she is upset is because my mother-in-law is in town. This way she does not have to see my mother-in-law and feel insuperior to her. She does this every time my mother-in-law comes into town. Hopefully she will let it go and I can start helping out.

Just realized in case any of you ever talk with my mother, this blog is not to be mentioned ever. She will never understand and will become highly suspicious and resentful. I do not think she would understand. My whole life we were taught to hide our problems and put on the "perfect family" show. This would definetly disqualify me from that family.

*UPDATE* at 11:34 pm this evening my mother called to say sorry and that she loves me. She feels completely out of it-I think it is because her short term memory is starting to dissipate faster than she can remember and it is confusing her. She repeats a lot now and forgets things she tells us. My poor mother, how it must feel to live trapped with the knowledge that your body is slowly forgetting how to live.
It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sign praises to the Most High. It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning, your faithfulness in the evening. Psalms 92:1-2

Today I give thanks to God for the miracles He performs. We have applied for social security for my mother twice and were denied twice due to lack of work credits. My father had a brilliant idea to send a personal letter to Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue at his personal residence. After a week, we wondered if he received the letter. We received an answer yesterday when social security called us and informed us of a June Hearing. They would like to expedite this by video conference since we are on the critical track. This morning my father receives another phone at 9:00 from the same attendant. She needs to re fax some information and will stay on the phone to ensure the arrival of it. Being extremely efficient, caring, compassionate, and willing to work with us, the attendant explains that the letter is in my mother's file and for some reason, there is a need to work on this case. Social Security is collaborating with us to receive necessary paper work and information for our case :). My job has kicked in as representative for my mother and I have much research and little time. Any information anyone has on Social security would be appreciated. I have compiled all medical records from two doctors and now must go through all the information. I need to research laws and cases, as well as figure out our case and find others willing to write letters for us. Although it is a lot of work, I am very excited for my mother and father.

Mom is doing so so. She is still not talking to me or my father-she called to inform me that I am no longer allowed over and she does not want to talk to me ever again. The only one she will talk to is....yes you guessed it, the golden boy. This anti-child is banned for the time being. Alas, I will get much done on her case. There are always a positive. It makes me thing of Pollyanna and the glad game. I am glad she is not talking to me so that I can spend more time with my family and getting things accomplished. Plus my mother-in-law arrives tomorrow and I am so excited. Help has arrived and I will enjoy frolicking around with the very best woman I have ever known. Not only is she beautiful inside, but outside as well. Without her, I think I may have lost my sanity a long time ago.

Tuesday, March 23

Another beautiful day

Another relaxing day, I am getting spoiled. The weather was breathtaking, slight breeze with a coolness in the air. The sun was shining in typical Florida style, disturbingly bright. I was able to spend all day with the children playing outside with relatively no phone calls once again. One phone call at 11:00 from my mother to just say hi. As we were talking, she mentioned that she was upset with my father because he woke up at 6:00. She believes that he did it on purpose since he normally wakes up at 7:00. So on top of no drinks in the room, no sitting on the computer, no making little noises with his mouth, no going outside, no working on projects, no getting a snack, and no making coffee in the morning, he is now not allowed to get out of bed at 6:00. He must wait until at least 7 before rising. She did not like his answer-I cannot fall back asleep after I wake. His solution is to buy a coffee pot and a fridge to put in his room along with his laptop. This way if he awakens before the scheduled time, he will be self contained in his little corner of the house. If only he had installed a door to the outside...

Unfortunately, this little gal does not know when to keep her mouth quiet. A lesson she needs to learn from her brother. As my mother is ranting about this horrible and selfish dilemma, I mention that I do not wake up at the same time every day, neither does my husband or children, and neither does she. That was it-mom got upset and hung up on me. She has not called me since. However, she did talk to my father and by 8:00 tonight, he had managed to get sent back to Grandmama's house. Unfortunately, my mother would not allow him in at first and brought all his stuff to the door. All clothing removed from the suitcase, coffee without the top on, filters out of the bag, and all his other stuff. When Dad asked to get a few other items, reluctantly she let him in. Ironically, there was his suitcase empty which moments ago contained all his stuff neatly stowed away. Ah well-at least he is with Grandma to watch over her tonight. Must be tiring to have two homes. Rather low key night with little else happening. Tomorrow is another day.

For my father: "We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterward. Now he is seated in the place of highest honor beside God's throne in heaven" Hebrews 12:2

Sunday, March 21


Ok so my prediction from last night was way way way off. Sort of. Only one phone call in the morning and two during the rest of the day. She made it to church and recognized a few old friends. My father and mother escaped with no incident. She went to a few stores and to lunch. Although I know that there were little moments, overall, it went well. She is having a good day. It is amazing how wonderful being away from a phone can be. I don't think I talked more than two minutes all day to everyone.

Since today was such a wonderful and relaxing day with no major stories to record, I would love to share a story my mom wrote to me in 2000. She would often write letters just to say hi and always included something interesting. Here goes:

I need your opinion about something strange that happened last night. I cannot decide which way to deal with this particular incident. Let me tell you my tale and then when you write or call, you could-perhaps-give me advice on doing the correct thing.
About 10:00 pm last night, I heard someone crying. It was so weirdddd,because only the dogs and I were in the house. Well, I thought, maybe a cat outside the house was making the noise and went toward the den area to listen at the window. As I neared through the kitchen, I heard the crying more distinctly and looked down at one of Daisy's toys and whether you cant to believe me or not-I tell yoe the poor little thing was crying. I carefully picked it up and asked why it was crying. The toy-n a meek little voice said "Daisy doesn't like me" I asked him (because this particular toy is definitely male) why he though Daisy didn't like him and stated that I knew that Daisy did in fact like him (rola-his name is Rola) and that in all truth he was Daisy's favorite toy. Rola looked at me with the saddest of saddest expressions and proceeded to ask, "then why does Daisy always bite me and drool on me? Before I could answer, Rola through cryful tear continued, "I even have a section of hair pulled out and then to make matters worse, after she shakes, bites, and hurts me, I am left to be trampled on by whomever happens to go by." I truly felt pity for Rola. However, he is a toy, made of a dog, and in fact his lot in life is to be bitten shaken, and trampled on by a dog (in my opinion) His creator did in fact build him for that purpose. I looked at Rola, picked him up and explained that he was a toy, a dog's toy built for whatever purpose the dogs wanted him for. I asked Rola if he talked to the other dog yous, which believe me there are many many many dog toys in this house. What he said next sent a chill straight through my bones into the deepest layer possible. In a quiet almost whispering (sort of like that kid in Six Sense-you know what I mean "I see dead people) Rola answered "NONE OF THEM TALK" Well to say the least, I was shaken. I started thinking, Audrey, toys cannot talk or feel, so why would you think this was a normal occasion (maybe a little dementia) and why would you not realize that if this toy does in fact talk then the natural conclusion is that it can also feel pain sorrow etc. Which puts me in a horrible situation. I am torn between letting Daisy(who I love more than ice cream) have his favorite toy and letting Rola (who I hardly know) have a peaceful, fun filled life. My heart of course seems to pull towards letting Rola have his station raised to equal Daisy or even ours in fact. So please, when you call or write me next, share your opinions regarding what is to be done with this. I will, until all opinions are tallied, let Rola live in peace and harmony. I will put him in the flowered bedroom (which he should enjoy because the dogs cannot go in there to get him. Another benefit for Rola being in the flowered room, is that there are many beautiful porcelain dolls-which anyone that owns one knows that they cannot bite or shake little toys because they have sealed mouths-at least my dolls do. Now, of course, one of them could be like Rola, a freak of toy world (in other words able to talk and feel) If that is so , Rola could still be in danger if put in that situation. So after thinking the situation over, I decided to buy a playpen for Rola where nothing can get to him. I cannot possibly keep him in any room because, in all reality, if he is like he is, any toy could be. OH NO!! I just realized that anything in the house, even the playpen, could be a freak of toy world or furniture world. Which means that Rola could be in danger of being hurt by anything I own. Please help him out. let me know if you can think of a place where he would be safe, or should I let Daisy have him. Until I hear from you I will keep him attached to me, but I must say that it wil not be a very easy thing to do because he squeaks so loud and so often that I know I will never get one ounce of sleep. Also everyone around me a work will be so upset at the noise Rola makes. Pleasssssssssssse call soon to help me out with this.I am thanking in advanced for loving me enough to take time out of your busy schedule to help me out regarding, you know who. I have drawn a picture of him on the back of the first page, please look. I love you Mom the guardian of Rola

Saturday, March 20

Church tomorrow??

Today was a relatively calm day. With only two morning phone calls, I was able to spend time with my children and husband. I decided to take my daughter to the library, just mom and daughter time amid fantasies, adventures, dreams, history, learning, and imagination. While we were originally spending only an half hour there, it became much longer. I could not pull myself or her away from such a restful and relaxing environment. No phone calls, no screams or illogical behavior from children or mother. Just books and more books. After checking out our maximum amount, I bumped into a previous colleague. We discussed my many adventures and gained some support for Works in Faith Inc. I have my first volunteer for our Walk a thon in late September/early October.

I arrive home to whip up a quick lunch, settle two children into their naps, and begin to work on my 5 page assignment. Still amazed that the phone has not rang in the past three hours. Having Dad back in the house has eased my burden greatly but I cannot wonder how his day has turned out. Not used to the freedom of the phone, I decide to call my father first. No answer. I call my mother next and find out that both she and my dad are watching a very boring movie. Phone call over and I continue on my paper relishing my new found phone freedom. The children wake up-well actually Connor my son wakes up since Kenzie never fell asleep. I decide it is such a beautiful first day of .....(does Florida have spring?)that it would be a shame not to spend it outside.

We grab some fast food (with children 21 and 26 lbs, I succumb to the fast food industry to provide the extra fat my children need-unfortunately my daughter hates it and would rather eat kale. Nothing like bribing a child to eat french fries and rewarding her with apples...)and are off to the Park. Still no phone call-I am in paradise. We hike a few trails and see a vulture following us-not a great sign but considering I am writing this blog, no real reason for its relentless shadow overhead. Next trail we are five feet from a peregrine falcon. It was digging at the ground jumping back every minute and trying again to get whatever was in the hole out. We watched it for five minutes until Connor decided to go "pet" it. Two feet away it did not budge. It was my sudden movement grabbing my son that made it fly away. Such beauty and grace.

One quick phone call from Dad saying the day was long but manageable. Off to play at the playground and then back home. Children tired but still one more event. Redress Kenzie and I and off to Great Grandmothers and then to Church. Kenzie is exhausted and we cut it short. Back home and guess what-no phone calls.

Are you getting this-my typical day consists of over 15 phone calls from my mother (this does not include the calls to and from my dad and brother) It is not unusual for my brother or me to be on with my mom while the other is one with my father and both of us on IM. This way we all can hear mom and dad and offer support. Usually it is me on dad's bluetooth so I can hear mom and coach dad, my brother with mom so he can calm her down, and my brother and I on IM joking and creating mischievously pretend situations. Confused-so are we. So you can imagine my astonishment and delight.

Kids in bed now, paper finished five minutes before midnight and only two phone calls-one from dad and one from mom. The overall report is that the day went rather ok. Dad did watch As Good as it Gets- and it did not get better the second time watching it. They viewed it twice since mom forgot that she had watched it before falling asleep. Tomorrow Dad is taking her to church-this I am sure will be a wonderful adventure to share with all of you. I am predicting frantic phone calls from 7:30 until 8:55 with them going and not going continuously until five minutes before it starts. She will arrive there in a panic but settle down when she sits down. She will search for people to talk to after service and they will arrive home five hours later. Anyone placing bets???? Brother??? Dad??? and with that I am taking a cue from the movie-I think today is as good as I can get and so I sign off.

Friday night movie night

Each Friday night, I spend with just my mom. It is our "girl" time to do her nails, bath her, and spend time watching whatever movie she has chosen for us. Some nights are walks down memory lane where I revel in the joy that I get from spending time with her. Others are not so enjoyable, in fact, they are extremely exhausting. Today was an exhausting day-Children did not nap and we visited with Great grandmother (not the best combo). Very fussy and difficult children this afternoon had created a very tense mother. With no down time between the arrival of husband and heading off to mom's, I was not in the most patient state of being.

I knew I was in trouble when my mother and father did not get back from the dentist until 5:30. Last night he was invited back home and has been running ever since. The difficulty with my mother is that when you are with her, she monopolizes your attention dictating your every move. Poor dad received no rest with the exception of breaking away for a bit this morning. Dad, thinking ahead had another set of dentures made during yesterday's visit. So today was the final fitting for the second pair. Now with two partials in hand, my parents arrive home. As Dad walks up the sidewalk, something glimmers in the light. He scoops down and there in the front lawn is the original partial that started this whole adventure. Some time back, my mother could not find her partial anywhere. After extensive searching and a few weeks later, we gave up the search. Ironically on the last day of the dentist, the originals were found. She went from none to three in one day :).

I arrive at 7:15 and mom is as distraught as ever. For 45 minutes she takes her partial in and out showing me non existing cuts and slices that was the result of being butchered yet again. She cries continuously and mutters incoherently. She is placing blame on Dad and I for making her get her teeth and getting more and more agitated. Finally I am able to distract her from her teeth and begin the movie-Pride and Prejudice a five hour long movie (yikes-I have children that are waking up at 7:30...)We settle down to watch the movie and for the first time in a while, she is not watching with me. Up and down to the bathroom, kitchen, bedroom, back in bed, back up. She takes her teeth in and out places them in one place and searches for them five seconds later. She gets very frustrated and then is over it. Another half hour goes by and she becomes hot. Up and down again turning on the air, cooling down until she is too cold. Back up to turn on the heat and cannot do it so she starts slamming the box. I help her turn on the heat and she gets too hot. Dad comes home and all is ok for the next hour until she notices that her dog is not in bed. As she goes to search for her, she sees the dog in my father's room. She becomes very upset because my dad is drinking milk in his room. Tomorrow he is to go back to my grandmothers. She yells at him and heads to her room. This sets her off for the next half hour-she rants and raves about being a mother to my dad and is upset over milk. She slams things and throws her clothes about the room. As she settles down, she begins to get hot and cold again. This time with fans blowing ac on, she strips down. As she cools down she becomes too cold and wants to put her clothing back on. However, she cannot do it because she is too upset. She tears at her clothing as if willing it to magically fit. She curses the disease and is screaming at the unfairness of it. I am finally able to convince her to let me help her. Watching her struggle with her underclothing and pj's for fifteen minutes breaks my heart. Finally dressed and settled back in bed, we watch the remainder of the movie in happy bliss. 1:00 comes around and the movie has finished. Mom is oblivious to the time and has apologized for her actions. She wants me to clip another nail and take the dog out. I oblige and as she tries to get me to do more, I tell her that I must go because it is late and I do not want to worry Jason. The night ends on a great note and I even get a hug goodbye.

I arrive home to the fresh smell of bleach-my husband has cleaned the entire kitchen floor-scrubbed it clean and even moved the stove out to clean behind it. My house sparkles and I am grateful for this precious gift. I am blessed beyond words to have such a supportive husband.

Thursday, March 18

Day at the dentist

***** Five stars given to my father for a stellar performance and enduring patience during his adventure to the dentist with my mother. About two weeks ago, my mother placed her partial in a very undisclosed area of the house. The only being privy to the location was her dog Daisy. Unfortunately, Daisy has some issues with partials and decided to remodel them for mom by removing all the teeth. After much persuasion, we were able to talk mom into getting yet another pair. Phone call at 8:30 from the Dentist office. Mom is extremely distraught due to the number of people and the time that they arrived. She had been up since six waiting on my dad to take her. Unfortunately as luck would have it, Dad arrived a few minutes late causing complete aggression and hostility towards him.

During the wait at the dentist, mom left the building and preceded to hide behind vans, trees, and light posts. As my dad approached her, she started taking off to cross the highway. This is a very busy very dangerous highway and she is moments from dashing out. Luckily, Dad manages to steer her to the sidewalk and as he does, a stranger stops her truck. With tears in her eyes, she talks with mom and it seems to calm her down. Thank you to the lady with enough love to comfort an anxious woman. Dad is able to direct her once again into the dentist office to await help. Many phone calls later and travels to the supermarket and pet supermarket, this adventure is over until this afternoon when the teeth will be ready. Dad, I am sure, is exhausted and it is only the middle of the day.

By 5:30 tonight, Dad was finished. I could hear it in his voice. Not only was mom raving about how horrible the teeth were, but was in extreme pain due to the "butchers". I packed up dinner and was on my way. Thankfully, the little ones distracted her enough to forget about the dentist and concentrate on eating dinner and playing with my daughter. Dad was able to take a few minutes to catch his breath without having to worry about cooking something. He is staying the night there. Hooray. For the past year, he has been in and out of the home. Mom does much better when there is no one there and she has been able to verbalize this. We check in on her several times a day taking shifts at night to spend time with her. Luckily, she does not attempt anything she cannot do-no cooking, showering, driving, cleaning. Being such an avid movie buff has its advantages for us at this time. She can watch movie after movie and as long as she can run the vcr, we are ok. Thankfully she is able to still call with speed dial and still run her tv. It will be a very rough future when either of those go. Sometimes I feel guilty that we do not take her out more than once a week. It is getting to dangerous to go on adventures anymore.

It is days like this when I am grateful for such a dependable and supportive team of caregivers. With the extreme difficulty in caring for my mother, it takes all of us to do it. One would never be able to do it all. In my research and my visiting others with this disease, I have never come across one like her. She is so aggressive, volatile, incapable of surrendering her control to others for help, depressed, mean spirited, and so aware of the disease and what it is doing to her. But I remind myself that although some days are extreme tribulation, I am blessed to be able to spend time with her. Some are not so fortunate, their loved ones are ripped away before they can say goodbye. Our Lord has guided our path and His plan is perfect. Through trusting in Him, I know that I am where I should be and doing what He wants.

Wednesday, March 17

St. Patty's Day

I awaken to a phone call from my mother (she still knows how to speed dial but does not know how to hang up the phone) asking if I am ready to come over. After discussions last night with her, she decided she would have us come over in the afternoon. New day new ideas I guess. I explain to her that the entire house is still asleep but yes we will come over. She is in a relatively happy and joyful mood, delighted that her favorite little person is coming over to play. Watching my mother and daughter play is the highlight of my time with my mother. It is like watching two children playing-she has no restrictions and my daughter loves it. Just like the mother that used to start food fights while we were eating dinner, she continues to do such silly things with my daughter. The difference is her mind is more like the two/three year olds especially as they play. They fight and yell at each other, tease each other, chase after one another, and love each other. My daughter has an old soul and is able to handle the outbursts and reactions. You will hear her say "Gigi, calm down, its ok, Gigi, come over here and play. I pull her aside and ask if she is afraid and wants to go and my daughter answers with such adult mannerisms "We can't leave her like this, she will be ok once she calms down. It is then I thank my Lord for such a understanding and fantastic little girl.

Thankfully today went well with no outbursts. We were on the brink of one when my mother wanted to watch a movie with my daughter. I had to remind my mom that it is nap time and we will need to go in fifteen minutes. In that instant I see her eyes glaze over and she is gone just like that. She has retreated into her mind and she vacantly stares over us completely unaware of what is going on. My son gives her a toy and my daughter asks a question but she is still and thinking. My wonderful daughter jumps in her face makes some silly noises and tells Gigi to come play that we will watch a movie later. Just as fast as it came on it is over and she is able to respond again. It did not develop into her typical explosive reactions. Play time continues and we all have fun.

Tuesday, March 16

Traveling back in time

Since today was a relatively mild day, I will divulge into the past and spend some time remembering the mother of my youth. To see the person she has become is hard to image and to realize it is caused by misfiring and spaces in the mind.

My mother would have made a great actress. So many of our home videos show my mom singing or playing guitar, some sort of performance for the camera. Her beauty was a constant issue. She was always concerned with how we all looked and acted when we were not in the comfort of our own home. It was as though we all had a part to play and if we did not perform to her expectations, watch out. One did not argue or displease my mother less they feel her anger. She was the mom all my friends wanted-she seemed so vivacious, full of life, and entertaining. Mostly, people described her as giving. There was never a moment in my life where we were not helping someone. Growing up, our house were filled with her students from school, some with multiple handicaps, others with cerebral palsy. They would become our brothers or sisters and spend many nights at our house to give the parents some rest. As we moved, she would reach out to others. By the time we moved for the last time, our house was filled with the elderly. She cooked for them, cleaned for them, arranged their lives. That is one thing with my mom-she was always in control. No one could wrestle the control from her-it was her way all the way all the time.

In 2000, she took in her mother who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. She immediately took the reigns and became content once again. Her kids had flown the nest and now she had another flying in. She took care of my grandmother with such determination and love. In all my years I never met a person so capable of helping another. When my grandmother passed, I believe it jump started my mother's disease. She began overly obsessing about minute things-the dishwasher had to be loaded a certain way and she would reload it over and over until it was right. The videos' had to be categorized in a particular order. She took a college class and would spend hours rewriting her notes sometimes ten times until it looked the way she wanted it to. Her emotions and behaviors became evident to others outside the home. She would get upset and sit down in the middle of the floor at a party just screaming.

By 2006, I was pregnant and she wanted to throw me a baby shower-she pulled it off and it was beautiful. The hours she planned for it and the amount of items she bought for it still amaze me. She bought enough soda for hundreds of people and the candy bars for the games were well over 100. I remember enjoying milky ways for days. I noticed her having difficulty with organization at this point as well as her fine motor skills. My mother, the unbelievable poetess and writer, could no longer write with her elegant graceful handwriting. IT was now chicken scratch. Her perfectly written sentences were now a mix of past present and future tense with misspellings everywhere. She could no longer understand the computer, taking her into extreme reactions when confusion occurred. So many items would be broken in a fit of frustration. She started seeing things differently too-becoming slightly paranoid and hording items.

In 2007 things relatively stated the same, just more pronounced. She became slightly more depressed and frustrated at her confusion. She was still able to read and write, cook, drive, do all housekeeping, self help care, gross motor skills, and cognitive processing. She babysat my daughter and formed such a great relationship with her. IT is this relationship that is often our saving grace today.

The year of the most issues was 2008. It was this year, in the same month, on the same day, that my mom got the results: Early Onset Alzheimer's, Brain Embolism, Breast Cancer. She underwent surgery and 6 weeks radiation. After the radiation, my mom's abilities decreased rapidly. She started having trouble using her debit cards, managing money, going places with others. Everyone seemed to disappear from her life during htis time and even now, the only ones that spend any time with her are my father, brohter, aunt and uncle, and one neighbor. Her best friend calls her often and two others, but that is it. This disease has pushed too many into uncomfortable areas and they flee. My mother had lost the ability to control her emotions if in a situation too stressful and it scared others. My son was born during this year and I fear he came to late. She had a hard time bonding with him and forming that relationship. She actually kicked him out of the house for two weeks because he stole the remote???

By 2009, the disease was evident to everyone around her and more than once I heard the gasps of disbelief at how much she had progressed. She is a shell of the woman she once was. She can do nothing for herself and ironically, she recognizes it. She has retained her ability to communicate and sometimes with such clarity it amazes me. Today she told me that the Alzheimer's has altered her taste-for the first time in my life, she does not like tea. The weird part is she is able to verbalize that. It makes it all the harder because she lives with the pain of who she was and is reminded of it every second. Unlike others with this disease, she does not forget-in fact she often reminds me of things I need to do for her. For those of you who knew my mom, please write a comment about a memory of her. I would love to see how others remember her. Thanks and Goodnight

Monday, March 15

A weekend to remember

What a weekend that went by, in fact what a crazy two weeks. My entire family became violently ill and weathered the projectile mess that came with it. With only one hospitalizations ( my little 26 lb girl), I think we faired rather well. More surprisingly was how my mother handled it. Thankfully she was the last one to obtain this dreaded virus-a full week went by before she was infected. My father, husband, children, and myself had all recovered and we were washing our hands of this horrid little bug when all of a sudden, the phone rings. Mom mentions her stomach was acting up and that was it. Complete draining of all fluids out of all areas. Dad to the rescue-he is off and ready to maintain his battle station. It took me until Friday to convince her to finally bath (two entire weeks, plus a horrid illness and still no bath...)
So Friday night: I arrive ready to clean Mom, bedding, and room. We start by stripping the bed and setting a load in the washing machine. Mom had difficulty understanding what we were doing. She kept asking what we were working on. Once the wash was going, my mom started to get nervous because her bed no longer looked right. After five minutes of explaining that the bedding was being washed, I convinced her to go to the bathroom. For those of you who have never bathed your mother, I tell you it is the most difficult thing the first few times. After awhile, you start to bathe her as you would a child. I still have difficulty scrubbing her, but you do what you have to do. I strip her down and help her into the tub-she now has depth perception issues and does not understand how to lift her legs. She does not understand directional concepts either so getting in and out of the bath proves rather difficult. Did I mention that she experiences extreme sensory input so the slightest touch sends her screaming in agony. Try to help someone that cannot stand to be touched.... Into the bath she goes and for the first time all night I see her face unclench and relaxation settling in. I let her and I enjoy the moment, trying to chit chat with sporadic mutters of this thing and that thing. Thankfully, her "things" are decipherable especially since her favorite topic is anything on Fox News. Time to wash her. Each time we bathe I have to explain why we wash. She tells me she has never washed in certain places and no matter how many times I mention that it is a sanitary must, she argues continuously. Next comes the shaving-boy do I tremble at the thought-Last bath session she wanted all hair to disappear-I mean all hair. That is one thing I don't think I will ever be able to repeat-EVER. Thankfully, I only need to shave legs and underarms. Finally, the hair washing. I slowly pour water over her head careful to keep it out of her eyes. I tell her to look up but no understanding of the concept. Shampoo and conditioner-so far no water in the eyes. We finish and it is time to get out of the bath. Unfortunately, my mother can sit down but takes ten minutes to figure out how to rise.
A unique thing this week, I realize that my mother is losing her ability to sense urination. As she is being dried off, she notices "water" dripping from her. I mention that maybe she needs to sit down to use the toilet. She does and fully relives herself. I position her clothing and help her put on one item at a time. Bath is done!!!!!!!!!
We pick out a movie and settle down on a freshly made bed with a freshly cleaned mom. This weeks show: Head over Heels. The movie viewing went well and was very enjoyable. Finally, the worst part of the night-getting ready to leave. She decided to read the Bible with me so we pick out John 2. She attempts to read a word or two and starts screaming and crying. Completely distraught over her disease and wishing she would die. My heart breaks for her to see her like this.
On to Saturday: All day I try to convince Mom to let me cook Chicken soup Homemade. She refuses and states she is not hungry. Knowing better, I do not make the soup. As I decide to take the family to the park my phone begins to ring. Mom calls to say she is hungry and wants the chicken soup that takes four hours to make. I call Dad-find some chicken soup from some restaurant. Thankfully, my aunt has just made veggie soup and with a little tweaking, it becomes chicken, rice, and veggie soup. I leave my husband and little girl at the park and jump into the van with my son. Arrival at Grandma's to pick up the soup since my mother will not allow anyone else to drop of the soup. Fly up to my mothers and drop it off. She is in a state of hysteria because she thinks her dog is at my Aunt's house. She takes a glass and slams it on the counter-shards explode everywhere. I leave the house since I have my son with me and call her on the phone. After explaining the situation, she understands and is completely happy and grateful of the soup. I arrive at the park in time to pick up the other half of my family and back to the house we go.
The best day yet: Sunday. As this post has become rather long I will briefly describe the day. Phone call to me Phone call to my brother Phone call to me Phone call to my brother. repeat 15 more times. Completely hysterical and aggressive. Wants to die hates her life is miserable, cannot do anything, has no friends. At 5:30, she wants me to drop everything, jump in the car, go get her dog (Daisy was spending the weekend at my Grandmothers)wash her dog, dry her dog, comb her dog, bring her the dog, bring food, and visit. I tell her that it will have to wait one hour before I can do it. That causes an explosive reaction resulting in explicits coming rapid fire: I am selfish, cold, evil, going to Hell, God will not reward me, God hates me, I am not her daughter, I am a *****, I help everyone but her, I should marry my dad since I am just like him, and much much worse. Thankfully, I have a tough skin and am used to this barrage of insults. I am the devil child and my brother is the Golden boy. The ironic twist in this is that my brother is free to help on a whim and despite his endless offers and devoted attention to her, she refuses his pleas to help. She has it in her mind that he is too busy and needs his downtime. The kicker is now she expects my husband to help her but does not expect her own son to help??????? She refuses to answer my call and I head up there one hour later with brother daughter, and son in tow. We leave the food on the porch and home we go. Phone call at 1:00 am saying she is so sorry and she does not understand why she screams such hateful things at me. She also tells me she forgave my dad (for something he did not do) and is now talking to him again. Life regains a shred of normalcy for the time being.

Some blog for clarity of mine, others for sanity. I created this blog to chart the regression of a disease that is becoming a pandemic with those in their later years. Unfortunately for this family, this disease came early, twenty years too soon. The disease is Alzheimer's and for my family, more specifically known as Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease or EOAD. As I blog, I hope to record the progression of my mother as she begans the last stages of her disease. She is such a fighter and has traveled through this disease at unheard of speeds. I appreciate all feedback, remembering to keep it positive and useful.

I am a 33 year old old mother of two beautiful children. My daughter will turn four in June; she has such spunk and life to her. Watching her, I am reminded of how exciting life is and the need to enjoy every moment. My son will turn 2 in June as well; he is my snuggler and calming agent. Also as lively as his sister, he climbed his crib at 14 months. At 21 months, he has mastered his letters, sounds, and numbers. He continues to amaze me on a daily basis. At the head of the household is my supportive, loving, and unbelievable husband. God has given me such a gift-he is my adonis and I treasure my life with him. More than any person I met, he is the epitamy of ethical and moral righteousness-caring more for others than himself. Finally at the top of our family is my Lord and Savior, watching out for us from heaven above. It is through His strength that life does not seem as difficult as it should be.

Currently I am in graduate school obtaining my masters in Special Education for Early Childhood. I was previously a teacher for children with special needs and decided to stay home with my children, as well as help care for my mother. We also recently started a non-profit organization called Works in Faith Inc( . My husband came home one day and told me God put it in his heart to help people that could not afford home repairs. By providing home repairs for free, we can witness through our actions and give the glory to God. So far, we have helped quite a few people and have restored a bit of hope.
You can imagine that we stay pretty busy. Besides graduate school, running a non profit organization, raising a family, and trying to be the devoted wife, I also take care of my dear mother. As I blog, you will see the destruction of a wonderful woman that finally has succumbed to this disease. I hope my stories will bring peace to others that struggle with this disease, with trying to raise a family while being there for the one that raised you. Keep us in your prayers and God Bless.